Appreciating all that makes America special

Leave It to Beaver

Leave It to Beaver ran for six seasons, one on CBS and five on ABC. It never lived near the top of the Nielsen ratings, but TV Guide included it among the 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. Uploaded by

Ah, innocence. For reasons I can’t quite understand, people like to make fun of Leave It to Beaver. As if an America in which mothers nurtured their children and fathers worked hard was a bad thing. As if a time when kids could leave the house, go anywhere in town without having to fear for their safety was a dark period in our national life.

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Leave It to Beaver ran for one season on CBS, then for five on ABC. It reached its natural conclusion when Wally was ready to go to college and Beaver to high school. But those six seasons gave us lots of great memories, many of them from a rich cast of supporting characters – Eddie Haskell, Larry Mondello, “Whitey” Whitney, Gilbert Bates, Lumpy Rutherford and his father Fred, and Beaver’s teacher, Miss Landers.

Of course it was the core cast of Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, Barbara Billingsley, and Hugh Beaumont that brought the Cleaver family to life. I was surprised to learn that they had two houses during the show’s run, the result of moving production from Republic Studios to Universal. It’s this second house that lingers in my memory, with so many scenes filmed in Ward Cleaver’s study. By the way, that house and street are still being used – you might have seen them on Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives.

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