If You Think You’ve Seen the ‘Leave It to Beaver’ House on Other Shows,You’re Not Wrong
If you’ve watched episodes of Leave It to Beaver closely, you may have noticed the Cleaver home – a tan and brown two-level home with a white front door – seen from the show’s third season on Pine Street.
According to Beaver actor Jerry Mathers, the house got a lot of use after his series ended in 1963.
‘Leave It to Beaver’ presented a typical American 1950s household
While viewers in the 21st century might see the Cleaver family as stuck in time, the truth is the show really did show life as it was for families at that time, and even now.
Universal themes that are still relevant to households today are apparent: parents’ exasperation with their kids; a child’s attempt to understand why adults behave a certain way; a child’s magnification of a problem until a caring adult helps them face it.
As Mathers pointed out to the Television Academy Foundation in 2006, “[Writers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher] were very aware that Leave It to Beaver was one of the first shows about an American family and, especially, from a child’s point of view.”
This show star on the fictional town of ‘Mayfield’
June Cleaver actor Barbara Billingsley explained what the actual Cleaver home was like once its “residents” walked in.
“Our set was, you walked in the front door and you were in the entrance hall,” Billingsley told the Television Academy Foundation in 2000. “The rooms were pretty well laid out that you could walk from the entrance hall through a hallway and into the kitchen and the dining room area. You could go the other way and be in the living room. It was, I think, a typical Middle Western home.”
She described the town of Mayfield as Every Town, USA, to viewers since it was never really specified what part of the country the family lived in.
“The town was Mayfield,” she explained. “Nobody knows where. [Writer] Joe [Connelly] talks about how he was from Cincinnati, Ohio. He talks about June bugs, lightning bugs, night crawlers, so those are the things they have in the Middle West. We always figured we lived in the Midwest somewhere.”
The ‘Leave It to Beaver’ house showed up on a lot of other shows
As Mathers noted, the Beaver house was not retired after his show’s series finale. It continued to stay in use on quite a few other programs.
“I’ve seen houses advertised in the LA Times that say “Leave It to Beaver” house,” he said. “The film commission was somehow saying that some house on their tour was the Leave It to Beaver house. [It] never went off the lot. It’s on the back lot of Universal, it always has been.”
Mathers continued, “It was used for Marcus Welby, M.D., it was used for Bedtime for Bonzo with Ronald Reagan, Adam-12 used to arrest people out of the Leave It to Beaver House all the time. But it was always on the back lot.”