“Gee, Wally! It’s hard to believe our show is half a century old and stuff!”
To celebrate the Cleavers anniversary, TV Land will be airing a 24-hour marathon of classic Leave It to Beaver episodes this weekend. The “Beaver-fest” kicks off on Saturday night at 8pm with the rarely seen 1957 pilot episode entitled “It’s a Small World.” The pilot isn’t usually shown because if features Paul Sullivan (rather than Tony Dow) as Wally and Max Showalter (instead of Hugh Beaumont) as the boys’ father, Ward. The series’ first official episode from October 4, 1957 will air after the pilot at 8:30pm. Then at 9pm, TV Land will broadcast the series’ final episode entitled “Family Scrapbook.” In the finale, June finds an old photo album and reminisces about the Wally and Beaver’s younger days.
Tomorrow morning, be sure to watch Good Morning America on ABC for a special reunion of the surviving cast. June (Barbara Billingsley), Wally (Tony Dow), Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond), Lumpy (Frank Bank), and the Beaver (Jerry Mathers) are all scheduled to appear. (Incidentally, Mathers recently completed a stint on Broadway playing Wilbur Turnblad in the smash hit musical Hairspray.)
Did you know that CBS cancelled Leave It to Beaver after only once season? Fortunately for us, ABC picked it up and ran the series for five more years. If ABC hadn’t saved the show, would anyone even remember it? Any way you think of it, 50 years of Beaver is something to celebrate. Stay tuned!