Marjorie Main: The Life and Films of Hollywood's Ma Kettle

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Overview

She was a slum mother, witty housekeeper, nosy neighbor, meddling maid, town gossip, and most memorably, Ma Kettle. Marjorie Main is best remembered for her portrayal of the farm mother of 15 children and wife of shiftless Pa Kettle. The characters were introduced in the 1945 film The Egg and I, and were such a hit that eight films followed. At an age when most actresses' careers are waning, Main's star was just beginning to rise. In real life, Main was as down to earth as characters she played. Her attire on the set and around her house were the same: a simple cotton house dress or jeans. She preferred riding the bus because she enjoyed interacting with regular people-the inspiration for her characters.

This book chronicles Main's childhood on an Indiana farm and the inspirations that led her to the stage. After a distinguished theater career and minor film roles, at age 50 she was offered a long-term contract with premier studio MGM. Details of her acting career and personal life covered here include her marriage to a scholarly widower 26 years her senior, and her work with actor Percy Kilbride, who was the antithesis of his character, the slothful Pa Kettle. A detailed filmography includes cast and credit lists and trivia about each of Main's 85 films.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786423224
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/9/2006
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1 Mary Tomlinson 3
2 From Farm to Fame 9
3 Opposites Attract ... or Not! 19
4 Which Came First ... the Kettles or the Egg? 34
5 The Men Behind the Magic 48
6 Ma and Pa Kettle, Inc. 55
7 The Kettles Continued 72
8 The Beginning of the End... Literally 89
9 Percy and Pa 99
10 Dr. and Mrs. Krebs 107
Filmography and Film Facts 119
Broadway Performances 195
Bibliography 201
Index 205
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2008

    Not Worth the Time nor the Money

    Marjorie Main was a terrific actress who was obviously a complex person off-screen. This book does not do her justice. While one can overlook the occasional grammatical error, it is very sad that the book gives such scant converage to her non-Ma Kettle roles. In barely mentioning some of the non-Kettle films, the work overlooks some important points for fans for example, the fact that Main and Bert Lahr shared a fantastic musical number in the 1954 version of Rose Marie that was cut from the release print but is available as an outtake in the That's Entertainment III supplements. While Marjorie may be best known for her role as Ma Kettle, it was a mistake to focus with such depth on the Kettle films and relegate some of Marjorie's other roles to merely a sentence or two. The organization is also a bit strange with her marriage mentioned chronologically when appropriate - and then suddenly a full chapter on the marriage is included almost as an addendum. Incidentally, the bio portion of the book is actually quite short with the balance being a filmography that includes some duplicate information as well as trivia anyone can find for free on the internet movie database. All in all, a disappointing work about a far-from-disappointing actress!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    Marjorie Main: The Life and Films of Hollywood's Ma Kettle

    This is the most enjoyable movie star biography I have read in a long time. If you're a fan of classic movies then you have probably seen at least one of Marjorie Main's films (The Women, Turnabout, Meet Me In St. Louis). Marjorie was one of the greatest character actresses of all-time but until now not much has been known about her private life. This book tells Marjorie's complete life story from her childhood to her unconventional marriage to the rumors about her sexuality. There is also detailed information about all of her movies and lots of rare photos. It is well-written and kept my interest right until the end. You definitely won't be disappointed in this one. After reading it you will want to run out and get all of Marjorie's movies!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    Marjorie Main: The Life and Films of Hollywood's Ma Kettle

    I am so glad there is finally a biography about Marjorie Main. I have been a fan of Marjorie ever since I was a little girl and used to watch her in The Ma And Pa Kettle movies. Marjorie is one of those actresses who was great in every movie she was in. Michelle Vogel, who is the author of fabulous books about Joan Crawford and Gene Tierney, has written another winner. She tells Marjorie's story in a respectable way and never tries to sensationalize it. I think Marjorie would be very pleased with this loving biography :-)

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