Ma and Pa Kettle

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Ma and Pa Kettle are comic film characters of the successful film series of the same name, produced by Universal Studios, in the late 1940s and 1950s. “The hillbilly duo have their hands full with a ramshackle farm and a brood of rambunctious children. When the future comes a-callin' in the form of modern houses, exotic locales, and newfangled ideas, Ma and Pa must learn how to make the best of it with luck, pluck, and a little country charm.”[1]

Originally based on real-life farming neighbors in Washington, United States,[2] Ma and Pa Kettle were composite characters created by Betty MacDonald in whose 1945 best-selling, semi-fictional memoir, The Egg and I, they appeared. The success of the novel spawned the 1947 film The Egg and I starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, also co-starring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as Ma and Pa Kettle. Main was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role.[3]

After the audiences' positive reaction to the Kettles in the film, Universal Studios produced nine more films, with Marjorie Main reprising her role in all and Percy Kilbride reprising his in seven. The films grossed an estimated $35 million altogether at the box office[4] and are said to have saved Universal from bankruptcy.[4]