As you plan your summer vacation, we modestly request that you take a break from sorting out the logistics for your next getaway and check out one of the funniest travelogues ever committed to celluloid — 1955’s Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki. This was the seventh film featuring the homespun couple who originally made their debut in the Fred MacMurray comedy The Egg and I, and the last movie that star Percy Kilbride starred in before his retirement. (Tragically, he died in 1964 a few months after he has hit by a car while crossing a street in Hollywood). It should be noted however that this movie was filmed in 1952 but delayed for several years. The subsequent film in the franchise, 1956’s The Kettles in the Ozarks, featured the debut of Arthur Hunnicut as Pa’s brother, Sedgewick.
As for Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki, the film follows Ma (Marjorie Main) and Pa as they get word that their cousin Rodney (Loring Smith) is sick. Joined by their daughter Rosie (Lori Nelson), they head to Hawaii to help out at Rodney’s pineapple factory. Before you can say “Tiny Bubbles,” they are thrust into a comedic adventure that features everything from kidnapping to snooty locals.
Not that the plot is important. The true charm of the characters, and the Ma and Pa Kettle series in general, is seeing them interact with themselves and the world at large…charming audiences everywhere with their offbeat approach to life. Ma and Pa Kettle is now available on DVD from Universal, so you can say “aloha” to laughs and plenty of fun whenever you want!