It was one of the most successful film series EVER. Right up there with Andy Hardy.
Remembered fondly today, the series saved a whole studio (Universal) the trauma of financial collapse. Ma and Pa remain one of classic Hollywood’s most beloved couples.
Remember the The Beverly Hillbillies?
It was a tv sitcom about kindly country bumpkins who move to Beverly Hills after striking oil. The stars were Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan. The series was an instant smash when it premiered on CBS in 1962. (It ran for a remarkable eight seasons.)
In practically every respect, today’s Quiz subject showed the Hillbillies the way.
Ma and Pa Kettle, played by Marjorie Main and (in most installments) Percy Killbride, first turned up on the big screen in 1947, and 10 films later were fully embraced by masses of moviegoers. In 1953, exhibitors declared the couple the 13th most popular of ANY Hollywood star.
Ma is a salty, no-nonsense country woman. Pa is a slow thinker who avoids work at all costs but wins a key contest. The couple and their very large family cope with a move from their nearly condemned farm to fancy new digs characterized as a model home of the future.
Ok, let’s see how much you know about the Kettles. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Marjorie Main won an Oscar for her portrayal as Ma Kettle but despite her principal role in the series, the award was in the supporting actress category, not best actress. a) True; b) False?
2) Question: What was the source of the Kettle’s financial windfall that allowed them semi-luxurious home of the future? a) A big lottery win; b) Winning a longshot contest sponsored by a big magazine publisher; c) Winning a slogan-writing contest for tobacco purveyor; d) Gambling winnings in Las Vegas.
3) Question:Ma and Pa Kettle comprise a hillbilly couple who didn’t stint in the marital sex department, resulting in their very large family. How many children did they have? a) Three; b) nine; c) 12; or d) 15.
4) Question: Which of the following name actors played more or less key supporting roles in the Ma and Pa Kettle movie series? a) Billy House; b) Richard Long; c) Ray Collins; or d) Esther Dale.
5) Question: In the first of the Kettles movie appearances, they were cast besides two major stars not normally associated with hillbilly films. Which two of the following are they? a) Fred MacMurray; b) Nancy Davis; c) Claudette Colbert; or d) Lana Turner.