In 1948, this house of the future was designed for the Universal feature-film The Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle. Pa Kettle won this prefabricated, international style home in a slogan contest. The Kettles (Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride) and their 15 children became the fish-out-of-water, country bumpkins living in a home of luxury, much like “The Beverly Hillbillies” would years later. The Kettles would go on to make a series of seven films while living in this house. Two more, less successful films, would be made without the house, or Percy Kilbride.
The house was originally built on Universal’s Stage 12, with a complete interior and exterior. It underwent a number of changes for the first two films until settling on this basic design for the rest. All but one of the films kept the house set on a stage. In Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki the house was set up on the backlot of Universal Studios in front of another house.
Although the dialog claims that the house was prefabricated, little in its design would lend to factory construction. In fact, the extensive use of squeezed brick strongly supports a “stick-built” construction.