Father Knows Best (1954-60)

This santized look at life in the suburbs was one of TV’s most popular shows. All about the Anderson family with Robert Young as the always wise father Jim, Jane Wyatt as wife Margaret along with the kids, Billy Gray as Bud, Elinor Donahue as Betty “Princess” Anderson and Lauren Chapin as Kathy “Kitten” Anderson. Robert Young was the only holdover from the radio show that started in 1949 and ended in 1954. Jim makes a living as an insurance man.

Opening episode: “Bud Takes Up The Dance” – Jim and Margaret wonder what all the noise is coming from Bud’s room. When he leaves the house they go up and find a book on ballroom dancing. Betty tells them he’s going to the big dance and he even has a date with a girl named Marsha.

Bud comes back and they didn’t have time to get the book back upstairs. Bud knows something’s up as everyone smiles and stares at him. Then little Kathy’s big mouth lets the cat out of the bag. Later Jim and Margaret find out they’ll also be there as chaperones.

Jim goes to talk to Bud about it and he does what he always does in a crisis. He runs and hides in the basement. Jim finds out Marsha’s nickname is Fireball. He can’t see Bud with her and he goes to her house and talks with her Grandmother.

Marsha is hiding in the basement. Jim goes down and finds a very shy girl who doesn’t know how to dance. Her nickname comes from her performance on the school debating team. Jim gives her dancing lessons.

Back home he has Betty give Bud lessons. Will the dance be a disaster? Since this is from the naive 50’s, Jim smokes a lot of cigarettes.

Typical episode: “Close Decision” – This episode was hard to take. A viewer could die of syrup poisoning before it’s finally over. Margaret is worried that Bud will grow up without character and a sense of responsibility.

He’s supposed to learn a poem to recite at church, his room is a disaster area and he wants to play in a baseball game. Margaret says he can’t go unless he rakes the leaves. Jim reluctantly backs her up. Bud tries to sneak out but gets caught.

His friend Joe comes over to ask him why he’s not at the game. Margaret plays hardball and tells him he can’t go until his work is done. Jim is supposed to get some groceries but stops by the game. Reverend Swain says the team is losing and they need Bud.

Against his better judgement Jim finds Bud hiding in the basement and allows him to go. He’ll handle Margaret. Later Bud comes home with a black eye. I can’t go on. I don’t even want to think about the rest of the episode.

The cast

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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