“Leave It to Beaver” star Jerry Mathers never minded the fame associated with the classic sitcom. In fact, the spotlight was nothing new. Mathers had been a child star practically since the age he could walk. Appearing on the sitcom was just another project for Mathers.
Besides with fame came a few perks as well. And Mathers lived a childhood where he got all the newest toys, such as Schwinn bikes like the one he rode on the show. Previously, Mathers had appeared in both movies and television before.
“Being in the ‘spotlight’ wasn’t anything different for me. I’ve been an actor since I was two years old. I worked with Hitchcock, I did two movies with Bob Hope,” Mathers told Closer Weekly. “I worked as much before ‘Leave It to Beaver’ as I did during it. Plus, people don’t pay a lot of attention to kids. Some people would recognize me on the street, but not that many. It was just a really good life. I had a great education and I got to do some fabulous things, like getting a private tour of the Smithsonian. Any place we went, we were singled out pretty much and got great treatment. Just a fantastic life for a kid.”
Jerry Mathers on ‘Leave It to Beaver’
They say it takes a village to raise a child. That’s how Jerry Mathers described the “Leave It to Beaver” set. Mathers said he interacted with hundreds of adults on the show. Often, they tried to keep the child star like him and Tony Dow happy and content.
“On ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ basically I had a hundred or so adults who were, in a lot of ways, like parents, and I was with them for eight hours a day,” Mathers continued. “And it was very important to keep not only myself but Tony [Dow] and all the kids happy because you can’t make a kid work. If for some reason a child doesn’t want to work and they say, ‘I don’t like this; I’m not doing it anymore,’ what do they do?”
Often in between takes, Mathers was off playing with his co-stars. For instance, they made wooden boats they would sail in nearby waterways. They also played impromptu basketball games as well. The actors had fun when they weren’t working.
“So we did all sorts of interesting things,” Mathers said. “They put up a basketball court and I played basketball with the sound man, the makeup man, and the wardrobe man on one team, and the grips and the lighting people on the other. Tony had one team and I had the other. And a lot of times between takes or at lunch, we’d also build things.”