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Updated: June 03, 2023

One of the most popular series in television history, Leave it to Beaver stood out from the flock of family shows during TV's golden age. While most Beaver contemporaries, like The Donna Reed Show and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, were star-driven vehicles in which the kids were merely supporting players, the action and antics in Leave it to Beaver centered around the Cleaver boys.

Premiering in the fall of 1957 and focusing on the adventures of seven-year-old Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver and his 12 year old brother, Wally, Leave it to Beaver was remarkably fresh for its time. While its tone reflected the innocence of the era, the series had a realistic edge thanks to the show's creators, Joe Connely and Bob Mosher, who based most of the young characters on their own kids and other children they knew. The episode where Wally gives Beaver a crummy coif after losing his haircut money was taken straight from the experience of little Bobby Mosher. Does that mean there was actually a real life Eddie Haskell and Larry Mondello too?

The lasting charm of Leave it to Beaver can also be attributed to its timeless story lines. It's not difficult to imagine Wally and the Beav's misadventures happening today, albeit with hipper lingo. At the show's core is the theme of growing up, and while most of us don't have model parents like Ward and June Cleaver or Gus the Fireman to dispense advice, we can identify with many of the Cleaver kids' predicaments. Boys will be boys, after all.

Though the original series left prime time in September 1963, it has remained a regular in reruns ever since. In the early 1980s, Leave it to Beaver experienced a resurgence in popularity that resulted in a sort of Beaver Cleaver fever. Wally and the Beav suddenly found themselves on Kellogg's Cornflakes boxes, as well as the subject of a number of books. A reunion movie, Still the Beaver, was produced, and led to a syndicated series reuniting many of the show's original cast members.

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