The year was 1963 and something pretty pivotal was about to happen in the suspended make believe world know as TV Land. The ever popular super-hit television show, Leave it to Beaver, was about to come to a close. For many people at the time this was seen as tragic and they simply could not believe that something so entertaining and “real” feeling would be going away. The Cleaver family helped raise the families in “Anytown USA” since 1957 and they surely were going to be missed. June Cleaver was turning into something beyond a TV character…she was turning into a concept and quickly reaching the iconic level while the original broadcast was still on the air. This was something that many people were simply not used to, the notion of fully believing in a fictional character and modelling their actions after this portrayal. For some this was very consciously happening and for others it was sort of happening right under their noses in disguise. This show hit the air waves and started paving the path of the new normal. And now, it was coming to an end!
~The final episode of Leave it to Beaver aired on June 20, 1963. This day will forever be marked in the TV history books for it was not only the official end of a brilliant 6 season run but it was also the first time that a television show (up to this point) introduced the concept of a “season finale” filled with flashbacks and memories. The final episode was called “Family Scrapbook” and it was the 39th episode in the show's sixth and final season, and the 234th episode in the complete series. A closing of the door if you will. Over the decades, as you may well imagine, there has been much speculation as to why the show went away. The truth is…it was time. The boys were growing up and it was time for Jerry Mathers, who played the iconic character “Beaver”, to go finish school in real life and focus on the important things that a growing teenage boy needs to come to grips with. How do you continue a show called “Leave it to Beaver” if the Beaver is checking out?!
In short the final episode was a reflection…a family looking back at the ups and downs of suburban life in the perfect “after school” neighborhood. The episode begins with June finding an old family photobook/scrapbook while doing some routine house cleaning. She felt as though she should gather her cozy family around this book to share in this sentimental moment. We all know that feeling of breaking out the old photo albums….strap in, your emotions are going for a ride! Throughout the episode moments are revisited through storytelling and flashback as the Cleavers reminisce over old photographs. Ken Osmond as Eddie Haskell, Rusty Stevens as Larry Mondello, Madge Blake as Mrs. Mondello, Pamela Baird as Mary Ellen Rogers, and Sue Randall as Miss Landers are seen in flashbacks from several episodes including "Beaver Gets 'Spelled", "New Neighbors", "My Brother's Girl", "The Shave", "Beaver Runs Away", "Larry Hides Out", "Teacher Comes to Dinner", and "Wally's Election". The episode ends with Wally and the Beaver playing with a wind-up toy and laughing like children, a true “family” moment. It is in this final episode where the truth is revealed about where “the Beaver” got his nickname…Wally couldn’t say “Theodore” as a toddler and it came out as “Beaver”…ahhhhh memories.
So if you are a fan of the show you definitely know where the show left off. We watched, starting in 1957, two brothers growing up in Anytown USA and going through a lot of the typical highs and lows of boyhood. The storyline in Leave it to Beaver only goes so far though. As we know the story continues in the 1980s with the reincarnation series and movie…The New Leave it to Beaver came along and did offer up some answers but now the boys were grown…some dear characters had left us and a lot of stones were left unturned. So this is where you come in!! Have you ever heard the term “Bridge the Gap”??
~Well that is what we are looking for here with this fun little exercise in creative thinking! Think back to a time when the original run of Leave it to Beaver was coming to an end…think to where the story took us up to at that point. Now…write a small paragraph explaining your interpretation of where the story would have went if they were to continue it back in 1963. Where would "season 7" start off? What charactrs would hold central light? Make it interesting…make it detailed. There were some sad deaths along the way…do you include them in your story writing? What did Wally and the Beaver do as they approached their twenties?? I think you get the point! These little stories…these little “Bridges of the gap” will be showed to Tony Dow…We will post what we think would have been a great addition to the storyline! This is just for fun…don’t feel obligated to participate. It is just a way to get your speculation heard. Everyone had some idea at one point or another about what happened to the Cleavers before they reappeared in the 1980s…now is your chance to let your story be heard!!
"Season 7, Episode 1 (episode #235)..."
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