FATHER KNOWS BEST - THE COMPLETE SERIES (1954-1960) Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin
Father Knows Best is an American sitcom starring Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin. The series, which first began on radio in 1949, comes to life in this hit sitcom about a wise family man, Jim Anderson, his common-sense wife Margaret and their children Betty, Bud and Kathy, a middle-class family living in the Midwest town of Springfield. Whenever the kids need advice on anything at all, they can always turn to their father, because…father knows best.
Despite the show’s title, Jim Anderson wasn't really like a "Father" - he was more like a "Dad", and the TV audience connected. He was a responsible parent who loved his wife and kids. He was a man who would do a paper route in the rain for his sick son, Bud. He was a man who would always choose to see Kathy in a school program rather than attend an important Chamber of Commerce dinner. His family came first, but it was a delicate balancing act.
Created by Ed James, Father Knows Best aired for six seasons with a total of 203 episodes. It debuted on CBS in October 1954. It ran for one season and was canceled the following year. The series was picked up by NBC, where it remained for three seasons. After a second cancellation in 1958, the series was picked up yet again, by CBS, where it aired until May 1960.
The sitcom was a classic example of American Pop Culture at its best. Four of its five cast members were seasoned actors coming from successful movie careers, with the show paying attention to literate dialogue, movie-style camera work and lighting, high-quality direction, production values, and using realistic details on the set. It all gave the show a glossy, professional feel. Yet the real success of the series was mostly due to character interaction and development.
Father Knows Best was so popular that when production ended, it continued on the primetime TV network schedule for the next three years (no other TV show in history has done that), and then ran another five years (until 1967) on ABC's daytime line-up.