- Starring: Tony Dow, Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont
Leave It to Beaver portrayed the iconic postwar American family: June the perfect housewife, Ward the dad (what did he do for a living, anyway? And why did he always wear a suit to dinner?), big brother Wally, and of course Theodore ("The Beaver"), the good-hearted kid whose adventures propelled the show. Leave It to Beaver debuted in October of 1957 on CBS. In the fall of 1958, CBS dropped the series. ABC picked it up and ran it for an additional 5 years. Few people know that Leave it to Beaver was the first American television show broadcast behind the Iron Curtain -- perhaps part of the reason for so many references to God, Sunday School, Breaking Bread, etc. In several episodes, there are subtle references to the Soviet Union. In episode #31 ( New doctor ): Wally, has a model plane. Look close, it,s a Russian bomber. With, the red star decals. In episode #119 ( Beaver's House Guest ), the two boys are wearing their camp sweatshirts. With the name Camp Chekov on it. Propaganda? Maybe. What the average American family was like in the 1950's? I don't think so. What ever, I guess it worked.
The series focuses on Theodore Cleaver (Beaver). Beaver (who was 7 when the series began) is your basic everyday little boy who had a knack of getting himself into trouble at every turn. His older brother Wally, is just entering his teen years and often wonders out loud how Beaver could be so dumb to get himself into stupid situations. (Examples: getting himself locked in the principals office, letting the bathtub overflow, letting the washing machine overflow, getting his head stuck in a fence at the park, constantly losing things (cats, change, etc.) His parents are your everyday 1950's parents, June and Ward Cleaver, who do their best to understand and support Beaver and Wally as they grew up.
Other characters were mostly friends of Wally and Beaver. Wally's friends included Lumpy Rutherford and the two-faced Eddie Haskell. Eddie was courteous to June and Ward but when the grown ups weren't around he was a bully to Beaver and his friends. Beaver's friends include Whitey Whitney, Gilbert Gates/Bates/Harrison (inconsistent last name), Larry Mondello and Richard Rickover. Beaver's teachers, Miss Canfield and later Miss Landers were seen frequently as well as Lumpy's father, played by Richard Deacon known for his role on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
While most people lump in Leave it to Beaver with other family sitcoms, such as Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, this series was truly an original, and very much ahead of its time. It showed the world through the eyes of a young boy, and sometimes dealt with rather controversial subjects. One episode ("Beaver and Andy") dealt frankly with the subject of alcoholism. Another episode ("Beaver's House Guest") showed how divorce can affect a child.
In 1985, Leave It to Beaver was in a full blown revival after a 1983 reunion movie, Still the Beaver, when a spin-off series, with the title of the reunion movie, was proposed. It later begin airing in syndication under the title, The New Leave It to Beaver and starred all of the original cast members except Hugh Beaumont who died on May 14, 1982.
First Telecast: October 4, 1957 Last Telecast: September 12, 1963
Episodes: 234 B&W Episodes
+1 Unaired B&W Pilot Theme Song:
"The Toy Parade" Written by: Melvyn Leonard, Mort Greene & Dave Kahn
Spin-offs: The New Leave It to Beaver
NOTE: All air dates have now been verified through TV Guide.
CBS Broadcast History
October 1957-March 1958----Fridays----7:30 p.m.
March-September 1958----Wednesdays----8:00 p.m.
ABC Broadcast History
October 1958-June 1959----Thursdays----7:30 p.m.
July-September 1959----Thursdays----9:00 p.m.
October 1959-September 1962----Saturdays----8:30 p.m.
September 1962-September 1963----Thursdays----8:30 p.m.
(Top 30 or Better)
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- Genre(s): Comedy, Kids
- Show Type: Ended
- Season 3 premiere date: Oct 3, 1959
- Episode Length: 30
- Air Time: 08:00 PM
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