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Leave it to Beaver

Updated on March 2, 2013

Leave it to Beaver is still gaining fans around the world!

It is astounding that Leave it to Beaver is still running on television channels across the globe. It is airing in at least 40 different languages and the Beaver is as young today as he was 60 years ago; all through the magic of rerun television!

Let me share some trivial facts about the television show Leave it to Beaver. I didn't watch a lot of television when I was growing up because I grew up in the era of test patterns.  If you remember test patterns, you're older than 40 years like me. That was when there were no programs showing and when I was a child the test patterns ran most of the daytime hours. Mothers were doing the housework, children were in school, and dads were at their jobs so why put programming on during the day?  The lifespan of humans was much shorter and those who made it beyond the age of 65 had lived a lifetime without television and knew how to entertain themselves with the newspaper, games, and visiting their neighbors.

I have to say that today's culture has missed something in life through the advent of 24/7 television broadcasting on 200 channels each day.  However, it is what it is.

One of my favorite evening programs was Leave it to Beaver.  Why it was a favorite is a mystery to me, but it could have been because it was the only thing on.  Jeff Foxworthy did a great comedy piece about television in the 50s and 60s where he talked about the interruption of regular programming because the President of the United States was going to address the nation.  As a kid, I remember my parents making us listen to the President. We didn't understand a single word the man said, but we were taught to respect him regardless of our complete ignorance of national or international affairs. Today, people don't have to make their kids listen to or watch the President of the United States address them on the television because there are at least 199 other channels that aren't broadcasting the President's address.  There are so many other choices today.

I still don't watch much network television today, but sometimes when I have a day off work and am doing my housework, I will turn on TV Land - the channel that still runs these old sitcoms. I watch in wonder at how they managed to capture my attention as a kid. The plots are pretty thin, but I still love the moral cleanliness of them.

Leave it to Beaver aired from 1957-1963, but it has been running in re-runs for more than 50 years!

The Cast

Jerry Mathers as Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver

started acting at age 2

Jerry Mathers was born June 2, 1948 in Souix City, IA. He started modeling at age 2 and was in a Pet Milk commercial at age 2. His first appearance on television was on the Ed Wynn Variety Show in 1950. He was selected for the lead role in Leave it to Beaver because he told the casting agent he would rather be at his Cub Scout meeting.

The Beaver was/is always entertaining. He makes some of the craziest mistakes and then has immediate remorse for his stupidity or clumsiness. He always had a way to get out of whatever predicament he found himself in. The innocence on that face was enough to make anyone forgive him. His punishments were so mild that most of us who lived through the same time period would shake our heads in wonder.

Hugh Beaumont as Mr. Ward Cleaver

The Preacher/Actor/Christmas Tree Grower

Hugh Beaumont started in the acting business in 1931 playing in theaters and nightclubs. He appeared in a number of films in the 40s, but remained relatively unknown until landing the role of Ward Cleaver in the 1957 television series, Leave it to Beaver. He was perhaps the most patient father I had ever seen either in life or on television. He taught Wally and Beaver things with great patience and compassion. He wanted them to have the kind of all-American-boyhood that he experienced as a boy. He brought a lot of his past into the boys' present and future.

Barbara Billingsley as Mrs. June Cleaver

An insignificant movie and theater career led her to Leave it to Beaver

Barbara Billingsley was born Barbara Lillian Combes in Los Angeles, CA in December 1915. She fell in love with dramatic arts because her mother took her to the movies when she was growing up. She did both stage and film acting throughout the 1940s (often uncredited). She signed a contract with Universal Studios for the role of June Cleaver and made her mark on the world as the mercurial pearl-neclaced, high-heeled achetypal mother of the 1950s. She wore the pearls to hide "a hollow" in her neck and the heels were added when Wally and the Beaver started growing taller than she. After the show ended in 1963, she was typecast as a sweet, syrupy mother and had difficulty landing other roles.

I have to say that she and other television mothers of the 50s and 60s became my role models (however unaware of it I was). Barbara Billingsley showed this young girl what a mother was supposed to be and I believed the distorted lie of a mother who wears pearls and heels to clean the house.

Tony Dow as Wallace "Wally" Cleaver

The best big brother on television

Well, what young girl in the 50s and 60s wasn't enamored with Wally's good looks? Look at this hairdo! Who in the world could resist that?!

It is reported that Tony Dow won the role of Wally Cleaver by accident. He went to the open call auditions with his friend and the casting agents liked his looks as a clean-cut-all-American young man.

Wally's incredible mercy toward his bumbling little brother, Beaver, is a testimony to all American children (particularly siblings). No matter what sort of trouble Beaver got into, Wally was always there to help cover it up or plead his little brother's cause to the not-so-strict parents. He never yelled at Beaver or called him an idiot; to the best of my knowlege, he never was a tattle tale either. I could be wrong about that, but Wally and Beaver's relationship didn't look anything like the relationship I had with my siblings at the time!

Leave it to Beaver Episodes on DVD - Host a Leave it to Beaver Marathon at your house this weekend!

Finally, one of the most beloved series from television's Golden Age comes to DVD for the first time ever! Join the Cleavers, America's quintessential family, in all 39 digitally remastered, unforgettable episodes from the complete first season of Leave it to Beaver! Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) can't seem to avoid trouble, and his older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and mischievous pal Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond), aren't any help. But with some wise advice from his father Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and mom's (Barbara Billingsley) home-cooked meals, Beaver learns that all's well that ends well. Complete with the original pilot, brought out of the studio archives, this must-have DVD collection will have you declaring, "Gee, that Beaver sure is a swell guy!"

Watch part of a Leave it to Beaver episode - Wally's Invited to a Cotillion

Get a little glimpse of Wally and Beaver learning about girls and parties.

Which Leave it to Beaver season is your favorite? - vote to move your favorite up or add one of your own

Leave It to Beaver - The Complete Second Season
Leave It to Beaver - The Complete Second Season

Americaâs quintessential family returns with all 39 original, uncut episodes of Leave It to Beaver Season 2! Return to Mayfield for a warm welcome from its most charming family -- the Cleavers: wise pop Ward (Hugh Beaumont), resourceful mother June (Barbara Billingsley), curious older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and lovable, scruffy Theodore "Beaver" (Jerry Mathers). From building a boat to beating a bully to dealing with girls (cooties!), thereâs nothing the two Cleaver boys canât handle with a little luck and a lot of wholesome, homespun advice. Digitally remastered for optimum picture and audio quality, critics declare "â¦this 1957-1963 sitcom is as enjoyable today for its â50s nostalgia as it was then for its modern, understated humor" (David Bianculli, New York Daily News). Gee whiz!

 
Leave it to Beaver - The Complete First Season
Leave it to Beaver - The Complete First Season

Finally, one of the most beloved series from television's Golden Age comes to DVD for the first time ever! Join the Cleavers, America's quintessential family, in all 39 digitally remastered, unforgettable episodes from the complete first season of Leave it to Beaver! Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) can't seem to avoid trouble, and his older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and mischievous pal Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond), aren't any help. But with some wise advice from his father Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and mom's (Barbara Billingsley) home-cooked meals, Beaver learns that all's well that ends well. Complete with the original pilot, brought out of the studio archives, this must-have DVD collection will have you declaring, "Gee, that Beaver sure is a swell guy!"

 
Family Favorites 4 Movie Collection (The Little Rascals / Casper / Flipper / Leave it to Beaver)
Family Favorites 4 Movie Collection (The Little Rascals / Casper / Flipper / Leave it to Beaver)

Get ready for hours of family fun! Perfect for movie fans of all ages, the Family Favorites 4-Movie Collection includes four feature-length, live-action films based on the original beloved television series. Join Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat and all the rest of The Little Rascals as they romp from one adventure to another; take flight with Casper the friendly but lonely ghost; dive into a wild and wet world of fun with Flipper; and look out for trouble with Beaver and the rest of the Cleaver gang in Leave It To Beaver. Available together on DVD for the first time, the Family Favorites 4-Movie Collection is a must-have addition to every family's DVD library!

 

Tell us your thoughts about Leave it to Beaver - What is one of your strongest memories of this program?

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    • profile image

      nikons210 

      8 years ago

      I've lost my memories about this series, but all I remember is that this show was the funniest show ever when I was a child, now I don't watch television 'cause I'm busy with my new Nikon S210.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 

      8 years ago

      This was such a sweet show. Your lens is a great tribute to it. Ward reminded me a lot of my dad.

    • groovyfind profile image

      Samantha Devereux 

      8 years ago from Columbia Mo

      I used to watch this nightly as a kid...it was right before I love Lucy!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I had no idea this show was still airing anywhere. Wow! I used to watch when I was a child but thought it had gone off the air completely. Well, good to know it hasn't, because it's the kind of show generation after generation can enjoy.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I always loved watching Leave it to Beaver. 5* and blessed by a SquidAngel

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