Father Knows Best

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Father Knows Best
Jane wyatt robert young.JPG
Robert Young and Jane Wyatt as Jim and Margaret Anderson
Created byEd James
Directed byPeter Tewksbury
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes203
  • Murray Bolen
  • Ken Burton
  • Fran Van Hartesfeldt
Running time26 minutes
Production company(s)Rodney-Young Productions
Screen Gems
DistributorScreen Gems
Original network
  • CBS (1954–1955, 1958–1960)
  • NBC (1955–1958)
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseOctober 3, 1954 (1954-10-03) –
May 23, 1960 (1960-05-23)

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, aired as a television show for six seasons with a total of 203 episodes. Created by Ed James, Father Knows Best follows the lives of the Andersons, a middle-class family living in the Midwestern town of Springfield.[1]

The television series 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 episode from the radio version, "A Carnival In Town"

The series began August 25, 1949, on NBC Radio. Set in the Midwest, it starred Robert Young as the General Insurance agent Jim Anderson. His wife Margaret was first portrayed by June Whitley and later by Jean Vander Pyl. The Anderson children were Betty (Rhoda Williams), Bud (Ted Donaldson), and Kathy (Norma Jean Nilsson). Others in the cast were Eleanor Audley, Herb Vigran, and Sam Edwards. Sponsored through most of its run by General Foods, the series was heard Thursday evenings on NBC until March 25, 1954.

On the radio program, the character of Jim differs from the later television character. The radio Jim is far more sarcastic and shows he really rules over his family. Jim also calls his children names, something common on radio but lost in the TV series. For example, Jim says, "What a bunch of stupid children I have." Margaret is portrayed as a paragon of solid reason and patience, unless the plot calls for her to act a bit off; for example, in a Halloween episode, Margaret cannot understand how a table floats in the air. But that is a rare exception.

Betty, on radio, is portrayed as a status-seeking, boy-crazy teenage girl. To her, every little thing is "the worst thing that could ever happen." Bud, on radio, is portrayed as an "all-American" boy who always seems to need "just a bit more" money, though he gets $1.25 (around $14.00 in 2019) per week in allowance. Bud is in charge of always having to answer the phone, which he hates. He is also shown as a somewhat dim boy who takes everything literally; for example, Jim might say, "Go jump in the lake," to which Bud would reply, "Okay, Dad; which lake should I go jump into?" He also uses the phrase "Holy Cow" to express displeasure. On radio, Kathy often is portrayed as a source of irritation. She whines, cries and complains about her status in the family as being overlooked. She often is the source of money to her brother and sister, although she is in hock several years on her own allowance.

In an interview published in the magazine Films of the Golden Age (Fall 2015), Young revealed about the radio program: "I never quite liked it because it had to have laughs. And I wanted a warm relationship show.... When we moved to TV I suggested an entirely new cast and different perspective."[2]

Television series[edit]

The May 27, 1954, episode of The Ford Television Theatre show was called "Keep It in the Family." This 26-minute episode stars Robert Young as Jim Warren, head of the Warren family. With him was wife Grace (Ellen Drew), older daughter Peggy (Sally Fraser), younger daughter Patty (Tina Thompson), and son Jeff (Gordon Gebert). Developed by Young and his partner Eugene Rodney, it was intended as a pilot for a Father Knows Best television series.[3] In the episode Peggy dreams of making it as an actress, but a talent scout who has raised her hopes just wants people for his acting school.

Only Robert Young remained of the radio cast when the series moved to CBS Television:

The Andersons – top from left: Elinor Donahue, Robert Young, Jane Wyatt – bottom: Lauren Chapin, Billy Gray
Jim with daughter Kathy, 1957

The series premiered October 3, 1954, on CBS where it aired Sundays at 10:00 pm (ET). Originally sponsored by Lorillard's Kent cigarettes in its first season, Scott Paper Company became the primary sponsor when in the fall of 1955 the series moved to NBC, where it aired Wednesdays at 8:30 pm (ET) for the next three seasons. Scott Paper remained as sponsor even after it moved in September 1958 back to CBS, where it aired Mondays at 8:30 pm (ET) for the last two seasons, with Lever Brothers as an alternate sponsor from 1957 through 1960. A total of 203 episodes were produced, running until September 17, 1960, and appearing on all three of the television networks of the time, including prime-time repeats from September 1960 through April 1963.

As before, the character of Margaret was portrayed as a "voice of reason," but Jim's character was softened to that of a thoughtful father who offered sage advice whenever one (or more) of his children had a problem. Jim was a salesman and manager of the General Insurance Company in Springfield, while Margaret was a housewife. Their home was located at 607 Maple Avenue. One history of the series characterized the Andersons as "truly an idealized family, the sort that viewers could relate to and emulate."[4] As the two eldest children aged from teen-ager to young adult, Betty (1956) and Bud (1959) graduated from high school and attended Springfield Junior College.

Other actors had recurring roles on Father Knows Best. Vivi Janiss played the part of Myrtle Davis in eleven sporadic episodes from 1954 to 1959.

Father Knows Best had become so ingrained in American pop culture as its idyllic presentation of family life that in 1959, the U.S. Treasury Department commissioned a special 30-minute episode of the show called "24 Hours in Tyrant Land."[4] Never aired on television, the episode—distributed to schools, churches and civic groups—promoted the buying of savings bonds.[4] The episode was later included in the Season One DVD.

Young left the series in 1960 at the height of the show's popularity to work on other projects, but reruns continued to air in prime time for another three years, on CBS from 1960 to 1962 and on ABC from 1962 to 1963. Following that, reruns were shown on ABC-TV in the early afternoon for several years.

On November 22, 1963, the third-season episode "Man About Town" was being rerun on several ABC affiliates, mostly in the Mountain Time Zone (WABC-TV in New York was airing a local repeat of The Ann Sothern Show), when at 1:42 PM EST, ABC News broke into the program with the first bulletin of the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.

The facade of the Anderson house depicted in the series' opening credits is the same structure used as Mr. George Wilson's home in the television series Dennis the Menace and again, in remodeled form, as Captain/Major Anthony Nelson's residence in I Dream of Jeannie. Originally built in 1941 during the production of a series of Blondie movies, this theatrical property continued to serve for many more years as part of the backlot of Columbia Pictures (now Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, California). The house can also be seen in both its familiar Father Knows Best style and later renovated variations in episodes of Hazel, Bewitched, The Monkees, The Partridge Family and in numerous other television comedies and dramas.

1977 reunion movies[edit]

Cast photo from Father Knows Best Reunion. Standing, from left: Elinor Donahue, Robert Young and Jane Wyatt. Seated: Lauren Chapin and Billy Gray.

The TV cast reunited for a pair of TV movies on NBC: Father Knows Best Reunion on May 15, 1977 and Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas on December 18, 1977. In the 17 years since the series ended, the characters of Betty and Bud had both gotten married and had families of their own. Betty was the widowed mother of two girls, Jenny (Cari Anne Warder) and Ellen (Kyle Richards), while Bud and his wife, Jean (Susan Adams) were the parents of a son, Robert "Robby" (Christopher Gardner). Kathy, meanwhile, had become engaged to a doctor, Jason Harper (played by Hal England).[5]

List of episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1954–55)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Bud Takes Up the Dance"James NeilsonStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperOctober 3, 1954 (1954-10-03)
Bud asks a girl named Marcia to go to a dance with him - his first dance, and his first date. He is trying to learn how to dance from a book over 50 years old. When his family finds out, he is embarrassed. Jim goes to talk to Marcia and it turns out she doesn't know how to dance either. He teaches her how. Betty helps Bud learn some dance steps.
22"Lesson in Citizenship"Peter TewksburyPaul WestOctober 10, 1954 (1954-10-10)
Jim, dismayed at his children's laziness, lectures them in the importance of good citizenship and cheerful volunteering. When each of them later heed his advice and try to do their part in the community, their efforts end up complicating his own life in unexpected ways. But, in the end, all of his complications wind up helping many people. Eddy Waller appears as Will Potter, a man who gets one of Jim's suits.
33"The Motor Scooter"William D. RussellStory by: Dick Conway & Paul West, Teleplay by: Harry Clork & Sumner Arthur LongOctober 17, 1954 (1954-10-17)
Jim purchases a motor scooter for Bud for $50. Margaret does not want him to have it because she doesn't believe he is responsible enough. Jim backs down and sells it to a Fred Hartley for $40. Meanwhile, Betty wants to wear a low-cut dress and Jim is against that. Bud winds up buying the scooter from Mr. Hartley for $30 because Mrs. Hartley didn't want her son to have it.
44"Football Tickets"Peter TewksburyPaul WestOctober 24, 1954 (1954-10-24)
Jim has an extra ticket for the big football game, and since Margaret cannot go, Betty is chosen. A friend of Jim's visits him and says he will buy insurance from Jim if he gets the extra ticket, so Jim has to tell Betty she cannot go. Margaret suggests Jim give his ticket to the friend and Betty can still go. The only problem is the tickets are in a shirt that was sent to the laundry. Mix ups ensue, but eventually Betty, Bud, Kathy, the friend and Jim wind up at the game.
55"Live My Own Life"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersOctober 31, 1954 (1954-10-31)
Tired of being told what to do by his parents, Bud announces he is moving out. Bud finds a place to stay and thinks he will enjoy his independence. But, he almost immediately regrets his decision. Bud and the family have to find a way for him to move home again without hurting anyone's pride.
66"Grandpa Jim's Rejuvenation"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Phil DavisNovember 7, 1954 (1954-11-07)
Jim gets invited to play badminton with friends and starts to remember (with rose-colored glasses) his youth and college days. But then he looks at his children and sees how fast they are going up. Now, he feels very old and that his best days are behind him. Margaret and the children hatch a plan to make him feel young again. Donald Curtis appears as Eddie Gilbert, an old friend of Jim's.
77"Bud's Encounter with the Law"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersNovember 14, 1954 (1954-11-14)
Kathy plays with the new washing machine and keeps throwing everything in it. She puts Betty's items for her "Girls in Government Club" in and they get ruined. Kathy also puts the mail in, including a letter to Bud from the police. Bud thinks he's in trouble because he took some old oil drums from an alley to make a raft. After a lot of panic, it turns out he left his wallet at the police station when he got his bike license. Stafford Repp appears as a policeman.
88"Thanksgiving Day"William D. RussellStory by: Ed James, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperNovember 21, 1954 (1954-11-21)
The family prepares for Thanksgiving. Kathy has to write a poem for a school project. She is selected as the winner in her class and the family is proud. Jim goes really overboard in his thought that there is a future celebrity in the family. But when Betty reads the poem, Jim thinks it is not as good as it should be and Kathy is upset.
99"Second Honeymoon"Peter TewksburyPaul WestNovember 28, 1954 (1954-11-28)
Jim and Margaret plan a second honeymoon trip, and decide Betty & Bud are old enough to watch the house and Kathy by themselves. However, they are suspicious when the children are anxious for them to be out of the house, with Betty even saying she'll just cancel her date. So off Jim and Margaret go, although on the drive out of town they are already missing the kids. The boy Betty broke the date with keeps calling her, so she decides to stop answering the phone. Worried when no one picks up the phone, Margaret and Jim race back home, only to find everything is fine. Back at the lodge Jim and Margaret are now enjoying the rustic room they booked, and out from an adjoining room come Betty, Bud and Kathy to say goodnight.
1010"Typical Father"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperDecember 5, 1954 (1954-12-05)
Jim is obsessed with the idea that his 17-year old daughter might elope. Betty and her co-star in the school play, Armand, are rehearsing the play, which has an elopement as part of the plot. When Betty gets a road map and a suitcase for props for the play, Jim jumps to the wrong conclusion. Jim follows Armand to the Justice of the Peace, where he and Margaret find Armand acting as a witness as his father officiates at a wedding. Embarrassed, Jim and Margaret return home to be confronted by Betty and have to explain where they were.
1111"Margaret Goes Dancing"William D. RussellRoswell RogersDecember 12, 1954 (1954-12-12)
Margaret's friend Myrtle (Vivi Janiss) tells her that she and her husband Ed (Robert Foulk) are taking dance lessons. Thinking that they are in a rut, Margaret tries to trick Jim into lessons, but he finds out the plan from Myrtle's husband. Jim doesn't want to go, so he goes to the club instead, where he has a boring time. Margaret goes to the dance lesson, which is a bit too much for her. They both realize they liked their life the way it is.
1212"The Christmas Story"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersDecember 19, 1954 (1954-12-19)
Upset with his children's materialistic approach to the holiday season, Jim insists the family drive to the mountains to chop down the family Christmas tree. Their car gets stuck in a snow drift far from the nearest phone. The Anderson family takes refuge in a mountain lodge closed for the season and are befriended by a man named Nick (Wallace Ford), apparently the caretaker, who teaches the Anderson children the delights of a simple holiday. When ranger Les Turner (William Traylor) shows up, the family finds out that Nick is a vagrant and shouldn't be there. Jim talks the ranger into letting everyone stay and to not let Nick know they know his secret.
1313"Sparrow in the Window"Peter TewksburyPaul WestDecember 26, 1954 (1954-12-26)
Kathy finds a injured bird outside one of the windows at home. She brings it in to nurse it back to health. Everyone in the family also helps care for the bird and at the same time, the healing helps themselves.
1414"Boy's Week"William D. RussellStory by: Ed James, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperJanuary 2, 1955 (1955-01-02)
Kathy is accused of breaking a neighbor's window for the third time in the month, but she claims she didn't do it. Jim gets a ticket for parking in front of a driveway, but he claims he didn't do it. For a school project, Bud's class is given jobs in the real world. Bud is Traffic Court Judge for the day - the day that Jim goes in to fight his ticket.
1515"A Friend of Old George's"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperJanuary 9, 1955 (1955-01-09)
It's Kathy's birthday and she tries to find the cake and presents before the celebration. A man named Lyle (Parley Baer) shows up claiming to be a friend of Jim's old friend George. Now that he's here, they can't seem to get rid of him. Kathy thinks he is ruining her party. Jim finds a way to get Lyle to leave and they rush off to the circus. But when they get there, it is sold out. Lyle shows up and it turns out he's the circus manager. He gets tickets for the family.
1616"Bud the Snob"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersJanuary 16, 1955 (1955-01-16)

Everyone at school thinks Bud is a snob because he does not talk to a lot of people. It is actually because he is terribly shy, especially around girls. But when Bud wears a Halloween mask he has all the confidence he needs. Bud talks Jim into hosting a masquerade party at home to show his friends he is not a snob. When the mask goes missing, Jim tricks Bud by pretending to draw a mask on his face with makeup.

Note: Most of the scenes shot in this episode were later reused in the season five episode 11 also called "Bud the Snob." The only things added were a new introductory scene and closing scene.
1717"The Promised Playhouse"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersJanuary 23, 1955 (1955-01-23)
To get Kathy to take medicine, Jim promises he would sleep with her in a play house. A month later, Jim is telling the family how important it is to keep a promise. Jim forgot about his promise to Kathy. Kathy builds a play house and now Jim must reluctantly keep his promise.
1818"Jim, the Farmer"William D. RussellRoswell RogersJanuary 30, 1955 (1955-01-30)
Stressed out from the daily grind at work, Jim decides to quit the insurance business. He talks his friend Lloyd (John Alvin) into running his office. Jim plans to move out West, and run a farm - much to the dismay of his family. Jim keeps calling the office asking how Lloyd is doing and his secretary keeps saying just great. Even though in actuality, things are a mess. After a long talk with the office cleaning lady (Mary Young), Jim realizes his place is there.
1919"Father of the Year"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersFebruary 6, 1955 (1955-02-06)
The local newspaper is hosting a Father of the Year contest. Betty, Bud, and Kathy want to nominate Jim. Jim finds out and is overjoyed that his children want to submit an entry. But the kids cannot think of anything to actually write. Jim later puts his foot down on some of the things the children want to do. The children eventually realize that Jim is doing it for their own good and they write a very nice entry.
2020"The Mink Coat"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersFebruary 13, 1955 (1955-02-13)
Jim calls a family meeting because there has been too much spending recently and they must cut expenses. Just when he tells everyone to save money, Jim gets a deal on a mink coat. He buys it, but then has to justify his purchase to the kids. Though Margaret loves the coat, she feels she would be showing off when she wears it. A Mrs. Morell (June Vincent) sees Margaret in her coat, and proceeds to ask Jim for a large donation for the Women's League. Will the coat cause more problems than it's worth?
2121"The Matchmaker"William D. RussellStory by: Ed James, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperFebruary 20, 1955 (1955-02-20)
Margaret's cousin Louise is visiting. The Andersons have a dinner party for Louise (Lyn Guild) and her boyfriend Tom (William Hudson). Margaret hopes Tom will propose to Louise. Margaret does everything to make the mood romantic, despite the children's interruptions. In the end, it's Louise who proposes to Tom.
2222"Bud the Bridesmaid"William D. RussellStory by: Ed James, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperFebruary 27, 1955 (1955-02-27)
Margaret's cousin Louise is getting married. The wedding preparations are underway with food, chairs, flowers and more. Jim is starting to get concerned about the price. Louise is nervous and Tom is weary. Louise & Tom have an argument and say the wedding is canceled. Margaret comes up with a plan to get them back together.
2323"Proud Father"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperMarch 6, 1955 (1955-03-06)
2424"Father Delivers the Papers"William D. RussellDane Lussier & Roswell RogersMarch 13, 1955 (1955-03-13)
2525"No Partiality"William D. RussellStory by: Cally Curtis & Virginia Lindsey, Teleplay by: John Kohn, Alan Woods & Roswell RogersMarch 20, 1955 (1955-03-20)
2626"Close Decision"William D. RussellRoswell RogersMarch 27, 1955 (1955-03-27)

Season 2 (1955–56)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
271"Art of Salesmanship"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West, Teleplay by: Paul WestAugust 31, 1955 (1955-08-31)
282"Father's Private Life"William D. RussellRoswell RogersSeptember 7, 1955 (1955-09-07)
293"Lessons in Civics"William D. RussellStory by: Ed James, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperSeptember 14, 1955 (1955-09-14)
304"First Disillusionment"William D. RussellRoswell RogersSeptember 21, 1955 (1955-09-21)
315"Woman in the House"William D. RussellRoswell RogersSeptember 28, 1955 (1955-09-28)
326"New Girl at School"William D. RussellRoswell RogersOctober 5, 1955 (1955-10-05)
337"Kathy Makes Magic"William D. RussellStory by: Herman Epstein & Roswell Rogers, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersOctober 12, 1955 (1955-10-12)
348"Advantage to Betty"William D. RussellRoswell RogersOctober 19, 1955 (1955-10-19)
359"The Big Test"William D. RussellRoswell RogersOctober 26, 1955 (1955-10-26)
3610"Father is a Dope"William D. RussellRoswell RogersNovember 2, 1955 (1955-11-02)
3711"The Spirit of Youth"William D. RussellDorothy CooperNovember 9, 1955 (1955-11-09)
3812"Bud, the Ladykiller"William D. RussellStory by: Sumner Arthur Long, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperNovember 16, 1955 (1955-11-16)
3913"Margaret's Premonition"William D. RussellRoswell RogersNovember 30, 1955 (1955-11-30)
4014"Stage to Yuma"William D. RussellStory by: Marvin De Vries, Teleplay by: D.D. BeauchampDecember 7, 1955 (1955-12-07)
4115"Bad Influence"William D. RussellStory by: Herman Epstein, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersDecember 14, 1955 (1955-12-14)
4216"Betty Hates Carter"William D. RussellRoswell RogersDecember 28, 1955 (1955-12-28)
4317"Jim, the Tyrant"William D. RussellStory by: Herman Epstein, Teleplay by: Herman Epstein & Roswell RogersJanuary 4, 1956 (1956-01-04)
4418"Betty's Brother"William D. RussellStory by: Herman Epstein, Teleplay by: Paul WestJanuary 11, 1956 (1956-01-11)
4519"Betty Earns a Formal"William D. RussellPaul WestJanuary 18, 1956 (1956-01-18)
4620"The House Painter"William D. RussellRoswell RogersJanuary 26, 1956 (1956-01-26)
4721"Bud, the Wallflower"William D. RussellPaul WestFebruary 1, 1956 (1956-02-01)
4822"The Bus to Nowhere"William D. RussellRoswell RogersFebruary 8, 1956 (1956-02-08)
4923"Kathy, the Indian Giver"William D. RussellKay LenardFebruary 15, 1956 (1956-02-15)
5024"The Historical Andersons"William D. RussellStory by: Herman Epstein & Roswell Rogers, Teleplay by: Roswell RogersFebruary 22, 1956 (1956-02-22)
5125"The Grass is Greener"William D. RussellStory by: Herman Epstein, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperFebruary 29, 1956 (1956-02-29)
5226"The Persistent Guest"William D. RussellPaul WestMarch 7, 1956 (1956-03-07)
5327"Family Reunion"William D. RussellRoswell RogersMarch 14, 1956 (1956-03-14)
5428"Family Dines Out"William D. RussellStory by: Herman Epstein & Roswell Rogers, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperMarch 28, 1956 (1956-03-28)
5529"Bud, the Boxer"William D. RussellStory by: Ben Gershman & Paul West, Teleplay by: Paul WestApril 4, 1956 (1956-04-04)
5630"Betty, Girl Engineer"William D. RussellRoswell RogersApril 11, 1956 (1956-04-11)
5731"The Martins and the Coys"William D. RussellPaul WestApril 18, 1956 (1956-04-18)
5832"Dilemma for Margaret"William D. RussellKay LenardApril 25, 1956 (1956-04-25)
5933"Hero Father"William D. RussellStory by: Dorothy Cooper & Herman Epstein, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperMay 2, 1956 (1956-05-02)
6034"Father, the Naturalist"William D. RussellRoswell RogersMay 9, 1956 (1956-05-09)
6135"The Ten-Dollar Question"William D. RussellStory by: Barbara Avedon, Teleplay by: Barbara Avedon & Dorothy CooperMay 16, 1956 (1956-05-16)
6236"Adopted Daughter"William D. RussellRoswell RogersMay 23, 1956 (1956-05-23)
6337"Betty's Graduation"William D. RussellKay LenardMay 30, 1956 (1956-05-30)

Season 3 (1956–57)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
641"No Apron Strings"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersSeptember 16, 1956 (1956-09-16)
652"Never the Twain"Peter TewksburyPaul WestSeptember 19, 1956 (1956-09-19)
663"Betty Goes to College"Peter TewksburyStory by: Herman Epstein, Teleplay by: Dorothy Cooper & Roswell RogersSeptember 26, 1956 (1956-09-26)
674"Man About Town"Peter TewksburyEd JamesOctober 3, 1956 (1956-10-03)
685"The Homing Pigeon"Peter TewksburyPaul WestOctober 10, 1956 (1956-10-10)
696"Spaghetti for Margaret"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersOctober 17, 1956 (1956-10-17)
707"Betty's Birthday"Peter TewksburyStory by: Herman Epstein, Teleplay by: Dorothy CooperOctober 24, 1956 (1956-10-24)
718"Bud, the Millionaire"Peter TewksburyPaul WestOctober 31, 1956 (1956-10-31)
729"The Old Days"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperNovember 7, 1956 (1956-11-07)
7310"Whistle Bait"Peter TewksburyPaul WestNovember 14, 1956 (1956-11-14)
7411"The Great Guy"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersNovember 21, 1956 (1956-11-21)
7512"The Family Goes to New York"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperNovember 28, 1956 (1956-11-28)
7613"Betty Goes Steady"Peter TewksburyRoswell Rogers, Based on an Article by: Cameron ShippDecember 5, 1956 (1956-12-05)
7714"The Good Prospect"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersDecember 12, 1956 (1956-12-12)
7815"The Angel's Sweater"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersDecember 19, 1956 (1956-12-19)
7916"The Promising Young Man"Peter TewksburyPaul WestDecember 26, 1956 (1956-12-26)
8017"Margaret Hires a Gardener"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJanuary 2, 1957 (1957-01-02)
8118"Swiss Family Anderson"Peter TewksburyPaul WestJanuary 9, 1957 (1957-01-09)
8219"Brief Holiday"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJanuary 16, 1957 (1957-01-16)
8320"The Lawn Party"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJanuary 23, 1957 (1957-01-23)
8421"Short Wave"Peter TewksburyPaul WestJanuary 30, 1957 (1957-01-30)
8522"Carnival"Peter TewksburyPaul WestFebruary 6, 1957 (1957-02-06)
8623"Betty and the Jet Pilot"Peter TewksburyPaul WestFebruary 13, 1957 (1957-02-13)
8724"Trip to Hillsborough"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersFebruary 20, 1957 (1957-02-20)
8825"An Evening to Remember"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersFebruary 27, 1957 (1957-02-27)
8926"Bud Buys a Car"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMarch 13, 1957 (1957-03-13)
9027"Safety First"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMarch 20, 1957 (1957-03-20)
9128"Bud, the Hero"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMarch 27, 1957 (1957-03-27)
Jim Anderson (Sr.) breaks the "fourth wall".
9229"Betty, the Track Star"Peter TewksburyPaul WestApril 3, 1957 (1957-04-03)
9330"The Spelling Bee"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersApril 17, 1957 (1957-04-17)
9431"Bud, the Philanthropist"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersApril 27, 1957 (1957-04-27)
9532"Baby in the House"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMay 1, 1957 (1957-05-01)
9633"Class Prophecy"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMay 8, 1957 (1957-05-08)
9734"The Art of Romance"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMay 15, 1957 (1957-05-15)
9835"Margaret Disowns Her Family"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMay 22, 1957 (1957-05-22)
9936"Grandpa Retires"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMay 29, 1957 (1957-05-29)
10037"Shoot for the Moon"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJune 5, 1957 (1957-06-05)

Season 4 (1957–58)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1011"Follow the Leader"Peter TewksburyPaul WestSeptember 25, 1957 (1957-09-25)
1022"The Awkward Hero"Peter TewksburyPaul WestOctober 2, 1957 (1957-10-02)
1033"The Good Neighbour"Peter TewksburyAndy WhiteOctober 9, 1957 (1957-10-09)
1044"Bud, the Executive"Peter TewksburyPaul WestOctober 16, 1957 (1957-10-16)
1055"Sentenced to Happiness"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersOctober 23, 1957 (1957-10-23)
1066"Mother Goes to School"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersOctober 30, 1957 (1957-10-30)
1077"The Indispensable Man"Peter TewksburyJohn ElliotteNovember 6, 1957 (1957-11-06)
1088"Kathy's Big Chance"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersNovember 13, 1957 (1957-11-13)
1099"Margaret Learns to Drive"Peter TewksburyPaul WestNovember 20, 1957 (1957-11-20)
11010"Way of a Dictator"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersDecember 4, 1957 (1957-12-04)
11111"Mr. Beal Meets His Match"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersDecember 11, 1957 (1957-12-11)
11212"Kathy Makes a Wish"Peter TewksburyPaul WestDecember 25, 1957 (1957-12-25)
11313"Man with a Plan"Peter TewksburyAndy WhiteJanuary 1, 1958 (1958-01-01)
11414"Big Sister"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJanuary 8, 1958 (1958-01-08)
11515"Calypso Bud"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJanuary 15, 1958 (1958-01-15)
11616"Father's Biography"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJanuary 22, 1958 (1958-01-22)
11717"The Rivals"Peter TewksburyPaul WestJanuary 29, 1958 (1958-01-29)
11818"Bud, the Mind Reader"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersFebruary 5, 1958 (1958-02-05)
11919"Margaret's Other Family"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersFebruary 12, 1958 (1958-02-12)
12020"The Trial"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersFebruary 19, 1958 (1958-02-19)
12121"Revenge is Sweet"Peter TewksburyPaul WestFebruary 26, 1958 (1958-02-26)
12222"Country Cousin"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMarch 5, 1958 (1958-03-05)
12323"Poor Old Dad"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMarch 12, 1958 (1958-03-12)
12424"Betty's Crusade"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMarch 19, 1958 (1958-03-19)
12525"Young Love"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMarch 26, 1958 (1958-03-26)
12626"Tell It to Mom"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersApril 2, 1958 (1958-04-02)
12727"A Friend in Need"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperApril 16, 1958 (1958-04-16)
12828"A Medal for Margaret"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersApril 23, 1958 (1958-04-23)
12929"The Weaker Sex"Peter TewksburyPaul WestApril 30, 1958 (1958-04-30)
13030"Jim, the Answer Man"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMay 14, 1958 (1958-05-14)
13131"Bud Quits School"Peter TewksburyPaul WestMay 21, 1958 (1958-05-21)
13232"A Matter of Pride"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJune 4, 1958 (1958-06-04)
13333"Betty Finds a Cause"Peter TewksburyPaul WestJune 11, 1958 (1958-06-11)

Season 5 (1958–59)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1341"Vine Covered Cottage"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersSeptember 15, 1958 (1958-09-15)
1352"Be Kind to Bud Week"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersSeptember 22, 1958 (1958-09-22)
1363"Kathy's Romance"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersSeptember 29, 1958 (1958-09-29)
1374"Voice from the Past"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperOctober 6, 1958 (1958-10-06)
1385"Frank's Family Trees"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersOctober 13, 1958 (1958-10-13)
Frank the gardener comes up with a solution involving the Anderson kids when Jim has trouble lining up entertainment for his insurance convention.
1396"Always Plan Ahead"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersOctober 20, 1958 (1958-10-20)
1407"Second Wedding"Peter TewksburyPaul WestOctober 27, 1958 (1958-10-27)
When the kids discover that their parents never had a church wedding, Jim and Margaret decide to renew their vows on their anniversary.
1418"Bud, the Caretaker"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersNovember 3, 1958 (1958-11-03)
Bud runs into problems when he agrees to watch the home of a neighbor (John McIntire) who has gone out of town. The family pitches in to help make things right.
1429"Betty, the Pioneer Woman"Peter TewksburyBen GershmanNovember 10, 1958 (1958-11-10)
Betty and a fellow student (Dick York) plan to recreate the pioneer trek of his ancestors, but it proves to be more difficult than they anticipated.
14310"Fair Exchange"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersNovember 17, 1958 (1958-11-17)
The family hosts an exchange student (Rita Moreno) from India.
14411"Bud, the Snob (Flashback)"TBATBANovember 24, 1958 (1958-11-24)
14512"Margaret Wins a Car"Peter TewksburyJohn ElliotteDecember 1, 1958 (1958-12-01)
The family wants to find a way to help a children's home after Margaret wins an expensive car.
14613"The Great Experiment"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperDecember 8, 1958 (1958-12-08)
14714"The Christmas Story"William D. RussellStory by: Roswell Rogers & Paul West
Screenplay by: Roswell Rogers
December 15, 1958 (1958-12-15)
14815"The Basketball Coach"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersDecember 22, 1958 (1958-12-22)
Bud and his friends ask Jim to take over coaching their basketball team after their previous coach leaves town due to work. But when the former coach returns to town, Bud can't find a way to break the news to his dad. Then, when the team loses its sponsor, Jim comes up with a way to make everyone happy.
14916"Kathy, Girl Executive"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersDecember 29, 1958 (1958-12-29)
The family puts money into a family "corporation" to help finance a power mower for Bud's mowing business. Kathy is voted president of the corporation, over Bud's objections, and is thus in charge of managing the funds. But when Bud expects to be paid his salary, Kathy must confess that she spent the money on a present for her young boyfriend. In the end, it all works out when the boy returns the present and it can then be returned for the cash.
15017"The Good Samaritan"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperJanuary 5, 1959 (1959-01-05)
Bud and Kippy attempt to help a family being evicted from their home, but it almost turns to disaster when a stranger steals the family's furniture. Luckily, the furniture is recovered. Bud then tries to help the father find a job but his effort is initially rebuffed. Eventually the man shows up at the Anderson home to apologize and reveals that he has taken the job Bud helped him to find.
15118"The Ideal Father"Peter TewksburyPaul WestJanuary 12, 1959 (1959-01-12)
15219"Big Shot Bud"Peter TewksburyBen GershmanJanuary 19, 1959 (1959-01-19)
15320"Hard Luck Leo"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJanuary 26, 1959 (1959-01-26)
15421"Bud, the Campus Romeo"Peter TewksburyJohn ElliotteFebruary 2, 1959 (1959-02-02)
15522"Crisis Over a Kiss"Peter TewksburyJohn ElliotteFebruary 9, 1959 (1959-02-09)
15623"Kathy Grows Up"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersFebruary 16, 1959 (1959-02-16)
15724"A Man of Merit"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersFebruary 23, 1959 (1959-02-23)
15825"Betty Makes a Choice"Peter TewksburyPeter TewksburyMarch 2, 1959 (1959-03-02)
15926"It's a Small World"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperMarch 9, 1959 (1959-03-09)
16027"Two Loves Has Bud"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMarch 16, 1959 (1959-03-16)
16128"An Extraordinary Woman"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperMarch 23, 1959 (1959-03-23)
16229"The Art of Romance"Peter TewksburyTBAMarch 30, 1959 (1959-03-30)
16330"Formula for Happiness"Peter TewksburyDorothy CooperApril 6, 1959 (1959-04-06)
16431"Bud and the Debutante"Peter TewksburyPaul WestApril 13, 1959 (1959-04-13)
16532"The Promised Playhouse (Flashback)"TBATBAApril 20, 1959 (1959-04-20)
16633"The Meanest Professor"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersApril 27, 1959 (1959-04-27)
16734"Live My Own Life (Flashback)"TBATBAMay 4, 1959 (1959-05-04)
16835"Bud Has a Problem"Peter TewksburyStory by: John Elliotte
Teleplay by: John Elliotte & Roswell Rogers
May 11, 1959 (1959-05-11)
16936"The Great Anderson Mystery"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersMay 18, 1959 (1959-05-18)
17037"Margaret Goes Dancing (Flashback)"TBATBAMay 25, 1959 (1959-05-25)
17138"The Gold Turnip"Peter TewksburyRoswell RogersJune 1, 1959 (1959-06-01)

Season 6 (1959–60)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1721"A Day in the Country"TBATBAOctober 5, 1959 (1959-10-05)
1732"Bud Branches Out"TBATBAOctober 12, 1959 (1959-10-12)
1743"The Gardener's Big Day"TBATBAOctober 19, 1959 (1959-10-19)
1754"The Impostor"TBATBAOctober 26, 1959 (1959-10-26)
1765"Bud Plays It Safe"TBATBANovember 2, 1959 (1959-11-02)
1776"Bicycle Trip for Two"TBATBANovember 9, 1959 (1959-11-09)
1787"First Disillusionment"TBATBANovember 16, 1959 (1959-11-16)
1798"Margaret's Old Flame"TBATBANovember 23, 1959 (1959-11-23)
1809"Kathy Becomes a Girl"TBATBANovember 30, 1959 (1959-11-30)
18110"Bud, the Willing Worker"TBATBADecember 7, 1959 (1959-12-07)
18211"Turn the Other Cheek"TBATBADecember 14, 1959 (1959-12-14)
18312"Good Joke on Mom"TBATBADecember 28, 1959 (1959-12-28)
18413"Betty's Double"TBATBAJanuary 4, 1960 (1960-01-04)
18514"Father, the Naturalist"TBATBAJanuary 11, 1960 (1960-01-11)
18615"Bud Hides Behind a Skirt"TBATBAJanuary 18, 1960 (1960-01-18)
18716"Togetherness"TBATBAJanuary 25, 1960 (1960-01-25)
18817"Second Best"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1960 (1960-02-01)
18918"Kathy's Big Deception"TBATBAFebruary 8, 1960 (1960-02-08)
19019"Cupid Knows Best"TBATBAFebruary 15, 1960 (1960-02-15)
19120"The Big Test"TBATBAFebruary 22, 1960 (1960-02-22)
19221"Jim's Big Surprise"TBATBAFebruary 29, 1960 (1960-02-29)
19322"Time to Retire"TBATBAMarch 7, 1960 (1960-03-07)
19423"Bud, the Speculator"TBATBAMarch 14, 1960 (1960-03-14)
19524"The $500 Letter"TBATBAMarch 21, 1960 (1960-03-21)
19625"Adopted Daughter"TBATBAMarch 28, 1960 (1960-03-28)
19726"Family Contest"TBATBAApril 4, 1960 (1960-04-04)
19827"Love and Learn"TBATBAApril 11, 1960 (1960-04-11)
19928"Blind Date"TBATBAApril 18, 1960 (1960-04-18)
20029"Betty's Career Problem"TBATBAApril 25, 1960 (1960-04-25)
20130"Bud Lives It Up"TBATBAMay 9, 1960 (1960-05-09)
20231"Not His Type"TBATBAMay 16, 1960 (1960-05-16)
20332"Betty's Graduation"TBATBAMay 23, 1960 (1960-05-23)

Home media[edit]

Shout! Factory has released all six seasons of Father Knows Best on DVD in Region 1. Season 5 and 6 were released as Shout! Select titles, available exclusively through their online store. Season 5 was re-released on April 11, 2017.[6] Season 6 was re-released on July 18, 2017.[7]

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released the first two seasons on DVD in Australia.[8][9]

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
Season One 26 April 1, 2008
Season Two 37 November 11, 2008
Season Three 37 June 9, 2009
Season Four 33 March 23, 2010
Season Five 38 August 17, 2010dagger
April 11, 2017 (re-release)
Season Six 32 April 19, 2011dagger
July 18, 2017 (re-release)

dagger – Shout! Factory Exclusives title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store


  • In a September 2010 episode of the CBS daytime television series The Young and the Restless, newlyweds Billy and Victoria Abbott (portrayed by Billy Miller and Amelia Heinle, respectively) buy a house (exterior located on old Columbia Movie Ranch that was actually used in Father Knows Best and I Dream of Jeannie) that replicates the interior of the Anderson home on a sound stage. They watch Father Knows Best on DVD and often call each other "Jim" and "Margaret." At her wedding, which takes place in the house, Victoria chooses a 1950s-style white dress. Judge Anderson, the minister who marries the couple, was played by Donahue.

Nielsen ratings[edit]

The series finished in the Nielsen ratings at #25 for the 1957–1958 season, #14 for 1958–1959 and #6 for 1959–1960.[10]


Father Knows Best aired in the 1980s on Superstation WTBS and in the 1990s on The Family Channel. The show also aired on TV Land from 1998 to 1999 and 2002–2004. Reruns of Father Knows Best air on Antenna TV as part of that channel's regular programming schedule since January 3, 2011 and it also aired weekday afternoons on digital sub-channel ME-TOO in Chicago. Father Knows Best is currently broadcast weekday mornings on fetv. Father Knows Best is also currently streaming free on Vudu, and Amazon Prime.



  • "Shout! Factory Store". Los Angeles: Shout! Factory. 2011. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  • "Father Knows Best – Collector Helps Shout! Include Lost 'Playground' Episode On DVDs!". TVshowsondvd.com. Vancouver: Pacific Online. January 13, 2008. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2011.


  1. ^ Father Knows Best (radio). December 20, 1948. Pilot Episode.
  2. ^ Bawden, James (Fall 2015). "Robert Young -- Family Man". Films of the Golden Age (82): 18–31.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved June 10, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1999). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (Twentieth Anniversary ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 338.
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1993). Television Character and Story Facts: Over 110,000 Details From 1,008 Shows, 1945–1992. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. Inc. ISBN 0-89950-891-X.[page needed]
  6. ^ General 'Wide' Retail Release for 'Season 5,' Starring Robert Young Archived January 10, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ 'Wide' General Retail Release for 'Season 6,' The Show's Final Season Archived April 15, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Father Knows Best – Season 1 Archived December 30, 2012, at Archive.today
  9. ^ Father Knows Best – Season 2 Archived July 29, 2012, at Archive.today
  10. ^ "ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings". www.classictvhits.com. Retrieved October 21, 2018.

External links[edit]