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So Long to a Couple of Good Fellas

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Leave it To Beaver Cast: from left, Hugh Beaumont, Ward; Barbara Billingsley, June; Tony Down, Wally and Jerry Matthews, Theodore aka/ The Beaver.

Leave it To Beaver Cast: from left, Hugh Beaumont, Ward; Barbara Billingsley, June; Tony Down, Wally and Jerry Matthews, Theodore aka/ The Beaver.

About Tony Dow he was born Anthony Lee Dow (April 13, 1945 – July 27, 2022) an American actor, film producer, director and sculptor. He played Wally Cleaver in the iconic television sitcom Leave It to Beaver from 1957 to 1963. From 1983 to 1989, Dow reprised his role as Wally in a television movie and in The New Leave It to Beaver.

Glancing back, Leave It to Beaver is an American television sitcom shown between 1957 and 1963 about an curious and often naïve boy, Theodore "The Beaver" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers), and his sometimes misadventures at home, school, and around his suburban neighborhood. The show also starred Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as Beaver's parents, June and Ward Cleaver, and Tony Dow as Beaver's brother Wally. The show has attained an iconic status in the United States, with the all-American Cleavers exemplifying the icoic suburban family of the mid-20th century. And quite frankly, it is no wonder why this black and white sitcom is still around with shows such as: The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy.

Honestly, and the implication of being cold by way of the back story of Tony Dow may seem cold, but it's far from it. Dow's "Wally" character was more complex than viewers might have caught in the Leave it To Beaver sitcodrama show. Dow was at heart, funny and sharp-witted outside of the script and this is why he got along with the cast and workers who made the Beaver show such a weekly favorite.

Leave it to Beaver was a meteoric hit. It was the perfect fit. America was prospering from World War II being over and our GI's wanting to work and build better lives, can be credited for our country being so quick to give entertainment, good, wholesome, entertainment such as the Beaver show, so naturally the decision on Beaver was more genius than timing.

This is about the late Tony Dow, not as much as the Leave it to Beaver show. And I would be sad if I didn't include Paul Sorvino for his wide-array of drematic roles such as everyone's favorite, GoodFellas which starred another passing hero, Ray Liotta, who played Henry Hill.

My personal view and questions about Tony Dow and the Cleaver Gang and see if my thoughts measure-up to yours.

At first, I labelled Wally as a smart aleck. Always right no matter what he did or said. I learned early on in my life that no kid anywhere, no matter how they try, is not perfect. And as time went by, and I got older, my thoughts about Wally and his relationship with his little brother, Theadore, "Beaver," it looked plain to me that Wally was doing his best to take up for Beaver--even when the sitcom's only bully, Eddie Haskell, (Ken Osmond), tried to laugh and beat-up on Beaver, Wally would step in and put that garbage that Haskell was providing in its place.

But in all sincerity, I did like Haskell in the later episodes. This was when Wally and Beaver were mature enough to make adult-like decisions and know the value of telling Ward Cleaver, Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley, June Cleaver, the truth no matter how much it hurt, but in no way did Ward and June condone the boyish mischief, but laid-down a hard rule that taught them that if they start the trouble, they (Wally and Beaver) would pay for the consequences.

Back to Ward, he was the only guy who wore a sweater outside in the hot summer sun as he mowed the lawn and all without him shedding one drop of sweat. You know that I am telling the truth.

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And June, to me, she was a pretty lady and such as my heartfelt favorite, Donna Reed, she did her cooking and housework while wearing those full dresses, high heels and pearls and she never let anything or anyone get her flustered.

True. The reruns of I Leave it To Beaver will never be the same without Wally. Just look at what happened to the Mayberry (Andy Griffith Show), when Barney, Don Knotts, left the show. It was like was said, the wheels came off of this CBS hit and fans knew it. But in th end, Andy was the boss.

From left, the late Ray Liota/Henry Hil and the late Paul Sorvino Pauley in GoodFellas.

From left, the late Ray Liota/Henry Hil and the late Paul Sorvino Pauley in GoodFellas.

Paul Sorvino was known for his roles: Mchese crime family cporegime Paulie Cicero (based on real life gangster Paul Vario) in Martin Scorsese's '90 gangster film Goodfellas and as NYPD Sergeant Phil Cerreta on the second season of the TV series Law & Order. He also played a variety of father figures, like Juliet's father in Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, as well as guest appearances as the father of Bruce Willis' character on Moonlighting and the father of Jeff Garlin's character on The Goldbergs. He took on additional supporting roles in A Touch of Class, Reds, The Rocketeer, The Cooler, and Nixon (as Henry Kissinger).

Not that Sorvino was typecast, not at all. He had the talents of converting a stoic, intimidating presences such as "Pauly Cicero" in GoodFellas, and he could handle those characters who called for pure comic acting.

What I liked about Paul Cicero was like Henry Hill, the late Ray Liota, said in GoodFellas, "Paulie may have moved slow, but it was only because Paulie didn't have to move for anybody." This was narrated by Hill/Liota when Pauly is sitting and slowly eating a sausage while his underlings talk and make plans on how to get richer.

I also liked the talent that Sorvino had in GoodFellas or his other serious films, he could say so much without opening his mouth. I have to agree on that.

In a purely non-comical remark, Tony and Paul, we love you and there's no doubt that you two will be missed.

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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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