Gee whiz, Mrs. Cleaver, it\u2019s just about time for another episode of Leave It to Beaver! There were few shows quite as relatable and inspiring as that of Beaver Cleaver\u2019s; the characters were people we felt like we knew. But there\u2019s plenty we don\u2019t know, so let\u2019s get to it. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vSUbsLv_7cN0 What\u2019s the horrible secret behind Mrs. Cleaver\u2019s pearl jewelry? What kind of jokes did this wholesome coming-of-age series have to cut? Today we\u2019re revisiting one of the most prominent programs in American television history. Without further ado, let\u2019s go back to Mayfield one more time. Small world of beavers LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, from top, Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers, 1957-63 (ca. 1959 photo) Three names stick out in the holy trinity of shows focused on suburban middle-class American boyhood: Lassie, My Three Sons, and Leave It to Beaver. But it was almost a different name there, as, in the early days of today\u2019s sitcom, it was titled Wally And The Beaver. But the show\u2019s sponsors and creators thought people would hear the name and expect an actual beaver in some kind of nature documentary. RELATED: Celebrating 73 Years Of \u2018Leave It To Beaver\u2019s Jerry Mathers Then it was nearly titled It's a Small World, which ended up being the name of the pilot. This episode even ended up in the anthology series Heinz Studio 57, which featured the future SNL star Harry Shearer, aka Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. In Leave It to Beaver, his credit was just called Bicycle Punk. Oh how far they\u2019ve come... Creative costumes LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, 1957-63 \/ Everett Collection A picture is worth a thousand words, so a good outfit should be just as much, right? And if you\u2019re Jerry Mathers, it can help land you a pretty iconic TV role, too! During casting, Mathers made a strong impression because everything about him was just candid and earnest - right down to his outfit. By the time he auditioned, Mathers had a pretty busy schedule, between commercials and Cub Scouts, and he did NOT want to miss any of it. So, he turned up at auditions wearing his Cub Scouts uniform so he moseys on over to that meeting after. But that\u2019s not the only way clothes shaped the beloved cast. Barbara Billingsley was everyone\u2019s mom for six seasons of Beaver, with an iconic outfit exemplary of the time. A typical housewife look, but the accessories were where the character shined. In early seasons Billingsley took to wearing flats for comfortability. Then the character transitioned to heels, even when doing chores. Fashion statement? Of course not. It was to stay taller than her on-screen sons. Mathers and Dow hit growth spurts, so Mrs. Cleaver had to step up her shoe game to keep up with the growing boys. Then of course there\u2019s the ever-present pearl jewelry. The classic look of pearls, but why pearls\u2026 well, Billingsley had received surgery on her neck, and the surgical scar left a hollow that created a noticeable shadow. So, Mrs. Cleaver\u2019s treasured pearl necklace perfectly covered the actress's scar. Rocky starts LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, Hugh Beaumont, Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers, Barbara Billingsley, 1957-1963 \/ Everett Collection The year is 1958 and Leave It to Beaver just wrapped up a successful first season\u2014and was canceled. What\u2026? One of the most enduring and quotable shows to this day had a rough start, to the point that CBS canceled it after just one season. But thankfully ABC came to the rescue, picking up the show for the remainder of its upbringing. Even after its second chance, though, Leave It to Beaver still didn\u2019t get quite the hype you\u2019d expect. In fact, it never broke the Top 30 in the Nielsen ratings. Hard to believe, but it did have some steep competition. Down the toilet "Captain Jack" episode \/ CBS The \u201850s and \u201860s avoided some very specific trends and situations. Take I Love Lucy or I Dream of Jeannie\u2019s fear of showing a pregnancy belly bump, or married couples in the same bed. There was also an area of the house that had never shown up before: the toilet. On top of spawning praise, merchandise, and sequels, Leave It to Beaver also has the esteemed title of first-ever toilet seen on TV! Watch the episode \u201cCaptain Jack.\u201d The scene where Wally puts an alligator in the toilet tank. You just witnessed the first time a toilet appeared in a TV show. Well, some of the toilet. They didn't actually show the toilet pedestal or seat, but did show the toilet tank and flush handle. Progress. Location, location, general location LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, from left: Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont, 1957-1963 \/ Everett Collection The suburban setting of Leave It to Beaver was beloved and intentionally universal. Show creators wanted it to appear as if anyone\u2019s home could be the Cleaver\u2019s. But there were some hints, like when Wally mentioned the governor living in Madison; some fans thought maybe they lived in Wisconsin. But then you have the time Beaver asks for a surfboard, suggesting beach access. But the show itself deliberately never tells. The scenery was still rooted in reality. The show creators used actual photos of Skokie, Illinois to depict the otherwise fictional Mayfield, the better to make this look like a living, breathing place. Fiction and reality LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, Jerry Mathers, on-set, 1957-63 (ca. late 1950s photo) \/ Everett Collection Spending six years as a character, on top of balancing real life, stuff bleeds together. For one thing, the ideas behind Leave It to Beaver episodes, characters, lines were all based on show writers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher's own childhoods. This grounded inspiration was ideal to unabashedly show the world through the eyes of a young child. They got some help from Mrs. Cleaver herself, as Billingsley was a mother of two sons. Which gave her firsthand experience with how a mom should react to the Cleaver boys\u2019 antics, and whenever they got into mischief, she\u2019d go to the writers and say, quote, \u201cI don\u2019t see why June is so mad over what Beaver\u2019s done.\u201d She actually told the writers to make the troublemaking a bit larger scale, to justify Mrs. Cleaver\u2019s reactions. It certainly made for some great shenanigans! LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, from left, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, 1957-63 \/ Everett Collection And what would an episode be without Mr. Cleaver giving the family - and, really, the nation- a valuable moral lesson? Well, Hugh Beaumont didn\u2019t need a script for that; he was an ordained minister, and only took up acting because the community he served couldn\u2019t pay him a living wage. Otherwise, he was deeply committed to helping and inspiring others with powerful words. And I hope he listened to his own wise words, because when Beaver got fast-tracked into production, Hugh was required to fly to LA immediately, leaving his older son to drive Mrs. Beaumont as well as Hugh\u2019s mother-in-law to California from Minnesota. But during the long drive, His son lost control of the car, crashed, and The mother of Beaumont\u2019s wife did not survive the wreck. The actor took the loss of his mother-in-law extremely hard and resented the show for the ill effects that occurred.\u00a0 As famous as Hugh got, wouldn\u2019t even touch the fame and publicity thrust onto the child actor. Well, show creators wanted to keep overexposure from happening, and so instructed Mathers and Dow to NOT watch their own show, hoping it would keep them from getting full of themselves and changing for the worse. The plan worked because Mathers became a treasured American icon. So much so that no one wanted to risk him getting hurt. After Beaver ended, Mathers wanted to enlist in the Marines, but fresh off a story of a famous NFL player being killed in action. The Marine Corps turned him down because they didn\u2019t want more negative press about another American icon dying. God forbid Beaver Cleaver dies in Vietnam. SO Jerry Mathers joined the Air National Guard instead. Time changes everything Original Cleaver house \/ CBS The Cleavers\u2019 city and state isn\u2019t ever specified, but they did have a known address. Actually, they had two. At first, their home of 485 Mapleton Drive was filmed in the Republic Studios. But after Some bureaucracy, the family ended up at 211 Pine Street, a.k.a. the Universal lot. Keep a close eye out, and you might see the Pine Street house in Marcus Welby, M.D. as well as the 2000s hit series, Desperate Housewives. Too much of a good thing LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, Tony Dow, 1957-63 (ca. 1960 photo by Gene Trindl) \/ Everett Collection According to Tony Dow, who was fantastic as Wally Cleaver, Leave It to Beaver aimed for a very specific level of humor. I Love Lucy enjoyed the longest laugh of any sitcom, but Leave It to Beaver\u2019s writers wanted something a LOT more tame. So, if a joke went over too well and got too large of a reaction, they\u2019d cut the joke for the final taping. Dow explained, quote, \u201cThey didn't want a big laugh; they wanted chuckles.\u201d Guess there\u2019s such thing as being too good at your job! Tweedor-Cleaver LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, Jerry Mathers, (ca. late 1950s), 1957-63. \/ Everett Collection The best plots keep up the anticipation of some we just have to know the answer to. Leave It to Beaver\u2019s was simple, but one the show didn\u2019t fully explain until the very end. Why is Theodore Cleaver called "Beaver"? Blink and you might miss Wally talking about his little brother, but he can\u2019t quite say Theodore, so it comes out as Tweedor. So, our young protagonist needed a different name his brother could pull off. Show co-creator Joe Connelly was thumbing through a list of his own old acquaintances, family, friends, even military comrades. There, he found a fellow Marine who\u2019d been nicknamed Beaver. It even rhymed and that was that. A plan comes together STILL THE BEAVER, (aka THE NEW LEAVE IT TO BEAVER), Jerry Mathers, 1984-89, \u00a9Universal TV\/courtesy Everett Collection Not every show gets a well-rounded timely ending. Take Lost in Space, where the cast suddenly heard they wouldn\u2019t work together anymore. Leave It to Beaver thankfully didn\u2019t suffer that fate, and stood above the rest! The young cast was growing up, and Mathers himself wanted to focus on his high school education. They had told their coming-of-age story and were off to cross some more milestones of their own. The writers knew they were primed to end on a strong note, and so gave us the episode \u201cFamily Scrapbook,\u201d a touching, nostalgic tribute to all our fondest memories of the show. To this day, it stands out as one of the first - and at the time, only - primetime formal, deliberate finale. And it was so touching and appropriate because it was championed by Ward Cleaver himself, as Hugh wrote some, and directed 23 episodes, including this final, retrospective episode in 1963. His portrayal of Ward Cleaver ranked #28 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time. More than appropriate.\u00a0 Gee, Wally, what a fantastic wholesome series that everyone should watch, even today, as all the characters were finely developed and the tender moments make this series enduring. So, what\u2019s a great episode of Leave it to Beaver you recall? Did you ever visit Universal's Tour and see The Cleaver House? Share some Beaver memories in the comments below, we wanna hear from you!