‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Jerry Mathers Opened Up About Global Appeal of the Show

by Liz Holland
(Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Architects of Denial )

To say the 50s sitcom “Leave It To Beaver” is iconic would be an understatement. The series was one of the first primetime sitcom series to be written from a child’s perspective. “Leave It To Beaver” had a beautiful simplicity to it that made it an easy and fun-loving watch.  The program’s creators were radio veterans, so they already had the groundwork and background knowledge they needed to approach creating a television show. Writers Joe Conelly and Bob Mosher say they drew inspiration for the show from the lives’ of their own children. The show illustrated what a typical day was like for the average American boy, and quickly became a hit. 

Decades later, “Leave It To Beaver” continues to be a household favorite all over the world. In 2017, Jerry Mathers, who starred as Beaver Cleaver on the show, made an appearance in Canada to sign autographs and chat with fans while celebrating the 60th anniversary of the show. In an interview at the event, Mathers explained why he thinks the show continues to appeal to audiences globally. “Well It’s kind of a timeless story of a boy growing up in [the] United States of America. It’s things that happened to kids in the 50s, 40s, 30s, they’re still happening today. Happened in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. So, it’s a timeless story about a child growing up in America,” the actor explains. 

Why ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Is So Widely Loved, According To Jerry Mathers

He continues, “You have Wally (Tony Dow), who was [Beaver’s] big brother, who really knows the ropes and kind of guides him through. You have Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond), he’s–not the villain–but he’s kind of the ‘wise guy’ that always gets Beaver in trouble.” Mathers declares, “I think it’s something all children can relate to. Everyone knows what it’s like to be the little kid, and have your parents tell you to do something and maybe you don’t want to. A lot of them have a friend like Larry who’s always telling you, ‘Your parents told you to do that, but this’ll be a lot more fun.’ So it’s kind of a timeless story about America, but [also] about kids growing up all over the world, and it plays all over the world.”

“Leave It To Beaver” being such a widely loved program certainly has its perks. Mathers explained what it is that makes him continue to enjoy meeting with fans years after the show ended. “Well y’know, the main reason is a lot of people are very, very happy to see me,” Mather said. “And, it’s very interesting to talk about a show that ran in 1957, and is still popular. It’s the longest running show in television history, it’s been on the air since October 1957, continuously… It plays in 47 languages all over the world. So, it’s a worldwide phenomenon. It’s just really nice, I go places all over the world.”