‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Tony Dow Opens Up About Keepsakes

by Liz Holland
(Photo by ABC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

“Leave It to Beaver” star Tony Dow still has keepsakes from the sitcom, decades after its’ end. In a recent interview with CBS, the actor shared parts of his beautiful home life with the world. “Leave It to Beaver” memorabilia and keepsakes are tastefully scattered throughout his property, telling an incredible story. Among the memories, you can see a pennant from the fictional Mayfield High School the kids on the show attended. Dow also keeps a beautiful collection of bound scripts from the sitcom. The actor even kept a box of cornflakes that features himself and his former co-star, Jerry Mathers on the front. 

Perhaps the most exciting relic Tony Dow still has from his youth is his very first car. Dow bought his first car, a 1961 Corvair, with money he earned on “Leave It to Beaver.”

Just four years after he purchased it, Dow actually sold the car to a prop man at Universal Studios. 50 years later, that prop man fell ill and egan preparing for the end of his life. He left the car with a friend, but also left specific instructions that if they could track down Tony Dow, he wanted the car returned to him. Dow was able to get the car back, which still has the original license plate. It now sits in his garage, beautifully preserved. 

It turns out that a love for cars is actually a huge part of Tony Dow’s life. While “Leave It to Beaver” was by no means a show that centered around cars, there were multiple episodes where a love for vehicles came into play. 

Tony Dow Loved Cars Growing Up

Dow told Classic Cars Journal in an interview about how he used to build cars for fun as a kid, which he later got to indulge on set. “My buddy and I used to take the engine off his dad’s lawnmower and make these cool cars we’d drive around the neighborhood,” Dow said. The writer of the show heard the story and wrote a script about it and even rented my car for the show.” Dow’s character, Wally Cleaver, gets to play around with multiple cars as he grows up on the series. It was a wonderful coincidence that the child actor behind the character had a genuine love for cars. 

Part of why the success of “Leave It to Beaver” remains so timeless is because of how well it showcased what it’s like to grow up not only in America, but just in general. In a 2013 interview with Pop Entertainment, Tony Dow shared his thoughts on how the show portrayed American family life, despite the fact that critics called it unrealistic.“I think it was a strong portrayal of family life,” Dow said. 

He continued, “It was idealized a bit, as things were back in the fifties. The show was being sent overseas and the writers wanted to depict American life and the American family in a very positive way. But the times were idyllic. Things were slower and more innocent. It shows the relationship in a family. There is a great relationship between the brothers and then the father and mom and their friends. It’s all there.”

Now in retirement, the actor says, “I’m just lucky to get up and be moving around and be able to do the things I like to do.”