The Kettles and their fifteen children are about to be evicted from their rundown rustic home when Pa wins the grand prize by coming up with a new tobacco slogan. Birdie Hicks is jealous of... See full summary »
The Kettles and their fifteen children are about to be evicted from their rundown rustic home when Pa wins the grand prize by coming up with a new tobacco slogan. Birdie Hicks is jealous of the family's new wealth, which includes a completely automated modern home, and accuses Pa of stealing the slogan. Reporter Kim Parker proves Birdie wrong and marries Tom Kettle. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As the Kettles are shown the features of their new home the newsreel footage on TV is that of the first flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules AKA "Spruce Goose". The H-4 first and only flight was on 2 November 1947, just 17 months prior to the release of this movie. See more »
When Ma puts the kids to bed, you can see the covers are rumpled. Then, when she attempts to turn off the lights, she hits the switch to put away the beds. When the beds come back down, you can see 3 of the 4 beds are neatly made and there are dolls instead of kids. When you see them in the next shot, they are as they were before they went into the wall. See more »
[about Pa's underwear]
It's the latest thing, Billy Reed said they'd fit perfectly.
They probably would if he were in them with me!
Well, we'll just pin them up for right now, they'll shrink once I wash them.
See more »
The Ma & Pa Kettle characters were highly popular AND controversial. The films that featured their brood paved the way for television sitcoms that came after it and sought to emulate its winning formula. One obvious reference is 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' where the new home was bought with oil money, not having been won in a contest. You could even say the 1980s sitcom 'Newhart' borrows its idea of backwards rural characters from this series. Still, I wonder if Betty Macdonald, the Washington-based author who created these characters, didn't do more harm than good. Her portrayal of hillbilly characters makes them the butt of many jokes in terms of their alleged sloppiness and laziness. (The real life family that Macdonald based the Kettles upon, successfully sued...claiming they had been ridiculed and humiliated with these less-than-flattering references). Sure, it's comedy and the situations bring us a great many laughs and fun moments...and political correctness as we know it today did not exist in the 1940s and 1950s. But I think Macdonald could've still written these characters more sensibly and Universal International could've had its scriptwriters show them on screen with more dignity (there's such a thing as good taste). The more realistic moments are when the oldest son Tom is ashamed of his rural heritage but learns to accept his parents and siblings for who they are. For their part, the Kettles have to realize that they don't exactly fit into a modern world. That's not a joke...that's a sober truth.
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