Ten Best Leave It To Beaver TV Episodes

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TV's Leave It To Beaver ran from 1957-63. Box Office Attraction, Wally's Pug Nose, In the Soup, Wally and Dudley, Beaver's Short Pants, Wally's Haircomb, Beaver Plays Hooky and Beaver and Andy are among the top episodes.

TV's Leave It To Beaver was originally telecast from 1957 to 1963. Created by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, Leave It To Beaver featured Hugh Beaumont as Ward Cleaver, Barbara Billingsley as June Cleaver, Tony Dow as Wally Cleaver and Jerry Mathers as Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver in the principal roles. Leave It To Beaver debuted over CBS-TV on October 4, 1957, generating 234 half-hour episodes.

Here are ten Leave It To Beaver episodes that no classic TV fan should ever miss. Join us as we return to Mayfield, and a slice of pure television Americana...

"Box Office Attraction" - February 28, 1963

Wally falls hard for the ticket taker at the local theater, an older, attractive blonde named Marlene Holmes (Diane Sayer). Unable to get up the nerve to ask her out, Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond) breaks the ice for him. Wally later wins a date with his dream girl, but Beaver and friend Gilbert Bates (Stephen Talbot) have spied Marlene smoking cigarettes and hanging out with tough guys in local beer joints. Wally's ensuing date proves to be an eye opener, as the sophisticated Marlene takes him to one of her favorite watering holes and orders up some brews for her and the underage Wally. "Golly!" a surprised Wally exclaims, as the aggressive Marlene puts the moves on him in their parked car. Ah, better stick with Julie Foster, Mary Ellen Rogers and the other "safe" girls from Mayfield High!

Teleplay: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher, Roland MacLane, Dick Conway

Director: David Butler

Leave It To Beaver, Diane Sayer and Tony Dow in "Box Office Attraction," February 28, 1963 (ABC-TV)

"Wally's Pug Nose" - February 5, 1959

When new girl Gloria Cusick (Cheryl Holdridge) makes mention of Wally's "pug nose," the self-conscious, teenage Wally buys a contraption through the mail that promises to render him a more attractive Roman nose. Ward finds out about Wally's problem and gives him a little pep talk, telling his elder son that he used to be self-conscious about his big ears as a teenager. Now Wally believes that his ears are too big and unsightly, and begins taping them back at night. All works out well in the end as Gloria later elaborates, deeming Wally's pug nose "cute." The scene in which a curious Beaver tries on Wally's Roman nose converter is priceless, making him look like a young Hannibal Lecter.

Teleplay: George Tibbles

Director: Norman Tokar

Leave It To Beaver, Tony Dow in "Wally's Pug Nose," February 5, 1959 (ABC-TV)

"In the Soup" - May 6, 1961

Wally is hosting a party at the Cleaver home while brother Beaver is headed to Whitey Whitney's (Stanley Fafara's) for the night. On their way over, Whitey tells Beaver that real soup is wafting from the top of a giant billboard sign. On a dare, Beaver climbs the billboard and discovers that steam is producing the visual effect. Beaver then falls into the giant soup bowl and is unable to get out. Whitey summons his dad Frank Whitney (Harry Holcombe) to the scene, with Wally, many of his party guests, Mr. Whitney and Ward Cleaver himself witnessing the rescue as an embarrassed Beaver is hauled out of the bowl by the fire department. Look for the big surprise on Ward's face as Frank Whitney tells him that it's his Beaver trapped up there in the huge soup bowl. After the rescue, a little boy (Jimmy Gaines) asks for Beaver's autograph, proving that "celebrity" takes many forms. Check out Wally's party guest attire: jackets and ties for the gents and dresses for the girls.    

Teleplay: Roland MacLane, Dick Conway

Director: Norman Abbott

"Wally and Dudley" - March 18, 1961

June is delighted that her best friend Ruth's boy Dudley McMillan (Jimmy Hawkins) has enrolled at Wally's school. June asks Wally to introduce Dudley to his friends, with Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond) and Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford (Frank Bank) giving the new kid the business. Christine Staples (Marta Kristen) later hosts a party, with Wally and Dudley in attendance. When the record player breaks down, the somewhat dull, uninteresting Dudley soon becomes the life of the party, sitting down at the piano and playing some popular tunes with Eddie's girl Christine right by his side. Ah, that Eddie, who introduces Wally's new, overcoat-wearing friend as "Dumbley" McMillan.   

Teleplay: George Tibbles

Director: Hugh Beaumont

"Beaver's Short Pants" - December 13, 1957

Stuffy old Aunt Martha (Madge Kennedy) comes to stay with the Cleavers while June is away visiting her sister Peggy. Spying Beaver's current attire, she takes him to a high-end store and outfits the Beav in a suit, short pants, knee socks, bowtie and beanie. Now decked out like Little Lord Fauntelroy, Beaver heads to school where the kids, led by awful Judy Hensler (Jeri Weil) and pudgy Larry Mondello (Rusty Stevens), mercilessly raz him. Ward hears of Beaver's problem and subsequent fight at school, and meets him out in the garage before he goes to work, redressing his son and sparing Aunt Martha's feelings. Poor Beaver, he nearly got murdered at school!

Teleplay: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher

Director: Norman Tokar

Leave It To Beaver, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers in "Beaver's Short Pants," December 13, 1957 (CBS-TV)

"Wally's Haircomb" - May 21, 1959

Wally adopts "the jellyroll," a new hairstyle that's all the rage at school. June is worried, and makes an appointment to see Mr. Haller (Howard Wendell), Wally's principal. Mr. Haller advises that it's best to let these fads run their course. But when little Beaver emulates his brother, coming down the stairs with the exact hairstyle, June lowers the boom, marching him back upstairs and telling both the Beav and Wally that the jellyroll has run its course in the Cleaver household. The jazzy saxophone music that blares from the soundtrack whenever the jellyroll is glimpsed is good for a few laughs by itself. Ward doesn't seemed too concerned – until Wally hints that he may not go out for the swimming team if it means losing his new hairstyle.

Teleplay: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher with story by George Tibbles

Director: Norman Tokar

"Beaver Plays Hooky" - January 22, 1959

Habitually late for school, Beaver and pal Larry Mondello (Rusty Stevens) decide to play hooky rather than show up and face the wrath of Miss Landers (Sue Randall). Growing hungry, the two boys head to a local grocery store in order to scrounge some free samples. Here they wind up on a live TV show hosted by cowboy star Marshall Moran (Dick Lane), who interviews the boys and asks them why they aren't in school. They concoct a wild story about a school flood, which mysteriously washed out their two desks only. Catching all of this on television are June and Wally, with the latter sent home by the school nurse. Dick Lane is hilarious as the rootin' tootin' Marshall Moran, who hands out free candy bars ("They're powerful good!") and makes a wry observation of his two young interviewees: "Looks to me like you two mavericks just kind of jumped the old corral fence. I hope the truant officer ain't a-looking in. I'd like to give you a book to shove down the seat of your trousers when your pappy takes you out to that old woodshed."

Teleplay: Roland MacLane, Dick Conway, Bob Mosher, Joe Connelly with story by Roland MacLane and Dick Conway

Director: Norman Tokar

Leave It To Beaver, Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow (ABC-TV)

"Wally's License" - October 11, 1962

Wally is enrolled in Mr. Barnsdall's (Russ Bender) driver's education class, with know-it-all Shirley Fletcher (Beverly Lunsford) as his fellow student driver. Wally successfully completes the course and is ready to take his driver's license test. Ward takes him down to the testing facility where Shirley is also preparing to take her exam. Wally passes the test and gets his license, but overconfident Shirley fails, later telling Wally that the examiner is prejudiced against teenagers! Great role for Atlanta-born Beverly Lunsford, who ably delivers as the teenage backseat driver from high school hell.

Teleplay: Bob Ross

Director: Norman Abbott

"Beaver and Andy" - February 13, 1960

Andy Hadlock (Wendell Holmes) comes looking for handyman work at the Cleaver home. Andy is an old acquaintance of Ward's, who hires him to paint the trim on the house. But Andy has a problem – he's a recovering alcoholic – something which Ward and June keep from the boys. One hot day, Andy comes in from work and asks Beaver if his father keeps any liquor around. Beaver innocently gives Andy what he wants, a bottle of brandy that had been a gift from Uncle Billy, with Andy later falling off a ladder and having to be taken home. A remorseful Andy later meets Beaver on the street, telling him how sorry he is and that he will return to finish the painting job for his dad. A haunting, offbeat segment for this early sitcom, made more so by Beaver's occasional singing of "My Darlin' Clementine." Wendell Holmes as Andy gives a moving performance, and registers one of the show's best lines: "An empty bottle and an empty life go pretty much hand in hand."

Teleplay: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher

Director: David Butler

"The Grass Is Always Greener" - January 8, 1959

Beaver befriends the trash man, Henry Fletcher (Jess Kirkpatrick), eventually going over to his place on Euclid Avenue where he meets Henry's two sons, Pete (Don Lyon) and Chris (Billy Chapin). June is appalled that Beaver went over to play in a yard so near the dump, so Ward suggests that Beaver invite the Fletcher kids to the Cleavers instead of returning there. Although Wally originally planned to go to the movies with Chester and Tooey, he opts to stay and play with the Fletcher boys, with Pete showing him out to fashion modus joints for the shoeshine box he was building. The Fletchers open the eyes of the Cleavers, with young Chris commenting that Beaver's mom looks like a movie star and Wally later asking Ward if they could start working together on projects again with the long-abandoned tool box. A very poignant episode, with the scene in which Pete and Chris simply stretch out on the green grass of the Cleaver yard and admire the view coming as one of the show's highlights. 

Teleplay: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher with story by John Whedon

Director: Norman Tokar

Leave It To Beaver, "The Grass Is Always Greener," January 8, 1959 (ABC-TV)

Ten More Leave It To Beaver TV Episode Favorites

  • "Wally's Practical Joke" (5/23/63)
  • "Uncle Billy's Visit" (3/21/63)
  • "Captain Jack" (10/11/57)
  • "Voodoo Magic" (1/3/58)
  • "Wally's New Suit" (12/4/58)
  • "The Hypnotist" (3/12/60)
  • "The Mustache" (1/3/63)
  • "Tennis, Anyone?" (5/19/62)
  • "Wally's Dinner Date" (9/27/62)
  • "Lumpy's Scholarship" (3/7/63)

Leave It To Beaver, l-r: Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers and Edgar Buchanan in "Captain Jack," October 11, 1957 (CBS-TV)

1 comment

William J. Felchner
Posted on Oct 17, 2010