The family sitcom has been a staple of our television viewing habits for the past fifty years, with beloved shows like Leave It To Beaver
, The Brady Bunch
, The Cosby Show
, and Full House
. Yet this genre might not have existed without the granddaddy of them all, Father Knows Best
. After a few other unsuccessful tries, Fox is now set to bring the Anderson family back, this time on the big screen.
Father Knows Best
first debuted on NBC Radio in 1949. Robert Young stars as a conservative Midwestern father, Jim Anderson, who gently but firmly rules the roost in a much simpler time. After five successful years on the radio, the show moved to television on CBS in October 1954. Robert Young stayed on, and was joined by Jane Wyatt as wife and mother Margaret, with Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin as Betty ("Princess"), James Jr. ("Bud"), and Kathy ("Kitten") respectively.
Though the show was at the height of its popularity in 1960, Young decided to leave the show after nearly 11 years on television and radio. This was, of course, the end of the first run episodes, as he was the father that knew best, and it couldn't continue without him. Yet the show continued in primetime reruns for two seasons on CBS and then for another year on ABC.
Young moved on to a seven-year run playing the good doctor in Marcus Welby, M.D.
, but he and the rest of the cast came together for two reunion movies. Father Knows Best: Reunion
and Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas
reunited the original cast in 1977, allowing us to check in with the Anderson clan. Nearly 20 years later, father still knew best. The films were intended a pilots for a new series but, despite good ratings, the networks weren't interested.