This past week, the world lost an icon, Tony Dow. He may not have been in too many productions, but his most well-known work will live on forever. His passing has led me to reminisce about the beloved show.
Leave it to Beaver is a beautiful story about two boys, Wally and Beaver Cleaver growing up in a loving family. They get into trouble, and their parents, Ward Cleaver, played by Hugh Beaumont, and June, played by Barbara Billingsley, give them the advice they needed to overcome their troubles. There are six seasons, airing from October 4, 1957 until June 20, 1963. Viewers get to watch the boys mature, make friends, and find love. Now this brief summary doesn't do the show justice at all, but if you have seen the show, you will understand where I'm coming from.
My brother, 17, and I, 16 have watched the beautiful show our whole lives. Seriously, we've seen over six episodes in the last week alone. Our generations isn't as familiar with the black-and-white sitcom as previous ones may be, and I'm sad to see this beautiful work start to fade away.
Here are a few fun facts that I want to point out regarding Leave it to Beaver:
1. After Tony Dow's passing, Jerry Mathers (Beaver) is the only remaining member of the main cast. Even many of the actors who've played the boys' friends have passed away. This seems sad, but I just see it as a nod to how long the show has been around. I am so grateful that these actors, who were quite young at the time, have spent their childhoods giving people like me a terrific show to watch daily.
These next few points are catches from specific episodes that my brother and I found throughout the years.
2. At the start of the show, Beaver was in second grade and Wally was in seventh. This already seems like a huge age gap. Apparently, the creators of the show thought so too, because, after six seasons, Beaver was in eighth grade, and Wally was still in high school. This makes total sense because it would have been lame for Wally to go off to college and for us to only get to see Beaver's predicaments, but this still doesn't quite add up.
3. Next, there were so many oversights concerning the names of characters and the actors who played them. For starters, Beaver's best friend, Gilbert, played by Stephen Talbot, has always been known as Gilbert Bates. (This is easy to know because probably 90% of the time a character in this show is referred to by name, both his first and last names are used.) But in Season 5, Episode 11, his English teacher Mr. Blair (Wendell Holmes, who also plays Andy Hadlock in Season 1) calls Gilbert Mr. Harrison. I have no idea how this mistake got in there, as this was the first and last time this name was ever used.
4. There were also some instances where actors were used for multiple characters. This isn't a mistake, but it still seems like the creators could have found another actor for the job. As mentioned earlier, Wendell Holmes played Beaver's teacher in Season six, but his first appearance on the show had been in Season 1, as Andy Hadlock. Similarly, Cheryl Holdridge is known for her role as Wally's girlfriend, Julie Foster, though she also played Gloria Cusick in Season 2. Both of these girls were very similar, so I wonder if this was another slip-up in the names. They certainly could have been the same character.
There are some fun facts from the show, and I hope they have encouraged you to watch a few episodes if you haven't already. None of these "mistakes" were meant to degrade the show in any way, they were just some facts that I thought were interesting. There are over 200 episodes of awesome content and funny misadventures. Please let me know which one's your favorite and if you had any fan catches. Thank you for reading!
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