Father Knows Best (TV Series 1954–1960) Poster


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1950s Americana
sonny_19637 June 2005
The town was Springfield but we were never told the state. I always pictured the setting to be a very long way from either coast. Maybe Ohio, Indiana or Iowa. Wherever it was, it was far away from any of the country's real problems of the time.

There were no civil rights issues, no murders and no rapes in Springfield. Everyone was white, which was the norm for television of this era. Springfield was a make-believe fantasy by today's standards, but back then, it was the majority of real America.

With that said, I watched the show every week and wished I was a member of the Anderson family. Having belonged to a somewhat volatile family, I had the 30-minute escape every week to be a part of a caring, loving clan.

The kids had the normal 1950s problems of a white, middle-class family. Robert Young as the patriarch, Jim Anderson, showed an understanding that was not only appreciated by the rest of the family, but by the viewers, too. He was right up there with Andy Taylor and Ward Cleaver as the fathers America loved at the time.

Corny? To some it might be, but to many others, including myself, it was the family we wanted but never had.
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American Values
sky3walker23 December 2001
It's ironic that culture commentators today, including many teachers, who seem never to have seen a single episode of this series, will refer to it as a frightening illustration of fifties complacency, patriarchal dominance, and even racism. In fact many of the episodes explore issues of male egotism, parental arrogance, and conformist nastiness in an effective way. Of course, it all ends well because it is a comic drama about a tolerant and loving family with solid values (and Father was often the one who had to be reminded of this). Robert Young in frustration complained that it was never meant to be a sermon or sociology lesson -- but this carefully written and popular series was bound to tell us something about our values, and despite current malcontents, the values illustrated by Father Knows Best were generally very good.
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One of the Best
sirdar30 March 2001
Critics of this type of show are quick to point out how "unrealistic" it was. After all no episode dealt with drug addiction, teen pregnancy,dropping out of school, or any of the other "relevant" topics that pass for entertainment today. Instead this program concentrated on the, now passe, issues of family love, warmth, charity, and decency. I challenge any parent, of whatever generation, to contrast an episode of this show with any "Married with Children" or the majority of today's teen oriented sitcoms and decide which world view they would wish for their children. Perhaps this show and others of its era (e.g. Andy Griffith) was overly hopeful in its portrayal of family and community, but isn't it better to aspire to the values of Father Knows Best than succumb to the spirit of the age we live in?
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Best of the 1950s comedies
trpdean13 May 2002
I was born the year after this series began and remember it very very fondly. Unlike a program like Leave it to Beaver or even Ozzie and Harriet, this program was both more moralistic and more sentimental - the heartstrings were pulled every program. I watched three episodes the other night (although I was supposed to leave for a train) and was so thrilled by the warmth of it - the sentimentality, the pathos. This family had such an effect on me growing up - neither adult really lost his/her temper, small problems were treated with immense attention.

I just LOVED it - and am sure any non-cynic would.
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It truly is a piece of the Americana pie!
mdsandall27 April 2001
As a child of the Sixties I grew to love and appreciate the Andersons. I enjoyed watching and listening to the dialog and reactions by each of the members of the family. I truly came to understand what was definitely "right" and what was "wrong" in decision-making. I became apart of the family when I came running home from school and plop down in front of the TV and tune in. I really wish that I could have lived there in Springfield and have a family like the Andersons. To me they were the epitomie of the way a family was supposed to be. I actually learned some "habits" and values that I stole from the series. To this day, working as a teacher in my mid 40's, I find myself whistling the theme song between classes, at lunch, etc. I remember thinking about some of the situations that Bud and his sisters would get into and how they would resolve them. I would then apply to my own life. Maybe that is why I probably have had a 'wonderful life'. Thank you, Mr Tewksberry, for this indelible imprint on my life!
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My favorite show from the 50's, happy to finally see an episode on TV land
camille-72 June 2002
I was so pleased today, being a baby boomer, to turn on TV land and see three hours of 50's television. From 9am to 12pm I saw, Burns and Allen, the Honeymooners, an hour episode of the Lucy-Desi comedy hour, Hazel, and last but not least an episode of Father Knows Best. Kudos to TV land for this three hour bonus which is supposedly going to happen every sunday morning all summer long. Why does it only have to happen on Sunday mornings? I want more of these shows from my childhood.

Father knows Best was one of my favorites. As has already been said by others, the show had wonderful values, laughter and pathos. Jane Wyatt was always my favorite TV mother. Why has she never been included in specials about favorite tv moms? Yes, she always dressed nice and wore pearls but I remember the particular episode when she was wearing a long shirt and pants to clean the house and she had a smudge of dirt on her face. That was when Jim was bringing home a women who was a famous author, someone he had been friends with. You never would have seen June Cleaver with a smudge of dirt on HER face. Jane (Margaret) was always there for her kids but she was so very human too. She lost her temper several times and once told her kids that they were brats. She made faces behind their backs once when she wanted to clobber them. She did what I never saw any other tv mother do, but what our own real mothers would do.

The whole cast was pretty wonderful. Bring back this show to tv again. There are plenty of baby boomers who would like to see it again and maybe it would be nice for it to get a whole new audience of a new generation.
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A Grand Portrayal of family values in 1950's Americana
rcj536511 July 2006
The series "Father Knows Best" started out on radio in 1949 on NBC and from there it remained one of the top radio programs of its day which lasted five years on radio until 1954,when it was produced for television by Eugene B. Rodney and its star,Robert Young,under the production company,Rodney-Young Productions. It wasn't until 1954,when NBC introduced this series based on the radio plays that were developed for television and it became one of the biggest hits of the era,right up there with some of the greatest family comedies of their day,"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet","Leave It To Beaver",and right besides classics of that era including "I Love Lucy", and "The Honeymooners".

"Father Knows Best",made it astounding premiere on NBC-TV on October 3,1954 and from the first episode was a surprise hit. It also during its run on NBC,was one of the top ten shows of its day,making it one of the most watched shows during the network's impressive run. It ran on NBC from 1954 until 1958,and then went to CBS from 1958-1960,with the last episode of the series that ended on February 29,1960. It ran for six seasons(1954-1960) producing 203 episodes all in classic black and white and was produced by Rodney-Young productions in association with Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures Television. However,it aired again in repeated episodes on CBS from 1960-1965 and again in repeats in daytime television for ABC from 1965-1967 and from there episodes were aired again in daytime syndication until 1980. The series was produced by not only Eugene B. Rodney but also under the production values of Peter Tewksbury and William D. Russell. Tewksbury after his stint on "Father Knows Best" would go on to produced other great family shows like "My Three Sons",and "Nanny and the Professor",and also would serve as executive producer of "How To Marry A Millionaire",television series based on the classic motion picture starring Marliyn Monroe. William D. Russell would go on to become the head producer for a number of Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures television shows including "Dennis The Menace","Hazel","Bewitched","The Flying Nun","Gidget",and "The Donna Reed Show",not to mention "The Farmer's Daughter",while serving as executive producer for other shows outside as well including the family shows,"The Eve Arden Show",and "Family Affair",and "Bachelor Father",not to mention the riveting courtroom drama,"Perry Mason",for which he was also one of the writers for Raymond Burr's classic series.

"Father Knows Best" was a grand portrait of family values in 1950's America. Jim Anderson(Robert Young),was an insurance salesman for a large company,who was the breadwinner in the home,while his lovely wife Margaret Anderson(Jane Wyatt),was basically the stay-at-home mom who took care of the kids and the household while Mr. Anderson was at work. The Anderson children of course consisted of the oldest daughter Betty "Princess" Anderson(Elinor Donahue)and the son,James "Bud" Anderson,Jr. (Billy Gray),and the baby of the family,the youngest of the Anderson clan,Kathy "Kitten" Anderson(Lauren Chaplin). They all lived in a nice double style house in a residential quiet neighborhood in fictional Springfield,USA which was a small town but was never told about the state or the setting of the show from which the Anderson's live. Maybe either in Ohio or Indiana or Iowa in the heart of Midwestern America. In each and every episode there was some situation that came about and from there it was up to the father to solve to crises before it got out of hand. In perspective,this was a caring loving clan who were their for each other in times of crises and knew how to take care of their situations as well since this was a family-oriented show that ran for about an half-hour. The kids themselves had the normal 1950's problems of a white-middle class family with the oldest son "Bud" or sometimes the baby girl "Kitten" get into a situation or two when the father is not around. Everyday problems were handled in a caring and sensitive manner. There was never in any of the episode where the parents lost their temper to the children since the problems were treated with immense attention. It may have been corny in parts,but don't you wish it was the family we wanted but could never had?

Robert Young's character as the patriarch,Jim Anderson was magnificent to watch and it shows in the number of Emmys this show received during its six year-run on network television along with his co-star Jane Wyatt as well as understanding and sometimes caring and lovable mother who was there in times of trouble the children were having. Jim Anderson (Robert Young) showed an understanding that not only appreciated by the rest of the family,but by the viewers too who tuned in each week. He is right up there with some of the TV's best dads including Andy Taylor(Andy Griffith),Ward Cleaver(Hugh Beaumont),Steve Douglas(Fred MacMurray),and Ozzie Nelson(Ozzie Nelson),not to mention Ben Cartwright(Lorne Greene)as the fathers America loved at the time. This was a show that was brought back to television in later years after its repeats ended in syndication in 1980,were brought back on cable television in the mid-1980's on Nick-At-Nite and again most recently on TV Land. Also to note it has been picked up for the American Life TV Channel as well. Worth seeing it again if the powers that be at Sony-Columbia Pictures Home Video get the chance to bring this show on DVD to relive the golden age of the 1950's. And "Father Knows Best",was that show.
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The 1950s were a simpler time, and this father always knew best.
TxMike14 December 2004
I wasn't quite 9 years old when "Father Knows Best" made its move to TV, so I didn't get to see any of the first episodes because we didn't get our first TV until a year later. But I vividly remember watching many episodes over its 10-year run. Robert Young as James 'Jim' Anderson, Sr. was written as the almost "perfect" father, and Jane Wyatt as Margaret Anderson was written as the almost "perfect" mother. More than anything else, thinking back, this was a series written as a model for what was generally considered the correct way for a family to live and interact back in the 1950s. Some viewers today might scoff at that notion, but coming just a few years after the big war, and running during much of the "cold war", as a youngster it was reassuring to see peace and harmony. We didn't have the big national news networks back then reporting everything that was bad, in gory detail, and today I see that as a blessing. Elinor Donahue as Betty Anderson, Billy Gray as 'Bud' Anderson, Jr., and Lauren Chapin as 'Kitten' Anderson completed the family. It is always fun to occasionally catch an old episode or two. While TV technical production values have improved, the 'messages' of the shows have not.
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Many episodes very true to life
joeljordanh206 June 2001
I was just thinking about the series and wondered why it has yet to be on the Nick or TV Land channels. This series was truly among the very best. Many of the episodes dealt with many issues that are still very relevant today. I especially liked the episode where the mother decides to take a day off from all the housework and cooking and treat herself to some new sights and sounds and how shocked the family is that the "routine" of things is upset. I saw Elinor on E! the other night by the way. I am looking forward to seeing this series air again somewhere.
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This was my favorite series as a child! I have the best memories about this series! As an elementary school child this series taught me good values that I still remember!
I was raised abroad and watched it when the series was shown abroad, translations and all, long after its American release in 1954. In France it was shown in 1960. I am sure I also saw it about that time. I always looked forward to that half an hour to watch "Father Knows Best." Our entire family would tear up learning from Robert Young, the dad. Actually the reason I liked that series so much is because I always thought that my parents knew best! That was until I became a teenager, of course! Later I went back to my original opinion: that mom and dad indeed knew best for me. I do not remember specific episodes but I remember the theme song. Jim Anderson, dad, played by Robert Young , was an insurance salesman. Margaret Anderson played the mom and she also looked very pretty and dressed up for just staying home. Then there were Betty (princess) Bud, and Kathy (Kitty). They lived in Springfield. Mom and dad slept in separate beds. That I could not get because my parents slept in the same bed. But I have the great memories about the show. "Father Knows Best" had family values, good moral ethics, and valuable lessons were taught in every show. I would like for the series to be released in video in its entirety because I would like to see it again!
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A True Classic; Emotionally Satisfying; a Situation Comedy Based on Selfhood
silverscreen8888 September 2005
Whatever its faults, the" Father Knows Best"show's scriptwriters and producers operated on a level of adult self-responsibility and contexted ideas; since hardly any of other TV series' creators bother to create an ethical normative rather than an obsessive as a central character, there really can be no comparison. In a single sentence, its creators tried to make fiction; others shows' writers milk laughs. For 7 years, William D. Russell and Peter Tewsbury directed half-hour- long story after story that told of the daily adventures of James and Margaret Anderson and their three children--Elizabeth (Betty), knows also as the Princess, James Jr. (Bud), and Kathy, also called "Kitten". The family lived in a large house on Maple Drive in the town of Springfield. The town, presented over seven years, was Middle Western, inhabited by non- practicing Christians, and of a size that was altered to fit the needs of the story-lines. It could be large enough to support a charter bus service, a major state park, a country-club set, complete with mink coats, a lake suitable for fishing, a junior college. Yet its student population could also attend a single high school, and its citizens could leave town by a single bus station and fight city hall where they knew the Mayor to talk to but reserved their approbation only for a mystic thing called "the national government". The charm of the show I suggest came from the fact that its producers expected self-management of individuals; and it was this retrospective and nostalgic view of unimpeded individual progress, responsibility and self-assertive purpose that set the series apart from almost all others. As Jim Anderson, Robert Young was lively, wise and intelligent; he denied being a philosopher but used ideas most effectively unless a religious issue was raised. His wife, Margaret, a contented nest- maker, seldom needed outside stimuli to relieve her of the duties of raising three lively children; played by Jane Wyatt, she was self-effacing, quietly determined and mostly realistic. Lauren Chapin played Kathy as cute, clueless and a source of non-sequiturs; fortunately, she was given little to do. As Bud, Billy Gray was frequently believable; but much of his world consisted of false and explodable ideas about how to act, relate and take responsibility, making him a fine foil for comedic exchanges with his more-experienced middle-of-the-road father. As Betty, Elinor Donahue was radiantly lovely, eager and timid by turns, intelligent and only occasionally too-perfect. The stories featuring her I found were frequently a bit overdone but never boring. whether she was winning a hundred yard dash, being crowned homecoming queen, trying not to disappoint her parents by wanting to go to junior college or fending off boyfriends. There were a few semi-regulars to augment the Andersons-- Fronk, the Hispanic gardener (Natividad Vacio), Vivi Janiss and Robert Foulk as neighbors, Jimmy Bates, Sarah Selby, Yvonne Lime and Paul Wallace. But the real stars of the underfunded B/W half-hour series were its writers--Roswell Rogers, Dorothy Cooper, Ed James, Sumner Long and John Elliotte. The cast only left Sprigngield on a few occasions, and somehow always in pairs and groups. Art direction by George Brooks and Ross Bellah was surprisingly good in my judgment; there were many fine interiors, decorated by William F. Calvert or Louis Diage, serviceable stock music and attractively dense cinematography. My favorite episodes include Betty's winning a look-alike contest and a trip to Hollywood, the Anderson' parents visit to a big city, Bud's first job, the Founders' Day reenactment, Betty's graduation from high school, Bud's trying too hard to impress a new girl in town and Margaret's secret attempt to master flycasting. Whether Bud was calling Kathy "shrimp" or he was yelling up the stairs to report a phone call, or Betty was trying to befriend a standoffish tennis star or cliquish college types, the attempt was made by all concerned to stand for something, finally. And guest stars, including Henry Jones, Wright King, Wallce Ford, Bartlett Robinson, Duke Snider, Katahrine Bard, Tamar Cooper, Roger Smith and Dick York frequently were used very well to make ethical points. This is often great comedy, not to be missed.
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Kirasjeri13 August 1999
In an age of tawdry and cynical TV sitcoms filled with double-entendres and self-absorption, this was one of the best of the Fifties family shows. Billy Gray later became bitter that when he was arrested as an adult on some marijuana charge no one from the show helped him (assuming they knew). But that says more about Gray's own family's problems. Of course they were actors; Elinor Donahue was married and divorced in real life while the series was still running. "Kitten" had a dismal real life as an adult that has been well-accounted. But so what? The values of responsible behavior, caring for others, and consideration were there for all to see. I remember the exhausted father one black and rainy night searching with a flashlight for a doll "Kitten" had lost. He found it. The family love was always there. Robert Young eventually quit the show as he had been doing it for a decade including the radio version; he was tired of the role. But it remained very popular into many reruns throughout the Sixties and a few "reunions", the first in 1975. Why is there so much rudeness, lack of civility, and self-concern today? In part because shows like this were replaced by the smutty, cruel, dreck on so much of TV today.
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rlc1316-GP1 August 2006
"Father Knows Best" was one of the best family shows ever on TV. It remains my favorite to this day. The chemistry of the cast was outstanding. Robert Young was perfect as the sage father. He always knew what do do and when to do it. He was understanding as well as practical. Jane Wyatt was the ideal mother. She was always there to do what a mother was supposed to do. Perhaps if today's mothers were still at home as she was, there would be less problems with today's children. The kids were all very likable and typical (for the period). I wish there were more shows like this. I wish TVLand would bring it back just one more time.
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Cozy and nice
jan-erik-wahlberg12 March 2004
This series was aired in Finland in the very early sixties, and it was one of the absolute highlights of those days. They don't make them like this any more. Robert Young as the father we all would like to have really made the show, and the plots were always interesting, even quite modern considering the period. Me and my older sister used to insist on watching the show disregarding any possible visiting relatives or other disturbing elements. The events in the show were then discussed in detail in the yard the following day, with the girls acting as the real connoisseurs and the most cruel critics. Too bad the shows of today don't display the elements of good-natured humor as this one did.
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The Best Family Comedy-Drama Television Has Ever Produced
Stephen R. Taylor10 January 2002
I was born the year "Father Knows Best" premiered. But it, along with "I Love Lucy," "The Honeymooners" and "Leave It To Beaver," figure quite prominently in my memory. In the case of "Father...", it ran into the early '60s, and was possibly the only series that ran for at least one, if not two seasons--reruns only--in prime time, AFTER they had finished filming the last episode! So I remember it very well, and can say that I grew up watching it, learning from it, and loving it. It seemed everyone in America loved this show when it was on. It was initially a sitcom, but it grew like so many long-running series have done. It matured into a thing that was still quite funny at times, but quite dramatic at others. Robert Young had made movies for years before this, and I've since seen several of them. Oh, he was a good enough actor back then I suppose, but in "Father Knows Best," he was like my second father when I was growing up, and when I see one of his older movies nowadays, it's always a disappointment, simply because he's not Jim Anderson in them! The rest of the cast was fine, but it was Young who really made the show.

I suppose the final comment here should be something like, "yeah, why IS it that 'Father Knows Best' hasn't ever been rerun on Nick or TV Land?" 'Tis a real pity, that. Well, since I wrote that, I've seen that the show was indeed played on TV Land. But a bigger pity nowadays is that the series has yet to be available on DVD! What's up with that???

Of course, as of 2014, the entire series has been released on DVD. I am the happy boy!!
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This wonderful sitcom was one of the "Best"
gw_br54912 October 2006
Like many family sitcoms of the 50's and 60's, Father Knows Best was intended to be simple, fun family entertainment. I think some people "miss the point," feeling they must share cynical, bitter, and jaded opinions. The saddest part of this is that it is easy to end up being unable to simply enjoy a TV show for what it was meant to be..."simple, fun entertainment." As those who watched those family sitcoms will know, most shows endeavored to interweave into their story lines a message of hope, morality or truth, and I find this a GOOD thing (although some observers have unkind and contemptible things to say about these classic shows and mores). As IMDb points out, it's one thing to say you "disliked" a show; it's another altogether to rant on and decry a show for personal, emotional reasons.

Compared to today's shows – where every possible innuendo, every chance of rudeness, crudeness or being offensive is seldom missed – the shows from the 50's and early 60's were excellent family fare, and most families (believe it or not) enjoyed them and were better for it. I know I am, and that's not to say that I'm just some old "fuddy-duddy" who can't enjoy the "new, hip" shows of today, because I can and I do (but let's be honest, most shows today "push the outside of the envelope," and now even commercials are doing it!).

In the 50's (and I was a kid then), the choice of ANY kind of show was "slim pickin's," to be sure, but even so it does not mean they were bad or even poorly-made shows. Oddly enough, of all the family sitcoms of that era, the only one I ever had a problem with as a child was the very well-made and highly popular "I Love Lucy Show," and this was simply because of her open disregard for her own husband. She constantly lied, snuck around, tricked, connived, hid from, embarrassed, and openly defied him, and – as young as I was – this bothered me. There was just something contrary and contradictory about it. Of course, I know that show is an icon, but I had real problems with it and never enjoyed it, even though my family watched it. (NOTE: for those who may wonder about underlying prejudices…even as a youngster, it never even occurred to me that Ricky was "different", "a Latino," and "of another culture," so put your judging sticks down. Nor was I ever troubled on any TV show when or if two people slept in the same bed, so there's no prejudice there either.)

On the other hand, Father Knows Best had a fairly typical, upper middle-class husband, wife, son and daughter, each one playing a role that seemed fair and accurate, not only then but now (unlike my own very dysfunctional and disparate family). For someone who blatantly suggested that Father Knows Best "is just another piece of crap" that fostered the dishonoring of women and family and other such tripe, I can only say, "I am truly sorry that somewhere along Life's Journey people can be hurt so badly and became so bitter and cynical." It's truly sad to see anyone become bitter and cynical, especially about something as benign as a TV show, and especially such an "innocent" 50's family sitcom. Some reviews and some comments in the Message Boards (on various shows and movies) are downright scary and disheartening. I say this, because I believe the true purpose of some movies or TV shows is often entirely missed (they are meant to entertain and uplift, i.e. "Seventh Heaven" of today).

Anyone who watched Father Knows Best quickly realizes that Father did NOT "always know best," and sometimes he had to play it close to the vest or fly by the seat of his pants until the dust settled. Then, as any "good" father, he would own up to any misunderstanding or mistake and make it right, but the show always ended on a note of love and/or reconciliation (albeit sometimes with resistance, especially from Bud or Kitten). Is this kind of family behavior "real" and "honest"? Maybe not in your life, and surely not in mine, but it did not detract from the meaning and purpose of the show. Even though my own father was hateful and prejudiced, I STILL loved to watch this TV show, even if only to "live vicariously" through the kind, loving, conciliatory Anderson family.

I should also point out that Mom (Margaret) was always loving and patient with her husband and kids (and oftentimes quietly and patiently one step ahead of dear ole Dad). Betty was your typical older, somewhat serious sister who had her own friends and her own life, and she never really enjoyed having her two younger siblings involved in her high school matters…but she always came to their aid when needed. Bud was the typical, coming-of-age teenager, and (with all due respect to LTB's Eddie Haskell) he was one of the best near-rebels and on-the-edge youths of his time. Kathy ("Kitten," to Dad) was the youngest, the quickest to get into a predicament, the first to taunt either Betty or Bud, and usually the one to challenge most authority, but never to her great harm…(the family always saw to that).

In this, as well as most other family sitcoms of the 50's and 60's, I cannot recall any one family member ever being overly mean or unduly harsh or cruel or disrespectful, and, if there ever was a misstep, it was clearly and decisively met with some kind of fair punishment, followed by a peaceful, reconciling conclusion. In short, this kind, loving family and this wonderful sitcom was one of the "Best," and I heartily recommend it as a ten-out-of-ten Classic TV Show…!
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I was hooked!!!
SSBBWBBWSeeker25 August 2002
I heard about this show, from the E! TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY on Lauren "Kitten" Chapin who starred in FKB. In December 2001, they showed 2 episodes of FKB, and I have watched them both. After it was done, I was hooked right away. When 2002 came in the rumors started to spread that the people were begging either Nick at Nite or TV Land, to put the show on the air. Before father's day, they had a mini marathon on TV Land, and struggled to find a time slot and it's on during the week, and I only watch it on Saturday and Sunday. I really loved this show. I gave it 50,000 yellow balloons.
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Father Knows Best???
ducatimatz2815 November 2013
I owned a 16mm Film Library for over 45 years.I have a number of FTB episodes in my collection.Growing up in the 50's it was one of my favorite TV shows.Bud(Billy Gray) was my favorite character on the show. Had a chance to meet Laurin Chapin(KATHY) when she came to our town for a Christian Womens Club function. I even got her to autograph one of my 16mm print episodes in which she was the main focus "ADOPTED DAUGHTER"..She was a very Nice and Cordial person.

I know kids today look at these old TV episodes and laugh and think they are cornball. That's too bad;cause maybe if Television shows of today still had some morals and ethics our youth of today would also have the same...S.M.
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*Like a rediscovered first love*
Rapturegal24 July 2017
When tuning into FETV last week, it's hard to describe the utter joy I felt when the theme music from a distant memory came up. Racing into the living room to see what show it was, I saw the title "Father Knows Best" on the screen and literally cheered. THANK YOU FETV! :)

Every person who bitterly trashes this show is doing so as a scapegoat for unresolved emotional issues in his/her own life. When I was a young adult in the 1970s, I remember it became fashionable for foul-mouthed, angry Baby Boomer writers to accuse FKB--as well as other wholesome 50's shows--of actively promoting every social ill known to man. Don't believe the lie. FKB inspired us to hold fast to the basics of decency in love of God, country and family. Those who hate this show hate the values it entails, plain and simple. They would have been more comfortable if we'd heard more toilets flushing & profanity in the Anderson home than the prayers said around the kitchen table.
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I have fond memories of this show and what the American family use to be.
John Smith19 May 2006
I remember watching this T.V.show as a kid after school in the 70's. Unlike many people who say this show was fake and there was no such families with wonderful parents like the Andersons.I am here to tell you yes there were.I had and still have parents like the Anderson's !!! I came across an old VHS tape I recored in the early 90's with several episode's and watched it a few weeks ago.What a delightful walk down memory lane of my childhood and the America of old that has long since vanished with the onslaught of vile debased bilged that is TV today.What else would one expect with the break down of the American family. So called Parents of the MTV generation. Oops I meant the second generation of MTV when it was sold to the anti American family perverts.Whos main goal was to destroy and mock the American family!With an onslaught of disgusting anti social behavior and the 50 word vocabulary of MTV.Not to mention the perverted sexualizing of underage boys and girls.Any so called parents that lets their children watch this crap should be arrested for child abuse or at least charged with risk of injury to a minor.But then again what else would one expect from parents that act as stupid as their kids!Mothers with trampstamps and fathers with pants hanging down their asses caps on sideways looking like complete morons!BTW...In case you didn't know... trampstamp refers to a girl with a hideous tattoo above here butt and across here lower back Ewwwww hence the term TRAMPSTAMP !If we had an FCC or if I was in charge no one under 18 would be allowed to watch this filth!Along with all the other anti-social anti-family trash.
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The first rule of listening
jeffclinthill29 January 2018
At the time it was first broadcast, "Father Knows Best" was the quintessential American dream family life that was the fulfillment of what had been denied during the Depression of the 1930s (when everyone wished for financial security) and the World War II years of the 1940s (when everyone fantasized what life would be like in the "post-war" years of peace and prosperity). The Anderson family had that ideal life in Springfield in the 1950s. In the 1970s,1980s, and 1990s the American dream shows of the fifties (Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, et al) were, in hindsight, criticized for presenting week after week an ideal family that caused so much of real America to feel inferior and mal-ajusted. Seminars with titles such as "The Way We Never Were" were conducted to assure real life Americans that they were, in fact, "normal," even if they didn't come from a nuclear family of two never-been-divorced, heterosexual parents, two or three children, a college educated, white collar father, a stay-at-home mom, and dog in the back yard surrounded by a picket fence. Decades after the show had run its course, Billy Gray apologized in interviews to the American public for causing mothers all across America to ask their teenage sons "Why can't you be like Bud?" In those interviews Billy Gray declared, "I was just playing the part of Bud as written for the show. Even I wasn't like Bud." However, what I find quite ironic now when watching "Father Knows Best" 60 years later, is that both Father and Mother in "Father Knows Best" week after week violated the first rule of listening to children. Instead of putting down his newspaper, listening, and appropriately responding to his 7 year old daughter, Jim Anderson shrugs, "Not now, Kitten, I'm reading the paper." The other members of the Anderson similarly, week after week, ran in and out of rooms not really listening to each other and giving sarcastic responses to questions and situations. The scripts provided the resulting confusion that caused the comic problems that Father eventually resolved at the end of the show. When seen now in the year 2018, "Father Knows Best" is an object lesson in the value of passive listening that I found opened up a treasure of father-son relationships when I raised my son in the 1970s and a treasure of relationships that I now have with my granddaughter. Put down whatever you are doing when the kid wants to be with you and what will happen is wonderful.
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Another Era
asfhgwt-11 November 2017
The best episodes of this comedy-drama series are still excellent and memorable. Why? Because unlike today's drivel, they deal with human emotions: guilt, honor, fear, shame, etc. One of my favorites involves delivery-boy Bud and his tough-minded newspaper boss; the ending could bring tears to the eyes of Mike Tyson. Another finds the family gathered around a radio listening to the life-and-death problems of a ship at sea. A third revolves around tennis-challenged Betty being chosen "queen" merely because of her appearance. There are many more great episodes.

On the other hand, when the episodes weren't so good... well, sometimes they could be pretty sappy; hence, my 8 rating.
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One of the best.
lizziemodern9 June 2016
Some people criticize shows from the '50s for being too clean cut and unrealistic, they think they don't really represent what life was like back then, and often dwell on misogynist themes - and while I don't disagree that there could be tones of that present in shows from that era, I don't think it's fair to dump a show like Father Knows Best into that category. On the surface it looks like any other show from that time, but when you actually dive in and invest some thought into the series, you realize that the stories are rich with morals - morals that still apply to us just as much now as they did then, and characters that are far more one dimensional than they may seem at first. You find a father who truly loves his family, and does everything he can to make sure they have a good life. He may quite often save the day with his wisdom, but his wife is just as smart, and has just as much power when it comes to running the household as he does. They seem like equals, and quite often it's pointed out that her job is far more rough than his. Robert Young and Jane Wyatt played their roles beautifully, and deserve a lot of praise. The young actors who played the children deserve a lot of credit as well, because they really seem genuine and believable. Instead of looking like they're struggling to deliver scripted lines, they have emotion and an honesty to them that make you feel like this is a real family you're watching. There are a few episodes where they may have gotten a touch stereotypical with their characters, but it was often rounded out by showing that they possess all the good qualities of their parents, and are well on their way to becoming well rounded adults. Is this show perfect? No. Again, there are a few episodes where it's a little frustrating just how stuck in the '50s some of their thinking really was, but I feel like even those episodes can be forgiven when you realize how honest the writing was. Overall it's a wonderful show with great writing and great actors, that manages to teach you something special in every single episode.
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Easily the most nauseating of the 50s sitcoms
thebuckguy23 December 2006
This show was easily the most cloying and nauseating of the classic 50s sitcoms. The story lines tended toward the obvious and sentimental and created a sitcom world even more difficult to live up to than most of its contemporaries. Other than Jane Wyatt, the cast's personal lives were anything like what was portrayed on screen, which probably should be an endorsement of their acting talent---Robert Young was a heavy alcoholic. Elinor Donahue was in an unhappy teen marriage, Lauren Chapin had an abusive, troubled childhood that went ignored by cast and crew (she later went on to prostitution, drug addiction and irritating religious evangelism--at least she's alive), and Billy Gray was developing a substance abuse problem. What's sadder is that people viewed the cast as role models (and apparently still do). Ozzie & Harriet holds up better (esp. the shows from the 50s) because it was based on real life and despite Ozzie's talky authoritarianism in real life, there was real warmth. Donna Reed occasionally tried to transcend the sappy conventions of the genre, didn't portray her TV hsband as an idiot and was more or less the same person whe appeared to be on screen.In its early years, "Leave it to Beaver" actually tried to capture a child's frame of reference of family life in a away that no show achieved until "The Wonder Years", although later years were filled with tired scripts. The people who idealize this show are obviously in a dream world. Average families were nothing like this in the '50s--people who had their eyes open in this era saw abuse, infidelity, teen pregnancy, alcohol if not drugs, etc. And like most shows, father only appeared to know best and it's unclear what was worse--the passive-aggressive role consigned to women or the nitwit role (softened a bit here incomparison with, e.g.,, "Make Room for Daddy") for the father.
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