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Tuesday, June 19, 2012



TV land on my cable channel 34 broadcasts re-runs of “Leave it to Beaver” every morning.  There have been some great situation comedies through the years, “I Love Lucy,” “You’ll Never Get Rich,” “Mash,” “The Cosby Show,” “Sienfeld,” on and on right up until today with “The Office,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and others.  Far and away the best and probably the most underrated comedy of all time is “Leave it to Beaver.”

This show was the closest to reality of any situation comedy I have ever seen.  If you lived a lily-white middle class life in any suburb USA in the fifties and sixties, you either knew or were “The Cleavers.”  There were no complicated plots in this show, just the stuff every family with boys goes through every day.  The writers managed to combine life as seen through the eyes of a child, an adolescent, and a mom and dad in perfect comedic juxtaposition.  (I looked it is used correctly)

Watching the frustrated dad “help” his third grader with his homework is as accurate (and funny from the outside looking in) then as it is today.

“Beaver, you’ve had three weeks to write this poem for school, why did you wait until the day before it is due?”

“Gee dad, I was afraid that if I did it earlier I might lose it and junk.”

If you put this show in a time capsule the future archeologists that view it would shake their heads in disbelief. 

“Mom washing dishes in a full party dress, pearl necklace and perfectly quaffed hair…REDICULOUS!”

“Dad coming to dinner with a suit and tie…how unrealistic.”

Who would believe parents would let their six-year old wander around town alone all day?  

“Wally, will you go and see what’s keeping the Beaver, it’s almost time for supper.”

All these things and more were actually an accurate portrayal of suburban life in the fifties and sixties.  It was an age of formality and innocence we will not see again.

In one episode, The Beaver decides to run away from home because he was yelled at by his father.  Mom and Dad helped him pack, patted him on the head and on his way out the door said, “Were sure going to miss you.”

Would this ever happen today in a world of helicopter parents looking over their shoulder for kidnappers, pedophiles and drunk drivers at every corner?

When I was six, I ran away from home.  I don’t remember why, but I do remember my mom yell on my way out, “Don’t forget your toothbrush.”  When I returned to the door she handed my toothbrush to me and said, “We’re sure going to miss you!”

Of course she sent my older brother, Chris, to follow me.  After about three blocks he caught up to me.  Apparently he was tired of this running away nonsense.

“Hey squirt, where are you going to go?  Join the circus? What?”

I had no answer, so I just turned around and came home.  Dinner was waiting.  No one ever mentioned the brief time I was “on my own.”

I guess that is why I like “Leave it to Beaver;” anyone that has ever been a little boy has been “The Beaver.”  


  1. Cranky those were the good ol days. Now as parents we have perverts rapist and child molesters we have to patrol for. You cannot trust anyone because the more innocent they look the more twisted they are. I am not a helicopter mom but I for sure have my pervert radar up at all times. We will never get back the innocent times of Leave it to Beaver.....

  2. We didn't watch Leave It to Beaver. My parents like Ozzie and Harriet. It used to irritate my Mom that the TV sitcoms all had these 'perfect' family scenes of the family all sitting neatly around the breakfast/lunch/dinner table -- everything properly served. The day Ozzie put the milk bottle on the table endeared him to her for ever! Not that my mother would let the bottle stay there -- she would quickly put it back in the fridge.The perfect housewife with milk in a pitcher -- that really annoyed her!

  3. Where were the perverts and drunk drivers in those days? They must have existed...were we all just too innocent ourselves to see them? I loved Leave it to Beaver...I wanted a Dad like his for the longest time.

  4. I am so glad that I have Netflix and can watch the beaver.

    I have also been watching Mad Men, in which the same era is realistically portrayed.

  5. My parents wouldn't let me watch Leave it to Beaver. They thought the boys were juvenile delinquents, and Ward and June came across as much too complacent in their parenting.

    OK, for real this time....I thought that was a great series. As you pointed out there were lots of great series back then, with a breadth of talent and themes and writers that made early TV almost magical. I miss those days, and those shows.


  6. Once I threatened to run away from home at about age 8. My mother brought my travel bag in and told me to have at it. I don't think I even made it out the door. Kudos to your 6 year old self for getting three blocks!

  7. I always wanted an older brother like Wally, but instead I got Eddie Haskell.

  8. my kids watch very little Tv. When my oldest son was 13 he was shocked to discover the sitcoms were not real families. he's ok now...really.

  9. I have never seen this show, but your description of their life is familiar to my childhood. Except, being a 70's child, Mum wore flares.
    So much amazing freedom and now, it is not even safe for me to let my 12 year old play out the front of our house. The cars are too fast, the people don't care because they don't know you and for 6 months we were on alert of a suspicious male wandering on our primary schools street trying to talk to the children, so all children had to be personally picked up from inside school grounds.
    I love taking my lil one back to my home town, where everyone knows everyone and she can run free. Well, freeish. Cos I can check in any time by calling her mobile phone. ;-)

  10. When devon ran away from home she didn't get to far because she wasn't allowed to cross the street.

  11. My brother was a "leave it to beaver" character before he could even walk! Once he decided he didn't want to be in his room any more, pushed out the screen and crawled onto the front lawn with his blanket. (A neighbor eventually saw him alone and brought him home).

    You are right, it is in every little boy!!

  12. As a child growing up in the 70s I loved watching Leave it to Beaver. Mrs Beaver was always so gentle and kind and smiling. And pretty. I wished she were my mum. Either her or Carol Brady. Carol was slightly better because she was in colour. ;-)

  13. haha think I once wrote a post about being more Peg Bundy than June Cleaver (in the domestic sense)! You're right, it was a time of innocence that we'll never see again...this was a nice trip down memory lane :)

  14. I absolutely adored this show. I grew up fed on a diet of Leave It To Beaver and The Brady Bunch. Now I wonder why my family don't behave that way. But I can still try to force a square peg in a round hole. Can't I?

  15. I'm not so familiar with Leave It To Beaver but Brady Bunch was big when I was growing up.
    I remember running away once - Down the road around the corner to a small park. Sat on the swing for 10 minutes and got bored. Got home and yup. No one even knew I had left the house.
    Those innocent days are far gone.

  16. Don't know if you saw my similar post...

    ... but you'd probably enjoy it.

    I think some folks today don't realize that one of the strengths of those days, in regards to kids NOT being attacked, was that so many kids WERE allowed out on their own. Two things factored in: kids learned quickly who the pervs were, and if you let kids out IN BUNCHES, they will look out for each other and also be less appealing to pervs than random kids alone.

  17. Whoops! Nevermind. I see that you already commented on that one. My bad!

  18. Ah yes, the good old days! I loved Gilligan's Island - even as a child I understood the stupidity!