Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963)
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The Merchant Marine 

Angry with his dad for taking his car keys away, Lumpy Rutherford decides to secretly join the Merchant Marine Corp and has the enlistment information sent to the Cleaver's address instead ... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
June Cleaver
Theodore Cleaver
Frank Bank ...
Fred Rutherford


Angry with his dad for taking his car keys away, Lumpy Rutherford decides to secretly join the Merchant Marine Corp and has the enlistment information sent to the Cleaver's address instead of his own. Trying to be a good friend, Wally hides the Corp literature in his room; but, when June finds it while cleaning, she's sure that a break-up with his girlfriend and a recent reprimand from Ward have made Wally unhappy enough to leave home. Written by shepherd1138

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Comedy | Family






Release Date:

28 April 1962 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title refers to the United States Merchant Marine which consists of the fleet of civilian-owned merchant ships that transport goods in and out of U.S. ports operated by either the government or the private sector. In time of war, the Merchant Marine is under the United States Navy transporting troops and supplies. The United States Merchant Marine Academy, one of five federal military academies, is located in Kings Point, New York. See more »


Clarence Rutherford: Yeah when I backed into his gate and busted it he told my father I was an unresponsible driver.
Wally Cleaver: Anybody can have an accident.
Clarence Rutherford: That's what I told him last time when I knocked down his mailbox and fence.
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References Sea Hunt (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

Life with Lumpy
27 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

This is one of the few LITB episodes that center on Lumpy Rutherford; the only others that come to mind are "Lumpy's Scholarship" and a couple of early episodes in which Lumpy was a bully.

Angry with his dad, Lumpy has decided to quit school and join the Merchant Marines. Only thing is, he has had letters and pamphlets from the Marines forwarded to Wally's address so that his dad won't suspect anything. Now, when June discovers these communiqués she is sure that a recent reprimand from Ward has driven Wally to leave home.

Of all the regular LITB characters, Lumpy has always been the most difficult for me to like, but this episode succeeds in humanizing him - or at least making us feel pity for him. The relationship he enjoys with his father Fred Rutherford is dysfunctional, to put it mildly. Blowhard Fred likes to pretend he is the perfect up-to-date progressive father, full of the latest pop psychology. The reality is quite different, as we learn here: in this family the father doesn't know what the son is up to. You might say that Lumpy and Fred live in a mutually-fed world of delusion.

The character of Lumpy was memorably fleshed out (as it were) by the late Frank Bank. He played the role as a classic "follower" with little mind of his own, an oafish "second banana" to Eddie Haskell, with always just a touch of effeminate dopeyness ("Yes, Daddy!") that took away any menacing edge the character might have had.

On another note, I continually wonder why people call LITB a "simplistic" show. Nothing could be further from the truth. This episode has enough irony and emotional complexity for a one-act stage play, with camera work and acting that express the relationships among the characters. It's the small details that made this series great. Just one example: in the closing scene, Ward June and Beaver stand framed in the doorway watching Lumpy and Fred depart; but instead of a symmetrical arrangement, Beaver stands in front of Ward, almost obscuring him: the perfect visual metaphor of a son growing into manhood and taking the place of his father. Indeed, this is a prominent theme of the episode: at one point when Wally is scolding Lumpy for his behavior, Lumpy tells Wally that he sounds just like his father.

Just one example how artful a series LITB was.

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