The show began on radio in 1949 and was then produced for television by Eugene B. Rodney and star Robert Young. The show ran for 6 years, eventually airing original episodes on NBC and CBS. Both CBS and later, ABC continued to air reruns as late as 1967.
Series star Lauren Chapin, who played the youngest daughter Kathy said she found out the show was canceled for good when she reported to work and the guard would not let her into the studio.
The show took place in the town of Springfield. Even though they never specified the exact state in which the town was located, several times, characters mentioned Altoona, an actual city in Pennsylvania.
The character 'Jim Anderson' was ranked #6 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).
The NBC radio series on which the show was based had Jim being somewhat clumsy and slow-witted, often getting himself into embarrassing scrapes. On the TV version he's a lot wiser and makes far, far fewer mistakes.
When the sitcom first aired in 1949 on NBC radio at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, it was sponsored by Maxwell House. When the series moved from NBC radio to CBS television in October 1954, Robert Young was the only member of the radio cast to make the transition to the TV sitcom adaptation.
(November 22, 1963) When New Yorkers first witnessed breaking news of John F. Kennedy's assassination over WABC-TV, a rerun of "Father Knows Best" was interrupted to make way for the unfolding news coverage.
Today, those who fondly recall this archetypal 1950's family sitcom may be surprised to learn that when the series debuted in 1954, the show did so poorly in the ratings that CBS canceled it in March of 1955. A flood of protests came from viewers insisting that the show be reinstated. The show was moved to an earlier time, and it gradually became a hit.
In 1959 the producers were approached to do a U.S. Savings Bond benefit for the American Federation of Labor and the Treasury Department. Though never aired on television, it was distributed to schools, churches, and civic groups. Extremely rare copies can still be found.
The title is from the play/movie The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder and was later adapted for the musical Hello Dolly! with score by Jerry Herman.
An unusual episode in which Robert Young is the only regular cast member to appear. The story does not involve the Anderson family. Instead, Robert Young plays the role of Tate Ibsen, a passenger riding a stagecoach through Arizona in the year 1860.
In this episode, we learn that Bud Anderson was born in 1941.
This show was repeated by ABC on 22 November 1963 at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In New York, WABC-TV (Channel 7) frequently interrupted this show for bulletins about the unfolding events in Dallas.
Regular cast member Elinor Donahue does not appear in this story. It is explained that her character, Betty Anderson, is out-of-town.
Sylvia Field plays the role of the mother of Margaret Anderson, played by Jane Wyatt. In real life, Sylvia Field was only 9 years older than Jane Wyatt.
This was the last episode broadcast on NBC.
This episode marks the return of "Father Knows Best" to CBS.
$500 in 1960 had the same purchasing power as $3,620 in 2009.
Except for the first and last scenes, the entire episode consists of archive footage.
$185 in 1960 had the same purchasing power as $1,340 in 2009.