Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ma and Pa Kettle (1949)

Poor rural family with fifteen children is about to be evicted from their home when they unexpectedly win a free house of the future. 1949 future, that is. When the oldest Kettle child (Richard Long) returns from college, he tries to help the clan acclimate to this fancy living.

Not unlike The Beverly Hillbillies, the Kettles are fish out of water. They originally appeared in 1947's The Egg and I, a fish out of water story in the opposite direction. Newlyweds Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert move to a chicken farm and meet the Kettles. The Kettles were so popular they stared in (oh my god!) nine low budget comedies. If IMdb rating are to be believed, none were particularly better or worse than the others.

So, we are to laugh at the Kettles for their backward was (even by bumbkin standards). They are poor, dirty, lazy (well, Pa anyhow), and uneducated. Except Tom, who returns from college with a gentleman's diction. He has invented a new kind of chick hatchery. You see, a better place for the young chicks to live means they will have a better future. Get it? A modern HOME for CHICKS so that they have a better chance to prosper! Seriously, you get it, right?

Old friends will remember Richard Long from House on Haunted Hill, a schlock favorite of mine. I also remember him from Big Valley of my childhood, and maybe Nanny and the Professor. He did a pile of television before dying at the ripe old age of younger-than-me. I should get my heart checked.

Just about every stereotype of poor southerners are played for laughs here. Except racism, thankfully. No black people are to be seen and the Indians were trusted friends.

These low budget, quick production numbers were quite successful, but not all that funny. There wasn't a gawfau to be found. I am sort of glad a saw it so that I know what the Kettles are all about, but I don't think I'll force myself to see another. Fairly short and not painful to watch. AMRU 2.5.

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