Back in the 1950s and into the 1960s owning a television was a pretty big deal. Sure it was becoming more and more common but they certainly were not in every household. The programming was all together different as well as the delivery methods. Obviously there was no such thing as the DVR, DvD, streaming, Netflix, Hulu DVD box sets etc. A program came on the air, it played and that was the end of it.
So when it came time for prop departments to do their work they were able to take some shortcuts...and get away with it! In this day and age we have the power to pause, rewind, zoom and replay live TV...so investigators of pop culture enjoy seeking out little tidbits that the everyday viewer would miss. Well this is what this story is all about! Rewind (no pun intended) to 1958. The episode of Leave it to Beaver entitled "Her Idol" hit the airwaves. In this episode we see Ward reading a letter from the school principal, Cornelia Rayburn. As Ward is reading the letter the camera shows a brief glimpse of the paper that he is reading from...and that is where the fun starts!
So first, let's take a look at the episode in question here. It is from season two (episode 6) of this 6 season series and it was called "Her Idol"...it originally aired on November 6, 1958. In this episode a letter gets sent home to the Cleaver household because beaver called Linda some names (Smelly Old Ape!) and then with all the hub-bub he got into a fight...he hit Larry because he "was mad and wanted to hit someone" and Larry was the closest!
Too funny! Beaver is bothered by the fact that Linda Dennison, a girl in his class, is always staring at him. What he is unaware of is that Linda likes him. But Linda ingratiates herself into his good books by thinking somewhat like a boy. Larry and Whitey see Beaver and Linda together, information which they pass along to the rest of their classmates. They start to tease Beaver that he is Linda's boyfriend. The only way they will believe that he's not is for Beaver to call her a nasty name. Beaver sits in a tree with Linda Dennison to view a bird's nest in the park. Larry and Whitey tease Beaver about Linda being his girl.
To prove he's not sweet on Linda, he calls her a "smelly old ape". The next day, Miss Landers gives the class a talk about boys and girls extending mutual respect to one another and getting along. When Beaver sees Linda with Larry in the same tree, he feels bad and wonders if the feeling is that which causes people to marry. Beaver doesn't want to hurt Linda's feelings but he also doesn't want anyone to think that he's any girl's boyfriend. Beaver has to decide if the teasing or hurting Linda is worse. Miss Landers may be able to provide an answer. (Written by Huggo for imdb)
~So let's take a closer look at this letter... The actual letter that was in Ward's hands as he read it out loud to Beaver...of course in the episode we only hear him read the last line...but the prop department had to make it look like a real letter from the school...this is FUN!!
Mr. Ward Cleaver
485 Mapleton Drive
My Dear Mr. Cleaver:
This paragraph has absolutely nothing to do with anything.
It is here merely to fill up space. Still, it is words,
rather than repeated letters, since the latter might not
give the proper appearance, namely, that of an actual note.
For that matter, all of this is nonsense, and the only
part of this that is to be read is the last paragraph,
which part is the inspired creation of the producers of
this very fine series.
Another paragraph of stuff. Now is the time for all good
men to come to the aid of their party. The quick brown
fox jumps over the lazy dog. My typing is lousy, but the
typewriter isn’t so hot either. After all, why should I
take the blame for these mechanical imperfections, with
which all of us must contend. Lew Burdette just hit a
home run and Milwaukee leads seven to one in the series.
This is the last line of the filler material of the note.
No, my mistake, that was only the next to last. This is last.
I hope you can find a suitable explanation for Theodore’s
For all of you Baseball fans and archivists at heart, here is the actual details of that Burdette Home-run! It really was a big deal in this World Series game and it is so cool that the studio staff included it in the "letter"...which helped identify when the letter was actually typed!
The Lew Burdette reference would put the date at October 2, 1958 — Game 2 of the World Series between the Braves and the Yankees, and a month before this episode ("Her Idol") aired. -- it was written on October 2, 1958, just after Lew Burdette (pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves) did indeed hit a home run vs. the Yankees, in Game 2 of the '58 World Series. Lew's four-ply wallop came in the 1st inning, and (just like the note said) gave Milwaukee a 7-1 lead in the game. (The Braves, btw, went on to win the game, 13-5.)...In this particular game Burdette started shaky giving up a lead-off single to Hank Bauer. Eddie Mathews fielded a grounder by Gil McDougald but threw wide to first setting up runners on second and third. Mickey Mantle was then intentionally walked loading the bases for cleanup hitter Elston Howard. But Howard would groundout forcing Mantle at second while Bauer came in from third scoring the game's first run. Burdette calmed down enough to get the next batter, Yogi Berra, to ground into an inning ending 4–6–3 double-play; Red Schoendienst, to Johnny Logan, to Frank Torre. A shakier Bob Turley would last only a third of an inning as the Braves lit up the scoreboard with seven (7) first inning runs sparked by a lead-off Bill Bruton home run who hit just three (3) in the season. The inning continued with Schoendienst doubling to right while Eddie Mathews watched a third strike go by for the first out. Hank Aaron walked and dependable Wes Covington singled home a run to right-center. Mid-season pickup Duke Maas relieved Turley to get Frank Torre to fly to right for the second out. Catcher Del Crandall walked loading the bases with Johnny Logan keeping up the onslaught with a two-run scoring single.
With the score already 4–1, pitcher Burdette helped his own cause with a three-run homer that left-fielder Elston Howard thought he had a bead on only to crash into the fence. Burdette was just the sixth pitcher (to date) with a World Series home run. Norm Siebern was summoned to take over for Howard and Johnny Kucks came in to pitch to try to stop the bleeding. The tenth batter of the inning, Bruton, lined to short but the damage was done as the Braves were staked to a 7–1 lead.
It came in the bottom of the first inning on October 2, 1958. The Braves had already won the opening game the previous day, also in Milwaukee. The bottom of the first inning, after the Yankees got a 1-0 lead in their first at bat, began when Bill Bruton hit a 2-2 pitch for a home run to tie the game. The Braves went on to win the second game and then the Yankees won the third. After the Braves also won the fourth game, The Yankees won three in a row to win the series. This had only happened once before in 1925 when the Washington Senators came back with three straight wins after being down 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ten years later in 1968, the Detroit Tigers came back to win the final three games after being down 3-1 to win the 1968 World Series.
So let's take a look at this epic moment in Leave it to Beaver history! And the added reference to the world series game just adds to the historical intrigue of this whole story! Enjoy! "Her Idol", 1958! If you go to 18:19 of the video you can see the "letter" that we are talking about here! Great stuff!! The video quality isn't the best...the voices are a bit high...but here you go!!