The Big Old Victorian from “Yours, Mine & Ours”

Our fascination with bigger-than-normal families is nothing new. Long before the Duggars, there was a book and a movie about the Beardsleys and their 18 kids.

Helen Beardsley wrote Who Gets the Drumstick? about her family (“A Story of a Widow and Widower Who Met, Fell in Love, and Lived Happily Ever After”). And in 1968 it was adapted into the now-classic family film Yours, Mine and Ours, starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the big old Victorian house from the movie. It’s a real house that’s still standing in California, and wait ’til you see what it looks like today–beautiful!

The house where they filmed it is in Pasadena (the exterior, anyway). In the movie they say it was “the biggest place we could afford.”

According to Trulia, it was built in 1901 and has 3,017 square feet, with 6 bedrooms and 2 baths. (I’m assuming the interiors were all shot on a soundstage instead of the real house, however.)

In reality, Frank Beardsley added onto his house, and Helen North sold her home and moved into his with her children. The Victorian was a Hollywood addition. You can see photos of their much more modern house here.

The movie had three other working titles that they were considering: The Beardsley Story, Full House, and His, Hers, and Theirs.

Every morning the family goes through 5 lbs of bacon, 3 dozen eggs, and 40 pieces of toast…

Making all those lunches for school is no easy task, either…

Van Johnson played Frank’s navy buddy.

They used the real names of all the Beardsley children in the movie, although they changed some of the age order in the family.

The movie shows how Frank used skills he learned in the Navy to keep his large family organized and the household running smoothly. Check out the chart with the color-coded bathrooms and letter-coded bedrooms:

Their wedding night doesn’t go quite as planned…

Frank gives his daughter a great speech about what true love is on the way to the hospital that always gets me sniffly:

One of my favorite moments is when the doctor (Tom Bosley) slides down the banister like a kid:

The oldest son, Mike, was played by Tim Matheson:

It takes a big mantel to hold all those stockings!

The wedding invitation they show in the movie was the one the real Frank and Helen sent out (love that).

Although the kids are upset that their parents are getting married and plan to adopt them all in the movie, it was the opposite in real life. And they didn’t keep their children a secret from each other in the beginning, either. In fact, Helen brought 5 of her kids to Frank’s house on their first date and they all became immediate friends. They urged their parents to marry and go through with the adoption.

On Christmas morning, Helen gets a phone call from her doctor with the news that she’s pregnant. Here comes baby #19! (Which was truly a Christmas miracle in the movie since Lucille Ball was in her late ’50s at the time she filmed it.)

Although it was portrayed as a shock in the movie, the baby was very much planned and wanted in real life.

The movie was a big hit when it came out in 1968, earning nearly $26 million at the box office (on a budget of $2.5 million), and it’s now considered a classic family film. It was remade in 2005 with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo.

One of my favorite lines from the movie–and there are lots of good ones–is when Frank says he thought the house cringed when they pulled up in their two station wagons filled with kids, ready to move in:

Want to see how the house looks today? It’s been totally restored and is GORGEOUS. It was taken by Pam Bass for a fascinating website about the real-life Beardsley family:

It’s known as the Blankenhorn-Lamphear house. According to Trulia, it’s worth more than $1 million today–a lot more than the Beardsleys would have paid (or been able to afford) in the ’60s!

According to I Am Not a Stalker, it was also used in the 1999 movie Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Here’s how it looked in that movie:

Today:

Does a movie like this make you wish you had a bigger family and lived in a rambling old Victorian? Or maybe make you glad that you don’t? 😉

Julia-simple teal signature

P.S. Visit Houses Onscreen to see more, including…

Meet Me in St. Louis movie house Kensington Ave

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
See More

Comments

  1. says

    Love it! This was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid, and its nice to see the house again. That kid schedule on the linen closet door is both intense and awesome!

  2. Alie B says

    I love this old house! I haven’t seen the original version of this movie, but I did recently see the re-make with Dennis Quaid and Renee Russo. I loved the sea-side house used in the re-make too! Could you maybe (pretty please?) do a piece on that house too? :-)

  3. says

    I’ve always loved that movie! When I was a kid, I had a paperback called Who Gets the Drumstick?–a book adaptation of the movie, complete with still photos from the movie. So your post brings back lovely memories of watching the movie and reading that book! :)

  4. Sandy says

    I would love to have that large family now but not so much when I was doing the raising of mine. I’m hoping that my 3 kids will provide enough grandchildren to fill up the house for holidays and summer vacations.

  5. Teresa says

    Thanks Julia! I remember seeing this movie as a kid and then more recently on Turner Classic Movies. I just noticed that one of the still shots that you posted of the linen closet has a organizer hanging on the door with names of all the children. Two of the kids names are both mine and my hubbys! (Tommy & Teresa). Never caught that before.

  6. Brenda says

    Thanks for the memories, Julia. I love that movie. The link to the family’s website is also interesting.

  7. Linda says

    Julia, you nail it every time! As an only child I LOVED this movie (and the house) and watch it every time it comes on. So happy the real house looks so loved!

  8. 65andcounting says

    I am jealous of parents who have the patience (and money) to bring up such a big brood. My best friend growing up was one of eight and I always envied the camaraderie the kids had.They learned to make do with what they had, shared everything. Good life lessons. Plus, it takes an extraordinary couple to manage so many, especially like in this movie, a blended family. I was not blessed with the “patience gene” and found two was all I could handle. And there were days when two seemed two too many!

    Great post to a great old movie. If you look closely at the photos of the kitchen, it is pretty amazing. Marble counter-tops even and a neat old oven. I imagine today, this house would be an episode of Unsellables, with two bathrooms for the 7 bedrooms! :-)

  9. Spring says

    I once had the pleasure of staying with friends who have seven kids. At the time I only had three. Our breakfasts and lunches were exactly like that assembly line production pictured.

    I can’t imagine doing that for twenty people every day. :)

  10. says

    I have a relatively large family (6 kids) which seems completely normal to me at not at all chaotic. But I must be used to it because my sister and her husband (1 child) always prefer to stay in a hotel when they come to visit, even though we’ve got plenty of room.
    We have a very big house but even so I have my younger kids sharing rooms because I think it builds camaraderie (when they’re not screaming at each other, of course!). I dream of living in a sprawling old Victorian but I don’t dream of paying the bills for such a place! Or having to clean it. My kids clean A LOT but the mess is never-ending.

  11. Maddie says

    The minute I looked at the picture of the house, it looked familiar. I have driven past this house a million times to visit friends. Funny, I never knew it was the house in the movie. Thanks, Maddie

  12. Rebecca C. says

    Yay, I can actually drive by this house. It’s beautiful. Glad to hear it still exists. Thanks. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this movie.

  13. says

    Thanks for the great post, Julia! This is one of my all-time favorite movies! As a kid it made me wish I had 20 siblings and a kitchen table with a lazy-suzan! :)

  14. says

    Oh, my sister and I love this movie, too! The remake wasn’t nearly as good as this classic. The speech upon heading to the hospital is one of my favorite parts, too.

  15. kasey says

    One of my favorite movies. The house looks absolutely amazing now, a gorgeous restoration.

  16. Kim says

    What a fun movie and a beautiful house. I wish we could see the real interior.

  17. says

    I love this movie! Nope. Never wanted a big family. We have one son and that is plenty. 😉 I will say, as the middle child of 7, I often wished I was an only child but I love my siblings dearly.

  18. Christina from Dallas says

    This post was so interesting. I love finding out the background stories of the Hollywood movie houses. I can’t imagine having that many kids. It seems overwhelming but fun at the same time!

  19. Nica says

    Gorgeous house!
    It does take a great deal of patience to manage a family that big. I grew up the youngest of seven kids in a seven bedroom victorian (built in 1902). To this day I’m in awe of my parents who raised brought us up on very little money. My first house was a beautiful victorian but the heating bills were just too much! Now my husband and I live in a mid-century split level with just two kids. That’s enough people for me.

  20. says

    I love that movie, but I had no idea it was based on a true story. Reminds me a lot of Cheaper by the Dozen! And like Cheaper by the Dozen, I MUCH prefer the original movie to the remake. Thank you for sharing the shots of the interior, and for sharing facts I didn’t know! :)

  21. says

    I saw the newer version of this movie, but never realized it was based on a true story and that there was an original with Lucille Ball!! I’ve got to see the original!! Loved this house and story! Thanks for sharing!

  22. says

    Lordy! What a coincidence! The very first house I decorated (at 19 years old!!) was right next door! To the right in the picture! 366 Markham Place, Pasadena!

    I posted on Facebook (I think…..I don’t work it very well. I will try to copy and paste the story. Unless you can read it…….let me know; please!

    I was in college….1967…and my mother bought it…..and gave me an allowance to decorate it…..and we made “a fortune” percentage wise!! 9 months later!

    Just amazing!! It looked exactly like the pictures in the movie when I was fixing up the house next door!

    Can you see my story on Facebook?

    Let me know, please!

    LOVE THIS BLOG!!!!

  23. Linzy says

    Wow. Normally my heart belongs to the little guys, but this restoration is jaw-droppingly beautiful. BUT its nice that it is in Cali, cuz I sure wouldn’t wanna heat it. Annnd I just sounded like my mother.

  24. Nathan says

    Lived in a house like that, maybe, had a family of that size, most definitely not! Holy man, could you imagine the monthly grocery bill? Eeeek!

  25. says

    This movie came out my senior year in high school – and I loved it, as well as the house. What fun to see it then and now. Thank you.

  26. says

    Is the house on “Your’s, Mine, and Our’s” with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, the same house used in “Meet Me in St. Louis” with Judy Garland?

  27. moviebunny says

    one of my all-time favorites!–and one of my favorite pieces of trivia is that one of the babies, “Germaine” was played by Tracy Nelson, who grew up to play “Sister Steve” in “Father Dowling Mysteries” with Tom Bosley, who played the doctor. :)