Movieland Mystery Photo (Update + + + +)

Main Title Ma and Pa Kettle. Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride on an old rattle-trap truck
This week’s mystery movie was the 1949 Universal picture Ma and Pa Kettle, with Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, Richard Long, Meg Randall, Patricia Alphin, Esther Dale, Barry Kelley, Harry Antrim, Ida Moore and Emory Parnell.

ma_and_pa_joinScreenplay by Herbert Margolis, Louis Morheim and Al Lewis.

Based on the characters from The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald.

Photographed by Maury Gertsman. Art direction by Bernard Herzbrun and Emrich Nicholson. Set decoration by Russell A. Gausman and Oliver Emert.

Sound by Leslie I. Carey and Richard DeWeese.

Edited by Russell Schoengarth.

Wardrobe by Rosemary Odell. Dialogue direction Pat Betts. Hairstylist Carmen Dirigo. Makeup by Bud Westmore.

Music arranged and directed by Milton Schwarzwald.

Produced by Leonard Goldstein.

Directed by Charles Lamont.

Ma and Pa Kettle is available on DVD from Critics’ Choice Videos.

More on the history of the film is available from the AFI catalog.


I picked Ma and Pa Kettle after a remark by a member of the Brain Trust (you know who you are) that they would rather watch the entire Ma and Pa Kettle corpus than last week’s Johnny Got His Gun. And here we are!

I’m betting that Bosley passed Ma and Pa to the alphabet soup critics or lambasted it.

Yes, Ma and Pa Kettle was reviewed by A.W., possibly Abe Weiler. He didn’t love it (can’t love lowbrow, rustic humor in the New York Times!) but he didn’t hate it either.  ( Aug. 12, 1949):

The powers at Universal-International, enchanted by those poor but happy, fecund rustics, Ma and Pa Kettle, obviously were right in transporting them from Betty MacDonald’s book, The Egg and I and the film version thereof to a picture all their own. Reports in trade circles have it that this modest little number, Ma and Pa Kettle by title, which arrived at the Palace yesterday, is surprising and gratifying its sponsors by the very healthy business it is doing around the country.

The answer to that phenomenon is, however, not too obvious to judge by the comic goings-on at the Palace. For this yarn about the adventures of the Kettles — Ma and Pa and the fifteen pint-sized Kettles — in the electronic house Pa wins in a slogan contest, is a mild entertainment depending almost entirely on its stars.

A waiter takes your order
For Monday, we have a mystery fellow.

Update: This is Sam McDaniel.

A town square. With buildings.
For “Tricky Tuesday,” we have a mysterious location. Also old cars.

Update: This is the town square at Universal. The building on the right appeared in many films and may be most famous as the clock tower in the Back to the Future trilogy.

Two mystery fellows.
We also have these mystery fellows. Their companion has been cropped out due to insufficient mysteriousness and will appear later in the week.

Update: For Friday, adding a mystery companion.

Update: This is, from left, Lester Allen, Chief Yowlachie and Percy Kilbride.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Monday’s mystery gent), Mary Mallory (Monday’s mystery gent), Tim Doherty (Monday’s mystery gent), B.J. Merholz (Monday’s mystery gent), Anne Papineau (Monday’s mystery gent), Robert Morrisey (Monday’s mystery gent), Mike Hawks (Monday’s mystery gent), Bob Hansen (Monday’s mystery gent), Jenny M. (Monday’s mystery gent), Michael Lott (Monday’s mystery gent, but a different movie), Benito (Monday’s mystery gent) and Sylvia E. (Monday’s mystery gent, wrong movie but you’re close). And Bobby Rivers (via Twitter, though I prefer not to get answers that way).

Man holding microphone next to television camera
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mysterious fellow.

Update: This is John Wald.

Man in straw hat with pinstriped suit
We also have this friendly mysterious gent.

Update: This is Emory Parnell.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mysterious indigenous people, mystery location), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mysterious indigenous people), Beach Gal (Monday’s mystery fellow and Tuesday’s mystery location — close on the mystery movie), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie Tuesday’s mysterious indigenous people and mystery location), Lorenzo (Tuesday’s mysterious indigenous person No. 2), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mysterious indigenous people), Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery fellow, mysterious location and Tuesday’s mysterious indigenous people) and Roget-L.A. (Monday’s mystery fellow — close on the mystery movie).

Fourteen mystery guests!! A record!
For “Aha Thursday,” what may be the most mystery people ever to appear in one mystery photo!!

Update: This is George Arglen, Dale Belding, Margaret Brown, Melinda Casey, Paul Dunn, Diane Florentine, Teddy Infuhr, Donna Leary, George McDonald, Beverly Mook, Gloria Moore, Eugene Persson, Elana Schreiner and Robert Winans.

Dour-faced women in hats. They do not approve of such goings-on!
Also these two mystery women. And would you believe it? They do not approve of such goings-on!

Update: This is Isabel O’Madigan and Esther Dale.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery gent No. 2), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Gary (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery waiter and Wednesday’s mystery gent No. 2), Richard Wegescheide (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery indigenous persons), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery fellow No. 2), Beach Gal (mystery movie and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Roget -L.A. (mystery movie and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast,  plus mystery location), Sylvia E. (Tuesday’s mystery guest cropped out for lack of mysteriousness, Wednesday’s mystery guest No. 2 and a history of our mystery location) and Thom and Megan (mystery movie and all mystery guests).

Mystery man in night shirt and bowler hat
For Friday, we have this mysterious gent.

Update: This is Percy Kilbride.

Mystery woman with shotgun. She does not approve of such goings-on.
We also have this mystery woman. She, as you may suspect, does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Marjorie Main.

Young couple in lawn chairs
And finally, we have this romantic couple. Also late 1940s lawn furniture.

Update: This is Meg Randall and Richard Long.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests), Beach Gal (Thursday’s mystery guests, including all 14 children), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests, including all “14 brats”), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery children and mystery woman No. 2) and Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery women and five of the mystery children).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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48 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Update + + + +)

  1. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Sam McDaniel.


  2. Mary Mallory says:

    Sam McDaniel.


  3. Tim Doherty says:

    Sam McDaniel?


  4. bjmesbcglobalnet says:

    Sam McDaniel


  5. Anne Papineau says:

    Sam McDaniel


  6. Robert Morrissey says:

    That’s an easy one – Sam McDaniel. Hattie’s older brother.


  7. mike hawks says:

    Sam McDaniel.


  8. Bob Hansen says:

    Is that Sam McDaniel today? I don’t know the movie.


  9. Jenny M says:

    Sam McDaniel


  10. Michael Lott says:

    Sam McDaniel is the actor, Important Business (1944) is the movie…


  11. Benito says:

    The prolific Sam McDaniel, Hattie’s bro


  12. Earl Boebert says:

    William F. (Bill) Walker?


  13. Sylvia E. says:

    Monday – The waiter on the train is Sam McDaniel (Hattie’s brother)

    I’m going to guess “The Egg and I” 1947 because I think the group had a conversation about that movie/book not too long ago.


  14. Mary Mallory says:

    MA AND PA KETTLE. Lester Allen and Chief Yowlachie today with Percy Kilbride both.


  15. Mary Mallory says:

    That’s downtown Cape Flattery.


  16. Mary Mallory says:

    Universal’s Courthouse Square, later to turn up in BACK TO THE FUTURE and many movies.


  17. Jenny M says:

    Lester Allen and Chief Yowlachie in Ma and Pa Kettle.


  18. beachgal says:

    Monday – Sam McDaniel
    Tues – Courthouse Square at Universal
    Wed – John Heroes and Vic Portal
    Our film is The Egg and I


  19. “Ma and Pa Kettle” 1949
    Lester Allen, Chief Yowlachie


  20. The Universal backlot.


  21. Lorenzo says:

    Today’s guest on the right reminds me of Chief Yowlachie.


  22. mike hawks says:

    Lester Allen and Chief Yowlachie in MA & PA KETTLE.


  23. Sylvia E. says:

    Your hint was much appreciated.

    “Ma and Pa Kettle” 1949
    Mon – Sam McDaniel
    Tues – 1) courthouse square – backlot Universal Studios. What a movie history (and a quite a number of fires) this building has had! This screengrab is from Inherit the Wind 1960 (saw Frederick March’s name over it in another screengrab.) 2) Lester Allen and Chief Yowlachie.

    Just last week saw Marjorie Main in one of the Thin Man movies. That woman found her niche and played it for all it’s worth.


  24. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Monday’s mystery fellow is Sam McDaniel. Mystery movie is The Egg and I (1947)?


  25. Mary Mallory says:

    Boyd Davis and Emory Parnell.


  26. John Wald; Emory Parnell


  27. Gary says:

    Sam Mc Daniel and Emory Parnell in Ma and Pa Kettle.


  28. Richard Wegescheide says:

    A shot in the dark. I’m going to guess Lester Allen and Chief Youlackey(I believe) as the so-called native Americans on Tuesday. If I’m right, then the movie would be ‘Mom and Pa Kettle’, the first one after ‘The Egg and I’.


  29. mike hawks says:

    Mr. Emory Parnell tips his hat.


  30. beachgal says:

    Our movie is Ma and Pa Kettle (1949)
    Tues – indigenous people are Lester Allen and Chief Yowlachie
    Wed – TV announcer John Wald.
    Wed – salesman is Emory Parnell


  31. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Tuesday: Lester Allen and Chief Yowlachie; Wednesday: John Wald and Emory Parnell; Mystery Movie: Ma and Pa Kettle (1949)


  32. LC says:

    Ma and Pa Kettle (1949) w/Sam McDaniel, Lester Allen, Chief Yowlachie (Daniel Simmons), Emory Parnell, Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride and the Universal Studios courthouse


  33. Sylvia E. says:

    Weds – not sure about our guy with the mic (I thought maybe he’s Sherman Sanders, the square dance caller, but can’t find a reference image to confirm that guess.) I think the guy in image 2 is Emory Parnell, but I’m not sure.

    An update on the “Courthouse” image from Tuesday, is I realized that my guess about the image being a pull from “Inherit the Wind” doesn’t make sense because that’s a later movie than “Kettle”. But I did find the image title with the “Frederic March” text over it. It was from “An Act of Murder” 1948. Apparently, the set was designed and built for that movie and has been reused (with ‘make up’) over the years.


  34. Sylvia E. says:

    And…Monday – Mr. McDaniel is giving a puzzled look to the OS “Albert” the ghostly husband of the OS Ida Moore. Meg Randall and Richard Long are also part of the scene.

    And the guy who’s OS for lack of mysteriousness with Tuesday’s guys must be Percy Kilbride.

    This has been fun and I’ve learned a few things.


  35. Thom and Megan says:

    Our mystery movie is Ma and Pa Kettle, with Emory Parnell for today. Tuesday’s guests were Chief Yowlachie and Lester Allen, and Monday’s was Sam McDaniel.


  36. Mary Mallory says:

    All the Kettle children, Isabelle O’Madigan, and Esther Dale.


  37. beachgal says:

    Thurs – #1 photo – George Arglen, Dale Belding, Margaret Brown, Melinda Casey, Paul Dunn, Diane Florentine, Teddy Infuhr, Donna Leary, George McDonald, Beverly Mook, Elana Schreiner, Robert Winans, Eugene Persson, Gloria Moore.

    Thurs – #2 photo – Isabel O’Madigan, and Esther Dale


  38. The 14 Kettle Brats: Robert Winans, Elana Schreiner, Eugene Persson, Gloria Moor, Beverly Mook, George McDonald, Donna Leary, Teddy Infur, Diane Florentine, Paul Dunn, Melinda Casey, Margaret Brown, Dale Belding, George Arglen. I’m too lazy to match names and faces.
    Matrons: Isabel O’Madigan and Esther Dale.


  39. mike hawks says:

    Esther Dale and the Kettle family.


  40. Sylvia E. says:

    Ha! The Kettle children (minus the eldest – whom I assume will appear tomorrow, having been OS with Mr McDaniel on Monday.). Some of the actors go back to “the Egg and I”. Some swapped out (or aged out) in future ‘Ma and Pa’ pictures.
    A few names: Teddy Infuhr, Beverly Mook, Gloria Moore, Diane Florentine and Eugene Persson.

    Image 2 – Isabel O’Madigan and Esther Dale


  41. Percy Kilbride; Marjorie Main; Meg Randall, Richard Long.


  42. Mary Mallory says:

    Percy Kilbride, Marjorie Main, Meg Randall, and Richard Long.


  43. beachgal says:

    For Fri – Percy Kilbride, Marjorie Main, Richard Long and Meg Randall


  44. mike hawks says:

    Percy Kilbride, Marjorie Main, Meg Randall and Richard Long.


  45. Sylvia E. says:

    Friday – looking forward to the Saturday breakdown. This was a lot of fun.
    Percy Kilbride
    Marjorie Main
    Meg Randall and Richard Long


  46. Mary Mallory says:

    I had gotten Percy as the cut out Percy though you never gave me credit. The music director and arranger lived in the house built by Mary Astor in Toluca Lake between the time she sold it and Frank Sinatra moved in.


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