‘Leave It To Beaver’: Why Eddie Haskell Was Left Out Of the Most Disliked Episode

by Joe Rutland

If you had a list of most-grating TV characters, then Eddie Haskell would probably have a golden spot thanks to “Leave It To Beaver.”

Actor Ken Osmond, who would go on to be a real-life police officer, played Haskell in 96 of the show’s entire 234 original episodes. He appeared in about one-third of the “Leave It To Beaver” shows, yet his character remains one of the most iconic in TV history.

Let’s face it, though. “Leave It To Beaver” was one of those 1950s-1960s family-friendly shows that never showed an ounce of dysfunction.

Things were pristine in the Cleaver household between father Ward, wife June, and brothers Wally and Theodore, known as “The Beaver.” Hugh Beaumont played Ward Cleaver and Barbara Billingsley (remember her from “Airplane!”?) played June Cleaver. Meanwhile, Tony Dow played older brother Wally and, of course, Jerry Mathers played “Beaver.”

‘Leave It To Beaver’ Tried Introducing Burro In An Episode

Out of all the show’s episodes, though, there is one that stands out as a stinker of stinkers. “Leave It To Beaver” fans are pretty much aligned with their dislike for “Three Boys and a Burro.” The plot was pretty routine for family TV shows at the time. A child brings home an animal; in this case, it’s a burro. The child wants to keep it; the parents fight to get rid of it. Drama ensues.

What could possibly happen with Pepe the burro around the Cleavers’ home? Well, that neatly manicured lawn is going to get messed up by Pepe. “Beaver” and two of his friends go in on getting Pepe. Somehow, though, Pepe only stays with the Cleavers. The episode doesn’t show other times where the burro might have stayed with the other children.

There are not a lot of popular reviews for “Three Boys and a Burro.” Plus, where’s Eddie Haskell? You mean this episode isn’t prime fodder for him to make fun of “Beaver,” then turn on the charm (as he always does) for Mrs. Cleaver? Well, Eddie is MIA for this one. Only “Beaver” and the family and his friends are around.

Oh yeah, so is Pepe the burro.

There Wasn’t Spot For Eddie Haskell In ‘Beaver’ Burro Show

Why isn’t Haskell appearing in this episode? Well, one might surmise show writers and producers just couldn’t find a spot in the plot for him. There is no specific reason given for the fiendish character’s absence.

But it’s pretty amazing that a show with a plot like this one would not use Haskell’s abrasiveness in some way.

As mentioned earlier, Ken Osmond went on to have a career in law enforcement once his acting career stalled. He couldn’t get other roles because, like other sitcom stars, Osmond was typecast in the Eddie Haskell character.

The funny thing is that once he retired from law enforcement, Osmond picked up his acting career. When “The New Leave It To Beaver” came out in the 1980s, Osmond reprised the Haskell character during that show’s run. Ken Osmond died on May 18, 2020, at 76 years old.

As for “Three Boys and a Burro,” this episode originally aired on CBS on March 3, 1962. “Leave It To Beaver” left CBS’s airwaves in 1963, going on to live in syndication land forever. Actually, if you have a desire to see the show, then it’s streaming for free on Peacock.

If you find yourself in need of watching Eddie Haskell hoodwink Wally and “Beaver,” then you can catch those reruns somewhere in the world.