Yours, Mine and Ours (1968 film)

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Yours, Mine and Ours
Yours Mine Ours (1968).jpg
Directed byMelville Shavelson
Produced byRobert F. Blumofe
Written byHelen Beardsley (book)
Bob Carroll Jr. (story)
Madelyn Davis (story)
Mort Lachman (screenplay)
Melville Shavelson (screenplay)
StarringLucille Ball,
Henry Fonda
Music byFred Karlin
Editing byStuart Gilmore
StudioDesilu-Walden Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • April 24, 1968 (1968-04-24)
Running time111 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2.5 million
Box office$25,912,624[2]
 
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This article is about the 1968 film. For the 2005 film, see Yours, Mine and Ours (2005 film).
Yours, Mine and Ours
Yours Mine Ours (1968).jpg
Directed byMelville Shavelson
Produced byRobert F. Blumofe
Written byHelen Beardsley (book)
Bob Carroll Jr. (story)
Madelyn Davis (story)
Mort Lachman (screenplay)
Melville Shavelson (screenplay)
StarringLucille Ball,
Henry Fonda
Music byFred Karlin
Editing byStuart Gilmore
StudioDesilu-Walden Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • April 24, 1968 (1968-04-24)
Running time111 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2.5 million
Box office$25,912,624[2]

Yours, Mine and Ours is a 1968 film, directed by Melville Shavelson and starring Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda and Van Johnson. Before its release, it had three other working titles: The Beardsley Story, Full House, and His, Hers, and Theirs.

It was based loosely on the story of Frank and Helen Beardsley, although Desilu Productions bought the rights to the story long before Helen's autobiographical book Who Gets the Drumstick? was released to bookstores. Screenwriters Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll wrote several I Love Lucy-style stunts that in most cases had no basis in the actual lives of the Beardsley family, before Melville Shavelson and Mort Lachman took over primary writing duties. The film was commercially successful, and even the Beardsleys themselves appreciated it.

This film was remade in 2005 with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo as Frank and Helen Beardsley.

Plot[edit]

Frank Beardsley is a Navy warrant officer, recently detached from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and assigned as project officer for the Fresnel lens glide-slope indicator, or "meatball," that would eventually become standard equipment on all carriers. Helen North is a nurse working in the dispensary at the California U. S. Navy base to which Frank is assigned.

Frank meets Helen, first by chance in the commissary on the Navy base and again when Frank brings his distraught teen-age daughter for treatment at the dispensary, where Helen informs him that the young lady is simply growing up in a too-crowded house that lacks a mother's guidance. They immediately hit it off and go on a date, all the while shying away from admitting their respective secrets: Frank has ten children and Helen has eight, from previous marriages that ended in their spouses' deaths.

When each finally learns the other's secret, they initially resist their mutual attraction. But Chief Warrant Officer Darrell Harrison (Van Johnson) is determined to bring them together. To that end, he "fixes up" each of them with a blind date that is sure to be incompatible. Helen's date is an obstetrician (Sidney Miller) who stands a good head shorter than she; this prompts Helen to observe in voice-over, "Darrell had a malicious sense of humor." Frank's date is a "hip" girl (Louise Troy) who is not only young enough to be one of his daughters, but also is far too forward for his taste. As the final touch, Harrison makes sure that both dates take place in the same Japanese restaurant. As Harrison fully expects, Frank and Helen end up leaving the restaurant together in his car, with Frank's date sitting uncomfortably between the two as they carry on about their children.

Frank and Helen continue to date regularly, and eventually he invites her for dinner in his home. This nearly turns disastrous when Mike, Rusty, and Greg (Tim Matheson, Gil Rogers, and Gary Goetzman), Frank's three sons, mix hefty doses of gin, scotch, and vodka into Helen's drink. As a result Helen behaves in a wild and embarrassing manner, which Frank cannot comprehend until he catches his sons trying to conceal their laughter. "The court of inquiry is now in session!" he declares, and gets the three to own up and apologize. After this, he announces his intention to marry Helen, adding, "And nobody put anything into my drink."

Most of the children fight the union at first, regarding each other and their respective stepparents with suspicion. Eventually, however, the eighteen children bond into one large blended family, about to become a little larger when Helen becomes pregnant.

Further tension develops between young Philip North and his teacher at the parochial school that he attends, because his teacher insists that he use his "legal" name (which remains North even after his mother's marriage to Beardsley). This prompts Frank and Helen to discuss cross-adopting one another's children. At first the children (except for Philip) are aghast at the notion of "reburying" their respective deceased biological parents. Yet the subsequent birth of Joseph John Beardsley finally unites the children, and they agree unanimously to the adoption under a common surname.

The film ends with Mike Beardsley, the eldest, going off to Camp Pendleton to begin his stint in the United States Marine Corps.

Cast[edit]

Adult friends and relatives[edit]

Frank's children[edit]

  • Tim Matheson as Mike (credited as "Tim Matthieson")
  • Gil Rogers as Rusty
  • Gary Goetzman as Greg
  • Nancy Roth as Rosemary
  • Morgan Brittany as Louise (Credited as "Suzanne Cupito")
  • Holly O'Brien as Susan
  • Michele Tobin as Veronica
  • Maralee Foster as Mary
  • Tracy Nelson as Germaine
  • Stephanie Oliver as Joan

Helen's children[edit]

Other acquaintances[edit]

Teachers, officials, etc.[edit]

Frank's unsuccessful housekeepers[edit]

Reality versus film[edit]

This film departs in several various ways from the actual lives of Frank and Helen Beardsley and their children. The names of Frank and Helen Beardsley and their children are real (In fact, the wedding invitation that appears midway through the film is the actual invitation that went to Frank and Helen's guests). The career of Lieutenant Richard North USN is also described accurately, but briefly: specifically, he was a navigator on the crew of an A-3 Skywarrior that crashed in a routine training flight, killing all aboard, exactly as Helen describes in the film. Frank Beardsley is described correctly as a Navy warrant officer. The "loan-out" of the two youngest Beardsley daughters is also real, and indeed Michael, Charles ("Rusty"), and Gregory Beardsley were determined to see their father marry Helen North as a means of rectifying this situation. The movie correctly describes Frank Beardsley as applying his Navy mind-set to the daunting task of organizing such a large family (although the chart with the color-coded bathrooms and letter-coded bedrooms - "I'm Eleven Red A!" — is likely a Hollywood exaggeration). Finally, Michael Beardsley did indeed serve a term in the Marines, as did his brother Rusty.

The differences from what Helen Beardsley's book Who Gets the Drumstick? puts forth include the following:[3]

In addition to the above, the film takes dramatic liberties with its depiction of Navy life and flight operations aboard an aircraft carrier:

As much as this film departed from the Beardsleys' actual life, the remake departed even more significantly.

Production notes[edit]

Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball take turns providing voice-over narration throughout—and in at least one scene, Van Johnson talks directly to the camera, as does Fonda.

That Lucille Ball would portray Helen Beardsley was never in doubt. But a long line of distinguished actors came under consideration, at one time or another, for the role of Frank Beardsley. They included Desi Arnaz, James Stewart, Fred MacMurray, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, and John Wayne. Henry Fonda finally accepted, and indeed asked for, the role in a telephone conversation with Robert F. Blumofe in 1967. Ball, who had worked with Fonda before in the 1942 release The Big Street, readily agreed to the casting.[4]

One account[which?] says that Ball recalled in 1961 that Desilu Productions first bought the rights to the Beardsley-North story in 1959, even before Helen Beardsley published her biography. This is highly unlikely, however, as Frank and Helen Beardsley married on September 6, 1961. More likely is the story that Bob Carroll and his wife brought the story of the Beardsley family to Ball's attention after reading it in a local newspaper.[5] However, Mr. Carroll's is said to recall his wife mentioning the story in 1960 — again, a full year before the Beardsleys were married and probably when Dick North was still alive. In any event, Desilu Productions did secure the rights early on, and Mr. Carroll and Madelyn Pugh began at once to write a script.

Production suffered multiple interruptions for a variety of reasons. It began in December 1962 after Ball's abortive attempt at a career on the Broadway stage. In 1963, production was halted after the box-office failure of her comedy effort Critic's Choice (with Bob Hope). Later, she had a falling-out with Madelyn Pugh (then known as Madelyn Pugh Martin) and Bob Carroll, precisely because their script overly resembled an I Love Lucy television episode, and commissioned another writer (Leonard Spigelgass) to rewrite the script.[citation needed] Mr. Spigelgass does not seem to have succeeded in breaking free of Lucy's television work, so producer Robert Blumofe hired yet two more writers (Mickey Rudin and Bernie Weitzman) to make an attempt.[citation needed] This, too, failed, so Blumofe hired Melville Shavelson, who eventually directed. All further rewrite efforts came to an abrupt end at the insistence of United Artists, the film's eventual distributor.[citation needed]

At this point in the production cycle, Helen Beardsley's book Who Gets the Drumstick? was actually released in 1965. Like many film adaptations, exactly how much the book informed the final shooting script is impossible to determine — although the book did receive a "based on" credit in the opening titles.

Production began in 1967 with Henry Fonda definitely signed on to portray Frank. Mort Lachman, who had been one of Bob Hope's writers, joined the writing team at the recommendation of Shavelson.[citation needed] Leonard Spigelgass did not receive any on-screen writing credit for his efforts in this film.

One thing that made production especially difficult was the condition of Ball's face.[citation needed] Years of make-up had taken their toll, and she was very much concerned about whether the cinematographer could light her face properly. The measures that the cinematographer and make-up crew took appear to have been successful, by all accounts.

Filming was done largely on-location in Alameda and San Francisco, California with Mike's high school graduation being filmed at Grant High School in southern California (Frank Beardsley's home, to which the blended family eventually moved, was in Carmel). The total budget is estimated at $2,500,000 US, including $1,700,000 for actual filming and post-production.

Reception[edit]

The film received lukewarm critical reviews—although Leonard Maltin[citation needed] looked favorably upon it as a "wholesome, 'family' picture" with an excellent script. Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and praised the performances of Ball and Fonda.[6]

It was a massive commercial success, earning nearly $26 million at the box office (on a tight budget of $2.5 million) and earning over $11 million in rentals.[7] Thus, it was the top-grossing film released by United Artists in 1968 and the 11th highest grossing film of the year. (Both figures are for U.S. and Canada only.) This came about probably on the strength of Lucille Ball's name and performance (which many of her fans regard as a classic).[citation needed]

Frank Beardsley commented that his family enjoyed the film as general entertainment, and acknowledged that perhaps the scriptwriters felt that their screenplay was "a better story" than the truth.[8]

Lucille Ball, unhappily, failed to make appropriate tax shelter provisions for such a large profit, and thus saw most of her share going to pay taxes.

The success of the movie partly inspired network approval of the television series The Brady Bunch (the original script for the series pilot was written well before this movie became a reality).

Among the child actors cast as the Beardsley and North children in the film, several went on to greater success, including Tim Matheson (billed here as Tim Matthieson) who went on to play the character Otter in the more adult oriented comedy Animal House, Morgan Brittany (billed here as Suzanne Cupito) appeared in many episodes of Dallas, Mitch Vogel appeared in The Reivers with Steve McQueen for which Vogel received a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1970 and Tracy Nelson, daughter of actor/musician Ricky Nelson who eventually starred in the series Father Dowling Mysteries beside Tom Bosley who portrayed the doctor in this movie.

The actor who played Mike Beardsley, Tim Matheson, and the actress who played Colleen North, future soap opera actress Jennifer Leak, married in real life, in 1968, although they later divorced, in 1971.

Home video releases[edit]

VHS[edit]

This film was released on VHS by MGM/UA Home Video in 1989, 1994, and 1998.

Laserdisc[edit]

A Laserdisc version was released in 1994, featuring noise reduction applied to the film soundtrack.

DVD[edit]

The film was released to DVD on March 6, 2001. While the DVD was released in full frame, the original film was a widescreen release; this therefore constitutes a pan and scan.

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "YOURS MINE AND OURS (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 1968-02-21. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  2. ^ "Box Office Information for Yours, Mine, and Ours". The Numbers. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ Helen Beardsley, Who Gets the Drumstick?, New York: Random House, 1965, 215 pp.
  4. ^ Yours, Mine and Ours on GeoCities.
  5. ^ Yours, Mine and Ours at LucyFan.com
  6. ^ http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/yours-mine-and-ours-1968
  7. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
  8. ^ Fred Sorri, "Famous Carmel Family Operating Nut House," Monterey Peninsula Herald, April 1, 1968.

External links[edit]