Who would of known that two advertising guys from New York city could move out to Hollywood and start writing for radio shows, most notably for the Amos ‘n Andy Show, and then go on to create a great feel good family comedy like Leave it to Beaver? Well, that’s exactly what happened with writers Joe Connelley and Bob Mosher.
They began writing radio comedy in the early 1940s, culminating with highlight of each of their careers as they penned hundreds of Amos ‘n Andy shows for radio and then later as it moved to television. After Amos ‘n Andy, the partners wrote The Ray Milland Show. It wasn’t nearly as successful and after this failed venture, the duo decided to write what they know. With 8 children between the two, they decided to write a show based on a suburban family.
There were different names for the show before it officially launched as Leave it to Beaver on October 4, 1957. It’s ironic, but that’s also the day the Russians launched their Sputnik satellite. The different names considered for the show were It’s a Small World, which was the name of the pilot episode and Wally and the Beaver. Jerry Mathers has stated in many interviews that the latter name was nixed by sponsors of the show because they thought audiences would believe it to be an animal show.
In 1957, Leave it to Beaver debuted and thanks to syndication, it has not been off the air since it was cancelled by ABC in 1963. Seriously, not one single day since 1963 has Leave it to Beaver not aired somewhere in the world. Many of the show’s stars have spoken of this amazing situation comedy feat. Now, it not only is on networks like ME-TV and Antenna TV, depending on which one owns broadcast rights for a given year, but it can also be found on Netflix and on DVDs. The entire series is available on DVD which is always a fun way to watch it.
If you’re new to the show, it revolves around the Cleaver family who live in suburban Mayfield. It is never indicated on the show precisely in which state Mayfield is located, but with numerous references to Ohio and writer/producer/creator Joe Connelley hailing from Ohio, that’s a logical guess to its location. However, there are references to surfboards in one episode and no one ever surfs on Lake Erie, right? Basically, it’s never really stated where the show takes place and fans on Facebook pages like this one or this one sometimes try to use logic to guess the location, but it was never specifically stated, and probably for a good reason.
The show focuses on the view point of two children, Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, Wally Cleaver and their parents Ward and June. It’s just life in the suburbs and the situations the children would get involved with, many of them hilarious and none of them fictional. Every event in the show happened in some way or another to the writers/producers of the show. Recurring friends on the show for Beaver were Larry, Whitey, Gilbert and Richard. Wally’s friends were Tooey, Chester, Eddie and Lumpy.
There were six season of Leave it to Beaver, each airing 39 episodes for a total of 234. Many cast members stayed friends or became friends after the show. That is one of the best things about the show to real Leave it to Beaver fans, and that’s the friendship between Wally, Eddie, Lumpy, June and Beaver for 50 plus years after the show ended.
There will never be another show like Leave it to Beaver.