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

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $41.60
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 24%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $41.60   
  • New (1) from $107.70   
  • Used (5) from $41.60   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.


Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Canyon News gem...[the author] has struck gold again...remarkable
Turner Classic Movies
Read More Show Less

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)

Meet the Author

Film historian Michelle Vogel lives in Victoria, Australia. Her popular blog can be found at

Read More Show Less

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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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 :-)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)