I’m a big fan of old TV sitcoms from the black-and-white era. I’ve even been a member of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club for more than 30 years. For me it’s a way to enjoy a little TV while avoiding today’s programs and their unrelenting emphasis on sex and the celebration of the breakdown of the family.
Often during my lunch breaks, I’m happily able to catch an episode of Father Knows Best on Antenna TV. This 1950s-era sitcom starred Robert Young and Jane Wyatt and chronicled the lives of the Anderson family, who lived in the Midwestern town of Springfield. (I think it is a different Springfield than where the Simpsons live.)
Sure, the program depicts an idyllic family living an idyllic life, but it’s how the characters deal with any adversity or challenge that does enter their lives that makes it worth watching. For instance, an episode I caught recently involved the Andersons’ teenage son Bud, who sorely wants to be publicly recognized for a good deed mistakenly attributed to his friend.
I won’t spoil it for you, but can you imagine a program today packing into its half-hour a mother and a father who obviously love each other and their children, a father who tries to build character in his son, a family who goes to church, kids attending a Sunday school class, Scripture memorization and recitation, references to God, compassion shown to someone in need, not to mention all the grace the characters continually show one another?
Don’t take my word for it; take a break this weekend and watch it for yourself. (And try to get past their polishing the car on the Sabbath; even the most wholesome TV isn’t always theologically sound!)
Here’s “Bud, the Philanthropist,” which originally aired in 1957, courtesy of Hulu: