1. Where did the Cleaver’s live?
On 485 Grant Avenue in Mayfield. Later on, they moved to 211 Pine
2. Where was Mayfield located?
The producers did not locate Mayfield in any particular state. They wanted Mayfield to be the suburb all viewers related to and thought they lived in. Hence, the producers went out of there way to avoid any suggestion of Mayfield being associated with any particular state. In one episode, the producers removed all of the destination cities from a reader board at a bus station to prevent viewers from guessing where Mayfield was located by finding its neighboring cities. Although there are eight Mayfields in the US, none of those Mayfields correspond to the characteristics of the Mayfield in Leave It To Beaver. Jerry Mathers often gets requests from the various Mayfields around the US asking Jerry to proclaim their Mayfield as the official LITB Mayfield.
3. Where might Mayfield be located?
|Even though Mayfield isn’t located in any state, it’s still fun to find the clues and speculate. The show contains numerous, contradictory clues.
Most importantly, LITB was written by several different writers, all of whom borrowed from their own childhood and families to compose stories. So, there is no consistency. It’s certainly not like the writers had one particular Mayfield in mind and kept it as a closely guarded secret.
In the Voodoo Curse episode, there is an Ohio state banner in Eddie Haskell’s’s room. In The Boat Builders, Ward Cleaver states that they “live twenty minutes from the ocean.”. In other shows, they talk about visiting California and an Uncle who lives in Florida. When the Cleavers get away for the weekend at Friends Lake with its 30+ foot pine trees, one can be sure the Cleaver’s are not in flat and baron states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.
In one show, Wally’s high school teachers offers to take a group of students to Mexico for a summer trip. One can speculate that given a choice of two neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico, the closer country would probably be chosen. Therefore, the Cleavers lived closer to Mexico than to Canada.
In another show, the boys are interested in a surf board. This would be a little use in the Midwest states, but of great interest in ocean bordering states. Or, more accurately, this demonstrates how the writers borrowed from their own experiences to compose stories.
In yet another show, Ms. Landers explains how the new school bus will pick you up no matter where you leave. “Even in Chicago?” asks Larry. Another speculation is a kid would likely mention the closest major city that casts a shadow on the suburb of Mayfield. Therefore, Mayfield might be around Chicago.
In another episode, Beaver was leaving on a 6 week vacation, and was beginning to have second thoughts when Gilbert was flirting with his girlfriend. Gilbert offered to show how to offer the girl to surf, eluding to a nearby ocean.
In the earlier episodes, Larry’s dad was always traveling to Cincinnati on bus.
Of course, the show makes numerous mentions to neighboring cities and communities, and even street names, that would correspond with the Mayfield located in Ohio. Ohio is always the most popular speculation.
In one of the episodes Wally takes the Beaver to the new amusement park with his friends, to ride on The Giant Dipper. The Giant Dipper is located in Santa Cruz but it is also in San Diego and in Chippewa Lake, Ohio. It is obvious that the contradictions are done on purpose. If they live in Mayfield, Ohio it would have taken Wally 1 hour and 13 minutes to drive to Chippewa Lake, That isn’t far but for a teen taking his little brother to a park it would probably be out of the question.
One fan writes to me: It was not California because the people who owned the Haunted house in “Mistaken Identity” moved to California. They are not from Indiana because the new student (young blond girl) that Wally had a crush on, that Mrs. Cleaver invited on the picnic to Friends Lake was from Indianapolis Indiana or “one of those states.” This seemed to eliminate Ohio, though the checkbook evidence seems quite positive proof. Illinois Ohio, Indiana seem to be one of those states.
Another fan is sure this is where Beaver actually lived. He states: ‘I live in Cleveland and the references made in the episodes can’t be any where else. Grant Avenue, Mayfield, and all the other bits of information indicate Mayfield Ohio. We do have a Mayfield Ohio. ‘
The reality may be less glamour and more practical. Looking at the occasional exterior shots on Leave It To Beaver, Mayfield’s neighborhood looks pretty like the Pacific area, right around the region where Leave It To Beaver was filmed in Hollywood, California.
3B. How did Beaver get his name?
This was revealed in the very last show. When Theodore was an infant and Wally was a young lad, he had problems pronouncing “Theodore.” It came out sounding like “Beaver”, so the nickname stuck.
4. What did Mr. Cleaver do for a living?
Again, the produces decided to keep this one a secret too. Ward works in downtown Mayfield. Ward’s main job seems to be writing a lot of reports. He has a secretary, and sometimes records into a dictating machine. Ward mentions the “the Thompson deal” and “the Miller audits”. There is a branch office in Mexico City, and a main office in New York. Ward attends sales meeting and works with the company’s marketing department. Occasional, Ward travels to a company conference.
Some speculate Ward is was an Accountant. This would be a logical deduction, but certainly not foolproof.
A LITB fan wrote to me: ” I believe he was an executive in either a construction or an architectural firm, …. first, he was in the SeeBee’s, so he would have had a background in construction, second, in one episode before being interrupted by a call from June he was heard reading the riot act on the telephone to what seemed to be a contractor (project was behind schedule), third, in an episode during which Ward was looking at old pictures from his service days he commented on one of the guys: “Would you believe he’s now the best architect in Chicago?” …. now while that could be interpreted as rhetorical, an argument could be made that Ward would know how good the guy was because he had a knowledge of the business …. while individually these clues are not overly compelling, I believe together they provide a reasonably good argument”
5. What do we know about Ward Cleaver’s life?
Ward had a Tom Sawyer like childhood on a farm near Mayfield. As a child, he often hunted, fished, went ice skating, and rode the family’s horses. Ward often makes comparisons of his childhood to his sons. Ward went to the state university and was the president of his fraternity. After college, Ward served as an engineer in the Seabees in the Pacific.
6. What do we know about June Cleaver’s life?
Not much – the scripts didn’t fill in June’s childhood very much. June grew up in St. Louis and attended a boarding school. June spent he summers with her Aunt Martha, who seems to be very influential in her life. June was the captain of her high school basketball team.
7. Did an African American ever appear on Leave It To Beaver?
In one show only, as a servant. See “Who is Kim Hamilton” for a complete description. In one other show, Beaver did have a friend from Mexico. Other than these two occurrences, no other minorities appeared. Leave It To Beaver was pretty much white-bread America.
8. How long did Leave It To Beaver run?
Leave It to Beaver ran from 1957 – 1963, producing 234 shows. On reason of LITB’s success is TV stations could air repeats of LITB every weekday for over a year without showing a repeat.
9. What are the TV ratings for the Leave It To Beaver shows?
Pretty much what you expect – G. After all, if LITB isn’t a G rating, what is?
10. Wasn’t there some New Leave It To Beaver?
Yes, there was. In 1982, there was a reunion show called Still The Beaver. This show was then picked up as a series by Disney, producing 103 shows, airing from 1985 to 1989. The New Beaver takes off from the Cleaver’s at the current time. See The New Leave It To Beaver for complete details.
11. Can I get DVD’s of Leave It To Beaver?
Yes, seasons #1 and #2 are released, and no word yet on the remaining seasons.
13. How was Leave It To Beaver created?
Leave It To Beaver was created by Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly. Mosher and Connelly started writing together in 1942 for the radio show “Amos and Andy”. Together, they wrote over 1,500 sketches over 12 years. They tried some one-time projects for TV, and then came up with the idea of writing a family show from the child’s point of view, instead of the adults like all other contemporary day shows. Between the two, they had nine children, so they had plenty of stories. Beaver was modeled on Connelly’s eight year old son, Ricky, and Wally was molded after Connelly’s oldest son, Jay.
The original show was titled, “Wally and Beaver”, reflecting the focus on the children. However, the show’s primary sponsor, Remington Rand, thought the title sounded too much like a nature show, and requested a title change. Hence, “Leave It To Beaver” came about.
After Leave It To Beaver ran its course, Mosher and Connelly then created “The Munsters.” While Mosher and Connelly broke new TV ground with LITB as the first program to show a toilet, they also broke new ground in The Munsters as well. The Munsters was the first TV program to show a husband and wife in bed together.
Where can I find Leave It To Beaver playing in my area?
On the Other Links page, there’s a section with links to national TV listings. If it’s playing in your area, you should be able to find it.
15. How can I avoid the predictable wise-cracks and giggles when talking about the Beaver?
Yes, I’m sure the producers never envisioned the word “beaver” becoming the slang word that it has. If you want to lesson the chances of someone making the obvious joke when talking about the show in conversation, it helps to use “Beaver” with the full name. Examples: “I’m a fan of Leave It To Beaver”, instead of, “I’m a fan of Beaver.”, or “That Beaver Cleaver was always getting into trouble.”, instead of, “That Beaver was always getting into trouble.”
16. Ever heard any insider stories?
Just some small tidbits.
17. What was Beaver’s locker number?
214. This question must keep on popping up on some trivia contest or radio show, because people keep on asking it. And, if anyone asks, Wally’s locker number was #9.
18. What type of car did Ward drive?
Ward drove was a 1961 Plymouth Fury 4-door hardtop
18B) What about the LITB house?
The house on 211 Pine was first seen in the Humphrey Bogart movie The Desperate Hours (1955). All the exterior shots of the house are the same with one exception. Where there is a breezeway between the garage and house on LITB, it is enclosed in the movie and is the Laundry room / Service Room. Inside the house is changed slightly. Wards Den is the Dining Room and the Living Room is sunken. The Dining Room on LITB is now the den. The foyer stairs location is reversed. Outside though it is the same house. The same house was used for Marcus Welby after the series ended
19. Why did Larry Mondelo disappear from the show?
His folks moved to new Jersey, and took Rusty Stevens (Larrry) with them. At least that’s the official story. I’ve heard there are other, less publicized, reasons why he left.
20. Did Jerry Mathers (Beaver) die in Vietnam?
This was an urban legend. Jerry Mathers served in the Air National Guard in the Vietnam War. The wire services routinely scanned the list of causalities for famous names, and a name similar to Jerry Mathers appeared on that list. Jerry’s death was then reported by the wire services. The rumor was later compounded when Shelly Winters mentioned Jerry’s death on the Tonight Show.
Jerry is alive and well.
See TV Guide’s discussion on this for more information
21. Did Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell) become a porn star?
22. Is there a Leave It To Beaver fan club that I can join?
No, there’s not. I had an opportunity to ask this question to Jerry Mathers in 1996. He said he doesn’t run a fan club because it costs to much money. Apparently, it takes 1-3 full time people to run a fan club, and he didn’t want to pop for the cost personally.
I also asked him if he had a web page. He said no, but Universal was going to put one up at the time of the Leave It To Beaver movie. While I have seen a Universal web page on the new Leave It To Beaver movie, there is no official Leave It To Beaver web page run by either Jerry Mathers or Universal.
23. Did Jerry Mathers publish his biography?
Jerry Mather’s biography is available titled, “And Jerry Mathers As ‘the Beaver” by Jerry Mathers and Herb Fagen. You can order this book right now at Amazon
Frank Bank, who played Lumpy, also published a biography, called, “Call Me Lumpy : My Leave It to Beaver Days and Other Wild Hollywood Life”, by Frank Bank and Gib Twyman. Frank was quite a philanderer in the love free days of the 60’s. Frank claims without exaggeration that he’s experienced over 1,400 women (and that’s not counting duplicate encounters!), but his publisher made him cut the number down to 1,000 to make the figure sound believable. Frank has settled down and is happily married now. This book can also be ordered from www.amazon.com.
24. How much money did Jerry Mathers make?
$500 a week, it was reported, in the early years. In the 50’s, actors made good money, but not lots of money. The fact that Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow (Wally), and Ken Osmond (Eddie) all got regular jobs after college suggest whatever they made wasn’t enough to live on for long. At one time or another, Jerry Mathers was a bank loan officer, Tony Dow worked in housing construction, and Ken Osmond worked as a Los Angeles traffic cop.
However, Jerry did make a deal to get a percentage of the merchandising revenue from the show, who was the first child actor to ever get such a deal. This didn’t mean a lot at the time, since few products where produced. However, Universal did release a new line of Leave It To Beaver products in ’95 (see the Collectibles page: commemorative plates and figurines), and Jerry Mathers did get a cut of that. Maybe this is the reason for the whopping $125 price tag for the 10 inch commemorative plate!
25. Where can I write to the Actors?
Caviet: I don’t know how old these addresses are, but the latest ones are:
Barbara Billingsley is
PO BOX 1320
SANTA MONICA CA 90403
I believe she does respond to fan mail, and this address might be old anyway.
Tony Dow’s is:
13317 Ventura Blvd. #1
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
For Jerry Mathers, his address is:
31103 Rancho Viejo Rd. #2143
San Juan Capistrano CA 92675
I wrote to Jerry Mathers a couple of years ago asking for an autograph, including a SASE in my request. I get back a letter about 8 months latter stating that Jerry Mather’s is contracted with certain companies, and was unable to give his autograph out freely upon request. However, if I wanted to send $50 to a charity that Jerry supports, then he would be happy to send me an autograph as appreciation.
Finally, for Ken Osmond, try:
9863 WORNAM AVENUE
SUNLAND, CA 91040
Also, I’d expect you’d be able to find other addresses through celebrity/autograph search sites.
26. Is there a LeaveItToBeaver.com Web site?
There’s no active site. This domain name was registered by some domain name speculator, and is currently for sale. Don’t know what the asking price is.
27. Help! I want to buy X item. Do you sell it?
No, I don’t sell anything, and I don’t know who does. Check Ebay or the usual places for collectibles.
28. Who are you?
I’m some middle class who set this page up as a hobby.
29. Why did you create this site?
Because I like the show, and I wanted practice on putting together a web site.
30. Dude, you got this misspelling on one of your pages
Yea, I’m sure there’s a few that I’ve missed. Sent me a note of the misspelling with the URL.
31. Hey, I emailed you, and you never responded.
I generally respond to all email, unless it’s a question that’s already covered in the FAQ or found easily elsewhere on my site. When I receive such a question, that person is basically telling me they’re too lazy to do two minutes worth of research on my site. So, they want me to spend my time to spoon feed an answer to them. I do enjoy chatting with people about Leave It To Beaver, but I just don’t have the time to keep on answering the same questions over and over again, which is why I created the FAQ.