The United Artist 1968 version of Yours, Mine and Ours features Lucille Ball (Helen North) and Henry Fonda (Frank Beardsley). It is loosely based on the real life story of Helen North in her book Who Gets the Drumstick?
He is a widower with 10 kids and she has 8. He is on his last Naval tour and she is a Navy widow who is relocating.
When Naval Officer Frank Beardsley takes on his most challenging mission ever, the REAL war is on! He is off to be a stay-at-home dad. He expected his kids to be happy. However, he let his brother and his wife take the youngest two kids to help him out. They can’t hold onto a housekeeper.
Helen North gets a job at the Naval Dispensary. Her war with the kids starts off with one of her sons claiming he’ll never be good again because “the good die young” and one of his siblings told him that’s why their dad died.
Their first meeting is when they nearly collide at the grocery store. Their second occurs when he nearly runs her over while she is walking on base.
Then, his adolescent daughter takes a lot of time in the bathroom. The nurse walks in on her bath. She faints. He takes her to the dispensary. Who sees her? Helen North. She explains that he cannot take the place of a mother when it comes to challenges that a girl faces. They exchange stories. You should have seen their faces when they discover how many kids the other has. Before you know it, they’re dating (with the help of a mutual friend- played by actor Van Johnson), and getting married. Sounds like a fairy tale ending, but it’s only the beginning! (Don’t worry, it’s not all lubby dubby.)
They have to blend their families- 18 kids in one house!
Frank sets up a military style system for bedrooms and bathrooms. To add to the chaos of getting set up, it’s a rainy night and the lights go out. Philip, one of the kids, feigns sick, so the doctor makes a house call. In walks Tom Bosley, the doctor. When he leaves, Frank’s two youngest rejoin the ranks.
Making meals required an assembly line. All the shoes were lined up in a closet. Hopefully the kids ended up with a size close to their size or food after it was passed. Poor Philip ended up with an oatmeal sandwich to eat on the bus and shoes several sizes too large.
You should see a Beardsley shopping trip. They fill up several carts. $126- remember it was 1968.
Now, I don’t want to spoil the rest of the movie for you. So I’ll leave it at that.
How did the kids like the movie?
The weather was great outdoors, so they didn’t want to come in to start a movie at first. However, it was time to eat anyway, so in they came. The little kids were in and out of the room, while the older kids said that they did enjoy it.
This version of Yours, Mine and Ours is cleaner than the 2005 remake, but a little out of touch with some of my kids’ tastes partially due to age and partially due to the 44 year difference in time. I think that there was only one word that was inappropriate and it occurred when they were on their “first and last date” getting off of the cable car.
My kids had many questions because there are a few things differently than we do now. For instance, girls always wore dresses. When the daughter ends up in the dispensary near the beginning, she has on old fashioned underwear. Don’t worry, you only see the sleeves of her undershirt.
Another question: “Why don’t they wear seat belts?”
Alcohol isn’t allowed at our house, so the kids were trying to figure out what was happening when the kids kept adding alcohol to Helen’s drink on the day that she meets Frank’s kids- I’m guessing it was at least 6x its normal strength. Thankfully, Frank is no fool (like the dads are often portrayed in today’s movies) and figures out that the boys added Vodka, Scotch, and Gin and makes her blind drunk.
This might be a bit of a spoiler- but one of my kids wanted to know why the North kids changed their name to Beardsley. We explained the adoption process and how it fit into the story line.
No bake cookies