Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Mentor Spotlight Interview with Jerry Mathers

By Stella Prince, age 14

 

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Jerry Mathers, the star of the famous sitcom “Leave it to Beaver.” The show focuses on Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver’s life growing up in suburbia, in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. The television show ran for six seasons, and is still a household name after sixty-one years.

Amazing Kids (AK): Why is the show still relatable to children now?

Jerry Mathers (JM): “Most of the stories on the show came from real life, for all of the writers had children, and there were so many kids on the show, too. That’s why it was so relatable,” Jerry stated. “And the things that happened on ‘Leave it to Beaver’ are still happening today. Even with the internet, kids still have the problems that we had growing up.”

AK: Were you friends with the other cast members?

JM: “We were all close, but if an actor wouldn’t be on the show for a few weeks, it’s not like I would see them outside of work,” Jerry answered. “I had good friends on the show, but they were never people I hung out with.”

AK: Are you still in touch with any of the cast members?

JM: “I keep in touch with people that I’ve worked with, but I don’t call them on a weekly or even a monthly basis. If one of them passes away, another will call up to tell me, of course, but it’s not a regular thing.”

AK: Have you ever watched the show with your children?

JM: “Not really, honestly. I know and remember the show so well, that I’ve never really felt the need to watch it. Once in a while I’ll see it, but I know exactly what happens on the show, so I usually find other things to do.”

AK: What ever happened to the actor who played Larry Mondello?

JM: “You know, we don’t really know. If anyone’s noticed, he wasn’t on the show for the last three years. I think his parents decided that they didn’t want him to work on television; they wanted him to be an actor in New York. So they moved and thought he was going to go on Broadway, and I haven’t heard from him since.”

AK: What was it like when the show ended?

JM: “Well, I had never really been to school with other children, because when I was acting, I had a tutor. I worked every day with the tutor for three hours, and then acted from eight in the morning to five or six at night. I had some of the best tutors when I was kid. Tony Dow, who played my brother Wally, also had a tutor, but he was in high school, so I worked with a tutor one on one. When the show ended, I got the opportunity to go to school.”

AK: What do you think the show can teach the generation growing up now?

JM: “Well, the show is about a little boy growing up in America, and I think that the kind of events that happened to Beaver are events that are still happening to kids today. The Internet has changed things, because when the show was on radio and TV was all there was. The show also taught kids basic skills– if you do the right thing you get rewarded, and if you do the wrong thing you get caught. There’s punishment, but it’s not the end of the world. And if you keep doing the right thing after you’ve done the wrong thing, people will still respect you.”

“Leave it to Beaver” is now available on YouTube and Amazon, or on DVD.

Thanks for speaking with me, Jerry!

One comment

  1. Paulette Klin /

    I remember watching “Leave it to Beaver” very long ago, so this was fun to read. I think you asked the right questions, because you got interesting answers.

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