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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Marjorie Main and Percy KilbrideYou really should know who MAIN AND KILBRIDE are! Marjorie Main (1890-1975), born Mary Tomlinson, and Percy Kilbride (1888-1964) played a hillbilly couple from Cape Flattery, Washington, with so many kids that they lost track of just how many they had. They were known as Ma and Pa Kettle to their neighbors. Betty MacDonald wrote a book named The Egg and I, based on her own experiences with farming in Washington and spoke of her horrible experiences with hillbilly neighbors and Indians. Later a comedy film of the same name was based on her book. It starred Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. The Kettle family was introduced to film audiences for the first time in The Egg and I, but not as the book had depicted the true-life characters Betty MacDonald knew. We found this Ma Kettle an endearing character who was kind to everyone and loved her kids. Main and Kilbride's performances were so good that an entire comedy series for the whole family spun off the film. Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as the Kettles made a total of eight films together. When Kilbride left the series, two other attempts were made to keep it going, but these films weren't as good and the series died out. Ma and Pa Kettle were an endearing part of my youth and childhood. I enjoy watching them to this day and hope that you will, too.

Even though, I recommend you watch the series in order, I list here what I consider the five best films of the series.

Please watch:
Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955)Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955) This film makes me laugh more than all the rest. It's the last of the Main and Kilbride series. See what happens when Ma and Pa go to Hawaii.
Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (1954) I watch this film every Christmas. There's a wonderful Christmas party at the Kettles in it and Ma teaches her neighbors lessons about the meaning of family.
Ma and Pa Kettle To Town (1950) This one shouldn't be watched without having seen the first film in the series, The Further Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle first. The story surrounds the kids being baby sat in the house of the future while Ma and Pa take a vacation to New York City.
Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm (1951) Here the Kettles get their first grandchild and find sharing the baby with the other grandparents a nightmare.
Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair (1952) Ma and Pa try to raise money at the county fair to send their daughter Rosie to college. All kinds of mishaps ensue when Ma enters her crab apple plum jam in a jams and jellies contest and Pa enters the harness race with his old nag.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Date: Tues, Aug 8, 2006 / 10:18:15 PST

Movie still displayed: Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955)