Did Robert Young Once Produce a Despotic Episode of Father Knows Best to Promote U.S. Savings Bonds?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Robert Young once made a particularly dark “episode” of Father Knows Best to help sell U.S. savings bonds.

Over the years, various television series have done special short episodes for the government to promote United States savings bonds.

The one that stands out the most in television history is definitely “24 Hours in Tyrantland,” a full 30-minute episode of “Father Knows Best” designed to sell U.S. savings bonds in a surprisingly dark fashion.

Read on for the bizarre little tale!

In the episode, Robert Young’s Jim Anderson is organizing a savings bond drive and he is disappointed in the fact that his three children seem disinterested in helping out. So to prove a point, he makes them spend 24 hours in “Tyrantland.” This was an exercise in which the kids (Betty (Elinor Donahue), Bud (Billy Gray), and Kathy (Lauren Chapin)) would each be given numbers as names and forced to undergo a series of regimented chores dictated by Jim and his wife Margaret (Jane Wyatt).

In the end, the kids realize the error of the way and eldest daughter Betty (also known as “Princess”) explains what she learned about how good we have it in America and she vows to help her father on his drive.

Her parents, naturally, are quite pleased…

The episode was never aired on network television and only shown at civic functions and at schools. It can be found now, though, on the first season DVD of Father Knowa Best (linked to above).

The legend is…

STATUS: True

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