"Leave It to Beaver" The Perfume Salesmen (TV Episode 1957) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Wally and Beaver send for a supply of "Flower of the Orient" perfume to sell door-to-door, planning make enough money to buy a movie projector. But selling the perfume turns out to be harder than they think, especially when everyone agrees that it smells like an old catcher's mitt!

  • Although Ward and June know that Wally and Beaver are sending away for something, they don't know what that something is, and they as trusting parents are not going to ask. What Wally and Beaver do send away for is a twenty-four bottle supply of Flower of the Orient perfume, which they are supposed to sell for $1 a bottle, their prize for doing so being a movie projector. As Wally and Beaver go door-to-door trying to sell the perfume, they hit a roadblock as perfume is a misnomer for the product, which Beaver describes as smelling like an old baseball glove. As such, Wally and Beaver put the perfume away hoping their problem will just go away. When Ward and June learn of the perfume via a letter from the company lawyer suing the boys for not returning the money or the perfume, Ward initially plans to help the boys by just sending the perfume back. But he changes his mind, believing the boys should take more initiative to sell the perfume, with which he inadvertently states that he will help them. But when he and June "smell" that the problem may not be the boys but the perfume, Ward decides to take a slightly different tact, all done in the name of love for his sons.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow) and Beaver Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) receive a box in the mail. They take the box upstairs. June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) wants to know what the boys ordered from the Mason-Acme company. Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont) says he wants to show faith in the boys by not asking.

    Wally and Beaver unpack the box. Wally reads the accompanying letter which says that after selling the enclosed twenty-four bottles of Flower of the Orient perfume, they are to send twenty-four dollars plus tax back to the company. The company will then send the boys a Screenmaster movie projector. Wally and Beaver are excited. Wally and the Beaver smell the perfume. Beaver says it smells like old catcher's mitt. Wally says women are funny, and maybe they want to smell like catcher's mitt.

    Wally and the Beaver go door-to-door to sell the perfume. A woman buys the perfume. She smells it. She hands the perfume back, takes her money back and slams the door. Another woman smells the perfume, then gets her dog to bark at the boys until they go away. The boys don't sell any perfume.

    At home, June tells Ward that she is dying to know what the boys got from the Mason-Acme company. The boys come home and go upstairs without saying anything to June or Ward. Wally and the Beaver decide to hide the perfume in the closet and unload it at Christmas time. They forget about the perfume.

    Several weeks later, June is happy to see the boys cleaning their room, making their beds and putting things away. Ward tells June that the boys are being sued. June is surprised. Ward reads her a special delivery letter from Dunlap and Carter, which says they will sue if the twenty-four dollars plus tax is not sent to the Mason-Acme Company for the Flower of the Orient perfume. Ward tells June that three letters have already been sent to the boys demanding the money. June asks Ward what they should do. Ward says he'll send the perfume back with a letter accusing the company of exploiting child labor. Ward goes upstairs.

    Ward asks Wally and the Beaver to show him the perfume. The boys say they don't know anything about perfume. Ward tells them another letter came. The boys show Ward the perfume. Wally explains that they wanted the Screenmaster projector. Beaver tells Ward that they were afraid after the first letter arrived, and that they threw the others away. Ward tells the boys that if they wanted the projector badly enough, they wouldn't have given up so quickly and would have tried harder. Ward says that at their age, he could have sold a hundred bottles of perfume. Wally and the Beaver ask Ward to help them sell perfume. Ward says he has a golf date with Mr. Cartwright. The boys look disappointed. Ward tells the boys he will reschedule with Mr. Cartwright, and will help them sell perfume. The boys are happy.

    Ward tells June that hes going to help the boys sell perfume. June is surprised. Ward sells June a bottle of perfume. He goes out to get the car from the garage. June tries the perfume. Alarmed, June calls Ward back inside. Ward smells the perfume. Ward agrees to stall the boys until after lunch in order to come up with a new angle to sell perfume. June makes chopped egg sandwiches.

    After lunch, Ward sends the boys out on their own. Ward gives them a list of perspective customers. Wally and the Beaver are skeptical, but agree to try it again on their own. June asks to see the list. She is upset to see that it is the membership list to her Women's Club. Ward tells June that he leaned on her friends. June is mortified. Ward explains that he told the women that he'd buy the perfume back from them if they didn't like it. June tells Ward that he's going about it the wrong way. Ward tells her to think of it as an inducement. June tells Ward that it is more of a bribe.

    Wally and the Beaver go to the first house on the list. Before they can say anything, Mrs. Wentworth (Ann Dore) buys a bottle. Beaver asks Wally what happened. Wally is confused. They try another house. Beaver and Wally are able to easily sell the perfume. Wally continues to be confused. He tells Beaver they need to figure out what happened. Beaver tells Wally that they should get the Screenmaster projector first, and then figure out what happened. Wally agrees.

    The boys sell all the perfume. Ward congratulates the boys on their perseverance. The boys go upstairs. June is upset with Ward. She tells Ward that he made it easy for the boys by rigging the sales. Ward disagrees. Wally and Beaver count their money.

    Ward, June, Wally and Beaver admire their new projector, which Ward says arrived earlier that day. Ward goes to do some work in the den. June tells the boys to take the projector upstairs with them and tries to put it back in the box. It doesn't fit. Wally says that maybe the projector came in pieces and Ward put it together. The boys take the projector upstairs. June confronts Ward about the projector. Ward is evasive. June repeats herself. Ward shows June the projector that came in the box - a cheap plastic projector that shows Happy Hooligan when a crank is turned. Ward tells June that when he was a boy, he sent for an Admiral Byrd flying tri-motor airplane, and received a cardboard and rubber-band airplane instead. June asks if Ward's father bought him a real plane. Ward wishes his father had. June tells Ward that he did the wrong thing by buying the boys a real projector, but that he did it for all the right reasons.

    Upstairs, Wally tells Beaver that the projector must be a thirty-dollar projector. Wally notices that the projector is not a Screenmaster. He says that Dad must have bought if for them. Beaver says they should go thank Dad, that it would be the polite thing to do. Wally stops him. Wally tells Beaver that it is probably the one time that Dad wouldn't want them to be polite.

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