Closed Caption; "The Teacher" - From Robert Young's very next TV series, Window on Main Street; Rare Robert Young Western: "Stage to Yuma" (12/7/1955); Extended Father Knows Best flashback episode: "First Disillusionment" (11/16/1959); Daddy's Girls, Part 2 - All-new interviews with Lauren Chapin and Elinor Donahue
"Father Knows Best - Season 2", like "Seasons 1 and 3" is a 1950s television series about a family probably much different than the one you grew up in. The lead and supporting actors are so convincing, they do not play the Andersons; they are the Andersons. Robert Young is outstanding as Jim Anderson, the father. Jane Wyatt is excellent as Margaret Anderson, the mother. Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin are also excellent as the children Princess, Bud and Kitten. The Anderson family faced some of the same problems families today face. The children experienced many of the "growing up" problems children today experience. But what makes the Anderson family different is their character and values. The Anderson household is filled with love and warmth and fun and respect. Anger, bitterness and resentment are rarely seen here. Margaret regularly calls her husband "Jim dear". Each episode opens with Jim and Margaret hugging and kissing in an affectionate and non-sexual way. They don't raise their voices to each other, and they don't fight. For sure, they disagree at times. But when they disagree, they discuss it calmly, openly, honestly and with consideration of the other's feelings. They discuss until they reach a compromise, and then the matter is settled. As parents, they have the wisdom and love to accept and support their children as the individuals they are, yet also, when appropriate, to set reasonable limits. These parents lead by example. They are good natured, patient, understanding and kind. And they teach their children the difference between right and wrong, including the importance of honesty, hard work, perseverance, courage, and yes, even patriotism. In one episode, Jim explains to them how fortunate they are to live in a free country, that many paid a dear and some paid the ultimate price for those freedoms, and that without eternal vigilance those freedoms can be lost at any time. I'm not saying the Anderson family is perfect. The children do, at times, lie to their parents and try to evade their responsibilities. But usually the children treat their parents with respect. In one episode Jim and the children were unkind to Margaret who became hurt and angry. But they took responsibility for their actions and apologized to her. It always makes me feel good to watch this series. The reason is it shows me, in each episode, how precious and powerful love is, and how, when coupled with moral and ethical living in a free society, it can provide us the fulfillment and happiness so many of us search and yearn for.