Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Father Knows Best
Show: Christmas Program
Date: Dec 24 1953

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
2ND ANNOUNCER
JIM, father
MARGARET, mother
BUD, teenage son
BETTY, teenage daughter
KATHY, youngest daughter
MAGGIE, elderly storekeeper
TOM, her husband

KATHY:

Mother, are Post 40% Bran Flakes really the best tasting cereal of them all?

MARGARET:

Well, your father says so, and Father Knows Best.

MUSIC:

HARP GLISSANDO FOR PUNCTUATION, THEN THEME ... CONTINUES IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Yes, it's "Father Knows Best," transcribed in Hollywood, starring Robert Young as Father. A half-hour visit with your neighbors, the Andersons, brought to you by Instant Sanka, the delicious coffee that lets you sleep, and Post 40% Bran Flakes. Mother, next time you're choosing a cereal, remember -- new Post Bran Flakes give your family all the important keep-regular benefits of Bran in a cereal with the delicious new Magic Oven Flavor. Insist on Post Bran Flakes, the cereal preferred and eaten by far more people than any other bran flakes. They're wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or in between meals. So get Post Bran Flakes this weekend. They're good -- and so good for you.

SOUND: APPLAUSE

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRO, THEN IN BG, GENTLY OUT AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

Well, the town of Springfield is lovely to behold this Christmas Eve. About noon today, the first snowflakes began to fall and soon the air was filled with a whirling Christmas; came down heavily all afternoon. Now every lawn and park is white; every roof and chimney top. And out on Maple Street this frosty Christmas Eve, every house seems to have its windows brightly aglow. Every house, that is, except the Andersons. They're not home. You see, they're-- [X] Well, let's go back to ten o'clock this morning. Margaret was wrapping packages on the dining room table and Jim was helping her. Like this.

SOUND:

CRINKLE OF WRAPPING PAPER

MARGARET:

Hold your finger on this, will you, dear?

JIM:

Mm hm.

MARGARET:

There we are. That knot should hold, don't you think?

JIM:

Honey, are you planning to send me along with the package?

MARGARET: Why? What's the matter?

JIM:

You tied my thumb in there.

MARGARET: Oh, I'm sorry. (BEAT) There.

JIM:

(GRUNTS)

MARGARET: Now, I wonder if there's anyone I've forgotten?

JIM: Well, from the number of packages scattered around here, you couldn't have forgotten anyone. Not in Springfield, anyway.

MARGARET: Oh, there're not so many there. It just looks like a lot.

JIM: I can't figure it out.

MARGARET: Hmm?

JIM:

We don't know that many people.

MARGARET: All right, now look. This one goes to the Kirbys.

JIM: Mm hm.

MARGARET:

You remember last year they gave us that lovely salad bowl and we only sent them a card?

JIM:

Mm hm.

MARGARET:

This one is for the Morrises. I feel we certainly owe them a gift.

JIM:

But, honey--

MARGARET:

Now, wait. You asked a question and I'm answering you.

JIM:

All right.

MARGARET:

This package goes to the Rodneys. I didn't send them a thing last year and the year before that they gave us that huge box of pears.

JIM: I know, but, uh--

MARGARET:

The big box is for the Carters. And then there's the Blakes, and the Rogers, and the Milbanks, and the DuPlains, and the Newmans, and the Lewises. They all gave us something last Christmas. You see, I keep a record of these things, dear. I have it all written down.

JIM:

Well, that's fine. I'm not objecting to the idea of remembering our friends at Christmas.

MARGARET: Well, you wondered why all the packages.

JIM:

Well, it just seems that suddenly Christmas has lost something. It used to be so much simpler. The spirit of Christmas had a different meaning.

MARGARET: Well, I know dear. But when people have given to us--

JIM:

That's it, honey. It's become a matter of bookkeeping. Christmas used to be a quiet and beautifully religious holiday. A time for the children, a time for bringing happiness to others. What has it become? A mad scramble to buy a lot of things you can't afford to give to people who don't need them.

MARGARET: Now, dear--

JIM:

Why can't we have Christmas the way it used to be? Quiet and simple, with the real Christmas spirit. When you gathered your family and friends around the fire, and the children hung up their stockings, and the church bells on Christmas Eve, and the carolers singing-- That's the way Christmas should be.

MARGARET:

I know dear, but--

BETTY:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) Mother!

MARGARET:

(CALLS) I'm in the dining room, Betty!

BETTY:

(APPROACHES) I'm going to wash my hair now, mother, so if Janie calls will you take the message?

MARGARET:

What message?

BETTY:

Well, its very important. You see, Janie knows simply dozens of girls who work at Burton's Department Store. And they're going to call her the second Ralph comes in the store and then Janie's gonna call me.

JIM:

Princess, if you'll forgive my unseemly curiosity, what is the purpose of this elaborate spy system?

BETTY:

Why, to find out what Ralph's going to give me for Christmas, naturally.

JIM:

Oh, naturally.

MARGARET: But, dear, a Christmas present is supposed to be a surprise.

BETTY:

Of course, mother. But how can I be surprised if I don't know what kind of gold locket that's heart-shaped with my initials on it he's going to buy me?

JIM:

Uh, wait a minute. How's that again?

BETTY:

I'll be upstairs, mother. (MOVING OFF) If Janie calls, you needn't call me to the phone -- unless the locket is a wrist watch!

JIM: Well, now, if that doesn't--

MARGARET:

Now, now, don't let it upset you. She's just a normal teenage girl.

JIM:

But, honey, the whole idea of Christmas is to--

SOUND:

FRONT DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

BUD:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) Hey, Dad! Mom!

JIM:

Oh, dear.

MARGARET:

(CALLS) We're in the dining room, Bud!

BUD:

(APPROACHES, EXCITED) Hey, tonight's Christmas Eve! Can you believe it? Christmas Eve!

JIM:

Yeah.

MARGARET: And you'd better go down in the basement and bring up the decorations for the tree.

BUD:

We haven't got a tree yet. Besides, I - I haven't got time right now. Joe and I gotta get some stuff together. We're goin' out with Christmas carols.

MARGARET:

Christmas carols? You?

JIM:

Now, don't question him, Margaret. Thank heaven there's one person in this family who has the true Christmas spirit. Allow me to congratulate you, son. You have the right idea. There's nothing finer on Christmas Eve than to go around singing carols.

BUD:

Oh, we're not gonna sing 'em, dad.

JIM: Oh? What are you gonna do with them?

BUD:

Well, we got a deal with Gus down at the used car lot. He has a sound truck. You know, with the big horns on top and a record player inside.

JIM: Oh, no.

BUD:

Now, wait! This is a cool idea. Gus is gonna drive the sound truck all over town this afternoon and Joe and I, we're gonna be inside playing the Christmas carol records.

JIM:

Bud--

BUD:

Well, I'm not really gonna play the records. Joe's gonna do that. And I'm gonna read the commercials.

JIM: Commercials?

BUD:

Sure. For Gus McCarthy's Used Car Lot. Joe plays a carol and then I read a commercial. I got some cool ideas. How do you like this one? It starts out: "Rest ye merry, gentlemen -- in a 1936 two-door sedan with white sidewall tires!"

JIM:

(GROANS) Ohhh.

MARGARET: Bud, maybe you'd better--

BUD:

Or-- "Oh, what fun it is to ride -- in a 1940 Club Coupe with overdrive and new seat covers!"

JIM: Look, Bud--

BUD:

"I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus -- in a 1948 convertible with radio and heater!" How do you like those? Pretty good, huh, dad?

JIM:

Pretty good? Bud, have you lost your mind? This is Christmas!

MARGARET:

Your father's right, Bud. That's carrying it entirely too far.

BUD: But if I don't work on the truck this afternoon, I won't get to ride on it in the parade tonight.

JIM: Parade? On Christmas Eve?

BUD:

Sure. The big Santa Claus parade. They're gonna have floats and bands and cowboys -- all kinds of stuff.

JIM:

What? No skyrockets? Well, now I've heard everything. "Peace on earth, good will toward men" -- introduced with a brass band!

KATHY:

(APPROACHES) Daddy?!

JIM:

What is it, kitten?

KATHY:

When are we gonna get our tree?

MARGARET:

Oh, you'd better go down and get one, dear. They'll be all gone.

BUD:

I coulda gotten one wholesale from Gus' Used Car Lot. He sells Christmas trees, too.

KATHY:

Can we have a purple tree this year, daddy?

JIM:

A purple tree?!

KATHY: They're sellin' 'em on the vacant lot next to the pool hall. Red, yellow, pink, orange, purple. You can get any color you want, except green.

BETTY:

(APPROACHES) If you're talking about the tree, I vote for a pink one.

JIM:

What's wrong with green?

BUD: Nothin'. Except it - just looks like a tree.

JIM:

What's a tree supposed to look like?

KATHY:

Daddy, can we get one of those "neon" lights?

JIM:

Oh, for Pete's sake! Neon lights. Purple Christmas trees. Brass bands. What has happened to you kids? Have you forgotten the meaning of Christmas? Have you forgotten everything you've learned in Sunday school?

BETTY: No, father. It's just that things are different now than when you were a boy. This is 1953!

JIM:

Different, nothing. You can change everything else, but not Christmas. Am I right, Margaret?

MARGARET:

You have the floor, dear.

JIM: The whole trouble is that Christmas has been turned into another super-colossal, all color production. Well, it's all wrong. And as far as this family is concerned, we're putting a stop to it. This year we're going to celebrate Christmas as it should be celebrated. Simply and naturally. Without all the whoop-dee-doo and fol-de-rol. This is going to be a real Christmas.

BETTY: I don't understand what you mean, father.

JIM:

Well, to begin with, we're not going to buy one of those painted trees. We're going to get in the car and drive up to Pine Mountain and cut our own tree.

KATHY: (EXCITED) Oh, boy! Can we, daddy?

MARGARET: (UNEASY) You don't really mean that?

JIM:

Certainly I do. You kids gather up some warm clothes. Bud, get the saw out of the garage.

BETTY: But, father, it's at least fifty miles up there.

BUD:

You can buy a tree for a couple of bucks, dad.

JIM:

Now, that's what I'm talking about. All you kids can think of is "buy, buy, buy." This is a part of Christmas you've never even experienced -- going out into the woods and cutting your own Christmas tree.

MARGARET:

(STILL UNEASY) The weather forecast said snow today.

JIM: Oh, we'll be up there and back in three or four hours. It's not going to snow that much. Besides, I have chains. Now, get your coats.

KATHY:

(EXCITED) I'm getting mine! I'm ready!

BETTY:

(IRONIC) Oh, this sounds like a real peachy Christmas.

JIM:

It will be, princess. You'll see.

MARGARET:

Dear, I have all those packages to deliver to the Rogers and the Newmans and--

JIM:

Well, throw them in the car, honey. We'll deliver them on our way back.

MARGARET:

You're, uh, sure this is a good idea?

JIM:

Am I sure? Margaret, believe me, this is going to be a Christmas none of us will ever forget.

MUSIC: BRIDGE

SOUND:

CAR DRIVING THROUGH SNOW ... CONTINUES IN BG

KATHY:

(EXPECTANT) Are we almost there, daddy?

JIM:

(HAS NO CLUE) Oh, another mile or two, maybe.

BETTY: (UNHAPPY) Father, it's starting to snow again.

JIM:

Oh, is that snow coming down?

BUD:

It isn't corn flakes.

JIM:

Well, it's just a little flurry. Nothing to worry about. Come on! Cheer up everybody. It's almost Christmas Eve.

BETTY:

What is there to "cheer up" about?

BUD:

Joe's probably out on the sound truck playing "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly" and selling cars like crazy.

MARGARET:

Bud, we're not talking about that, remember?

BUD:

Okay.

JIM:

Now, if you kids think you have a hard life, look at that little grocery store back off the road there. Miles from everything. How would you like to live there?

BETTY: Well, I wouldn't, that's all. I just wouldn't.

BUD:

What if you had to?

BETTY:

Well, I wouldn't.

BUD: What if you had to?

BETTY:

I said, I wouldn't.

BUD:

Yeah. But what if you had to?

BETTY:

Father, tell Bud to stop it.

JIM: Bud! Stop it!

KATHY:

Are we almost there, daddy?

JIM:

Oh, it won't be long, kitten. Look at that snow drifting down. Isn't that beautiful? We're going to have a white Christmas.

MARGARET: It's lovely, dear, but do you think we should try to go any farther?

JIM:

Oh, it's just around the next bend.

BETTY:

Why we had to drive clear up here into the wilderness to get a Christmas tree--!

JIM:

You'll understand, princess, when we're back home this evening; when the fragrance of the tree fills the whole house--

SOUND: CAR SUDDENLY LURCHES TO A STOP ... WHEELS SPIN NOISILY IN THE SNOW ... THEN OUT

KATHY:

Wha - what happened, daddy?

JIM:

Nothing. Er, snow's a little, uh, deeper here.

SOUND:

WHEELS SPIN NOISILY IN THE SNOW ... THEN OUT

BETTY:

(SINGSONG) Fa-ther, we're not mo-ving.

BUD: Are we stuck, dad?

JIM:

No, we're not stuck!

SOUND: WHEELS SPIN NOISILY IN THE SNOW ... THEN OUT

BETTY:

(SINGSONG) Why aren't we mo-ving?

MARGARET: Dear, we can't go any farther. It's snowing so hard now you can't see ahead. Can you turn around?

JIM: I won't try to turn around. The only thing we can do is, uh, back up.

SOUND:

PUTS CAR IN REVERSE ... WHEELS SPIN NOISILY IN THE SNOW ... THEN OUT

BETTY:

We're not moving!

SOUND:

WHEELS SPIN NOISILY IN THE SNOW ... THEN OUT

BUD:

What's the matter, dad?

JIM: I'm afraid we're stuck.

BETTY:

Oh, noooo!

MARGARET:

Oh, Jim, we can't be!

JIM:

Now, there's nothing to get excited about. We'll get out of here. Somehow.

SOUND:

CAR DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING-- ... HARSH NOISY WIND BLOWS THROUGHOUT SCENE

JIM:

Take the wheel, Margaret. Bud and I'll get out and push. Come on, Bud.

BUD:

(PROTESTS) I can't even see.

MARGARET: (CALLS) What do you want me to do, Jim?

JIM:

(OFF) Uh, put it in reverse.

MARGARET:

I can't hear you!

BUD:

This snow is gettin' deep, dad!

JIM:

(GRUNTS A FEW TIMES) Ah, it's no use. We can't move it. Uh, shut off the motor, Margaret.

SOUND:

MOTOR OUT ... JIM AND BUD CLIMB BACK IN CAR ... WIND SUBSIDES SLIGHTLY BUT CONTINUES IN BG

MARGARET:

So what'll we do now, dear?

JIM:

Well, we'll - have to leave the car and - walk back.

BETTY: (WAILS) Walk ba-ack?!

JIM:

Yeah. Well, come on! Everybody out! Er, take the keys, Margaret.

MARGARET:

All right. Button up your coat, Kathy. Betty, bring those two blankets.

BETTY:

We can't walk all the way back in this snow!

JIM:

I know that. We're going back to that little grocery store we passed. It's only about a quarter of a mile. Close the car doors.

SOUND:

CAR DOORS CLOSE

JIM:

I'll carry Kathy. (LIFTS HER WITH A GRUNT) Now, all stay together!

BUD: We'd better hurry. It's gettin' dark.

KATHY:

Daddy?

JIM:

Yeah?

KATHY:

It's almost Christmas Eve.

JIM:

Yes. Almost.

BUD: (GRUMBLING) I got snow in my shoes; snow down my neck.

MARGARET: Can you see where you're going, Jim?

JIM:

Yeah, I - I can see.

BETTY:

Marooned - on top of mountain - in a blizzard!

JIM:

All right, stop complaining. It could be worse.

BETTY:

Yeah, we could have come up here in our bathing suits!

MARGARET:

I don't know why we had to come up here.

JIM:

Yeah, what was the idea?

BETTY:

(SHIVERING) Well, I'll tell you, my f-freezing f-friends. (IRONIC) This is that warm and beautiful event known as a simple, old-fashioned Christmas!

MUSIC: FOR A CURTAIN

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

2ND ANNOUNCER:

Here's a pre-Christmas story. It begins in a house
And concerns, if you please, a young husband and spouse.

They're hanging up holly wreaths, trimming the tree,
Wrapping dozens of presents to fill all with glee.

Then, Hark! As the hall clock strikes ten, they both stop.
And, worn out and tired, in a chair they both drop.

Says the man with a yawn, "Do you think, dear, we might,
Though it's late, risk some coffee and maybe a bite?"

Says his wife with a grin that is cheery and bold,
"You can have all the coffee you think you can hold

For I bought Instant Sanka just for your sake.
It's free from caffeine; will keep no one awake."

So they sat and sipped Sanka and found it so good
They drank even more than they usually would.

Yet, when later that night Santa poked in his head,
Both husband and wife were asleep in their bed.

There's my story, my friends, and though not like the jingle --
That whimsical legend of cheery Kris Kringle --

It carries a message important and true:
You can drink Instant Sanka -- and sleep the night through.

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRO ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

Well, as I said earlier, the white frame house on Maple Street is dark this Christmas Eve. About noon today, Jim Anderson revolted against his family's attitude toward the Yuletide and decided that this year they should discover the joys of a simple, old-fashioned Christmas. Nice thought? Yes. How's it working out? Terrible. They drive up to Pine Mountain to cut their own tree and ended up in a snow bank. Now, with the car abandoned, Jim and the family grope their way through the blizzard toward an isolated roadside store. Like this. [X]

SOUND:

NOISY WIND HAS ALREADY FADED IN ... FAMILY'S FOOTSTEPS TRUDGE THRU SNOW

BUD:

(NASAL) I think my nose is frozen.

KATHY:

How much farther is it, daddy?

JIM:

Well, it must be right ahead of us. If it weren't snowing so hard, we could probably see it.

BUD: There it is, dad. See the light?

JIM:

Yeah, yeah.

KATHY:

There's the store, mommy!

MARGARET:

Oh, well, thank heaven.

JIM: That looks real pretty for Christmas Eve, doesn't it? Holly wreath in the window.

BETTY:

All I'm interested in right now is getting back to Springfield. I'm supposed to be at at least three parties tonight.

BUD:

If we get back in time, I can still ride in the parade with Joe, on the sound truck.

MARGARET:

All those gifts are still in the car, Jim. We'll have to get them out somehow. They have to be delivered tonight.

JIM:

Oh, all right. One thing at a time. Let's - let's get in here and thaw out first.

SOUND:

FAMILY'S FOOTSTEPS MOVE ON TO WOODEN PORCH ... THEY STAMP THEIR FEET TO SHAKE OFF THE SNOW

FAMILY:

(SIGHS, SHIVERS, BRRRs)

SOUND:

STORE DOOR OPENS, BELL TINKLES ... FAMILY'S FOOTSTEPS INTO STORE

FAMILY:

(OOHs, AHHs AND OTHER SIGHS OF RELIEF, FROM THE WARMTH)

SOUND:

STORE DOOR CLOSES

BUD:

Oh, boy! Nice and warm!

KATHY:

Daddy, look at that! They've got a fire in a barrel!

JIM:

(LAUGHS) That's not a barrel, kitten. That's an old-fashioned pot-bellied stove.

MARGARET:

Oh, this looks like the kind of a store my father used to talk about.

JIM:

Yeah?

BUD:

Look at the stuff hanging from the ceiling. Lanterns and snowshoes, all kinds of junk.

JIM:

By golly, it smells just like the old general store back in my home town.

BETTY: (THE ONLY ONE NOT CHARMED, IMPATIENT) Who runs the place?

JIM:

I wouldn't be surprised if it's Lum 'n' Abner. (CALLS) Hello! Anybody here?!

MAGGIE:

(OFF) Be there in just a minute!

BETTY:

Where's the telephone?

JIM:

Oh, it's here someplace.

MARGARET:

You children had better take your coats off now.

MAGGIE:

(APPROACHES) I was just putting the bacon on the stove. We weren't expecting anyone in tonight. How did you folks get up here?

JIM:

Well, our car stalled up the road. I wonder if we could use your telephone.

MAGGIE:

Well, you'd be most welcome to use it, if we had one.

BETTY:

No telephone?!

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS, BELL TINKLES

TOM:

Well! Hello there!

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

TOM:

Is that your car that's snowed in, up the road?

JIM:

Yes. That's ours.

TOM:

We must have passed on the road without seeing each other. I just walked up there to see if you needed help.

MARGARET:

Well, that was very thoughtful of you. We were looking for a telephone.

MAGGIE: Well, I guess the nearest phone is down at the Harper's place, isn't it, Tom?

TOM:

Yeah. And you'd never make it down there tonight. Not with the snow comin' down like it is.

BETTY:

But how are we gonna get back to Springfield?!

TOM:

I'm afraid you're not gonna get back tonight, miss. Probably not tomorrow, either.

BETTY:

Oh, groan! There goes Christmas and all our plans!

TOM: I wouldn't feel too bad about it, miss. (WITH A CHUCKLE) It may not be so noticeable, but it's Christmas here, too, you know. And, ah, since Maggie and me, we're marooned up here, in a manner of speakin', and since you folks are stranded, too, why don't we just say we're all stranded together? Er, snowbound, as it were.

JIM:

Well-- (CHUCKLES) Well, that's very nice of you, but--

MARGARET:

We can't just move in on you.

MAGGIE:

Well, why not? You look like nice folks. And Tom and me are alone here. I'll put some more plates on the table and there's plenty of beds upstairs.

KATHY:

Can we do it? Please, mommy? Please?

MARGARET:

It seems like a dreadful imposition.

TOM: It's nothing of the kind. I'm Tom Terrell, and this is my wife, Maggie.

JIM:

Oh, how do you do? Well, ah, we're the Andersons. Uh, the little one is Kathy, our boy Bud, our daughter Betty, my wife Margaret.

MARGARET:

Hello.

JIM:

And I'm Jim.

MAGGIE:

Well, we're happy you're gonna be with us!

JIM: (CHUCKLES) Thank you.

TOM:

We hadn't planned much of a Christmas -- ah, just the two of us. But now that there's some kids around, by golly, it's beginning to seem like Christmas. Come on, help me light up some more lamps, Bud!

BUD: Okay.

TOM:

I'll tell you what we always did with our youngsters on Christmas. We gave them the run of the store. So help yourselves! Candy, cookies, anything you want.

FAMILY:

(REACTS, SURPRISED)

KATHY:

You mean it?! Really?!

MAGGIE:

Go help yourselves.

BUD:

Oh, man!

SOUND:

THE KIDS' FOOTSTEPS SCURRY ABOUT

JIM:

(LAUGHS) Steady now. Don't get carried away!

BETTY:

(NO LONGER UNHAPPY) Oh, Mother, look at these adorable old-fashioned tea cups!

MARGARET:

In a minute, dear.

KATHY:

Look here, Bud! Look at this!

SOUND:

SHAKES SLEIGH BELLS

BUD:

Yeah, but look at this!

MAGGIE:

(LAUGHS)

TOM:

(LAUGHS) Listen to 'em. My golly, it's good to hear youngsters around the place again.

MARGARET:

How many children do you have?

MAGGIE:

Two. A boy and a girl. But they're both grown up now. Gone away. (WISTFUL) Seems like such a short time we had them with us. (RECOVERS) Well, would you like to come out in the kitchen with me, Margaret?

MARGARET: (MOVING OFF) Yes. I'll help you put things on.

SOUND:

LADIES' FOOTSTEPS AWAY

TOM:

Jim, if you want to hang up your things, the bedrooms are right up the stairway there.

JIM: Oh, good. (MOVING OFF) I'll take these blankets and coats up.

SOUND: JIM'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

TOM:

(CALLS) Well, you kids findin' anything back there?

KATHY:

(OFF) Sure, all kinds of stuff!

BETTY:

I found a school book back there, Mr. Terrell. It's the same one I use.

TOM: Yeah. It belonged to my daughter. She looked a lot like you when she was your age.

BUD:

Did you have some kids, Mr. Terrell?

TOM:

Yes, we have two, Bud.

KATHY:

Where are they, Mr. Terrell?

TOM:

Well, they've grown up and gone, Kathy.

KATHY: Aren't ya lonesome without your children?

TOM:

(FALTERING) Ye - yes. We - we are sometimes. I think we miss them most at Christmas time. You kids don't know how much you mean to your folks at Christmas.

BUD: (TAKEN ABACK) We - we never thought about it.

BETTY: (SLOWLY) I guess we always just thought how much Christmas meant to us.

TOM:

We used to have our tree here by the stove. And Judy and Bill would decorate it and put the candles on it. The tinsel, and the stars, and the little glass bells -- they're all in the box back in the corner where the kids packed them away.

KATHY:

(SADLY) Don't you have any Christmas?

TOM: No, Kathy. Not any more. There's no one to decorate the tree.

MAGGIE: (CALLS, FROM OFF) Tom?! I need some wood for the stove!

TOM:

(CALLS) All right, I'll get it! (MOVING OFF) I'll get it.

SOUND:

TOM'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

KATHY:

(SOBS A LITTLE)

BUD: What are ya cryin' about, shrimp?

KATHY:

I just feel sad.

BETTY: Bud?

BUD:

Yeah?

BETTY:

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

BUD:

Maybe.

BETTY:

Well, climb up on a box and get down those snowshoes. You're going back to the car!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CLATTER OF DISHES, UTENSILS, ET CETERA

MAGGIE:

Well, what's wrong with the children, Margaret? They didn't eat.

MARGARET:

I don't know. They're plotting something.

TOM: They've run me out of the store. Told me to stay back here. And locked the door.

MARGARET:

Maybe you'd better go out front and see what they're doing, Jim.

JIM:

Oh, they're all right, honey. Leave them alone.

MARGARET:

Well, whatever they're doing, they've been at it for over an hour.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

KATHY:

All right, everybody! Come in now.

BUD:

(OFF) Turn off all the lamps!

MAGGIE:

Well, for pity's sakes. What are they--?

JIM:

Well, let's go in.

SOUND:

ADULTS RISE FROM TABLE, THEIR FOOTSTEPS INTO STORE

MAGGIE:

(GASP OF SURPRISE)

JIM:

(IMPRESSED) Well.

MARGARET:

What in the world--?

TOM:

Well, will you look at that!

BETTY:

It's Christmas Eve, remember?

MAGGIE:

(OVERCOME) Ohhh. A tree. Decorated. And with candles.

BETTY:

"From the Andersons -- Merry Christmas to Mr. and Mrs. Terrell."

TOM:

If that don't beat all.

JIM:

It's beautiful, kids. Uh, how did you do it?

BETTY:

Well, Mr. Terrell said they had the decorations, so Bud went up to the car and got the saw, and some things. Then he went out and cut the tree.

KATHY: (PROUD) I helped put on the decorations.

BUD: Look what's under the tree.

TOM: (PUZZLED) Where'd those packages come from?

BUD:

Santa Claus.

KATHY:

You can't open 'em till Christmas morning.

JIM: (ASIDE) Margaret, aren't those your packages from the car?

MARGARET:

(ASIDE) I told them could do it, dear. They changed the tags.

TOM:

(MOVED) I guess this is a miracle, mother. We have a family again. Gathered around the Christmas tree.

MAGGIE:

Just the way it used to be.

BUD: Snow comin' down outside, candles on the tree, a warm fire in the stove--

BETTY:

Oh, it's lovely, so lovely.

MAGGIE:

(WISTFUL) The only thing that's missing -- is the Christmas carol. Judy, when she was a little girl, would stand up at the top of the stairs. And the way she sang, it reminded you of the angels who sang it to the shepherds on that wondrous night. (PAUSE) Kathy? (NO ANSWER) Well, where is Kathy?

KATHY:

(OFF, SINGS) O Little Town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

BETTY:

(ASIDE) Father?

JIM:

(ASIDE) Yes, princess?

BETTY:

(QUIET, GENUINE) Thank you for our first "real" Christmas.

MUSIC: CHIMES RING, THEN FADE FOR

JIM:

This is Robert Young. From all of us in the Anderson family to all of you, a most sincere wish that the Christmas spirit in its fullest meaning be yours for now -- and always. Good night.

MUSIC:

CHIMES UP BRIEFLY, THEN FADE OUT

2ND ANNOUNCER:

You know, there's no other evening in all the year like this night before Christmas. Now, after weeks of busy shopping, folks are warmly settled in comfortable living rooms looking forward to the excitement of tomorrow morning. Well, we hope you find just what you wanted under that tree. And, at this time, may we, the Post Cereals Company, take the opportunity of thanking all of you for making our products such favorites all over the country? Yes, Post Cereals have long been famous for superior quality and fine flavor. Rest assured, we'll keep them that way for you -- always. One of Post's outstanding favorites is Post 40% Bran Flakes. And it's now more delicious than ever because it has a new Magic Oven Flavor and wonderful, crisper texture. Remember, if you haven't tried them yet, start enjoying Post Bran Flakes soon. And a very merry Christmas from the whole Post cereals family.

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

Join us again next week when we'll be back with "Father Knows Best" starring Robert Young as Jim Anderson. Until then, good night and good luck from the makers of Post 40% Bran Flakes, the cereal preferred and eaten by far more people than any other bran flakes; and Instant Sanka, the delicious coffee that lets you sleep. In our cast were Rhoda Williams as Betty, Ted Donaldson, Jean Vander Pyl, Helen Strohm, Jeanette Nolan and Herb Butterfield. [X]

2ND ANNOUNCER:

Calcium helps grown-ups to a more vigorous life!

VOICE 1:

And now there's calcium in hot Wheat Meal!

2ND ANNOUNCER:

Calcium helps your body run smoothly!

VOICE 2:

And now there's calcium in hot Wheat Meal!

2ND ANNOUNCER:

Calcium helps you to enjoy a more active life!

VOICE 3:

And now there's calcium in hot Wheat Meal!

2ND ANNOUNCER:

Yes, a one-ounce serving contains one-third of your daily calcium needs, and Post Wheat Meal is a whole wheat cereal -- creamy, smooth, delicious! Cooks instantly. Get new Post Wheat Meal with more calcium than any other cereal, hot or cold!

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

"Father Knows Best," based on characters created by Ed James, was transcribed in Hollywood and written by Paul West and Roswell Rogers. This is Bill Forman speaking.

SOUND: APPLAUSE

MUSIC:

THEME UP ... THEN FADES OUT

SOUND:

NBC CHIMES