Interview

In July of ‘97, Jerry Mathers made a guest appearance on The Late Show with Jay Leno to do a spoof on summer camps. The transcript of that spoof with a Solstice windscreen / wind deflector.

M = Jerry Mathers
L = Jay Leno
K = Kevin, the band leader.

[ In the intro, Leno kids how old Beaver must be getting, something link 70]

M: I’m not pushing 70! I’m your age
L: Really?
M: Yea, for sure.
L: I sort of thought you were at 70 years old, although perhaps I’m just wrong. It’s good to see you.
M: Well, it’s nice to be here, be here again.
L: Since you’re the standard by which all happy childhoods are judged…
M: Yea, that’s true
L: …why don’t you start by telling us by what makes a good summer camp, and I’ll them what makes a bad, a bad summer camp.
M: OK, uh, for example, a good summer camp has a stable full of beautiful riding horses.
L: That’s correct. The bad summer camp, the horse look suspiciously like great danes.
M: Oh-oh, that’s a bad one all-right.
L: It’s a good sign – you’d know right off the bat.
M: That’s right. At a good summer camp, the meals are well-balanced, they’re nutritious.
L: At a bad summer camp, the meals come out of a Taco Bell dumpster.
M: You know, at a good summer camp, the counselors tell really scary ghost stories.
L: At a bad summer camp, counselors tells stories about guys they killed themselves.
M: [Grimaces] You know, at a good summer camp, the campers are taught to start a fire by, you know, rub two sticks together.
L: At a bad summer camp, campers are taught to start a fire in the head counselor’s unprofitable furniture store.
M: At a good summer camp, the pool for non-swimmers has a shallow end.
L: At a bad summer camp, the bunk bed for bed wetters has a shallow end.
M: At a good summer camp, kids learn how to identify various plants and shrubs.
L: Now, at a bad summer camp, they learn how to identify one plant and then bag it for shipment, I believe. In fact, I believe Kev went to that camp.
K: [laughing] I don’t think so. No, Jay.
M: At a good summer camp, 30 years later, you have fond memories of all the counselors.
L: Yea, yea, yea. Now, at a bad summer camp, 30 years later, you have repressed memories of all the counselors.
M: At a good summer camp, campers learn, you know, arts and crafts.
L: That’s important, that’s important I think. At a bad summer camp, campers shave their heads, castrate themselves, and wait for the Hale-Bop Comet. Right there, that would be very bad.
M: Very bad experience…
L: In fact, I believe Kev also shaved…
M: Oh, yea.
K: [laughing] Leave me out of this Jay.
M: At a good summer camp, campers return home with a greater understanding of nature.
J: At a bad summer camp, campers return home with a greater understanding of the movie, “Deliverance.”
M: At a good summer camp, kids sit around the campfire and toast marshmallows
J: Yea, that’s important. At a bad summer camp, kids pass around the bottle and get toasted.
M: At a good summer camp, counselors teach the child to become a man.
J: That’s important.
M: That’s right.
J: That’s right. At a bad summer camp, counselors teach the child to get even with the man. The man, the man, you’d the man! [Camera put onto Kevin] That’s right, that’s right Kev, you know what I’m talking [about] You the man. [Camera back to Leno and Mathers] I’m trying to stretch a lame bit here – keep up your knee [because Kevin’s guitar is resting on it.]. Yes, go ahead.
M: Let’s see, you know, I think we have time for about one more.
J: No! You’re kidding?
M: Yea, you know…
J: Well, Gosh, you do think so? [looking at his watch] All right, fine.
M: All right, ready? You know, at a good summer camp, Reveille wakes you up
J: In the morning?
M: In the morning. It’s hard to be woken up in the afternoon. You’re up – you’re running all day. What happens at the bad one?
J: At a bad summer camp, RePaul wakes you up in the morning.
M: That would be bad.
J: Jerry Mathers! Thank you very much. Jerry Mathers, The Beaver! We’ll be right back with Rob Lowe right after this. Thank you Jerry.
M: Yea, have a good one.

In July of ‘98, Jerry Mathers made a guest appearance on AOL Live for a chat session. The transcript of that session:

OnlineHost:
OnlineHost: *** You are in “AOL LIVE”. ***
OnlineHost:

TVLandMC: Hello Jerry, welcome!
BeavrCleav: Pleasure to be here!
TVLandMC: We’re so happy to have you here! Thanks for joining us tonight.
TVLandMC: Are you ready for some audience questions?
BeavrCleav: Let ’em fly!
TVLandMC: Here we go!

Question: Who were some of the most memorable stars you met on the Universal
lot
Question: while you were filming “Beaver?”
BeavrCleav: Alfred Hitchcock, Boris Karloff, Kurt Douglas, and Doris Day.

Question: Has anything happened to you in your adult life that was like
something
Question: that happened to “Ward Cleaver” in a “Beaver” episode?
BeavrCleav: All of the original Leave It To Beaver are taken from real life.
So if you’re a family…
BeavrCleav: man you always have to deal with problems that the Cleavers had.
BeavrCleav: What you have to understand is that the show is situation comedy.
BeavrCleav: And no one can solve all their problems in 30 minutes.

Question: There is a new film that contrasts the “Mayfield” of the early ’50s
Question: sitcoms with ’90s suburbia. Do you believe that “Mayfield” was a
better place
Question: in which to live?
BeavrCleav: I read the script for the film two years before it went into
production,
BeavrCleav: I asked them then if they wanted help to fix it.
BeavrCleav: Because I realized that it would probably be PG or PG-13. They
said
BeavrCleav: that what they were doing updating it. However, I felt that
anything
BeavrCleav: having to do with Leave It To Beaver should be G, and so I
decided
BeavrCleav: not to do the film.

Question: Would you have thought Leave it to Beaver would be so loved and
still be
Question: on television all these yrs. later, and do you watch it still? Thank
you
BeavrCleav: The answer to your first question is no. In fact, when Leave It
To Beaver
BeavrCleav: was on prime time, it was never even in the top 10!
BeavrCleav: But, if i named you the top 10 shows from ’57 through ’63 you
might know
BeavrCleav: Perry Mason, Maverick, and perhaps Wagon Train. So no, we never
BeavrCleav: thought Leave It To Beaver would be in 180 countries, in 140
languages
BeavrCleav: nearly 40 years later.
BeavrCleav: I watch it whenever I can, and it brings back a week of my
childhood.
BeavrCleav: What you have to remember, is that not only do I remember the
ensemble cast
BeavrCleav: I remember all the people in the crew, and there were about 180
of them.
BeavrCleav: Each show was unique with animals, or different props, or
sometimes actors, so when
BeavrCleav: I see a show it reminds me of that week in my life.

Question: Did you ever tell the scriptwriters “a kid wouldn’t do that” or
give
Question: them pointers?
BeavrCleav: Joe Connely and Bob Moser, had 11 kids between them
BeavrCleav: and all the episodes of Leave It To Beaver were taken from real
life.
BeavrCleav: Because of this, there was never one that I felt wasn’t real.

Question: Do you own any props or special pieces of memorabilia from the
original
Question: series?
BeavrCleav: One of the pieces of memorabilia that I have is the baseball cap
that
BeavrCleav: I wore on the show. Most of the other items of wardrobe had many
duplicates
BeavrCleav: in case we spilled or messed them up in any way. But on the first
day
BeavrCleav: of filming a show called Captain Jack, our very first episode, my
mother
BeavrCleav: had me wear my very own baseball cap. The director liked the
look
BeavrCleav: and said leave it on the kid. So there is only one hat, because
they could
BeavrCleav: never find one to match it!
BeavrCleav: Because it was mine I got to keep it.

Question: What was your most embarrassing moment on the set?
BeavrCleav: If you buy my new book And Jerry Mathers As The Beaver, you’ll
BeavrCleav: several of my most embarrassing moments. However, the one
BeavrCleav: that is the most embarrassing is very hard to explain online.
BeavrCleav: Because it entails making goggles with your fingers which I can’t
do,
BeavrCleav: although I was asked to on live television one time.
BeavrCleav: It wasn’t the set of Leave It To Beaver, but it was a set.
BeavrCleav: $done

Question: Who would you want to be stuck in an elevator with?
BeavrCleav: Albert Einstein. Because everything is relative!

Question: Hey! Do you think it was mean to call Lumpy “Lumpy?” I, too, was
lumpy
Question: in high school, but I do not think I would want to have been called
Lumpy by
Question: the people. Your thoughts?
BeavrCleav: Do you think it’s any better to be called the Beaver?!!
TVLandMC: LOL!

Question: Hi Jerry! Have you had any recent contact with your old pals
“Larry,”
Question: “Whitey,” “Gilbert” or “Richard?”
BeavrCleav: Richard I see all the time. He has always been one of my best
BeavrCleav: friends in real life. He’s a director in L.A. and you’ll see his
name
BeavrCleav: on a lot of the comedies done.
BeavrCleav: Gilbert lives in San Francisco and is a Peabody award winning
producer.
BeavrCleav: Which is like an Oscar for PBS.
BeavrCleav: Whitey lives in Oregon, and is a commercial artist. Larry is
BeavrCleav: in Atlantic City and sells insurance. But because the last three
BeavrCleav: are out of state I don’t get to see them that often.

Question: Hey! Once I was watching Leave It To Beaver, and I got robbed.
What
Question: gives?
BeavrCleav: Too bad the whole world isn’t like Mayfield!

Question: Jerry were you really the sweet little kid portrayed in your show?
BeavrCleav: No, but I’ve always been myself.

Question: Hey! Today, who would win in a fist fight between you and Tony
Dow?
BeavrCleav: If I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t fight him. But,
probably the toughest
BeavrCleav: person on the show is Ken Osmond who was a Los Angeles motorcycle
BeavrCleav: police officer for 18 years and was shot in the line of duty.
BeavrCleav: I really wouldn’t want to mess with him!

Question: Do u ever get tired of being referred to as “The Beaver” all the
time?
BeavrCleav: No. It’s nice to be a part of the Golden Age of television.
BeavrCleav: It’s one of the pinnacles of my career and it’s something I’m
very proud of.

Question: If you could write a Beaver Reunion, what would it be like?
BeavrCleav: Still The Beaver. It was one of the top ten movies of 1982 on
CBS.

Question: What is your favorite “Beav” expression?
BeavrCleav: Gee, Wally.
BeavrCleav: Or, “Hi Mom, hi Dad” as I come in the door.

Question: What are you doing career wise now?
BeavrCleav: Tony Dow, Ken Osmond, and myself are hoping to do a new TV series
BeavrCleav: it won’t be Leave It To Beaver, but it will be a show that a
family
BeavrCleav: could watch together and not be embarrassed.
BeavrCleav: Unlike many of the shows on prime time now.
BeavrCleav: Children are innocent for a very short length of time and it
would be nice
BeavrCleav: if a family could watch a show together.

Question: How did you like doing the new Leave It To Beaver show?
BeavrCleav: It was like having the best job of your life and then 30 years
later
BeavrCleav: being able to go back to it.

Question: How did the rumor get started that you died in Vietnam?
BeavrCleav: I had given out an Emmy to Gene Kelly in uniform because I was
BeavrCleav: in the Air Force at the time. People saw me in uniform. They tell
me
BeavrCleav: that the bureau chiefs of AP and UPI were scanning casualty lists
for their
BeavrCleav: wire services. Someone saw the same name or a similar name pulled
my obituary file
BeavrCleav: and ran it. Shelly Winters read it in the paper
BeavrCleav: went on the Tonight Show, announced it, and sang Bring The Boys
Home!
BeavrCleav: Because she said that we were killing the flower of American
youth.
BeavrCleav: Tony Dow even sent flowers and a letter of condolence to my
family.

Question: Do you remember the brew-ha-ha over showing a toilet tank on TV in
the
Question: episode where Wally & Beaver hide an alligator?
BeavrCleav: Yes. That was the first Leave It To Beaver ever done. It was
called
BeavrCleav: Captain Jack, and the boys sent away for an alligator to prove
BeavrCleav: to their parents that they could take care of a pet.
BeavrCleav: They didn’t want the parents to know they had it, we hid it in
the toilet
BeavrCleav: tank. However, at that time television didn’t have bathrooms.
BeavrCleav: So, the censors wouldn’t allow that episode to air!
BeavrCleav: The producers fought them and won after about 10 weeks.
BeavrCleav: So Leave It To Beaver is the first television show to have a
bathroom.

Question: Are you going to be doing a book signing tour?
BeavrCleav: Yes, I’ll be signing books
BeavrCleav: in New York at Barnes & Noble – 675 6th ave tomorrow night
BeavrCleav: at 7:30.

Question: What was it like having the Universal Studios backlot as a
playground?
Question: What did you and your kid co-stars do to pass the time?
BeavrCleav: We would fish at Friends Lake which is on the backlot for Blue
Gill
BeavrCleav: which were used for mosquito abatement.
BeavrCleav: Since we were the only people allowed to fish there they were
BeavrCleav: very big and we always threw them back.
BeavrCleav: It was like having the entire Universal tour as a playground.

Comment: I love Leave it to Beaver, you did a great job!!!
BeavrCleav: Thanks!

Question: What was it like inside the coffee cup?
BeavrCleav: It was actually a soup bowl, but it was the most expensive
BeavrCleav: episode we ever did, because they had to build the billboard
BeavrCleav: on the soundstage to film it.
BeavrCleav: That episode cost $57,000!
BeavrCleav: The cheapest episode of the New Leave It To Beaver just 30 years
later
BeavrCleav: cost $950,000! Don’t times change?
TVLandMC: Absolutely!

Question: “Miss Landers” is almost every kid’s dream teacher. Any special
memories
Question: of working with Sue Randall?
BeavrCleav: She was a lovely lady, however, she was a heavy smoker
BeavrCleav: and died at a very young age in Pittsburgh of related illnesses.

Question: Hey! I saw an episode of Bewitched and I could have SWORN you were
on
Question: it — but I heard it was your BROTHER — were you two IDENTICAL?
BeavrCleav: It is my brother, but he is my younger brother.
BeavrCleav: You can see him on Bewitched, Adam 12, and many other shows
BeavrCleav: He had his own series called Ichabod and Me, and now he is
BeavrCleav: a director of photography. He shot the pilot for Power Rangers!
BeavrCleav: Most recently he was shooting Beetleborgs and now is in Ireland
BeavrCleav: filming a new adventure series about the Celts.

Question: Do you identify more now with the June and Ward Cleaver characters
than
Question: you do with the characters of Wally and Beaver?
BeavrCleav: Definitely yes. But I think most people do. As a child you
identify
BeavrCleav: with The Beaver, An adolescent identifies with Wally.
BeavrCleav: When you become a parent, you definitely see June and Ward’s
side.

Question: How would you compare your real life parents to your TV parents?
Were
Question: they role models for you, or were they just professionals?
BeavrCleav: Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont were more like mentors
BeavrCleav: than parents. But they were also great friends.

Question: Please ask my question…is there any relation between him, and a
Mercy
Question: Mathers, Gretchen Mathers, or Rhonda Mathers.
BeavrCleav: Gretchen and Mercy are my daughters. Rhonda is X.

Question: Do you have any kids? And if so, what’s their favorite show now and
do
Question: they watch the reruns?
BeavrCleav: I have two kids and a man. My son, Noah, is in the Navy and I
definitely
BeavrCleav: wouldn’t consider him a kid anymore, but a great son and friend.
BeavrCleav: My daughters are kids and watch, of course, Nickelodeon and TV
Land! Ha ha!

Question: What are your favorite shows today? And how do you feel about TV
today?
BeavrCleav: I like 3rd Rock From The Sun, and many of the other shows done on
cable.
BeavrCleav: I feel that most of the sitcoms are joke orientated. That’s why
BeavrCleav: most of the stars are former stand-up comedians.
BeavrCleav: I prefer shows that are plot driven where the comedy comes out of
the situations
BeavrCleav: happening to the characters. Similar to Leave It To Beaver with
BeavrCleav: no big jokes, but a lot of laughs.