'Father Knows Best' Facts That Fans Might Not Know

The 1950s sitcom "Father Knows Best" came to life on television after several years on the radio. Although not an immediate hit, the television show became a massive success after a few seasons.

After the series went off the air in 1960, its popularity continued, but there are some interesting facts about the show most fans never knew about. Let's have a look.

Cast photo of the Anderson Family. Back, from left: Billy Gray, Jane Wyatt, Robert Young, Elinor Donahue. At front is Lauren Chapin. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Cast photo of the Anderson Family. Back, from left: Billy Gray, Jane Wyatt, Robert Young, Elinor Donahue. At front is Lauren Chapin. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

1. THE SHOW'S POPULARITY GREW WITH EACH SEASON

The series failed to reach the Top 30 of the Nielsen ratings during its first three seasons. The next three seasons steadily climbed up the chart until it reached No. 6 during its final season.

2. THE SERIES AIRED ON PRIMETIME AN ADDITIONAL THREE YEARS AFTER ENDING

"Father Knows Best" aired its sixth and final season in 1960. After that, CBS reran the sitcom on Tuesday nights at 8 PM, before it switched schedules to Wednesday nights for the next season. 

Photo of the cast of " Father Knows Best." Top, from left: Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin. Bottom, from left: Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Robert Young. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of the cast of " Father Knows Best." Top, from left: Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin. Bottom, from left: Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Robert Young. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1962, ABC took over and ran the sitcom's reruns in their primetime slot before "The Jetsons."

3. WILMA FLINTSTONE AND THE COMEDY HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON

June Whitley first portrayed Jim Anderson's wife, Margaret, on the radio show before Jean Vander Pyl took over the role.

However, when hearing June speak, one can clearly recognize her voice as that of Wilma Flintstone and Rosie, the robotic maid on "The Jetsons."

4. THE SIMPSONS AND THE ANDERSONS SHARE THE SAME HOMETOWN

The ever-popular cartoon family and the Andersons live in a Midwestern city called Springfield, although neither show specified in which state the city can be found.

5. THE SARCASTIC RADIO VERSION

The head of the Anderson family, father Jim, brimmed with sarcastic dark humor on the radio show and once blurted, "What a bunch of stupid children I have!"

Jim's sense of humor spread through the entire family, who constantly nipped at each other in good spirit and bared a striking resemblance to later sitcoms such as "Married...with Children," and "The Simpsons."

Publicity photo of the cast of the "Father Knows Best Reunion." Standing, from left: Elinor Donahue, Robert Young, Jane Wyatt. Seated, Lauren Chapin and Billy Gray. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Publicity photo of the cast of the "Father Knows Best Reunion." Standing, from left: Elinor Donahue, Robert Young, Jane Wyatt. Seated, Lauren Chapin and Billy Gray. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

6. STAR TREK FEATURES 'FATHER KNOWS BEST' STARS

In the second season of "Star Trek," Elinor Donahue stars as a sick Federation Ambassador named Nancy Hedford, while Jane Wyatt appeared on the intergalactic series a few weeks later as Spock's human mother.

7. FOUR FAMOUS TELEVISION DADS APPEARED ON 'FATHER KNOWS BEST'

While all of them appeared on the same episode titled "Betty, the Pioneer Woman," Herbert Anderson became the father in "Dennis the Menace," and Robert Reed later headed up "The Brady Bunch." 

Dick York fathered his "Bewitched" family, and William Schallert became head his family on "The Patty Duke Show."

Publicity photo of Jane Wyatt and Robert Young. | Source: Wikimedia Commons

Publicity photo of Jane Wyatt and Robert Young. | Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. THEIR KITCHEN WASN'T JUST FOR SHOW

The kitchen in the Andersons house catered for the production team every day. Sweet rolls and coffee awaited the cast and crew in the kitchen every morning, while their lunches got stored in the Andersons icebox.

9. THE ANDERSON HOUSE FEATURED IN OTHER SITCOMS

Initially, the house was built on Columbia Pictures' backlot for the 1941 film "Blondie." Then it became Mr. Wilson's home on "Dennis the Menace." 

The recycling continued after the house got remodeled, and Anthony Nelson from "I Dream of Jeannie" moved in. Later the home also features in "Bewitched," "Hazel," "The Partridge Family," and "The Monkees."

Publicity photo of Robert Young and Lauren Chapin from "Father Knows Best" in 1957. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Publicity photo of Robert Young and Lauren Chapin from "Father Knows Best" in 1957. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

10. THE SITCOM SURVIVED TWO CANCELATIONS

When "Father Knows Best" failed to produce good ratings during its first season, CBS canned it. Then NBC took over and aired the sitcom for three years before 1958 saw it canceled for the second time. CBS decided to pick up the show again and ran it until 1960.

11. JIM ANDERSON WASN'T AS HAPPY AS HE SEEMED

Throughout his time portraying the role of Jim Anderson, Robert Young suffered from acute depression that led to the abuse of alcohol. 

After doctors ran key tests, they discovered that he had a chemical imbalance and prescribed medication that worked for the most part, even though he struggled to get rid of the depression altogether.

Photo of Robert Young as Jim Anderson and Dodgers player Duke Snider in 1957. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of Robert Young as Jim Anderson and Dodgers player Duke Snider in 1957. | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

12. THE PILOT FEATURED A DIFFERENT CAST

The sitcom played on the radio long before it moved to television, and when it did, Robert Young became the only cast member to survive the transition.

When the pilot first aired as "Keep It in the Family," the cast consisted of Gordon Gerbert, Tina Thompson, Ellen Drew, and Sally Fraser. 

However, when CBS took over the series, they cast Elinor Donahue as Betty, Billy Gray as Bud, Lauren Chapin as Kathy, and Jane Wyatt as Margaret Anderson.

Cast photo of the Anderson family. Top row, from left: Elinor Donahue, Robert Young, Jane Wyatt. Bottom row, from left: Lauren Chapin, Billy Gray. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Cast photo of the Anderson family. Top row, from left: Elinor Donahue, Robert Young, Jane Wyatt. Bottom row, from left: Lauren Chapin, Billy Gray. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

13. THE US GOVERNMENT BOASTS WITH AN EXCLUSIVE EPISODE

Even though the episode, "24 Hours in Tyrant Land" never aired on television, it was made to promote savings bonds and cycled through churches and schools. 

14. THE SITCOM AIRED WHEN JKF GOT SHOT

A "Father Knows Best" episode reran on November 22, 1963, during the afternoon, just as the episode, "Man About Town" finished airing, news broke that President Kennedy had been shot.

Elinor Donahue (Betty Anderson) and Jane Wyatt (Margaret Anderson) from the television program "Father Knows Best." | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Elinor Donahue (Betty Anderson) and Jane Wyatt (Margaret Anderson) from the television program "Father Knows Best." | Source: Wikimedia Commons.

15. 'FATHER KNOWS BEST' HAD A REUNION IN 1977

During the height of the "Star Wars" obsession, the cast came together to make two television movies for NBC. On May 15, 1977, aired "The Father Knows Best Reunion," followed by "Father Knows Best: Home For Christmas" on December 18, 1977.

While on the topic of interesting facts about television shows, "All in the Family" became a very popular sitcom during the 1970s.

The sitcom is still popular to this day, and there are 15 facts about the show even the most die-hard of fans probably didn't know happened. 

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