The classic TV show Leave it to Beaver is beloved by fans of the era. One of the most memorable characters in the cast will always be Beaver’s apple-eating best pal Larry Mondello, played by Rusty Stevens. After being discovered selling newspapers on a street corner, Stevens was featured in a total of 67 episodes across the first four seasons of the show.
Larry had many moments on the show that help him stick out from the extensive list of characters from the show. One fan-favorite episode is the Halloween-themed, “The Haunted House.” Larry and Beaver walk home from school and pass the old Cooper place.
“I bet we got the only school in the world with a haunted house on the way home from it,” Larry ponders. His logical conclusion on who must live there? A witch. Beaver then gets a job walking the neighbor’s dog. He’s excited about the new prospect until he realizes the woman he’s working for is the one who lives in the creepy Cooper house. Larry and Beaver are convinced the woman is a witch, but Larry is too scared to join Beaver. It’s a fun episode that represents everything fans love about the show with some spooky Halloween influence.
Rusty Stevens’ Penchant for Halloween Episodes
Stevens might be best known as Larry, but he found himself in front of the camera for multiple TV shows. In fact, he has multiple Halloween episodes to his name as well.
A few years after “The Haunted House” first aired, Stevens appeared in a guest spot on Perry Mason. “The Case of the Dodging Domino” may not sound like a very spooky episode, but it is a Halloween-inspired story. Stevens plays a small role as a young trick-or-treater who comes to the episode’s courtroom dressed in full costume.
Steven’s run of Halloween-related TV roles didn’t end there. A year after his appearance in Perry Mason, he performed in another guest spot on The Rifleman. In the episode “Hostages of Fortune,” Stevens plays a rabble-rousing teenager in a story about friends riding around on Halloween night pretending to be ghosts. Their antics even cause a herd of cattle to run all through the town. Meanwhile, the hustling herd provides the perfect cover for cattle rustlers. Stevens plays Melvin, one of the instigators in the shenanigans who bullies a new kid in town. A stark contrast to the affable Larry Mondello.
Steven’s role as Melvin in The Rifleman was his last performance as a child actor. Afterward, he left the entertainment industry behind when his family relocated to Pennsylvania. He did make a brief comeback twenty years later. Stevens got the opportunity to reprise his most famous role as Larry Mondello in the 1983 TV sequel to the original series, Still the Beaver.