L is for “Leave It to Beaver”

“Leave It to Beaver” was an American television sitcom broadcast between 1957 and 1963. It ran for six full 39-week seasons (234 episodes), debuting on CBS on October 4, 1957. The following season, it moved to ABC, where it stayed until completing its run on June 20, 1963.

The show was about an inquisitive and often naïve boy, Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers), and his adventures at home, school, and around his suburban Ohio neighborhood. The show also starred Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as Beaver’s parents, June and Ward Cleaver, and Tony Dow as Beaver’s brother, Wally.

This sitcom defined the “golly gee-whiz” wholesomeness of the mid 50s and early 60s TV, where the father always gets home in time for dinner, the mother cleans the house wearing a dress and pearls, and the kids always learn a lesson by the end of the half-hour episode. It exemplified the idealized suburban family of the mid-20th century.

“Leave It to Beaver” was one of the first primetime sitcom series written from a child’s point of view. It provided a glimpse of middle-class American boyhood. In a typical episode, Beaver gets into some sort of boyish scrape, then faces his parents for reprimand and correction. Neither parent was infallible and the series often showed the parents debating their approach to child rearing, and some episodes were built around parental gaffes.

The still-popular show ended its run in 1963 primarily because it had reached its natural conclusion: In the final show, Beaver is about to graduate grade school to move into high school, but Wally was about to enter college and the fraternal dynamic at the heart of the show’s premise would be broken with their separation.

At around the same time that “Leave It to Beaver” was on the air, other popular sitcoms with family-oriented plots included “The Advenures of Ozzie and Harriet,” “Father Knows Best,” “Make Room for Daddy,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

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36 thoughts on “L is for “Leave It to Beaver”

  1. eschudel April 14, 2021 / 7:03 am

    Before my time, but I remember watching reruns!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. newepicauthor April 14, 2021 / 7:06 am

    My sister had posters of Jerry Mathers and Jay North in her bedroom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marleen April 14, 2021 / 7:19 am

      It surprises me that such posters existed. Puts the craze over Happy Days characters into context.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Marleen April 14, 2021 / 7:17 am

    We’ve all seen this one, right? Oh, yeah… in reruns for me too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. JT Twissel April 14, 2021 / 10:11 am

    Oh – that was a doozy. The mother always wore pearls when she was vacuuming and cooking dinner! Totally realistic!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango April 14, 2021 / 10:40 pm

      It might have been realistic in the mid-fifties! 😏


  5. msjadeli April 14, 2021 / 4:55 pm

    WP glitch has the “like” area on permanent loading for all blogs I visit. Tried clearing cache, restarting computer, etc. but not clearing it.

    I liked this show and it was a happy-go-lucky version of life that was a pleasant respite from real life. One of my brothers had protruding teeth and so got the nickname Beaver. He hated it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 14, 2021 / 10:47 pm

      Yet another WP glitch. What a shocker. Yes, LITB was a pleasant, lightweight show.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. J.E.M. Wildfire April 14, 2021 / 5:18 pm

    I don’t remember ever watching this. It must have aired on a school night; we weren’t allowed tv those nights. Except Ed Sullivan.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marleen April 16, 2021 / 10:03 pm

    Barbara Billingsley’s face reminds me of a current actress. I haven’t figured out what that actresses name is, yet.

    Liked by 1 person

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