Boomer Bytes

Memories of and pertaining to the Baby Boomer Generation.

Leave It To Beaver

Leave It To Beaver Cast

n_a  Leave It To Beaver…


Barbara Billingsley…

Hugh Beaumont…

Tony Dow…


Jerry Mathers… as The Beaver.

And so goes the opening credits of one of my favorite television shows.  What was the appeal?  I imagine it was the story lines of the two boys experiences and adventures while growing up.  It was a time that two boys could bike, walk, or play anywhere in town without worry.  Not that they could not get into mischief; just not the type of mischief that could permanently damage another person’s property.  That is the type of mischief that their Father could get them out of and teach them a lesson.  And each episode carried some type of message about was right and what was not.

The show’s creators, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher based the shows script on the experiences of their own children.  It exemplified life for the typical mid 20th century American family.  The formula for the episodes, written from the point of view of the children, was:  Child gets into mischief then had to face the correction of the parents, learned the lesson, then usually repeated the message at the end of episode with a discussion with his brother.  Episodes were set in the home, at school, around town, and even in the woods or at a relative’s home.

The show ran for 6 seasons – 234 episodes.  I prefer the episodes when they were younger, as it seemed that when they got older the mischief was more relationship centered rather than experience centered.  After all, it wouldn’t have been as plausible that the older boys could have talked an older Beaver into getting into a boat and paddling out into Miller’s pond.  Or that an older Beaver would climb into a bowl of soup on a billboard and get stuck there until his friend Gus the fireman came to rescue him.  The shows when they were younger contained much more of the canned audience “uh-oh” than when they were older.

One of the episodes played out in a way for me in real life.  In season 2 episode 9 Larry dares Beaver to smoke out of a Meerschaum pipe and because the pipe changes color after being smoked, Ward figures out the pipe had been used.  Once in my life, a friend of mine thought that his father’s Meerschaum would be great to smoke out of and that his Dad wouldn’t have to ever know.  I was able to point out from my memory of the episode how he had made a mistake.  Life imitates Art or something like that.

Throughout the series, I find that of all the relationships Wally and Beaver had the most trouble with was with girls.  Girls came between them, their friends, and generally were played as not being able to be figured out.  Every time a girl was involved nothing good came of it.  Granted the hardest thing for a teenage boy to figure out probably is a teenage girl.  I just cannot believe that there was never a time that the episode with a girl problem ever turned out good in the end.

I have to admit that I am very familiar with all the episodes.  The show was in reruns for many years and everytime I happened on an episode, I watched it.  I can almost relate the full storyline within the first thirty seconds of the opening credits.  Now the full series is available for streaming.  The only thing that prevents me from a marathon of all the episodes is that my family would never stand for it, and I can see how the appeal is not the same for everyone else as it is for me.  I know that Edgar Buchannan played an alligator handler and later played Uncle Billy.  I know that there were two actors that played Gus the fireman- Burt Mustin was my favorite.  I know that brussel sprouts played a role in an episode.  And I know that many child actors who became bigger stars, including Tim Matheson appeared in the series.  So yes, the show has an appeal to me that many do not share.  I understand that.

I cannot say I have a favorite episode.  I like so many of them, it would be hard to pick.  But I think I will sign off now and go watch “Eddie’s Girl.”

Bill Welker

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