Have you heard about the American series ‘Leave it to Beaver’? If you had lived during the 50’s and the 60’s, you probably watched it. It aired from 1957 to 1963 and was once a popular American Series of its time. It became popular because of its story about the postwar suburban life of the Cleaver family. Unlike any popular series, Leave it to Beaver focuses to the Children’s point of view and not of the parents. It’s about the life of a seven-year-old Theodore Cleaver, his older brother Wally, and his parents Ward and June. Theodore is the Beaver. The Cleavers exemplifying the idealized suburban family of the mid-20th century, therefore the show became iconic. You might had enjoyed this sitcom series having a total of 234 episodes in 6 seasons. But there are things behind the show that you do not know. These are the secrets of The Beaver Show and we will reveal them to you.
Tony Dow’s Acting Experience
Tony Dow had no prior acting experience when he started the show. He was a Junior Olympics diver when he was first discovered in the industry. The first show that he had auditioned for was cancelled but the producers called him later for the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ show as Wally Cleaver.
Barbara Billingsley’ Pearls
June Cleaver, portrayed by Barbara Billingsley, always wore pearl necklaces in every single episode. That is not just a fashion prop. She really wanted to wear it every shooting because she wanted to hide her neck’s indent.
At the beginning episodes of the show, Billingsley was using flat shoes. But a few episodes later, she wore heels every time. This is because the actors portraying as her sons began experiencing growth. In order to maintain her height gap with them, she used heels to gain extra height.
Throughout the series, there were constant debates between the fans as to where the setting of the show was. Fans looked for clues in every episodes. Example: speculations were made that the setting was in Wisconsin because Wally mentions the governor living in Madison. Another speculation is that it was on a coastal state when Beaver wanted to buy a surfboard. However, it was revealed later that the location was just a fictitious town of Mayfield, with no particular state in mind.
One episode showed footage of a town. It is of Skokie, Illinois. However, this is just stock footage video and the actors did not really go there.
Jerry Mather’s Audition
Jerry Mather’s audition for the show was an nontraditional one. He arrived in his Cub Scout uniform and informed the casting directors that he needs to hurry because he has a meeting to attend. Mather’s young innocence won the hearts of the producers and he landed the spot of the show’s main character, Theodore Cleaver.
Ken Osmond became Alice Cooper?
In the early 1970’s, a rumor was widely reported that Eddie Haskell, portrayed by Ken Osmond, was really Alice Cooper, a rock star. It began when a college newspaper editor asked him what kind of kid he was, to which Cooper replied, “I was obnoxious, disgusting, a real Eddie Haskell.” However, the story ended up reporting that Cooper was the real Haskell. The rumor was widely spread. Of course, it is not true and the real Eddie Haskell, Ken Osmond is a living proof of that.
Officer Eddie Haskell
Eddie Haskell never grew up to be a rocker but rather, he became a Los Angeles Police Officer. In 1970, the same period when the rumor about Alice Cooper spread, Ken Osmond joined the Los Angeles Police Department for 18 years.
Ken Osmond Was Shot
In 1980, Ken Osmond was shot three times during a foot chase. However, the Eddie Haskell actor was saved by his bulletproof vest.
Hugh Beaumont’s Ministry
Ward Cleaver, played by Hugh Beaumont, was always setting good moral examples for his sons to follow. In real life, Hugh Beaumont was a minister of the Methodist Church before he entered the acting industry.
No Rear Windshield On Car
Have you noticed that the Cleaver’s car has no rear windshield? That’s right. It didn’t have a rear windshield from the very start. It was removed by the production crew due to the unwanted glare that formed every time they tried to film it with the windshield.
The First Toilet in US TV Shows
One episode of ‘Leave it to Beaver’ was censored by the Federal Communications Commission when it showed a toilet. It is when Wally and the Beaver tried to keep a baby alligator in the tank behind the actual toilet bowl. Back then, it was unacceptable to show a toilet on a national TV. However, a compromise was made to show the tank but not the actual bowl. It is the first time that a toilet was seen in a US television. In 1997, the episode was ranked #42 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
Don’t Laugh too Hard
The show will definitely make you smile. But you probably won’t be rolling on the floor with laughter when you watch it. The production staff did not want it to be an over-the-top comedy, so if a line got too many laughs, they removed it from the script.
The First Ward Cleaver
The series pilot episode was originally filmed and casted by Max Showalter portraying the father, Ward Cleaver. That episode was aired as the pilot episode almost 6 months before the main series debuted and was never aired on the main series when he was replaced by Beaumont.
Don’t ‘Cha Cry
Jerry Mathers was a huge star during his time. That’s why the network had the actor record a single, titled ‘Don’t ‘Cha Cry.’ Many people back then never heard the single, because of the rumors that it was terrible. That was the beginning and end of his music career.
The First Wally
The very first who played Wally was Paul Sullivan. It was on its pilot episode titled It’s a Small World that aired about six months before the main series debuted when Tony Dow replaced Sullivan to portray Wally.
Hugh Beaumont Resented The Show
Beaumont was always professional on the set and friendly to the kids, but he harbored a deep sadness that he blamed on the show. It is because he fled to California for the show and left his family in Minnesota. The thing that saddened him was that it was his daily routine to drive his wife and her mother out west. When he wasn’t around, his son, Hunter, drove them for him. Hunter lost control of the car along the way, and Beaumont’s mother-in-law was killed in the crash.
Wally and the Beaver
The pilot episode of the series was proposed to be titled “Wally and the Beaver.” However, the production thought that the viewers may misunderstood the concept of the show and may think that it is a nature program. They had choose the title “It’s a Small World” on its pilot episode.
Director Hugh Beaumont
Hugh Beaumont did not only play as Ward Cleaver in the show. He also did some writing and even directing some episodes of the show.
The character Eddie Haskell was ranked #2 in TV Guide’s list of “TV’s 10 Biggest Brats” on its March 27, 2005 issue.
Like any other show, Leave it to Beaver came to an end. The show was still enjoying its fair ratings when it aired its last episode. The main reason of its ending was when Jerry Mathers, the main star of the show, resigned to focus on his education when he started high school. The production team agreed the show would not be the same without him,so they decided to end the show.