‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Jerry Mathers Reflected on Show Outlasting Competition All These Years Later

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Despite concluding nearly 60 years ago, Leave It to Beaver is still popular and widely watched today. Reflecting on why that is, Jerry Mathers once talked about the show’s longevity and viewers still enjoying it.

Back in 2017, Christine Nagy of 106.7 Lite FM invited Leave It to Beaver stars Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers there for an interview. After discussing the fact children actors couldn’t work as long as adults, Nagy asked them when they realized the show was so big and they were as popular as they were. At first, they weren’t at all aware of that fact, though they thought the show was good. It wasn’t until the top-rated show went off the air they knew it was something special.

“Well, we never really realized how popular it was,” Mathers said. “Because when it was on, it was always a very good show, was always in the top 10, sometimes 5th or 6th, but it was never the number one show. And so we thought ‘Oh, this is a fine show to do.’ But then suddenly the number one show wasn’t on anymore and all these years later, 1957 to now, Leave It to Beaver is still running.”

Additionally, running it in so many countries definitely gives the show added longevity. “And not only here, but all over the world because it’s done in 39 languages,” Mathers added.

On a personal note, the show’s messages and themes are universal and will likely always resonate with viewers. Though some of the situations present aren’t relevant anymore, many of us can relate to things both Beaver and Wally went through.

Jerry Mathers Explained How Television has Changed Over the Years

Though Mathers didn’t say so himself, the way we watch television shows now has drastically changed, likely helping Leave It to Beaver thrive 60 years later. In the same 106.7 Lite FM interview, he ruminated about how television is different compared to how it once was.

Still, on the subject of the show’s popularity, Jerry Mathers talked about how television has changed so much. Despite hundreds of channels being available at the push of a button, it amazes him Leave It to Beaver still has such a huge fanbase.

“TV is now just so – when we were on, there were three stations that, they were all over the country, and maybe two in some smaller places,” Mathers said. “So now with, you know, 100 or sometimes more stations, it’s really, to us, just – we can’t believe that Leave It to Beaver is still on, and it’s still very popular, with all that media that we were not running against when we were on primetime.”

Nagy also mentioned streaming services and her own show as an additional means of indulging. In short, you can watch the show however you wish and why wouldn’t you at this point?