‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Jerry Mathers Once Explained How Producers Made the Set a Positive Environment for Kids

by Samantha Whidden
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He was the star of the classic TV sitcom “Leave It to Beaver” from 1957 to 1963, and Jerry Mathers once revealed how the producers of the show made the set a positive environment for children. 

During a September 2021 interview with Wisconsin’s radio station 620 WTMJ, Jerry Mathers spoke about the environment of the “Leave It to Beaver” set. “The producers went to great lengths to make sure that everyone had kids and knew how to get along with kids,” Mathers recalled. “That just wasn’t the cast, but the crew. Because working with kids is a little different than working with adults.”

Mathers also stated kids tended to act up while on set. “So, we just had a really good time, and it was something I’m very proud of and still proud to this day.”

While also speaking about when the “Leave It to Beaver” cast first got together, Jerry Mathers stated, “The only people from the pilot that were actually on the show were Barbara [Billingsley] and myself. They had a different Wally and a different father.”

Jerry Mathers noted that his “Leave It to Beaver” co-star Hugh Beaumont was a really nice person to him. He also shared a little behind the scenes fact about Beaumont. “A lot of people don’t know this, he was a Methodist minister and he had started becoming an actor just so he could preach to this very poor congregation in downtown Los Angeles, and he was just a wonderful man. Barbara was a very well-known model, you know, for women’s clothing.”

Jerry Mathers Spoke About Who Originally Played Wally in the ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Pilot

Meanwhile, Jerry Mathers revealed more details about the actor who originally played his onscreen brother, Wally, in the “Leave It to Beaver” pilot. “Well, the boy that did the pilot with me was a very nice boy, but it took about probably three — I don’t even know how many months, but it took quite a few months, and we did the pilot and I had done other things like that, so if they didn’t call back it wasn’t any big deal.”

However, when the cast returned, there was a new person and the boy had grown to be almost six feet tall by that time. Unfortunately, this meant that the actor was unable to continue to be Wally. “So, he was actually a little bit taller than Hugh Beaumont, and that’s when they found Tony Dow. And he was just perfect for the part. He was an AAU swimming and diving champ at like — I think he was 12 or 13 at the time, but he was really what they were really looking for for a Wally character.”

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