Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963)
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Sweatshirt Monsters 

Beaver and his friends buy fad "monster" sweatshirts and agree to wear them to school on the same day but Beaver is the only one who manages to sneak out of his house in the gruesome attire... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Richard Rickover (as Richard Correll)
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Doris Packer ...
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Mr. Collins
Jane Dulo ...
Mrs. Rickover
Mark Murray ...
Alan Boothby
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Storyline

Beaver and his friends buy fad "monster" sweatshirts and agree to wear them to school on the same day but Beaver is the only one who manages to sneak out of his house in the gruesome attire and suffers the consequences of violating the school's dress code...and his parents trust. Written by shepherd1138

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Comedy | Family

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2 June 1962 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Ward Cleaver: Beaver, we don't want to be nosy, but would you mind telling us what's going on?
Theodore 'Beaver' Cleaver: Oh sure, Dad. I gotta go someplace to see somebody about something.
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Connections

Featured in Tales of the Rat Fink (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Clothes Rebellion on LITB
22 April 2016 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

"Sweatshirt Monsters" is one of those emblematic LITB episodes that people tend to remember, just like "In the Soup," "Beaver Plays Hooky" and a handful of others. The series was very good at coming up with inventive premises that touched the boundaries of the absurd. Here, Beaver and his pals Richard, Whitey and Alan (where did he come from?) buy hideous novelty sweatshirts with monsters emblazoned on them and make a pact to wear them to class the next day. But only Beaver follows through, and all hell breaks loose at school and at home!

With questions of school dress codes frequent nowadays, it's eye-opening to see the issue at the forefront of a 1962 TV episode. Perhaps it's a cliché to say that certain works of art or pop culture are "ahead of their time," but that's true enough of LITB episodes like "Sweatshirt Monsters."

Just as with "Beaver's Book Report," Mrs. Rayburn proves an apt foil for these sweatshirt shenanigans, when Beaver is called to her office for a straightening-out. The woman had the demeanor of an Edwardian society matron at a tea party - the lorgnette and cucumber sandwich sort.

Notice too that the director has pointed up the absurdity of the sweatshirt by surrounding Beaver with very properly-dressed individuals. For instance, when the four boys walk down the street wearing the shirts they are stared at by a very chic young woman in a Jackie Kennedy-esque outfit; and right after Beaver is asked by his teacher to go to the principal's office the scene cuts to one of June Cleaver talking on the phone while wearing an elegant hat, suit, and gloves. Even Mrs. Rayburn wears a chunky set of pearls while she reproves Beaver in her office in the presence of Ward. Everything in the episode conspires to reinforce social norms of dress.

In today's age of do-whatever-you-want relativism, we could use more of the straightforward morality of Ward in the final scene: "Just remember this: wrong is wrong, even if everybody says it's right; and right is right, even if everybody says it's wrong."

For another episode about unconventional dress or grooming, dealing with themes of self-expression and conformity, check out Season 2's "Wally's Haircomb."


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