A horse is a horse . . . of course
(July 26, 1997)
She is the assistant city editor of the Daily Republic
and a native Fairfielder, Oklahoma.
Lillian Bellamy broke her routine Tuesday afternoon to watch "Oprah."She?s usually at Solano Athletic Club swimming or sweating in aerobics when the talk show airs and prefers to stay away from the temptation of daytime TV.Her skittishness is understandable. Some 20 years ago, Lillian, now 68, had a bad experience because of her addiction to "The Young and the Restless." "I got hit by a car when I was running across the street to get to my show,"Lillian said. "I never wanted to get to the point again."She?s back to watching the soap opera, thanks to her 90-something mother, but still shies away from too much time in front of the tube."Oprah,"though, was just too hot to pass up. Well, not Oprah exactly but a nugget on the show about Mister Ed, the palomino horse that played across from Wilbur (actor Alan Young) in the 1960s TV show "Mr. Ed."
A woman who bought a pair of Mister Ed?s horseshoes was to appear on "Oprah."Lillian has a keen interest in Mister Ed. He is buried on her daughter?s 17-acre ranch in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where a toweringheadstone - known as an EdStone - has drawn a pilgrimage of "Mr. Ed"fans from around the world. "I want to call Oprah and tell her, "If you can have the horse shoes, why can?t you go to Oklahoma and get the real story? "Lillian said. Lillian?s family?s claim to fame has also landed Lillian a lunch Thursday with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, "Wilbur"? and legendary rhythm & blues band leader Johnny Otis, whose radio station ran a contest seeking the burial site of Mister Ed. Da Mayor will proclaim July 31 "Mr. Ed Day,"in The City. Lillian?s good friend, Susan Dorough, who won the contest along with Chuck and Lorraine Colby, will also attend. Larry, Lillian?s husband who prefers Nintendo 64 to "Oprah"or Mr. Ed"will also attend the luncheon to benefit Glide Memorial Church. Lillian can?t wait to talk to "Wilbur" about why he?s never paid respects at Mister Ed?s final resting place. "He didn?t want to show up because he didn?t want to admit Mister Ed is there,"Lillian said. "We might get in a big heated argument,"Lillian said. "All I have to say is "If you want to go out there and dig him up, then be my guest. "The legend of Mister Ed?s grave in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, has picked up steam over the years. One local yarn says Mister Ed was retired on the ranch - now owned by Lillian?s daughter, Darlene Snodgrass - after he left "Mr. Ed."Darlene bought the property in 1981 and immediately began hearing stories about Mister Ed?s grave. At first, the Snodgrasses thought the tales were fiction, but then they were convinced by an investigative reporter, who looked into the very important matter, and their own research. They pooh-pooh stories by others casting doubt on the grave site. Like the story "Wilbur" told on "Entertainment Tonight"that Mister Ed died in 1973 at a ranch in California, then was cremated. "The horse is (in Oklahoma) as far as the town is concerned, and he?s going to stay there," Lillian said, bristling at the idea that Mister Ed may not be buried on her daughter?s place. "It?s like, how do we know George Washington is buried where they say he is?" Folks in Tahlequah, spurred by a radio station in Tulsa, Okla., some 70 miles away, got money together for Mister Ed?s tombstone. In 1990, th e EdStone was erected and Tahlequah became the world-renowned burial plot of the famous palomino. And the people started to come. Redgie Snodgrass, Lillian?s 21-year-old grandson, has been living with Mister Ed?s grave - and all of its visitors - for about 16 years. People from Australia, Russia and Paris have flocked to his home to take pictures next to the horse?s grave and leave gifts, usually carrots. During the summer months about three people a week would stop by, walk through the Snodgrass property like it was some state park, and commune with Mister Ed?s corpse. Redgie, who is studying to be a Baptist minister, has enjoyed the company and the campiness the grave represents. " It really didn?t affect me until I went to college," Redgie said Wednesday. Now, as a co-ed, Redgie throws Mister Ed parties, drawing up to 200 "Ed-Heads" who hang out at the grave site. The Snodgrasses don?t charge people who invade their private property to visit Mister Ed. "We?re big on Southern hospitality, so anybody?s welcome at any time," Redgie said. Even the media, who come with cameras, boom mikes and other equipment when ever the story of Mister Ed surfaces, are invited. Lillian keeps newspaper clippings from around the country and has a VCR tape with news stories bout Mister Ed?s grave. news tabloid, the Examiner,ran a story with the headline " Ghost of Mr. Ed Haunts Oklahoma Town.' They quoted Tahlequah residents who allegedly said they saw an apparition of Mister Ed singing the " Mr. Ed " theme song and thanking the town for the " magnificent granite monument in my honor." Redgie said the family checked the Examiner?s sources and found the story to be inaccurate. After all, A horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse's corpse . . .