Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955)

79 mins | Comedy | April 1955

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HISTORY

Although Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki was produced in 1952, it was not released until 1955, by which time several other "Ma and Pa Kettle" films had been released, and the film's producer, Leonard Goldstein, had died. Goldstein suffered a brain hemorrhage on 23 Jul 1954. The film marked the last of Universal's "Ma and Pa Kettle" series in which Percy Kilbride starred as "Pa Kettle," and his last film before his death in 1964. The studio went on to produce two more films in the series, The Kettles in the Ozarks in 1956, in which the character of Pa did not appear; and The Kettles on Old MacDonald's Farm in 1957, in which Parker Fennelly played Pa.
       Mar 1952 HR news items add George Stern and Dorothy Newman to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although the film was the first in which Byron Palmer acted, because of the delay in its release, he first appeared oncreen in Twentieth-Century Fox's 1953 picture Tonight We Sing (see below). For more information on the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Ma and Pa Kettle in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ... More Less

Although Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki was produced in 1952, it was not released until 1955, by which time several other "Ma and Pa Kettle" films had been released, and the film's producer, Leonard Goldstein, had died. Goldstein suffered a brain hemorrhage on 23 Jul 1954. The film marked the last of Universal's "Ma and Pa Kettle" series in which Percy Kilbride starred as "Pa Kettle," and his last film before his death in 1964. The studio went on to produce two more films in the series, The Kettles in the Ozarks in 1956, in which the character of Pa did not appear; and The Kettles on Old MacDonald's Farm in 1957, in which Parker Fennelly played Pa.
       Mar 1952 HR news items add George Stern and Dorothy Newman to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although the film was the first in which Byron Palmer acted, because of the delay in its release, he first appeared oncreen in Twentieth-Century Fox's 1953 picture Tonight We Sing (see below). For more information on the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Ma and Pa Kettle in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Mar 1955.
---
Daily Variety
8 Mar 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Mar 55
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 52
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Mar 55
p. 353.
Variety
9 Mar 55
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters from the novel The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (Philadelphia, 1945).
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1955
Production Date:
20 February--late March 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
18 March 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4504
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
79
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15984
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a hot summer day in Cape Flattery, Washington, Ma Kettle worries about how to afford to send her fifteen children to camp, while lazy Pa drafts a letter to his cousin, Rodney Kettle. Pa and Rodney both courted Ma when they were young, and although Pa won Ma's hand, Rodney went on to become a wealthy businessman in Waikiki, Hawaii. Embarrassed by his relative lack of success, Pa routinely spins tales for Rodney about nonexistent accomplishments. Meanwhile, Rodney is facing serious problems, both with his failing pineapple processing factory and his health. When a takeover bid by rival Robert Coates and his assistant, Eddie Nelson, precipitates a mild heart attack, Rodney sends his assistant, Bob Baxter, to urge Pa to run the company temporarily. Upon arriving in Cape Flatterry, Bob meets the Kettles' neighbor, prim Birdie Hicks, and when she shows him to the Kettle house, they arrive at the very moment that the Kettle children turn on the lawn sprinklers. Birdie is drenched, and Bob chases young Billy Kettle around the house. Billy is rescued by his oldest sister Rosie, who is at first annoyed with Bob, but soon realizes there is a mutual attraction. Pa is hesistant when he hears Bob's offer, knowing that Rodney believes him to be a tycoon, but when Ma hears the salary, she accepts the position for Pa. That night, Ma threatens to leave if Pa does not follow through on this amazing opportunity. After Ma sends the kids to camp, she, Pa and Rosie board a cruise ship to Hawaii. Ma is too preoccupied to listen as Pa tries to reveal his lies, and later strikes up a conversation with ... +


On a hot summer day in Cape Flattery, Washington, Ma Kettle worries about how to afford to send her fifteen children to camp, while lazy Pa drafts a letter to his cousin, Rodney Kettle. Pa and Rodney both courted Ma when they were young, and although Pa won Ma's hand, Rodney went on to become a wealthy businessman in Waikiki, Hawaii. Embarrassed by his relative lack of success, Pa routinely spins tales for Rodney about nonexistent accomplishments. Meanwhile, Rodney is facing serious problems, both with his failing pineapple processing factory and his health. When a takeover bid by rival Robert Coates and his assistant, Eddie Nelson, precipitates a mild heart attack, Rodney sends his assistant, Bob Baxter, to urge Pa to run the company temporarily. Upon arriving in Cape Flatterry, Bob meets the Kettles' neighbor, prim Birdie Hicks, and when she shows him to the Kettle house, they arrive at the very moment that the Kettle children turn on the lawn sprinklers. Birdie is drenched, and Bob chases young Billy Kettle around the house. Billy is rescued by his oldest sister Rosie, who is at first annoyed with Bob, but soon realizes there is a mutual attraction. Pa is hesistant when he hears Bob's offer, knowing that Rodney believes him to be a tycoon, but when Ma hears the salary, she accepts the position for Pa. That night, Ma threatens to leave if Pa does not follow through on this amazing opportunity. After Ma sends the kids to camp, she, Pa and Rosie board a cruise ship to Hawaii. Ma is too preoccupied to listen as Pa tries to reveal his lies, and later strikes up a conversation with snooty Theresa Andrews, wife of Waikiki bank president Fulton Andrews. Theresa is horrified by Ma's working class manners, and further infuriated when Pa accidentally knocks her into the pool. Just as the ship docks in Hawaii, Andrews tells Rodney that he must secure Pa's signature on the factory contract within twenty-four hours, or the bank will not lend him money. Nelson overhears the conversation and plots with Coates to kidnap Pa before he can sign. The next day, Rodney brings Pa to a board meeting, and when the men see Pa's rustic clothing, they take off their hats to look more like him. On the factory tour, Pa is labeled a genius after he inadvertently speeds up production by broadcasting a fast jazz tune over the public address system. Andrews invites Ma to Theresa's cocktail party that night, and when Ma sits under a heater, her subsequent loud ice chewing appalls the society ladies. The next morning at the factory, Pa assembles the board members to demonstrate a potion a salesman has just convinced him to try. Instead of the miraculous nectar the salesman promised, however, the liquid causes a huge explosion, and Pa leaves in disgrace. Outside, Ma declares Pa a failure, and in his desperation to win back her favor, he readily believes Nelson, who lies to him that there is buried treasure on a nearby island. Nelson leads Pa to a boat on which three of Coates' goons, Lefty Conway, Shorty Bates and Marty, await. With orders to keep Pa preoccupied for another twenty-four hours, the goons help Pa dig for treasure, but later, they fail to notice as Pa wanders off. He soon meets Papa Lotus, an inordinately lazy native with twelve children. Papa invites Pa home, but during their dinner luau, Nelson's men find Pa, secretly knock him out and drag him to a hut in the jungle. At the same time, Ma realizes Pa is missing and sends Bob to find Nelson, who, under duress, reveals Pa's whereabouts. While Rodney notifies the police, Ma races to the island, pulling the rickshaw herself when the driver lags behind. Upon arriving on the island, she immediately bumps into the Lotuses, and together, everyone except Papa sets out in search of Pa. They find the hut and attack, using jungle fruits as ammunition. Overwhelmed, the goons run into the shack, but the kids maintain their relentless attack and eventually capture the men in a huge net. Having slept through the commotion, Pa wakes only after a crab bites him. When Ma scolds him, Mama Lotus informs her that Pa was searching for treasure to give to her. Ma declares that the only treasure she needs is the one she already has: her children. Just then, Rodney appears with the police, who arrest Lefty, Shorty and Marty. Rodney reveals that the explosion in the factory has produced a world-class pineapple juice and saved the business, thus curing his stress-related heart problem. Although Rodney asks Pa to stay on as his partner, Ma reminds Pa that he has fifteen responsiblities to return to in Washington. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.