The storylines used for “Beaver” were always very simple and uncomplicated, which is probably why it’s so charming and appealing. No major earth-shattering disasters ever befall the Cleavers.
Nobody ever gets hurt (except an occasional scraped knee), the parents (Ward and June) rarely fight about anything serious and never threaten to leave each other (like you might see on a show today), and above all, these characters really seemed to care about each other, without getting overly sappy and sentimental about it.
All of these traits helped make “Leave It To Beaver” what it was each week in 1957, and what I believe it remains today: just a good, clean, fun, uncomplicated half-hour of entertaining television.Starring Jerry Mathers as “Theodore (Beaver) Cleaver”, Tony Dow as his brother “Wally”, Barbara Billingsley as “June”, and Hugh Beaumont as “Ward”, the excellent cast of Leave It To Beaver was a well-chosen group in my opinion. While it’s true, I suppose, that the acting was a bit on the “stiff” side on many occasions, I still think that this ensemble did quite well on this show. A sense of true believability and realism finds its way quite comfortably into each of these episodes.
Toss into this cast grouping the very funny Richard Deacon, who portrayed Ward’s friend and co-worker, “Fred Rutherford”, plus Ken Osmond as the ever-sarcastic “Eddie Haskell”, Frank Bank as the wimpish (but always likeable) “Lumpy Rutherford”, Rusty Stevens as “Larry Mondello”, and all of Beaver’s and Wally’s other various friends, classmates, and schoolteachers, and you’ve got a really first-rate supporting cast of characters to build stories around.
Character to watch: Jerry Mathers as “Theodore (Beaver) Cleaver.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the series.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?