Golly! Did you know a little baby alligator nearly killed the entire series Leave It to Beaver in the premiere episode of the iconic sitcom?
Yup, that’s right, a baby alligator that the Beav (Jerry Mathers) and his brother Wally (Tony Dow) won nearly made one of the most well-known and wholesome television shows a little too “controversial.”
And, this comes all because the premiere episode featured the boys stashing their new “pet” in one rarely filmed room in the house…the bathroom.
‘Leave It to Beaver’ Creates Some Controversy From Jump!
In the premiere episode of the iconic family-sitcom Leave It to Beaver, big brother Wally his little brother, the show’s title character, Beaver, decide that an alligator is a perfect pet for them.
However, they soon find challenges as they try to take care of the water-loving pet as best they know-how.
“That’s the episode that started it all,” says Jerry Mathers of the show’s premiere episode, Captain Jack.
“Wally and the Beaver want an animal and the parents say ‘no you can’t have a dog or a cat because you’ll never take care of it,'” Mathers explains of the hilariously controversial Leave It to Beaver episode during a 2017 interview with 106.7 Lite FM.
Mathers goes on to describe the episode in question noting that Wally and Beaver win the baby alligator at a carnival so they sneak it home thinking their parents will “never find it.”
Where Else Would One Put Their Pet Alligator?
The brothers then decide that this new Cleaver family pet will reside in the family’s toilet tank. And, this is where the controversy sets in.
“We were the first TV show to show a toilet tank at that time,” Mathers recalls in the interview. “The censors would not allow any TV shows like I Love Lucy or any of the other big shows to have bathrooms.”
But, the star notes, the scene filmed on the controversial bathroom set was necessary because “where else would you put an alligator?”
The questionable scene did eventually make it into the final cut of the episode; which aired on television in the fall of 1957. However, only the toilet tank was shown as the boys took care of their secret critter.
One of the most iconic sitcoms to date, Leave It to Beaver revolves around a nuclear-type family in the 1950s. The series focused on the happenings within the Cleaver family. The 1950s family includes father and husband, Ward Cleaver; wife and mother June Cleaver; and their two boys, big brother Wally and the youngest son, Beaver.
Leave It to Beaver is well known for highlighting the suburban family, celebrating traditional values of the time during the show’s run between 1957 and 1953.
However, the series is also unique in its premise in that the show focuses on the standpoint of the family’s children, rather than from the standpoint of the adults.