Father Knows Best

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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 Nillson). 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.

Father Knows BestOn 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 in allowance (equal to $11.52 today). The actor had an affected "r" (similar to Elmer Fudd, but not quite as pronounced). Bud is in charge of always having to answer the front door, 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?" 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.

Episode Number Episode Title Aired Datesort descending
Audition Show Monday, December 20, 1948
21 The Elusive Card Game Thursday, January 12, 1950
37 An Uncontrolled Dog Thursday, May 4, 1950
38 The Golf Challenge Thursday, May 11, 1950
39 Bettys Screen Test Thursday, May 18, 1950
40 Superstitious Folk Thursday, May 25, 1950
41 Time For A New Car Thursday, June 8, 1950
42 Fathers Day Trip Thursday, June 15, 1950
43 A New Housekeeper Thursday, June 22, 1950
44 New Arrangements Thursday, June 29, 1950
45 Vacation Arrives Thursday, July 6, 1950
46 An Efficient House Thursday, September 7, 1950
47 Family Car Stolen Thursday, September 14, 1950
48 Who Has The Time Thursday, September 21, 1950
49 The New Girlfriend Thursday, September 28, 1950
50 Family Spending Thursday, October 5, 1950
51 The Skunk Must Go Thursday, October 12, 1950
53 A Spooky Cemetary Thursday, October 26, 1950
54 Too Many Problems Thursday, November 2, 1950
55 The Bad Bar-Be-Cue Thursday, November 9, 1950
85 Father's Day Picnic Thursday, June 14, 1951
130 Vacation Arrives Thursday, July 3, 1952
152 Aunt Thelma Visits Thursday, February 5, 1953
193 Spring Cleaning Wednesday, March 4, 1953
195 Income Tax Mix Up Wednesday, March 18, 1953
168 Remembering Names Thursday, September 10, 1953
169 Big Inheritance Thursday, September 17, 1953
173 The Life of the Party Thursday, October 15, 1953
174 Too Many Peanuts Thursday, October 22, 1953
175 Halloween Blues Thursday, October 29, 1953
176 Moving To Chicago Thursday, November 5, 1953
184 New Year's Sitter Thursday, December 31, 1953
191 Bettys Freedom Thursday, February 18, 1954
192 Check Writing Thursday, February 25, 1954
194 False Elopement Thursday, March 11, 1954
196 Rainy Day Activity Thursday, March 25, 1954