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The Egg and I

The Egg and I(1947)

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The film opens with a brief prologue in which "Betty," who is in a train dining car, explains to an unappreciative waiter, who has just dropped and broken an egg, the work that went into producing it. The order of the opening and ending cast credits differs slightly. In the opening, Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main, who play "Ma and Pa Kettle," are listed together, and in the end credits they are separated. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart places Ann Shoemaker in the cast, she was not in the released film. According to the Variety review, this was Universal's first big-budget picture after its merger with International. It also marked the first time that writers Chester Erskine and Fred F. Finklehoffe produced their own screenplay. For the film, they created the character of the other woman, "Harriet Putnam," who did not exist in Betty MacDonald's semi-autobiographical novel. The book was on the best seller list for over eighteen months and the film became one of Universal's top-grossing pictures in the late 1940s.
       The film marked the first screen appearance of "Ma and Pa Kettle," who became so popular that Universal decided to develop a series around them. For more information about the "Ma and Pa Kettle" Series, please see the entry below for Ma and Pa Kettle. Main, who was borrowed from M-G-M to appear in this picture, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. According to a 1951 Los Angeles Times news item, the Bishop family in Northwest Washington sued MacDonald, claiming that she based the characters of "Ma and Pa Kettle" on them. The case was decided in MacDonald's favor. The proceeds from the Los Angeles premiere of the film went to the Damon Runyon fund for cancer research. The Egg and I was the last picture of actor Vic Potel, who died on March 8, 1947. On May 5, 1947, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio version of the story starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert. In 1951, CBS featured a daytime television series based on the novel, starring Pat Kirkland and John Craven.