Originally Posted by Zipr
I am surprised at how negative she is about her neighbors. I "flipped" back to the beginning to see if names were changed but I didn't see it. "Ma Kettle" sounds too much like the TV character of the same name.
"Ma Kettle" sounds like the TV character, because the TV-Character was modeled after the Ma Kettle from the book
Ma and Pa Kettle are comic characters who first appeared in the 1945 best-selling novel The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald about life on a chicken farm. She based them on real-life farming neighbors in Washington state, U.S.A. In 1947, Universal Pictures adapted it into a film starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, with Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as the Kettles. After positive audience reaction, Ma and Pa Kettle and their fifteen children became the subject a series of their own very popular comic films.
Betty MacDonald's characters Ma and Pa Kettle also appeared in television's first comedy serial, The Egg and I, which aired on CBS (September 3, 1951-August 1, 1952). Each episode was only 15 minutes long. Ma Kettle was played by Doris Rich and Pa Kettle was played by Frank Twedell. Betty Lynn (better known as Barney Fife's girlfriend Thelma Lou from The Andy Griffith Show) played Betty MacDonald in some episodes, including "Pa Turns Over A New Leaf" (which aired on May 21, 1952).
The 1980 satire film Loose Shoes (which also starred Bill Murray) included a sketch called "A Visit With Ma and Pa" where Ma Kettle was played by Ysabel MacCloskey and Pa Kettle was played by Walker Edmiston.
Animator Walter Lantz produced a short-lived cartoon series for Universal Pictures called "Maw and Paw," though only four cartoons were released between 1953 and 1955. The characters Maw and Paw (voiced by Grace Stafford and Dal McKennon) were based on the characters of Ma and Pa Kettle. The spellings of Maw and Paw Kettle appeared in the 1945 book [The Egg and I].
Oh, and I thorougly enjoyed reading the book, and had to chuckle quite often - even without personal chicken background