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During a recent TVLand "Top 10 Characters You Love To Hate" special, a
well-known (under 40) female actress was quoted as saying that she
believed sneaky Eddie Haskell to be the only character in the show that
she remembered for resembling "a real person".
Though I'll agree that Ward and June might come across at times as being unrealistically conservative (for example, their sitting at home in their Sunday best for no reason) her comment was something I found hard to understand, since, Beaver was known to be the first show of it's kind to explore such teen issues as, alcoholism, divorce, and troubled teens.
It seems that many viewers also do not understand the significance of Ward's frequent reference (often shown as his sad remembrance) to his own harsh encounters with his strict Father, who made a point of "taking him out to the woodshed" to let Ward know "just what his Father meant", and how Ward, as a Father himself, deciding that he would not do the same when teaching his own sons right from wrong.
While the conservative side of the show might be a bit too much for some, in the end there is nothing wrong with that behavior either - it's a far better lifestyle than what we see in today's world, where parents sometimes see their children as a liability rather than a blessing.
Those who regularly watch Beaver know that while the corn does sometimes grow high in Mayfield, the trueness of the show's stories is what makes Beaver the timeless show that many still enjoy almost a half century after it's debut.
When I was young, way back in the 1960's I never really dug this show.
It was too 'predictable'. In the first five minutes we meet the
Cleavers, then in the next 15, Beaver has screwed up, and the last few
minutes of the show, we get a good lesson on 'cause and effect' from
Ward. Everybody laughs, credits roll, and we get to see Wally and
Beaver walking home and a brand new De Soto go by in the street
(Chrysler, replacing Ford Motor Company, sponsored the show from about
1959, onward and used the closing credits to get a product placement
shot in.) And as I was a kid at the time, I never enjoyed seeing other
kids get into trouble.
Now that I'm in my forties, I find the show hysterical. The exasperated look that Ward and June get when something happens, Wally's comments, and the dealings with all the Cleavers friends are priceless.
Wally's come backs of 'Aw, heck, Beaver', and 'Don't be a creep, or something.' Crack me up. You can always count on a great line from Tony Dow in every episode.
The story lines were fairly typical fifties fluff, with a few exceptions. There is one that deals with an alcoholic handyman that Ward knows, that frankly could be re-shot today, and not feel 40 plus years old. I recently saw one, where Beaver joins a record club, and forgets to send back a card to cancel the next shipment of records. Hands up, out there, how many of us do that today with our CD and DVD club selection cards?
A true, kindhearted, and well written classic to be enjoyed by the whole family.
It is easy to criticize "Leave it to Beaver" today for being an overly
romanticized look at family life in the late 50s/early 60s. Because, well,
it is an overly romanticized look at family in the late 50s/early 60s. But
so what? This is a well written, well acted sitcom. I love it for the show
that it is and I don't worry about the more realistic show it could have
Ward and June Cleaver are raising two sons: Wally and Theodore, who everyone calls by the nickname "Beaver." (To answer an earlier reviewer, the nickname came from older brother Wally who couldn't pronounce "Theodore" when his little brother was born, instead pronouncing it "Beaver.)
Beaver is definitely not a Bart Simpson, constantly making trouble and outwitting his dad. No, Beaver is a kid who gets into trouble usually because one of his friends (Larry, Richard or Gilbert) talks him into it. It is then usually up to Ward to help straighten the situation out and gently but firmly teach Beaver the lesson to be learned.
Wally and June are equally as important. Wally is the older brother we all wish we had. And who else but June could look so perfect while fixing up a batch of our favorite cookies?
One of the biggest reasons why the show was popular then and is still popular today, however, is the supporting cast. Eddie Haskell. ("And might I add Mrs. Cleaver, that is a lovely blouse you are wearing.") Fred Rutherford. ("See you in the salt mines, Ward.") Larry Mondello. Miss Landers. Mary Ellen Rogers. Gus the Fireman. All have endured for more than 40 years and become permanent fixtures in our pop culture.
Overly romanticized? Sure. But so what. Years from now when people have forgotten almost all of the sitcoms airing today, The Beaver will still be bringing smiles to our faces.
"Leave It to Beaver" (1957-1963) is a family show set in the suburban
town of Mayfield that focuses on the Cleaver family: Ward (Hugh
Beaumont), father and accountant; June (Barbara Billingsley), wife and
stay-at-home Mom; and their two boys, Wally (Tony Dow) a teenager, and
their youngest, Theodore, better known to everyone as "Beaver" (Jerry
Mathers). While television of the 1950s and '60s had its share of
family shows during its black and white age, including "Father Knows
Best" with Robert Young and Jane Wyatt; "The Donna Reed Show" (with
Donna Reed and Carl Betz); "Dennis the Menace" (starring Jay North);
and later, the long running series, "My Three Sons" (1960-1972) with
Fred MacMurray, it seemed unlikely that "Leave It to Beaver" would
become the one sit-com to survive and continue to air on television,
whether locally or on cable, decades after its concluding episode in
1963. The aforementioned family comedy shows had its share of reruns
before slowly disappearing to Limbo, replaced by newer programs to its
Color- oriented viewers, but this innocent black and white show which
was done on film and not on video tape and to date never colorized to
attract younger viewers, still entertains as is. "Leave It to Beaver"
geared to its younger viewers when first aired, but today, the children
who loved it back then are either adults or grandparents currently
sharing their TV memories with their young ones. And the tradition
Like most long-running shows, this one lasting six seasons, the earlier episodes are the best, mixing comedy, charm and well scripted dialog. It's obvious that the writer or writers who developed this program had fond memories of what it's like being a child, for that many of the show's characters, mainly children, could easily be identified by someone we at one time had know in our youth, one character in particular being Judy Henson, the school's pony tailed tattle-tale, teacher's pet and know-it-all. Beaver's closest friend during the first couple of seasons was the chubby Larry Mondello, while Wally's pals were Chester, Tooey and the conniving Eddie Haskell. Over the years, characters have come and gone, but the writers managed to find new friends for Beaver while they kept and expanded the Eddie Haskell character, played to perfection by Ken Osmond, one of the most memorable and "smooth" characters created and developed. Along the way, Chester and Tooey were just phased out, and a new character, Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford (Frank Bank) stepped in. At first, Lumpy was the neighborhood bully who hounded Wally and the Beav, to eventually became one of Wally's closest friends.
With each passing season viewers got to see the show's new opening, watching the boys growing and maturing to young adults by season six. During the final season, the instrumental theme song remained the same, though jazzed for its final season (1962- 63). By then, Beaver, the central titled character has turned 14, losing his innocent and boyish charm and becoming least interesting character. With the writers sensing this, the scripts placed Beaver in support in several episodes while stories revolved around more on Wally and his friends. There were even segments in which either Lumpy or Eddie would have almost an entire episode, but when Beaver became the central character, it lacked something, becoming mediocre episodes. By mid season, Beaver would start becoming more interested in girls. After 235 episodes, the Cleaver family went into retirement.
The amazing aspect about this program is the development of its characters, not only the central ones but the supporting crew. Aside from Ken Osmond's ever so polite Eddie, who's well mannered in front of the adults and a "big mouth, wise guy" to his pals, there's Richard Deacon as Fred Rutherford, Lumpy's father; the charming Sue Randall as Miss Landers, Beaver's teacher; Burt Mustin as Gus, the fireman; Beaver's other friends including Stanley Fafara as Whitey Whitney, who appeared occasionally through the show's six seasons; Stephen Talbot as Gilbert, and Richard Correll as Richard Rickover. The show might have its share of contradiction, there was a Violet Rutherford, Fred's daughter/ Lumpy's sister, who disappeared, leaving Lumpy the Rutherfordf's only "offspring," while Gilbert Bates introduced as the only child of his widowed father, to suddenly have a mother and sister in later episodes who never appear.
Aside this being a comedy show, "Leave It to Beaver" does take time out for some tender moments. In almost every episode, after either Wally or the Beav, or both, get tangled up with problems, whether it be their fault or not, there is usually a good father to son(s) lecture, along with the moral lesson to what's occurred. One in particular line recited by Ward (Hugh Beaumont) to his wife, June, that stands out is, "The way to get your children's love is to first earn their respect." Occasionally mother June would have her moment of truth with her boys as well, giving them the lesson, value and facts of life, something currently missing in today's TV family sitcoms. And even when the parents are in the wrong, this is one of those rare cases in which the TV Dad or Mom will come out and admit it, showing its viewers that even the parents aren't perfect, but they do what's best for their children as well as learning from their own mistakes.
There are many classic episodes, the one hailed the best where Beaver gets trapped in a billboard soup bowl. Regardless of its age, "Leave It to Beaver" is harmless fun, good family viewing. There was even a 1983 reunion show, "Still the Beaver," along with a new up-to-date series, "The New Leave It to Beaver" (1985-1989). While it's good seeing those familiar faces again, a little older and slightly wiser, but minus the deceased Hugh Beaumont, who is sorely missed, nothing comes close to this original series.
Leave It To Beaver will always be one of my all-time favorite shows. I
remember coming home for lunch each day from school and watching Leave It
Beaver at 12.00 o,clock . It has been on the same channel(The New VR) &
slot for over 25yrs. I still love watching it now into my thirtys. This
has stood the test of time, and should still for generations to come.
There were some shows that were not as good as others. But there are some that are classics!! A few of my best ones are:
1) The Haircut: This is the one when Beaver keeps losing his lunch money. And when Ward gives him money for a hair cut, he loses the money again, he asks Wally to give him the hair cut. Wally really scalps him.
2) Wally,s Car: This is the episode when Wally buys a car for $25dollars. The car needs alot of work on it, so he starts to take it all apart. Ward gets mad & tells Wally to get rid of it. He decides to sell it for parts & makes alot more money that the $25.00 bucks he paid for it. Ward in the meantime has made arrangement to have the car towed away. When the man shows up to pick it up he says one of the funniest lines. "It Looks Like A Fish Thats Been Boned!!" This is a great show.
3) The Younger Brother: Beaver trys out for the junior boys basketball team but the coach soon realizes that Beaver is not the same kind of player that Wally was. He gets cut from the team. When Ward & Fred Rutherford decide to drop in on one of his practises they find out that he,s been cut from the team.
There are so many more great shows that I could have listed. Out of all of the cast members, I would have loved to met the late Hugh Beaumont. He was excellent as Ward Cleaver & is sadly missed.
It will be a really sad day if this show ever stops showing reruns. May it live on forever.....
Leave it to beaver is remarkable. i still wonder why people never make
clean humored shows like this. all it is on TV nowadays is sexual jokes
and just plain old B.A.D.
Theodore "beaver" cleaver is the average American boy. he likes baseball, he has an older brother, and he's got friends who are total dummies. and he's always doing something, and learning something at the same time, with a little humor and funny comments you only find in readers digest.
when i heard of this show at first, i thought it was a normal show, but when i saw it for the first time last summer, i thought it was hilarious! if you remember the show from the 50's and 60's, NowTV has it at 6:30 every weekday. if you haven't seen it, you should. then you'll know what a real family show is.
this is a 10/10, dude
Leave it to Beaver is one of the classic sit-coms of all time. It is
timeless and has had meaning for every generation that has watched it
its inception. It is in that rare category of show that will be shown
forever. Like "I Love Lucy" or "The Dick van Dyke Show", or "The Brady
Bunch (although I call this one a cheap rip-off)", or "The Mary Tyler
Show"---THE BEAVER IS AMONG THE BEST OF THE BEST, completely watchable and
understandable with concepts that are universal to all and can be
across the years.
When my young children discovered it, valuable lessons were learned. We laughed at the "messes" Beaver got in, usually with the help of friends talking him into it. We all learned to trust our judgment and not be led into unnecessary trouble. If there was trouble out there Beaver would find it. Thanks to the Beaver, mine have had a little more trouble finding it than they might have otherwise. Lots of laughs and a lesson to be learned every show.
Please check my comments for "Still the Beaver", (a many years later continuation), and if you get the chance tune into it for some "Cleaver's: the next generation action". It was done with love and it was a wonderful job.
PS--I was surprised to learn (from the imdb info on 'beaver') that GWEN RUTHERFORD (fred's wife/lumpy's mom) was played by MAJEL BARRETT (RODDENBERRY) of later Star Trek fame. Live and learn.......
For years repeats of Leave It To Beaver were seen on WTBS and WGN out
of Chicago during the 1980's,but it still is one of the heartwarming
family shows around,and it still is to this day. Jerry Mathers' role as
The Beaver was just that: a kid who always had a knack for getting into
all sorts of trouble with his friends,but it was always big brother
Wally(played by Tony Dow) to bail him out,and it was Ward,the
Father(played by Hugh Beaumont)that gave Beaver advise on some
things,most of the time giving him the business,right in front of
June(played by Barbara Billingsley). The character that really gave
them the business was no other than that creepy Eddie Haskell(played by
Ken Osmond) who would be polite to them one minute,and getting Wally
into some mischief(as Beaver) the next. The show itself,had the boys
learning about morals and values and their father always giving them
the opportunity to do their best and to stay straight while they kept
things together. The show itself was side-splitting hilarious
indeed(especially the episodes where Beaver falls into a soup bowl
poster with Larry Mondello of all people,and the time where they spike
Wally's birthday party with Beaver's friends Gilbert and Whitey getting
him into some very serious trouble,and finally getting even with Eddie
Haskell once and for all!!!)
Interesting Note about Beaver: The show was on two different networks at the time: 1st,it was on CBS for two seasons in classic black and white producing 78 episodes from October 4,1957 until June 25,1959. CBS canceled "Leave It To Beaver" in 1959,but in the fall of that year the show moved to ABC-TV where it remained for the next four seasons from October 3,1959 until June 20,1963 producing an astounding 156 episodes. A total of 234 episodes were produced,all in black and white for Revue Studios.
Leave it to Beaver has been somewhat maligned for representing an
idealized, almost utopian view of the 1950's (although half the
episodes aired in the next decade) where everyone is in his place...
the sons go to the school dances and participate in sports and take the
girls out on nice, proper dates (as well as always addressing their
father as "sir"), the father goes to work and comes back to read the
paper, and the wife is in, you guessed it, the kitchen. Among certain
circles "June Cleaver" is seen as a dirty name.
If you watch the series, however, the show is much more than its reputation. Ward and June Cleaver are not the perfect parents, they are merely very good parents. It almost should be remembered that the world is seen through the eyes of Beaver Cleaver, the show's star. Keeping that in mind, it shouldn't be a surprise that we rarely see the parents argue (and also why we never learn what Ward's job actually is) and the world in general is seen as a pretty friendly place. The family system is very idealized and it's refreshing to watch. The show has a nostalgic vibe no matter what the age of the viewer (my father was a toddler when it aired and I can still feel nostalgic about it) because it does idealize values that are still cherished by people all over the world- decency, honesty, responsibility, family... the Cleavers are great with all these things just about every episode. It's also a very comfortable show... it isn't aiming for laughs that will put you on the floor laughing, but it will consistently get a chuckle out of people.
Because the Cleavers are idealized, some may see the show as "dated" because the 21st century has a more cynical approach to family. This is not to say that television that strives to show a realistic family situation is bad or wrong, only that showing an idealized version of the family isn't wrong either. What is often overlooked, however, is that many issues are addressed throughout the series run. Some things that may have been more acceptable in that era are frowned upon in LitB, and serious issues are dealt with throughout the series. Racism, alcoholism, divorce, and more that would surprise those who know the show only be reputation. Very often other children would talk about their father beating them (something Ward absolutely never did... not even spankings), and although these lines are often played for laughs there is a definite somber tone as well. And as a younger person watching the show, I see the same basic social issues being dealt with by Beaver and his brother Wally as kids and even adults deal with today. The things that Beaver or Wally do wrong every week (the show has one basic formula, but it works well) may seem small and petty in comparison to what many of us have done, but many of the same principles are involved in the reasons behind the wrong actions and the solutions. So in this way, Leave it to Beaver is both tremendously old-fashioned and relevant to any culture in which humans are involved.
As far as specifics about the cast, they're all iconic characters with the nasty, conniving Eddie Haskell being one of the greatest TV character ever. Ward's wisdom is always a nice treat, and I believe that June Cleaver has more depth and strength than she's given credit for (there are a few times when you wonder who wears the pants in the family!). One of the biggest drawbacks of the show is the older Beaver in the later seasons. He's still saying the same lines that are supposed to be cute and innocent, the problem is Mathers wasn't cute and innocent anymore, he was a teenager. That's partly why the show finally ended with the cast moving on to different things.
So all in all, it's a show that I can't recommend enough.
Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963) was one of the proto-typical television
sitcoms of it's era. Pure American pop culture. The tales of Theodore
Cleaver, his adolescent brother Wally and the rest of the Cleavers are
documented over a six year period. Everyone out there in T.V. land
watched the brothers grow up. Never really a big ratings grabber, the series ended when the "Beaver" got too old for people to really care about.
Now after years in syndication, the Leave it to Beaver cult has grown and
found an even larger audience thirty years later when Hollywood produced
a feature length film based upon this sitcom (the new June Cleaver was too
hot for the movie). But I digress. Twenty years after the last episode, a
new series featuring the principal cast members was made revolving around
them and their children.
Pure white-bred middle class family that many people today wished this
country would return to. If you ever wanted to see what life was
presumably like back in the latter half of the "nifty fifties", then this series will satisfy your curiosity.
I'm Mike Tee Vee. Talk to you next time!
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