‘Leave it to Beaver’ Star Jerry Mathers, Other Young Cast Were Told Not to Watch Show: Here’s Why

by Joe Rutland

The creators of “Leave it to Beaver” thought their young stars would get egos. That may be why they told them to not watch the final product.

Tony Dow recalls him, Jerry Mathers, and other minors getting asked to never see a finished episode on TV. Obviously, the show creators and producers ask them to do this during the show’s initial run on CBS and ABC from 1957-63.

“They definitely didn’t want us to think we were funny or that we were big shots,” Dow, who played Wally Cleaver, said in a 2017 interview with The Arizona Republic.

Tony Dow Becomes Director After ‘Leave it to Beaver’ Years

Mathers, of course, played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, the show’s main character. Other minors in “Leave it to Beaver” included Ken Osmond, who played Eddie Haskell, and Frank Bank, who played Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford.

“I’ve never been interested in watching myself (on-screen),” Dow said. “Even now, unless I see a show, I don’t remember the scenes. But I’m enjoying them more now because there’s stuff I didn’t understand when I was a kid.”

After spending time in front of the camera, Dow found himself behind the camera. He turned his interest toward being a director. Dow has directed episodes for such TV shows as “Star Trek: Deep Space 9,” “Babylon 5,” and “Coach.”

Ward Cleaver Actor Wrote, Directed Some Of Sitcom’s Episodes

While Dow turned toward directing in his career, one of his “Leave it to Beaver” costars spent time writing and directing himself. That person might come as a surprise to some people.

Hugh Beaumont found himself doing these things during the show’s six-season run. Specifically, Beaumont wrote one credited episode, contributed to others without credit, and directed 23 episodes.

That’s pretty good for the man who played Ward Cleaver on the sitcom. Beaumont, beyond being an actor, actually was a Methodist minister. He looked upon his acting career as a way to give back financially to those in need.

Beaumont died on May 14, 1982, from a heart attack. He was visiting his son in Munich, West Germany, at the time.