‘Leave It to Beaver’: Jerry Mathers Said Universal Decided to Make 1980s Reboot Due to This Reason

by Will Shepard
(Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images)

Jerry Mathers began acting almost before he could speak. At the young age of just two years old, he was a child model in a department store advertisement. He began doing several other advertisements afterward. Mathers got the role of “Beaver” in Leave It to Beaver 1957 when he was nine years old.

Leave It to Beaver ran for six seasons, and Jerry Mathers starred in all 235 episodes. Consequently, all of the star actors in the show became household names.

Some of them were typecast because of Leave It to Beaver and that’s not surprising due to the show’s overwhelming success. But, the show was eventually brought to an end, and the actors were forced to move on. Some found work much more easily; Jerry Mathers was able to act in several shows afterward.

He also appeared in two plays with his television brother, Tony Dow. In 1983, with people still clamoring for more Leave It to Beaver, the show got another shot.

Jerry Mather and “Leave It to Beaver” Got Another Shot in 1983

In an interview from 2015 with The Free Lance-Star, Mathers explains how the show came back to life. It began with a movie, and then its success carried over into a new series based on the original show. He explains that the show was still popular despite coming years later. The re-vamped Leave It to Beaver was not quite as popular as the original but still enjoyed success.

“Since we were so popular doing something unrelated to ‘Beaver,’ Universal brought most of the original cast back for the television movie Still the Beaver in 1983. That led to a new TV series, ‘The New Leave it to Beaver,’ which ran for over 100 episodes.”

Almost all of the cast was identical to the original Leave It to Beaver. Jerry Mathers reprised his role as Theodore Cleaver twenty years after the first show ended. Perhaps in the future, there will be another version of the show for another generation to enjoy.