Ma and Pa Kettle

When I was little I had the honor of growing up in a family that watched a lot of tv. We were also one of the first cable subscribers in our area. We have been Cable customers since 1974.  When I think of week ends of my childhood I remember specifically mostly on Sundays, watching the greats of old comedies, and eating eggs, linguisa (italian sausage), and breakfast potatoes. I love old comedy. My earliest memories include, “our gang” (aka little rascals), Laurel and Hardy, the three stooges, Marx Brothers, I love Lucy, and Ma and Pa Kettle.

I really like Ma and Pa Kettle because in certain ways they remind me of my grand parents. Their comedy was really off the wall. It is very similar to some of the comedy of today. Below I have some information about Ma and Pa Kettle via Wikipedia as well as a video of how they do math.

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Ma and Pa Kettle are comic characters who first appeared in the 1945 novel The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald about life on a chicken farm. She based them on real-life farming neighbors in Washington state, U.S.A. In 1947, Universal Pictures adapted it into a film starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, with Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as the Kettles. After positive audience reaction, Ma and Pa Kettle and their fifteen children became the subject a series of their own very popular comic films.

Pa (Franklin Kettle, played by Percy Kilbride) is a gentle, slow-speaking, slow-thinking and lazy man. His only talents appear to be avoiding work and winning contests. Ma (Phoebe Kettle, played by Marjorie Main) is a robust country woman with a potato sack figure, raucous, more ambitious and smarter than Pa, but not by much, and can easily be fooled. She is content with her role as mother to fifteen rambunctious, mischievous children on their ramshackle farm in rural Cape Flattery, Washington state. Because she has so many children, Ma Kettle sometimes gets their names confused. A misspelled sign “Be-ware of childrun” is posted in front of the farmhouse to warn unwanted visitors of hurled rocks, projectiles from slingshots, pea shooters and other missiles from the rowdy and unpredictable Kettle brood.

In the first film of the series, Ma and Pa Kettle, the family moves into a modern home with numerous electronic gadgets that Pa has won in a tobacco slogan writing contest. As the series continued, various reasons were devised to have the family relocate to the “old place”, sometimes for extended periods of time.

Much of the comedy is cornball humor arising from preposterous situations, such as Pa being mistaken for a wealthy industrialist (“P.A. Kettle” in Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki, 1955) or being jailed after he accidentally causes race horses to eat feed laced with concrete (Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair, 1952). (Wikipedia)

Thanks for reading,

Skrach

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Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 8:13 PM  Leave a Comment  
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