The Anderson family from “Father Knows Best” TV show is back, and we are still stuck in the 1950s. Their good friends, Ed and Myrtle Davis, convince the Andersons to make an investment in a business venture, but can’t tell them what the business actually is. Daughter Betty Anderson and the Davis’ son Robbie end up picketing a business which is owned by, (you likely guessed this already), the Anderson and Davis family.
And to further complicate things, son Bud Anderson is the reporter on assignment from the local school newspaper to cover the grand opening of the business, and when covering the event he collides egos with his girlfriend’s mother.
A two-scene drama that works well for dinner theatre, useful for Father’s, Mother’s or family day celebrations.
Lots of comedy fun.
- Jim Anderson, father
- Margaret Anderson, mother
- Betty Anderson, daughter, late teen
- Bud Anderson, son, mid teen
- Kathy Anderson, daughter approx 10
- Ed Davis, neighbor
- Myrtle Davis, Ed’s wife
- Robbie Davis, their son, late teen
- Joyce Kendall, Bud’s girlfriend, mid teen
- Kendra Kendall, Joyce’s mother, ABC Network News reporter
- Horace Henderson, oil company executive
Optional, no speaking lines:
- Hotdog vendor
- Band members
Set: can be as simple or elaborate as desired
Bible Reference: Exodus: 20
Scene I is in the Anderson’s living room, usual furniture
Scene II is at a service station, backdrop of gas pumps, gas station signs.
Also “UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP” sign and picket signs
Sound: prerecorded marching music
Costumes: dress as in 1950’s attire, Jim’s sweater with leather elbow patches, band uniforms
Props: hula hoops, magazines, eggs, microphones for reporters
Sample of script:
Scene I – Anderson Living Room
As the scene opens Margaret, Betty and Bud are sitting on stage, Kathy is laying on the floor
Margaret is reading Ladies Home Journal, Betty is doing homework, Bud is reading Sports Illustrated, Kathy is reading comic book
Betty: The modern world of medicine is so fascinating! Just one breakthrough after another!
Margaret: Yes Betty, certainly we are privileged; life in the 1950’s is the greatest time in history in the greatest country in the world.
Betty: Dr. Jonas Salk has just developed a vaccine for polio.
Kathy: There’s a new fun park called Disneyland.
Bud: Ford is designing an awesome new car, they’re gonna call it the Edsel.
Kathy: Edsel? Why would anyone call a car an Edsel?
Margaret: Edsel Ford was the son of Henry Ford. . . . I expect the Ford Motor Company named the car after Edsel Ford.
Bud: Bet the Edsel will be about the most popular car ever built likely.
Kathy: Not near so popular as Silly Putty I betcha!
Bud: Silly Putty?
Kathy: Yeh, Silly Putty! . . . Silly Putty’s the best ever!
Bud: How can you compare a sleek and stylish automobile to some goofy chunk of . . something that just lays there and does nothing?
Kathy, angry: Silly Putty is not goofy, . . now you take that back Bud Anderson!
Bud: I will not take it back ‘cause it’s true.
Kathy: Is not!
Bud: Is too!
Margaret: Children! . . . Stop that arguing! . . .
Kathy: Well, Mommy, Bud started it!
Bud: I did not, you said that dopey Silly Putty was more popular than the finest car in the world.
Kathy: And you said my Silly Putty is goofy!
Bud: Well it is goofy.
Kathy: Is not!
Jim comes on stage, removing suit coat and putting on a sweater, cross to Margaret, kiss
Margaret: Welcome home dear, how was your supper meeting?
Jim, smile: Well, I thought the restaurant was hectic and noisy but from the sounds coming out of our home I guess it was relatively quiet at the restaurant tonight.
Margaret: Sorry dear, Bud and Kathy were having a little disagreement.
Jim: If that was a little disagreement I wouldn’t want to hear a major argument.
Kathy: Well Daddy, Bud called Silly Putty goofy!
Bud: That’s ‘cause you said lousy things about the incredible Edsel car.
Jim: Well the way things are going we might not need to worry about an Edsel or any other car.
Margaret: What do you mean dear?
Jim: I filled my car with gas at the PerformanceGas gas station on the way home tonight and, Margaret, do you realize gas at the pumps is now twenty cents a gallon? I almost had a heart attack!
Bud: But that’s why you need to buy an Edsel Dad. The Edsel has a big 20-gallon fuel tank so that means you won’t need to fill up with gas in . . . a long time.
Jim: Twenty gallons at twenty cents a gallon! . . . A man would have to be rich to fork over four dollars just to fill his tank with gas!
Bud: Look at the bright side Dad . . . You driving your family around town in a brand new Edsel car! . . . Everyone will be so impressed with our new Edsel car! . . . And soon I will have my drivers license and . .
Jim: Son, at twenty cents a gallon for gas you will have to quit school and get a full time job just to pay for the gas.
Bud: Oh but Dad, think how impressed people will be with our new Edsel! . . Girls will just . . . That is . . I meant to say, everyone in town will be so impressed that they will just rush right over to Anderson Insurance Agency to buy all their insurance needs from you.
(embarrassed, looks from one actor to another)
That is what I meant . . . really . . . it was.
Betty: Sure that’s what you meant Bud Anderson! . . You just want to impress your new girlfriend Joyce Kendall, is all.
Bud: Betty, how can you think such a thing? . . I was only thinking of our father and his reputation here in Springfield.
Imagine . . twenty cents a gallon for gasoline! . . . Why that is simply an outrage! . . No one will ever stand for that!
Jim: Well if twenty-cent gas at the pump goes on much longer, every car, including the Edsel, will soon be parked; we will all have to go back to the horse and buggy.
Betty, beams: Sounds like a job for S-A-D!
Bud, confused: A job for sad? . . . And if it’s sad why are you so happy?
Betty: S-A-D. . . . Social Action for Democracy. . . It’s a group that some friends and I at school have started up.
Bud: And it just so happens that one of these . . . friends . . . is a . . boy . . friend . . name of Robbie Davis.
Betty: Oh Bud, you are such a child! . . . Robbie is a friend who happens to be a boy, nothing more.
Anyhow, S-A-D rallies against injustice, and we bring pressure against the big corporations that would trample the rights of the little people.
Kathy: I like that Betty, on account of I am a little people.
Margaret: I am concerned Betty, I hope you and Robbie and your friends have thought this out. . . Just how do you plan to bring this pressure against large corporations?
Betty, excited: It is really neat Mother! . . We make up these picket signs and march up and down in front of a business until they stop doing what they are doing.
Bud: And what if the big business doesn’t stop doing what they are doing?
Betty: If the business doesn’t stop doing what they are doing then we just keep marching until they cave in under the pressure. We just keep the pressure on them, day after day, night and day. When they see were are serious they always give in.
Jim: Betty, I don’t think you realize the size and strength of the oil companies. These are huge multinationals, with thousands of employees, billions of dollars in net worth. Don’t you think it would be better for your sad group too. . .
Betty, hurt: It is S-A-D Father!
Jim: Sorry Princess, . . S-A-D . . . Don’t you think you and . . S-A-D . . should start with a smaller opponent?
Betty: This is not the first organization we have gone up against Father!
Jim: Oh I didn’t realize sad . . . errr . . . S-A-D . . . had some experience.
Margaret: Tell us about the others, Betty.
Betty: Well, actually it was only one. . . But it was quite tense for a while, and the thing is, right did win out.
See, the thing was, the people who run the cafeteria at school made the decision to take the roast beef sandwich off their menu and to replace it with imported shrimp salad. . . And as everyone knows, ranchers across America rely on us for our support.
Anyhow, I am pleased to report that after 2 days of S-A-D picketing over the noon hours, there was the roast beef, back on the plates of the happy students at Springfield High!
Jim, trying to be serious:
Well, that was good to follow through on your convictions, Princess. But you have to remember that Bill and Ellen Williams run the school cafeteria, and they live here in our neighborhood. . . . So they have empathy for local concerns.
But the big oil companies, now that’s another kettle of . . . shrimp. Their head offices are out of state, some even out of the country.