‘Leave It to Beaver’ Stars Once Explained How Filming Differed for Them Than Adult Actors

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Unlike many shows of the time, Leave It to Beaver focused primarily on the children and their antics, as opposed to adults. In an interview, several of the show’s actors discussed that fact and how filming was different for children back then compared to adults.

Back in 2017, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers sat down with 106.7 Lite FM to discuss all things Leave It to Beaver. At one point the actors discussed people on the set having to work with kids and animals. Laughing and saying “no one wants to work with kids,” Dow begins talking about how filming differed for them. According to him and Mathers, kids could only work for so long every day, so producers had to prioritize their close-ups and scenes first.

“The problem is during production, you know, where they [children] are during the day, so you know, we’ll come in maybe at 9 and work until 6,” Dow stated. “Well, we’ll do the master shots and anything, our close-ups, over the shoulders, whatever. And they’ll, they won’t do their closeups because they wait till we leave, so they have to wait around all day.”

Mathers then interjects, saying there were rules that children could only work so long every day. “Adults you could work forever,” Mathers said after with a laugh. Host Christine Nagy then joked it didn’t matter for adults, it’s not like they need sleep or anything.

It’s interesting the actors say that because if you look back at the show now, there are quite a bit of closeups, especially during heartfelt scenes. Little did we know the adults had been there working practically the whole day.

Jerry Mathers Talks About How TV Changed

Though we now know the reasons for some of the shots in Leave It to Beaver, Jerry Mathers talked about other ways TV differs now. The biggest difference to him is the plethora of different channels and options available for viewing.

In the same 106.7 Lite FM interview, Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow talked about Leave It to Beaver’s longevity. Though they both believe it has universal and long-lasting appeal, Mathers attributes its popularity to how television has changed throughout the years. Specifically, he cites the sheer number of channels available.

“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 adds things like their show and streaming additionally help keep the show thriving today. Leave It to Beaver available at a moment’s notice? What a time to be alive.