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'Father Knows Best: Season One'
(4-Disc DVD / NR / 2008 / Shout! Factory)

Overview: Maybe he didn't always know best, but insurance salesman Jim Anderson (Robert Young) of Springfield, Ohio, was America's favorite head of household. 'Father Knows Best' premiered on CBS in October 1954 and has been part of the American cultural fabric ever since. Every week families gathered around the television set to join Jim, Margaret, Princess, Bud and Kitten in their very first year as everyone's favorite 50's family. On DVD for the first time ever, this 4-disc set contains the Complete first season.

DVD Verdict: 'Father Knows Best' was a wonderful television program but there is no excuse whatsoever for a company to give the buying public edited versions of TV shows that have been in existence for so many years. I wrongfully assumed that since the Young family trust gave its blessing to this project that the dvd set would be top notch and first class. Shout Factory could not even present episode number one in its original form.

The first show was barely 22 minutes with complete opening sequence and closing credits. The editing to trim the show by the three minutes was done with a hatchet that a child of four could notice. I suppose this is better than no 'Father Knows Best' at all, but not by much.

It looks, to me, as though Shout Factory recorded most of these from TVLand and then cut out the commercials! There are many such versions widely available on the Internet and you can get the whole series almost for the price of this set, but the menus won't be nearly as good as what Shout Factory gives you. Since Shout Factory doesn't want to do better than this, you might as well buy the other versions. You really aren't getting your moneys' worth with this set, sorry.

Indeed, to just look at these titles is to really get steamed, because some of these episodes("Second Honeymoon", "Close Decision", "Proud Father") have long been available on eBay and such places in original form, with commercials. Yes, the prints are not great, but if little ole me can punch up this stuff using Sony Vegas, imagine what Shout! could do if they cared. But they don't. For example, the flashback version of "Christmas Story" is very easy to obtain. If SF just took the original footage from within the flashback structure, they'd have 24 minutes, instead of 22. The fact that SF did not even make the attempt to retrieve easily retrievable uncut prints for FKB Season One - why the uncut "Matchmaker", paired with a cut-up "Bud the Bridesmaid", considering they are two parts of one story, the only two-parter FKB ever had? - proves the case against Shout.

My advice is to check the manufacturer of dvd's and make sure that Shout Factory had nothing to do with it. Otherwise, you will receive less than you hoped for and less than you paid for. This is a Fullscreen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

New Cast Interviews
Robert Young's Home Movies
Rare behind-the-scenes Color Footage
24 Hours In Tyrantland - Special episode created for the U.S. government
Window On Main Street - Pilot Episode ie: Robert Young's very next TV series.

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