Cheryl is a proud bab boomer who enjoys finding out facts about classic television and movies.
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER was a television sitcom that aired between 1957 and 1963. I recall seeing the reruns in the late 1960s but this show was not one of my favorites. I actually still to this day do not like to hear the theme song. This series is controversial because many people say that it gave a very false image of American suburban life. Jerry Mathers starred as Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver and his parents Ward and June Cleaver were portrayed by Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsly. The older brother Wally was played by Tony Dow. June Cleaver was a housewife who was always in a dress and wearing pearls. She looked more like she was going out than cooking or doing housework. Beaver and Wally listened to their parents and other adults in the neighborhood and were very respectful. Their father was the breadwinner who tried to instill values in his sons and teach them lessons in every episode. LEAVE IT TO BEAVER currently can be seen on weekday mornings on MeTV. Baby boomers and their parents ae enjoying this trip down memory lane and I find that now I am also embracing the show for what it was, This series portrayed suburban life as many would have enjoyed living it but few had such idealistic realities.
The series run
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER ended when Beaver graduated the grade and Wally was headed to college. It debuted on CBS on October 4 1957 and moved to ABC for season two. The series lasted for six seasons with a full 39-weeks each year and 234 episodes. The show ended on June 20, 1963, but during its 6 years, there was a lot of popular merchandising which included comic books, novels, and board games. Beaver became popular again in the 1970s when it went into non-network syndication.There was a 1983 television movie titled STILL THE BEAVER and a sequel to the series that ran from 1984-1989 , The New Leave It to Beaver was on THE DISNEY CHANNEL l from 1984 to 1985. and was on WTBS from 1986-1989. In 1997, a movie based on the original series was released but had negative reviews. In October 2007, TV LAND celebrated the show's 50th anniversary by running a marathon. LEAVE IT TO BEAVER was never in the Neilson ratings top 30 television programs but in 2007 the series made the list of TIME MAGAZINE'S "All-TIME 100 TV Shows".Although it was not rated.
Awards and nominations
In 1958, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER received two EMMY nominations for Best New Program Series of the Year and Best Teleplay Writing—Half Hour or Less for the premiere episode, titled "Beaver gets spelled." Although the show itself never won an award it's 3 young stars did. In 1984, Jerry Mathers won the Young Artist Former Child Star Special Award and in 1987, Tony Dow and Ken Osmond who portrayed Wally's best friend Eddie Haskel, both won the Young Artist's Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, Ken Osmond received the nomination for TV LAND'S Character Most Desperately in Need of a Timeout Award. Osmond's character Eddie was as mischievous as a teen as Beaver was as a young boy. Both kept the audience entertained with their pranks and crazy excuses In 1987, Tony Dow received the Young Artist Foundation Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Wally Cleaver. In 1999, TV GUIDE placed Eddie Haskell as number 20 on its list of "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time". In 2007 BRAVO ranked YOUNG Beaver number 74 on their list of the 100 greatest TV characters.
The Eddie Haskell effect
Ken Osmond was to LEAVE IT TO BEAVER what Jaleel White was to FAMILY MATTERS. Steven Q Urkle was an accident-prone nerd and Eddie Haskell was a sneaky trouble maker who was overly polite with exaggerated kindness, Both of them stole the scenes they were in. Steve was harmless but Eddie set h8is friends up to take the blame for mistakes he had made. This did not stop Wally from being his friend or the Cleavers from welcoming him into their home. Ken Osmond was in the sequel series as well as the movies and fans consider him as one of the family. Osmond passed away on May 18, 2020.
The Cleaver's today
Hugh Beaumont who portrayed the family patriarch was a writer and producer as well as an actor. He died on May 14, 1982, of a heart attack, while visiting his son. This is why he was not in the later LEAVE IT TO BEAVER series and movies. Barbara Billingsley was a stage actress and also was in movies and did voiceovers. She died from polymyalgia on October 1, 2010. Tony Dow is now 76 and became a film producer who is living in LA. Jerry Maters is 73 and was in a number of movies including BACK TO THE BEACH, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, THE DEEP SIX, and BETTER LUCK TOMORROW. He was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and lost 40 pounds with JENNY CRAIG which led to his being the first male spokesperson for the weight loss brand. LEAVE IT TO BEAVER can currently been seen weekday mornings from 6:00-7:00 AM on MeTV.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Cheryl E Preston
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 11, 2021:
I didn't know you would still see Leave It To Beaver. I use to love that show. I believe that was back in a time parents had to sleep in single beds. This was a fun read, Cheryl.