Teaser for the entire production – imdb.com/video/vi2485760025
When I can’t sleep at night, I visit Roku and watch old episodes of “Leave It to Beaver.” The show is about a family with two children, Wally who is a junior high student a few years older than his younger brother, Theodore, called the Beaver, who is in grade school. The sitcom was introduced in 1957 when I was twelve, just between the ages of the brothers – Beaver, age 7 and Wally, age 13 of the Cleaver family.
The series ran until 1963. Tony Dow played Wally and Jerry Mathers played Beaver. Barbara Billingsly played June, the mother and Hugh Beaumont played Ward, the father. I don’t know why Billingsly got top billing. She had appeared in several “B” movies. Beaumont had appeared in a number of westerns and “B” movies also. He also directed quite a number of episodes of Leave It to Beaver. June is a stay-at-home mother, who is almost always impeccably dressed with heels and a pearl necklace. Ward goes to the office every day as the bread winner and often has time for golf. They have a comfortable “white” existence. I don’t recall ever seeing a black person in one of the productions.
The kids have friends who age along with them throughout the run of show. Wally’s friends have a longer TV life than Beaver’s friends do. Beaver is also the one that gets in trouble, the driver of the storylines. Beaver gets out and walks to the homes of his friends as well as meeting everyday people like Gus, who runs an auxiliary firehouse filled with old fire-fighting equipment. Beaver and his friends find road reconstruction and new buildings going up interesting. We also get a chance to meet grade school teachers like Miss Canfield and Miss Landers. Miss Landers was very popular and was in 28 episodes of Leave It to Beaver. She appeared in only one film “Desk Set” with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, but appeared in numerous TV shows. She died of lung cancer in 1984.
My favorite characters are Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford (Frank Bank, January 24, 1958 – May 30, 1963), and wise-guy Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond, November 1, 1957 – June 6, 1963). Lumpy and Eddie appeared all the way through the original six seasons. Larry Mondello was an early friend of Beaver’s. He appeared in 68 episodes. His real name was Rusty Stevens. He quit the show when his family moved to Philadelphia, but he did reappear in the 1983 reunion telemovie, “Still the Beaver.”
Teaser for dealing with Lumpy – imdb.com/title/tt0630263/
Viewer Review – 8/10
Is there a way to beat a bully?
pensman25 June 2017
Beaver is going “armed” to school: he’s packing a piece of coal. Unfortunately, June confiscates it. Wally wants to know if Beaver was really going to throw the coal at Lumpy. At least, he would have made believe so.
At this time in the series, Lumpy Rutherford is a giant and a bully who is currently terrorizing Wally and Beaver. The one constant aspect of his character is that he immediately kowtows to his “daddy”, Fred Rutherford, played by Richard Deacon (also the producer Mel on The Dick Van Dyke Show). Frank Banks, who plays Lumpy, is the size of Richard Deacon. Lucky for him the other actors got their growth spurts or Frank would have had a limited run in the series.
Up in their room, Beaver and Wally are trying to figure out if there’s any way to pay Lumpy back. Ward is concerned that the boys are getting home late from school; but they don’t want to tell him they are being bullied. Finally, they admit who it is: Lumpy and he’s sixteen. Ward offers to intervene but the boys decline the offer. Ward does provide a story from his youth about how he got revenge on a bully using barrel hoops. June is not amused. Ward doesn’t believe the boys would follow through on his misadventure; but they do. There is a difference: Fred, Lumpy’s father goes out to the driveway and the hoops do their job.
Now, Wally and Beaver are worried they might be found out. The Rutherfords are coming over to play cards. June tells Ward they are running late because Fred had some sort of accident. Ward chuckles because he says Fred is the sort of friend you don’t mind seeing fall down.
So far, the boys haven’t been caught for the prank, but that might be ending. June thinks it would be nice for the boys to come down and say hello to the Rutherfords. If there is anyone they don’t want to say hello to, it’s Fred Rutherford. Ward wants the boys to come down after they get their pajamas on.
Fred has started playing cards and begins with one of his boring stories. The conversation changes over to the “gang” who knocked him down in his backyard. Mrs. Rutherford says, with a wink, that Fred believes it’s the same gang who stole tires off his rental car in Acapulco.
When Ward goes upstairs to get the boys, they are worried if they will be sent to reform school. Fred has the cap of one of the hoodlums but can’t decide what he should do. Ward in a sort of joking manner suggests Fred should take the cap to the police; he would be doing a community service. When the boys come down, they’re wearing cowboy hats and bandannas, but even when removed, they aren’t recognized. They do get an invitation to come over and play with Clarence (Lumpy). Fred is still going on but his wife feels enough is enough. When Fred mentions barrel hoops, both Ward and June react.
Ward and June go out to the kitchen where, as usual, June overreacts to the situation. Ward says just to relax, he will take care of it. Ward confronts the boys and they admit their responsibility; but Ward knows he is on the hook too, it was his idea. Ward tells the boys to just not pay too much attention to his stories anymore; they agree but get Ward to promise he won’t stop those stories.
In the epilogue, we see Ward has told Fred. Fred has also accepted responsibility that his son Clarence might be a bully, and he will talk to the “lad” about it. Mrs. Rutherford understands and is embarrassed by the entire situation. On the way out, Fred asks Ward not to tell the story at work: “We don’t want to give the men ammunition.”
Beaver is still up and he has a question for Ward. “How come there are bigger guys who pick on little guys?” Ward says, “Unfortunately there will always be guys like that. Sometimes you just have to learn how to get along with them. What’s important is that you remember the only way to really beat bullies is you don’t become like them.”
Maybe we should petition the major networks to show this series again. It still has much to teach us.