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Best American TV Dad - Jim Anderson

Updated on November 30, 2014
Jim Anderson, played by Robert Young
Jim Anderson, played by Robert Young | Source

Jim Anderson - Favorite American Dad of the 1950s

I grew up in the 1960s, in a "Father Knows Best", "My Three Sons" or "Beaver Cleaver" household. I thought all families were like the ones on television, since our family was. My parents were just like Jim and Margaret Anderson, or Ward and June Cleaver. Probably closer to Jim and Margaret, because they actually liked each other. I've always thought Ward was a bit condescending towards June.

If you were a child in the 1950s and 1960s, chances are you watched Father Knows Best, along with Leave it to Beaver. Both of these television comedies portrayed the typical American households with the idyllic parents and well-behaved kids. Of the two shows, Jim Anderson gets my vote as the Best American Dad.

Why do I believe he is the best? Perhaps it is because he was so much like my own dad. Jim Anderson was smart; he loved and supported his family; he took time out of each day to spend time with all of them, and he wasn't sappy like some other dads! He respected his wife and children, and was an all-around good guy. The type of guy or man that every child wants for a dad!

Father Knows Best aired from 1954 to 1960, and then in reruns for several years. There have also been two reunion shows, both of which aired in 1977.

Did You Watch Father Knows Best?

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Jim and Kathy Anderson
Jim and Kathy Anderson | Source

Jim and His Kids

Jim Anderson and his wife had three children: Betty, Bud and Kathy. Jim worked all day, and his wife, Margaret, stayed at home to take care of the kids and the house. The show centered around the children, and the problems they had with school, friends, and just growing up.

Although Jim worked all day, he always had time for his children after he came home from work. He was soft-spoken and kind, and actually listened to what his children had to say. He emphathized with their growing pains, and spoke with them as equals. There was never any shouting, and he did not belittle them their opinions. He was the kind of dad that every child wants to have.

And luckily, that is the type of dad I have!

"Father Knows Best" on DVD

If you missed the original episodes, or wish you could watch them all again, you can purchase the series on Amazon. Here is the first few episodes to get you started:

Father Knows Best: Season 1
Father Knows Best: Season 1
There are 26 episodes in Season One, and they begin with Betty at 17 years old, and Bud at 14. The episodes center around normal family life: school, holidays, after school jobs, and getting with others. A fun watch, especially when you compare it to how life is today.
Jim and Margaret Anderson - Public Domain Photo
Jim and Margaret Anderson - Public Domain Photo

Jim and His Wife

Jim and his wife, Margaret, were a loving couple. At the beginning of each show, Jim is shown kissing Margaret as he leaves for work. It is easy to see they have a strong affection for each other, which is passed down to their children. Of course, it was the 1950s, so they did sleep in separate twin beds.

(I always wondered how these couples had children....)

Jim supports Margaret's handling of the children, and doesn't undermine her when dealing with them. They make a great team, and their love for their family in the midst of every day problems shine through.

Did you know?

Robert Young won 2 Emmy awards for his role as Jim Anderson in 1957 and 1958!


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