The Good

Shout! Factory has done a fine job trotting out the first season of this landmark show.

The Bad

The set feels a little bulky. (Look, I had to think of something!)Father Knows Best: Season One chronicles the adventures of Jim Anderson (Robert Young) and his family as they live out their lives in Springfield, Ohio. The cast is rounded out by Margaret Anderson (Jane Wyatt), the mother who was always behind the father but actually seemed to be the brains behind the whole machine. Then there were the kids Betty (Elinor Donahue), Bud (Billy Gray) and Kathy (Lauren Chapin) who were faced with the task of portraying regular children on TV. While this show presented a very milquetoast look at domestic life, there were aspects of family, values, and mores that crossed over into every family no matter the social status.

While a lot of people could complain about the depiction of the "typical" family in this show, there is no denying the impact and effect that Father Knows Best nd our culture at large.


Cast Interviews

Lauren Chapin and Elinor Donahue take the reigns here as they discuss what it was like to do this show, how they worked with the actors, and how they felt growing up on TV. These interviews were interesting because we get to hear the girls perspective and also some interesting behind the scenes stories.

Robert Young's Home Movies/Rare Behind the Scenes Color Footage

24 Hours in Tyrantland

This has to be one of the more interesting features to be offered on a TV DVD set. Apparently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury funded the production of this "special episode" to help sell U.S. Savings bonds. The show centers around the kids not wanting to pony up the ole gringo green, and Dad shows them that they need to support their country by giving them a taste of life under a dictatorship.

Window On Main Street


Full Screen. Black and White. These shows looked good on this release. By and large Shout! Factory seems to put a lot of thought into the TV on DVD programs they release. I didn't notice too much dirt or dust on the images, and I loved the nice contrast of the blacks and whites in the pictures. Fans of this show will be very happy to have this release in their collections.


This release didn't explicitly state what sort of sound was used so I really can't get too technical. I would have think that things are monaurally presented here. That said, I didn't have to turn the sound up too loud in order to hear what was being said or put across.


The Father Knows Best slipcase cover features the cast of this show with big smiles against a sparkly, gray cover. The back serves up 4 images from this show, a description of what it is about, a Special Features list and technical specs. The four discs are housed in two different colored, plastic, slim cases. There is also a nice booklet that comes with this release listing out the episodes and other information.

Final Word

This is one of those shows that I had been hearing about my whole life, I knew the title, but I had actually never seen it. While this show didn't present anything that I wasn't expecting, I did find that there was a certain amount of covert subject matter being put into this show. Like I pointed out in my Leave It to Beaver reviews, I think that there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye. There is a sly wit and a sort of wink and a nod that seems to say, "While on the outside things look this way... they are really actually this way."

Lets be honest, the denizens of Hollywood are typically a fairly liberal bunch. They had to know that the world they were depicting in Father Knows Best wasn't entirely accurate. So they decided to use the writing to express that, while not on the surface, but clearly below it.