Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki


1h 19m 1955

Brief Synopsis

Ma and Pa, along with daughter Rosie, go off to Hawaii in answer to cousin Rodney's call for help running his pineapple farm while he recovers from an illness. Pa soon causes a major explosion and gets himself kidnapped.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Hawaii, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on characters from the novel The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (Philadelphia, 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

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 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.

Cast

Marjorie Main

Ma Kettle

Percy Kilbride

Pa Kettle

Lori Nelson

Rosie Kettle

Byron Palmer

Bob Baxter

Russell Johnson

Eddie Nelson

Hilo Hattie

Mama Lotus

Loring Smith

Rodney Kettle

Lowell Gilmore

Robert Coates

Mabel Albertson

Mrs. [Theresa] Andrews

Fay Roope

Fulton Andrews

Oliver Blake

Geoduck

Teddy Hart

Crowbar

Esther Dale

Birdie Hicks

Claudette Thornton

Secretary to Rodney Kettle

Cindy Garner

Secretary to Rodney Kettle

Dee Carroll

Secretary to Rodney Kettle

Ben Welden

Shorty Bates

Dick Reeves

Lefty Conway

Myron Healey

Marty

Ric Roman

Chuck Collins

Charles Lung

Papa Lotus

Grace Akina

Lotus child

Jean Kuuipo Hunt

Lotus child

Anita Louise Dano

Lotus child

Wailana Bartlett

Lotus child

Frank Bartlett

Lotus child

Lei Noa

Lotus child

Larry Ahuna

Lotus child

Fred Dasalla

Lotus child

Shonie Aki

Lotus child

Raymond Lee

Lotus child

Calvert Botelho

Lotus child

Tamio Mansfield

Lotus child

Ralph Peters

Barber

Cosmo Sardo

Barber

Alan Harris

Barber

Pat Goldin

Painter

Grace Hayle

Lady at party

Faire Binney

Lady at party

Ezelle Poule

Lady at party

Norman Field

Dr. Fabian

Byron Kane

Professor Gilfallen

Arthur D. Gilmour

Butler

Frank Marlowe

Chauffeur

Lois Wilde

Girl on boat

Sandra Spence

Secretary to Pa

Bob Donnelly

Clerk

Virginia Anderson

Clerk

Sally Yarnell

Clerk

Harold Goodwin

Dr. Barnes

Leon Lontoc

Rickshaw driver

George Piltz

Outrigger driver

Charles Mauu

Doorman

Rudy Lee

Billy Kettle

Elana Schreiner

Nancy Kettle

Beverly Mook

Eve Kettle

Jenny Linder

Sara Kettle

Ronnie Rondell

Dannie Kettle

Tim Hawkins

Teddy Kettle

Margaret Brown

Ruthie Kettle

Billy Clark

George Kettle

George Arglen

Willie Kettle

Jon Gardner

Benjamin Kettle

Jackie Jackson

Henry Kettle

Donna Leary

Sally Kettle

Bonnie Kay Eddy

Susie Kettle

Wailana Miguel

Girl at luau

Judy Wiard

Secretary

Ken Gibson

Board member

William Bailey

Board member

Larry Williams

Board member

Luukiuluana

Masseuse

Helen Dickson

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Hawaii, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on characters from the novel The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (Philadelphia, 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

This is the last film in the series to feature Percy Kilbride.

Notes

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 July 23, 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.
       March 1952 Hollywood Reporter 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.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 1955

Released in United States on Video April 25, 1995

Last entry in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series.

Released in United States Spring April 1955

Released in United States on Video April 25, 1995