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The American series “Leave It to Beaver” was a popular program in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It ran from 1957 to 1963 and is still highly acclaimed more than 50 years later. Because the show aptly portrayed the post-World War II suburban life, millions of Americans resonated with the characters and the plot and loved the show, tuning in for every episode.
The program was unique in that it was written from the child’s point of view. This made it unlike the other sitcoms on air at the time. And made it very popular among the younger audience. The story follows the life of seven-year-old Theodore Beaver, his older brother Wally and their parents Ward and June.
While you’re undoubtedly familiar with some or all of the 234 episodes of “Leave It To Beaver”, you probably don’t know these behind-the-scenes secrets that have been vaulted up since the 1960s…
When he started the show Tony Dow had no acting experience. He was a junior Olympian who landed the part of Wally Beaver after the first show he auditioned for was canceled.
Barbara Billingsley who played June wore pearl necklaces in every episode – not because it was fashionable but because he hid her neck indent.
When the show started, Billingsley wore flat shoes. But just a few episodes in, she started wearing high heels and never went back. Why? Because the boys in the show started growing!
The Cleavers lived in Mayfield. While the show aired, fans were frantic to discover where they were. Fans speculated that Mayfield was set in Wisconsin because Wally mentioned the governor lived in Madison. But the truth was that Mayfield was fictitious and not located in any state.
One episode shared stock footage of a town, which was Stokie, Illinois. The actors did not go there.
Jerry Mather had a unique audition. He arrived in his Cub Scout uniform and told casting directors to hurry up because he had a meeting. His innocence won the hearts of the jaded producers.
A rumor appeared in the 1970s that said Ken Osmond who played Eddie Haskell was really Alice Cooper, the rock star. Unfortunately, it was never true.
Instead, Ken Osmond grew up to become a Los Angeles Police Officer. He worked for the LAPD for 18 years. Then in 1980, Osmond was shot three times while chasing a suspect. Fortunately, he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
On the show, Hugh Beaumont who played Ward Cleaver always set a good moral example for the kids. Outside of the show, Beaumont was a minister of the Methodist Church before he went into acting.
You might never have noticed but the Cleaver’s car was missing a rear windshield. Film crews wanted to get a better shot and the glass produced unwanted glare.
“Leave It to Beaver” showed the first toilet on television in the United States. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, societal norms were strict. The Federal Communications Commission first censored the scene. But they came to a compromise to show the toilet tank and not the bowl.
What are your favorite memories from “Leave It to Beaver”?
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