Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm (1951)
Article 5920 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Edward Sedgwick
Featuring Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, Richard Long
What it is: Rustic hijinks
Ma and Pa Kettle welcome their first grandchild into the world, but an encounter with the other set of grandparents for the child results in a rift between the child’s parents. Will everything work out to a happy ending?
The fantastic content is buried in a minor subplot to the movie. Pa Kettle becomes a radioactive dynamo who can cause electrical items to work just by holding them in his hand. Only about one-third of the movie deals with this situation; the rest of it is more concerned about the rustic Kettles and the urban Parkers. As a whole, it’s sporadically funny enough to get by, and it even borrows a bit I remember from Abbott and Costello involving trying to divide 25 by 5 and getting 14; I suspect this was an old vaudeville routine. For me, the funniest bit was how some of the characters avoid a kidnapping charge after stealing three babies from the hospital.