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Father Knows Best: Season 1

List Price: $34.93
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4-Disc Version

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Father Knows Best: Season 1 + Father Knows Best: Season 2 + Father Knows Best: Season 3
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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin
  • Directors: William D. Russell, James Neilson, Peter Tewksbury
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: April 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 660 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012Q3SZ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,389 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Father Knows Best: Season 1" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New cast interviews
  • Robert Young's home movies
  • Rare behind the scenes color footage
  • 24 Hours In Tyrantland, special episode created for the U.S. government
  • Window On Main Street pilot episode, Robert Young's very next TV series

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Copy: Maybe he didn't always know best, but insurance salesman Jim Anderson (Robert Young) of Springfield, Ohio, was America's favorite head of household. Father Knows Best premiered on CBS in October 1954 and has been part of the American cultural fabric ever since. Every week families gathered around the television set to join Jim, Margaret, "Princess", "Bud" and "Kitten" in their very first year as everyone's favorite 50's family. On DVD for the first time ever, this 4-disc set contains the Complete first season. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*New cast interviews
*Robert Young's home movies
*Rare behind the scenes color footage
*24 Hours In Tyrantland - special episode created for the U.S. government.
*Window On Main Street pilot episode - Robert Young's very next TV series.


It's telling that this family favorite began on radio as Father Knows Best? When the show came to CBS in 1954, the question mark disappeared. Contrary to popular opinion, however, Springfield, Ohio, insurance agent Jim Anderson (Emmy winner Robert Young) doesn't have all the answers. He and his wife, Margaret (fellow Emmy winner Jane Wyatt), come close, though. Were the show in production now, Anderson wouldn't smoke, but Father Knows Best reflects the standards of its time--separate beds and all. The sweet-natured pilot sets the tone when 14-year-old Bud (Billy Gray) frets about the school dance until Jim arranges for his 17-year-old sister, Betty (Elinor Donahue), to show him some steps. Other storylines revolve around community service and feeling needed, while "Thanksgiving Day" offers a glimpse of Jim's imperfect side when he dismisses a poem written by nine-year-old Kathy (Laurin Chapin), who overhears him; he realizes he was holding Kitten to impossible standards. As Chapin notes in the bonus interview (in which Donahue also features), the primary themes were cooperation and forgiveness. Naysayers can knock Father Knows Best for being square, but it espouses timeless values. And who's to say the lingo wasn't hip for the 1950s? Colorful examples include "goobers," "criminy," "creepers," "knot-head," and "simply utterly."

On the downside, these 26 episodes appear in unrestored, syndicated condition. Fortunately, the show doesn't look too bad for its age and abundant extras compensate, like special 1959 savings bond episode 24 Hours in Tyrantland and Young's home movies and behind-the-scenes footage, both with low-key narration by grandson Bill Proffitt. After Young put Father Knows Best to rest, he segued to 1960's Window on Main Street (this set includes the pilot) before scoring another hit with Marcus Welby, M.D.. Donahue followed suit with The Andy Griffith Show and Wyatt with Star Trek. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

I'm very pleased to see the series finally get the DVD treatment.
The core family and life values in this show are still valid today because they are timeless.
D. M. Jenkins
The DVD quality is excellent, I found no problems with audio or video in this set.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Mike Dudley on April 3, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Father Knows Best was a wonderful television program. A review of the show would get 5 stars. These reviews are not supposed to be testimonials or nostalgic trips back to one's childhood; they should be reviews of the product. That is the reason I am awarding this product a single star. There is no excuse whatsoever for a company to give the buying public edited versions of tv shows that have been in existence for so many years. I wrongfully assumed that since the Young family trust gave its blessing to this project that the dvd set would be top notch and first class. Shout Factory could not even present episode number one in its original form. The first show was barely 22 minutes with complete opening sequence and closing credits. The editing to trim the show by the three minutes was done with a hatchet that a child of four could notice. I suppose this is better than no Father Knows Best at all, but not by much. My advice is to check the manufacturer of dvd's and make sure that Shout Factory had nothing to do with it. Otherwise, you will receive less than you hoped for and less than you paid for.
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140 of 156 people found the following review helpful By E. Hornaday on January 18, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I grew up in a very difficult, unconventional family during the 1950s that was anything but conservative. Nothing about it resembled the "average, American middle-class" family - the Anderson's - depicted so flawlessly on Father Knows Best. My family didn't look like the Anderson's, they didn't sound like the Anderson's, and they certainly didn't act like the Anderson's.

Nonetheless, I loved everything about that TV family just because it was so completely foreign to my life. I was totally, hopelessly captivated by their perfectly rosy lives. It wasn't that I wanted the Anderson's to be my family, I just loved visiting them each week, sort of like going to another planet without needing a space ship.

I grew up to be a liberal feminist, so nothing about my adult life now resembles the Anderson's in the least, even now. But, I STILL love them! I love the warmth, the messages, and even the strong patriarchal structure. In fact, that is exactly what distinguishes Father Knows Best from the other 50s all-white family shows, like Leave It To Beaver and the Donna Reed Show. Those other shows focus on the children, but it was the Dad that was paramount in this show - how he responded to his family and how they responded to him. So, major kudos to Shout!Factory for this wonderful release.

Father Knows Best was first a radio series on NBC Radio in 1949 before finally moving to CBS TV after more than four years. A Screen Gems production, the series aired from October 3, 1954 to May 23, 1960 for a total of 203 episodes. The series ended while it was still number 6 in the ratings. (Young left the series in 1960 at the height of the show's popularity, but reruns continued to air in prime time for another three years, on CBS from 1960-1962, and on ABC from 1962-1963.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Videodog on April 10, 2008
Format: DVD
This show was a wonderful classic production that I have been eagerly anticipating for more than a year. I was all prepared to purchase it the day of release when I saw the reviews saying that the company distributing the shows on DVD had chosen not to give us the full, unedited shows as orginally broadcast. Reviewers used the term "butchered" and that was enough for me to decide that I would NOT purchase this DVD set after all. So, Shout Factory listen up - the consumers want quality, full broadcast versions - not what you edit to fit on a minium amount of space! I urge all fans of "Father Knows Best" to wait for the best!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By M. Cuccia on April 5, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The show itself, as originally produced by the talent involved 50+ years ago, is a great show. But for Shout Factory to rely on butchered "syndication" and rerun prints (22-mins) instead of the original 26-min prime-time network run is unforgiveable! At least they didn't do what Infinity/Roxbury did with another Columbia/Screen Gems classic (Route 66) and butcher off the tops/bottoms of all frames of all episodes to force a PHONY "widescreen" 16x9 aspect-ratio picture! (I hope I just didn't give SF or anyone else any ideas of butchering 4x3 pictures to force phony 16x9 widescreen!)

And prior to the 1963/64 TV season, Screen Gems (Columbia Pictures) had their closing Columbia Torch-Lady Statue logo actually integrated into the end of the closing credits/theme-song.

(With 1963/64, SG started using a seperate logo/jingle after the closing theme/credits had just finished, the animated "sticks & dots" visual with "J-E-L-L-O-like" fanfare jingle; with 1965/66 and for many seasons following, the animated 'S' visual with electronic Eric-Siday-composed jingle; the torchglow sunrise animated logo with new electronic music with 1976/77; and so forth; Sony has usually REMVOVED these 1960s/70s/80s standalone SG/Columbia logos of the original era and replaced them with the current Sony logo, unfortunately).

But the pre-1963/64 Columbia Pictures Torch Lady Statue logo (and there were two versions -- the 1955-60 and the 1960-63) were integrated into the closing theme song at the very end. You see it not only in FKB, but in Donna, Dennis, Route 66, Naked City, Hazel, and other 1950s/60s SG TV shows, if the show isn't edited. And in FKB's first season, SG used a different closing logo but also integrated into the end of the closing theme, the "TV Screen" logo.
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Really good but dated 50's show and a word of caution!
As a child of the '50s, I always wished for a father like Jim Anderson (Robert Young). My real father was an alcoholic and mom divorced him eventually. How strange it was that many years later I found out that in real life, Robert Young battled chronic alcoholism (for over 30-years) and... Read More
Mar 10, 2008 by oldchuckles |  See all 11 posts
Vote at Shout! Factory for future DVDs!
I would like to see Fury, My friend Flicka
Jan 2, 2013 by sandra |  See all 2 posts
The Greatest 50's Sitcom Be the first to reply
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