The American Family Robinson was a "slice of life" 15-minute radio show about a typical American family, or the National Association of Manufacturers' (NAM)version of a typical American family. Starting in 1935, NAM distributed the 15-minute program to radio stations around the country for free.
The show revolved around the lives of Luke and Myra Robinson and their children, Betty and Bob. Included in their lives were other familiar character types. Each show's plot revolved around the happenings in the fictional town of Centerville often pitting workers against business owners. For instance, in one show there is an accident at a local factory leading to a riot and people blaming the factory owner. Luke, the editor of the local paper, is the only person who stands with the factory owner leading to riots, Robinson marital strife, and even a boycott by the Bridge Club before everything is resolved.
There were two separate versions of the show. At the end of the Depression and on the brink of war, NAM wanted to discuss new ideas like government take-over of industry in wartime, taxes choking business growth and other business issues. The Robinson's were given a makeover as well.
American Family Robinson is considered propaganda put out by NAM under the name of the National Industrial Council to combat Roosevelt's New Deal. Big business considered the New Deal to be anti-business and took every opportunity to find ways to undermine the policies.