Ah, how can we forget these six movies starring Donald O'Connor and the $350 mule named Molly that made millions for the studio. Six? You question, and rightly so. Donald O'Connor quit making the movies after the sixth picture, stating the mule was getting more press than he was.
Chill Wills, the voice of Francis, also quit after six pictures.
Molly was trained by Will Rogers and apprenticing with him was Les Hilton, who trained Mr. Ed. Both mule and horse were 'taught to talk' by someone pulling a thread out of their mouth. The natural movement was for the horse or mule, in this case, what to try to get it out.
The first six pictures were:
Francis Goes to the Races (1951)
Francis Goes to West Point (1952)
Francis Covers Big Town (1953)
Francis Joins the WACS (1954)
Francis Joins the Navy (1955)
Francis in the Haunted House, (1956) had a new cast. Instead of Donald O'Connor, Francis new side kick was Mickey Rooney.
Dell made Comic books about the adventures of the mule during the height of the Francis movies. TCM did not show any of the movies as "OSCAR WINNERS". Too bad little kids from the baby boomer era didn't get to vote.
They are a kick!