Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day: Father Knows Best (1954)

Father Knows Best was another series that transitioned from radio to television, and proved to be just as successful on video.

The radio version debuted in 1949 on NBC Radio, with Robert Young starring as Jim Anderson, husband and father of three. Five years later, Young was the only one to make the transition to television. Not only that, but Jim had been softened from his radio persona. More of a doting dad than a sarcastic one. Additionally, Young was a co-producer. Rodney-Young Productions was his partnership with one Eugene Rodney, who was not heard from again after Father signed off with its last original episode in 1960 after 6 seasons.

The odd thing was, Father aired on CBS for the first season, moved to NBC for seasons 2-4, then back to CBS for seasons 5 & 6. While Jane Wyatt played Jim's wife on the show, the part had been played for a time on radio by cartoon legend Jean VanderPyl (later of The Flintstones, of course).

Post-Father, Young would return near the end of the 60's, creating another iconic role as Marcus Welby, MD. Elinor Donohue moved on to The Andy Griffith Show for about the first year or so, and was last seen on The Young & The Restless as a justice of the peace. The cast came back together for a TV-movie that aired on NBC in 1977.

Right now, let's take a look at the series opener, "Bud Takes up the Dance":

Antenna TV (check listings) has cable rights to the series after it'd aired on TBS, the Family Channel, and TV Land in recent years.

Rating: None.


magicdog said...

Don't forget Donohue was also the personal shopper in "Pretty Woman", who helped Vivian get the dress she needed. Despite such a small role, she still made the most of it! That's talent and experience for ya!

I've been catching a few eps of the show (they seem to come from a syndicated print from the 80s) and I'm mixed on it. I think it's more of Young's nature to be a patient understanding sort of dad rather than the smart mouthed sort. Perhaps the character changed because of that - not to mention how many other heads of the family had similar characterizations.

My heart breaks every time I see little Loren Chapin. The poor girl was physically and sexually abused at home before and during her time on FKB and it's been very tough on her. No one knew about it until the 80s when she went public about it.

hobbyfan said...

I didn't see enough of the show in reruns to merit giving it a rating. I think I had read something about Lauren Chapin's unfortunate childhood back in the day, and may have to revisit that to refresh my memory.