Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Leave It to Beaver (season 1)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Covid-19
Country of origin  United States
Original network  CBS
No. of episodes  39 (black-and-white, full screen, approx. 25 minutes)
Original release  October 4, 1957 – July 16, 1958

The first season of the American television situation comedy Leave It to Beaver premiered on October 4, 1957 and concluded on July 16, 1958. It consisted of 39 episodes shot in black-and-white, each running approximately 25 minutes in length. This was the only season that the show originally aired on CBS.

Contents

Production

Leave It to Beaver debuted Friday, October 4, 1957 at 7:30 P.M. (EST) on CBS with "Beaver Gets 'Spelled". Interestingly, that was also the day that Sputnik 1 was launched. Mid-season, the show was rescheduled to Wednesday nights at 8:00 P.M.. In the second season, the show would move to ABC. The first season completed its run on July 16, 1958 with "Cat Out of the Bag". The first season consists of 39 black-and-white, full-screen, half-hour episodes (without ads) recorded on 35mm film.

Episodes are picaresque stand-alones with no episode-to-episode continuity of storyline. Very occasionally a reference is made to a previous episode but episodes can easily be viewed out of air-date order. There are no multi-part stories in the season nor in the complete series.

Opening and closing sequences

For season one, a voice-over prologue by Hugh Beaumont precedes each early episode's opening credits, providing a background to that episode's theme, and always concludes with "And that's our story tonight on Leave It to Beaver." The voice-over prologues are discontinued mid-season and replaced with a short scene extracted from the episode at hand. The prologues are retained in the first-season DVD release but are omitted in airings on TV Land.

The opening titles feature a drawing of a sidewalk, viewed from above, displaying the credits in wet concrete. The characters are not shown. The closing sequence exhibits the credits against a simple, dark background. Both sequences are accompanied by the show's theme tune, "The Toy Parade".

Casting

The show's four stars — Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont, Tony Dow, and Jerry Mathers — appear in all first-season episodes.

Richard Deacon as Fred Rutherford, Frank Bank as his son, Clarence ("Lumpy"), Ken Osmond as Eddie Haskell, Pamela Baird as Mary Ellen Rogers, Doris Packer as Mrs. Rayburn, and Stanley Fafara as Whitey Whitney are introduced in the first season and remain as recurring characters through the series' six-season run, appearing in every season.

Diane Brewster plays Miss Canfield, Beaver's second grade teacher, in four first-season episodes and then leaves the show. Rusty Stevens as Larry Mondello, Jeri Weil as Judy Hensler, Burt Mustin as Gus the Fireman, Tiger Fafara as Tooey Brown, Buddy Hart as Chester Anderson, Patty Turner as Linda Dennison, and Madge Kennedy as Aunt Martha all make their debuts as recurring characters in the first season.

Veteran film and television actor Edgar Buchanan makes his first appearance on the show in, "Captain Jack," the episode second in air-date order. Buchanan makes two appearances later in the series as Ward's uncle, Billy. Other acting veterans making first-season appearances are Phyllis Coates, Herb Vigran, William Fawcett, William Schallert, Karl Swenson, John Hoyt, Lyle Talbot, Will Wright, John Hart, and Maudie Prickett.

Direction and writing

All first-season episodes (with the exception of "The Broken Window") are directed by Norman Tokar, a director distinguished for his ability to work well with children. Most of the scripts are the work of the show's creators, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, with occasional contributions from other writers. The writing team of Dick Conway and Roland MacLane (who would write many later seasons episodes) make their debuts in the first season.

Leave It to Beaver universe

When the show opens, Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver is a seven-year-old boy in the second grade at Grant Ave. Grammar School while his brother Wally is a twelve-year-old in the eighth grade at the same school (thus assuming Grant Ave. Grammar School is a K-8 school). Their father Ward is a white collar office worker and their mother June, a stay-at-home wife and mother whose specialities are unconditional love and wholesome meals. The Cleavers live in a two-story frame house in fictional Mayfield. Beaver's character is established in the first season and remains essentially unchanged in the following seasons. He is a sensitive but gullible boy of above average intelligence and abilities trying to make sense of the adult world around him while often being led astray by schoolmates and chums.

The first season follows the Cleaver boys as they get in and out of boyhood scrapes and face their father for moral lectures (or more serious discipline) regarding their mistakes and misadventures. First season plot motifs include money-making schemes for the boys, relationships within the family, and school problems. Both boys have encounters with first girlfriends in the opening season (Wally with Penny Jamison, Beaver with Linda Dennison), and those encounters are somewhat sour. The opening season sees the only holiday (Christmas) related episode in the series, "The Haircut", and, even then, the holiday only marginally enters the proceedings.

Reception

Critics of the period were generally favorable to Leave It to Beaver. TV Guide dubbed the show "the sleeper of the 1957-58 season". But the season did not break into the Nielsen Top 20. It was in the first season, however, that the show received its only Emmy nominations in its history: the first nomination, for Best New Program Series of the Year, and the second, for Best Teleplay Writing - Half Hour or Less (Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher) for the premiere episode, "Beaver Gets 'Spelled".

References

Leave It to Beaver (season 1) Wikipedia


Topics
 
B
i
Link
H2
L