So let's take a walk down memory lane for a moment and while we do that let's also try to remember that the cast of Leave it to Beaver are, indeed, human beings. While we look at this "photo book" let's absorb the old and new of a cast that was second to none! With some little facts along the way that helped create America's favorite TV family in our hearts...
The show was originally titled "It's a Small World" then Changed to "Wally and Beaver"...the studio thought that "Wally and Beaver" sounded too much like a nature show so the name was changed to the infamous, "Leave it to Beaver"... And a funfact...Jerry Mathers and Hugh Beaumont worked together before "Beaver" and it was their onscreen charisma that solidified the early roles...After the pilot, of course, had Max Showalter playing Hugh!
America's favorite big brother! Wally Cleaver! A heart throb then and now! Can you imagine what life must have been like for teenage Tony Dow? Filming all week for the show, fitting in three hours a day for school, then going home to do homework and "be a kid"...must have been grueling! Tony now resides in the gorgeous hills of Topanga California with his beautiful wife Lauren and he has become quite the accomplished visual artist!
Barbara Billingsley...Our June. Even as we sit here in 2016 over half a century later, June Cleaver remains a role model too so many and will forever be looked upon as the perfect mom. We all know why she wore the pearls...not to be a hot shot trophy wife...rather, she felt the camera picked up a cleft in her neckline casting an unsightly shadow...her answer was to wear the pearls and cover this up...but quite honestly the softness of pearls sums up the style, grace and overall class of our June. Sadly Barbara passed away in 2010...Forever in our hearts!
With a firm furl of his brow a few stiff words Ward knew how to deliver the the proper lesson before the credits roled! While we will forever cherish our June Cleaver the same can be said for Hugh Beaumont's character, Ward. He was a model dad with a good constitution and knew just how to handle the daily antics of everyday life. A family needs that sort of confidence to thrive. Hugh passed away in 1982...and is still talked about in the highest regard.
Ahhhh America's wise guy/goodie two shoe! Eddie Haskell! His character is another example of the timeless effect this show had on pop culture and life itself. People still refer to "kiss-ups" and wise guys as the "Eddie Haskells of the world"! His role was monumental in the show's dynamics...someone to help the boys get into just enough mischief to learn a lesson and still remain a good friend. Ken was typecasted after the show ended and went on to became a police officer and was shot in the line of duty! But he lives on to tell his tale...and he is usually a good sport about it!
Jeri Weil played the pesky Judy Hensler and was always one to get the Beaver into a "pickle"...those braids aren't fooling us Judy!! Judy went on to become a very successful realtor in the Los Angeles area! Judy Hensler is a classmate of the series' hero, "Beaver" Cleaver. She makes her first appearance in the premiere episode, "Beaver Gets 'Spelled", as a student in Miss Canfield's second grade class. Judy is a goody-goody who snitches on her school fellows, especially Beaver. In one episode, she believes Beaver is Miss Canfield's pet and urges him to prove her wrong by putting a spring-action snake in the teacher's desk drawer. Beaver does and regrets it.
Stephen Talbot was the son of the famed Lyle Talbot! So you know there was some good show biz genes there! Stephen, of course, played Beaver's friend Gilbert Bates...always "baiting" the Beav into cooking something up...a tall tale telling friend! Talbot went on to become an Emmy, DuPont and Peabody award-winning American TV documentary producer, writer and reporter! Not bad Gilbert! Talbot's signature episode in the "Leave it to Beaver" series is "The School Picture" in which he (Gilbert) tricks the Beav into making a face during the annual class photo. In another memorable episode, "Long Distance Call," Gilbert convinces Beaver to place an expensive phone call to Los Angeles Dodgers pitching star Don Drysdale! Sounds like kids being kids right?
As we all know the prolific cast of Leave it to Beaver is quite the amazing story. Beyond the "regulars" there was an amazing list of supporting actors and guest stars. Many famed actors and celebrities graced the set of Leave it to Beaver...Even Baseball phenom DON DRYSDALE!! So many names...so many memories...forever remains our favorite TV family! We tip our hats to a production that has stood the test of time and will continue standing in this ever so changing world that we call "home"!
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