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A horse is a horse, of course, of course ... unless he's really a man.
Allan Lane has been a mystery almost as long as he's been seen on a movie screen. His audiences have been varied over the years. Some know him as the never officially recognized voice of TV's famous talking horse, Mister Ed. Others better remember him as Red Ryder, the comic book Western hero-come-to-life at the Saturday afternoon matinee. Even more knew him as Rocky Lane, yet another Western good guy, and a name which became synonymous with his own. Scores of youngsters in the 1940s and 1950s went to the picture show to while away a happy Saturday afternoon, watching in adolescent excitement as Red Ryder or Rocky Lane fought off all the bad guys on the Western range, always winning the day just in the nick of time. Children were Allan Lane's main audience.
Not nearly as many people are aware that Allan Lane also had an earlier movie career, before he became a fast-riding cowboy. He began in films in 1929 as a handsome, suave "drawing room" romantic type, working with such leading ladies as Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, and Joan Fontaine. He went through many character iterations in the early days, almost to the point of having his own revolving door in and out of Hollywood with nearly as many studio contracts. Prior to his screen careers, Allan started his love/hate relationship with acting at the age of sixteen on the traveling stage, going from city to city to ultimately make his way to Broadway. Playing various sports filled in the blanks, and his pocketbook.
Then there was Allan Lane, or Alan Lane, the businessman. He began working to help support himself and his family at the tender age of six. He became something of a vagabond, moving from place to place, family member to family member, even sometimes living on his own in a boarding house. This is how he got his education, took care of his needs and needs of his family. Allan Lane owned his own successful photography advertising agency when he was only twenty-four. Years later, when his Hollywood career was fading, he went back to what he knew best ... his business background.
The man was an enigma--arguably misunderstood but without question so much more than history has yet to show. Until Now. I Am Mister Ed ... Allan "Rocky"Lane Revealed finally exposes the full scope of the complicated life of Allan "Rocky" Lane.
"Allan Young recently said he had no idea how Allan Lane snagged the part of Mister Ed's voice for the original pilot, but he knew 'Rocky,' as he called him, had not been intended to take the part in the TV show. Alan said executives felt Allan was not 'glamorous' enough. He was difficult and people thought he kept to himself too much. Executives wanted to replace him going into the TV version, so they auditioned a number of stars to take over the part.
"In the long run, not a single one could match the timbre and richness of Allan's voice, and he was retained. That the actor behind the voice was contractually never mentioned or seen on the screen may have ended up proving Allan had been, all along, the perfect match for the job. His lack of 'glamour,' and his determination to keep to himself, became positive qualities that supported the role....
"Just about no one has ever said anything about the need for an actor to create the horse's voice or overall difficulties in putting together such a production. Allan's name has never been mentioned in any of the rare and brief bits of how the initial pilot came to be, or the execution of the final product. Most executives seemed more than willing, in fact they were delighted, to let his involvement stay hidden from the public once Allan made it clear he did not want to be officially credited for his part in the show. So his part in the renewed project remained safely without notice...."