Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.
Green Acres, before Ma and Pa Kettle were down on the farm, before Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray went to the country for romantic shenanigans, there was Betty MacDonald and her chickens. As a newlywed, Betty followed her husband to Washington state where, on the Olympic Peninsula, they set about fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a chicken farmer. Over the years, Betty gathered enough fish-out-of-water tales (or, perhaps, “chicken out of egg” stories?) to put them all in a book. The Egg and I, published in 1945, was a huge success, selling one million copies within the year. This led to the 1947 film starring Colbert and MacMurray, the Ma and Pa Kettle spin-offs, and—indirectly—the Green Acres sitcom in the 1960s. Which came first: the sitcom or the egg? The egg, of course. But author Paula Becker wanted to go beyond the shell and find out what was inside that egg. The result is a new biography, Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I. Oh yes, one of the bigger surprises to me was the fact that the creator of the Kettles and the lovable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle from the children’s book series were one and the same. I’m adding Looking for Betty MacDonald to my must-read list because, as with any biography I read, I want to explore a new life and slip into a stranger’s skin. I think the journey will be worth it. As Becker notes in the trailer for her book, “Betty MacDonald deserves to be found.”