Old Radio Programs

An Archive Of Historical Old Radio Broadcasts


Index-Menu Home

 

Father Knows Best

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 for six seasons with a total of 203 episodes. The series debuted on CBS in October 1954. It ran for one season and was canceled the following year. NBC picked up the series where it remained for three seasons. After a second cancellation in 1958, CBS picked up the series yet again where it aired until May 1960. Created by Ed James, Father Knows Best, follows the lives of the Andersons, a middle class family living in the Midwestern town of Springfield. 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 the 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 per week (around $12.00 in 2013) 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 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." [wikipedia]

 

Play all episodes.