If you’re from Southcentral Pennsylvania, you’re probably familiar with Mister Ed. He’s the guy who founded Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium along Route 30 between Fayetteville and Gettysburg, and he’s become sort of a local legend.
In addition to selling peanuts and candy and sharing his massive collection of elephants with everyone who stops by, “Mister Ed” Gotwalt has become famous for his appearances on local stage and screen, appearing in 17 shows at Totem Pole Playhouse, as well as four independent film
s, including the “Route 30” series.
Now, Gotwalt, 82, has his sights set on daytime TV and Ellen DeGeneres and he needs help.
Gotwalt has launched a grassroots campaign to get the talk show host to invite him onto her show so that he can share with her worldwide audience his latest project, The 10 Commandments Fund, a philanthropic effort funded by his motivational speeches entitled, “The 10 Commandments for Good Business.”
Gotwalt gives the talk to groups and businesses across the region, sharing stories of running his own business, as well as his time working for a grocery chain.
“The talks are well-received,” he said. “If everybody used these 10 commandments, the world would be a better place to live.”
Nearly two years ago, Gotwalt and his wife, Pat, were in a serious accident that nearly claimed his leg and could’ve claimed his life.
He was flown to York Hospital where they discovered he had seven broken ribs, two fractured vertebrae, three crushed leg bones, and bleeding on the brain.
He was in the hospital for 10 weeks. “They weren’t sure I was gonna make it,” he said. “It made me have a different outlook on life and things that happen.”
Gotwalt spent three months recuperating on his sofa and tuned in daily to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“Every day, she does something nice for someone, often giving away thousands of dollars. I decided I wanted to do something nice for people, too.”
Although Gotwalt lacked the budget of an Emmy-award winning talk show host, he knew there had to be something he could do.
“I can’t write checks for thousands of dollars, but I can write checks for a few hundred,” he said.
He began putting aside the money he earned for his 10 Commandments Talk and started a fund to help those in need.
“We don’t give anybody money. We give them what they need,” he explained.
Some of his purchases have included a washing machine, a therapy dog, and instruments for a school band.
The bigger the audience, the more opportunity Gotwalt has to fund the fund.
“I’d like to have the fund grow to a quarter of a million dollars,” he said.
To do that, he needs to line up more talks. That’s where Ellen comes in.
Gotwalt said he has written to Ellen, but has gotten no response. He’s hoping with a bit more influence, her staff will take notice that, for a local elephant-loving guy, his local audience isn’t peanuts.
He wants everyone to write to Ellen and ask her to host him on her show.
“In the hospital, I got over 500 cards,” he said. “If a couple hundred people read this article and send a note to Ellen, she has to listen.”
Those who wish to join the movement to send Mister Ed to Hollywood can visit www.ellentube.com and click on “send Ellen a video or photo” and then select “write to the show” from the drop-down menu.
“I’m not asking Ellen for money. I want to be able to tell what I’m doing and why I’m doing it,” Gotwalt said. “I’ve always been a talker. I enjoy giving these talks. I can do this for many years.”