Jerry Mathers, better known as Theodore Beaver Cleaver from the 1950’s television show… Leave It to Beaver, will always be known as The Beaver. This compassionate, industrious and intelligent man has had a cornucopia of life experiences that would take two or three lifetimes for the average human being. Mathers started his professional acting career at age two. He had several small parts in televisions shows, movies and commercials. The big one came in 1957 with the classic, homespun and timeless TV show Leave It To Beaver.
Mathers explained, “Leave It to Beaver had its debut in 1957 and ran through 1963. The show really is timeless. Here we are 56 years later, the show can still be seen throughout the U.S. as well as in over 110-Plus countries in 47 languages. Beaver is the longest running TV show; it has never been off the air.”
Patti Wampach: What makes this TV show timeless and universal?
Jerry Mathers: Leave It to Beaver is about everyday life situations. It’s about family and kids growing up. Yes, times have changed. Today’s family life is on a faster pace than in the Ô50s, but kids today have many of the same life concerns such as… the first day of school, learning discipline, the first dance, saving money and other ups and downs of life.
Many of Leave It to Beaver scripts were based on real life situations. Most of the significant themes were based on truth, driven by real stories that were shared with the show’s writers, producer and director.
Patti Wampach: Many of the cast and crew members of Leave it to Beaver are still part of your circle of friends 50-plus years later. In the entertainment field, it’s unusual to have such close ties with cast members. What makes the Leave It to Beaver TV family unique?
Jerry Mathers: When Beaver aired in 1957, there were only 3 television stations. Directors and writers and other crew members had a great deal of movie experience and applied their knowledge to TV. Directors like Norman Tokar, David Butler, Norman Abbott and Hugh Beaumont, who also played Ward Cleaver my TV father, were well into their late forties and mid-fifties in 1957. Those men have died long ago. I learned so much from those men. What they taught me will last a life-time.
Tony Dow, who played my brother Wally, is good friend. Over the years, Tony and I did a few touring stage plays together. In 1983, we did a television reunion film titled, Still the Beaver. The film was so successful that it led to the development of a sequel series. The New Leave it to Beaver ran on cable from 1983 through 1989. Today, our lives are busy with different projects. I do chat with Tony at Christmas and birthdays. Every year, Tony, Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell) and I do a special charity fund raiser for the Los Angeles Fire department. Bottom line, I do connect once in a while with some folks from the original show.
Patti Wampach: Jerry, you started your acting career at age 2; you are still going strong at age 65. What motivates you to share your talents with the masses?
Jerry Mathers: Yes, I started my acting career at a very young age. I have had numerous phenomenal life experiences that included television, movies, theater, college education, a stint in the Air Force Reserve, and many business ventures. In my 40’s, I was putting on a lot of weight. I was eating all the time. In the mid 1990s, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I was told that I would be dead in 7 years if I didn’t change my lifestyle. A wonderful doctor helped me and I listened to her. I started taking care of my health with weight loss, exercise and changing my life style. Most important, I wanted to start helping others. ~
Living with Type 2 diabetes today, Jerry is an avid advocate and leading national lecturer on living with and dealing with diabetes. He is truly helping others.
Jerry Mathers will be sharing numerous stories and experiences on Wednesday, May 15th at the 24th Annual Salute to Seniors, Colorado’s Premier senior showcase. Jerry’s delightful and inspiring presentation will start 11:00 a.m. in the Mile High Ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center. Later in the afternoon meet “The Beaver” for a photo a opportunity in the Beav’s own living room, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente in main ballroom.
Other highlights of the day include the nostalgic programming of television that is viewed by baby boomers and older adults. The setting includes seven themed rooms with Westerns, Comedy, Variety, Science Fiction, Cartoons, Game Shows, and Medical Shows. Each room will feature live entertainment, television commercials, and vignettes from television shows of the era against a stage set. Over 75- Plus exhibitors will join “The Beav”to share information and resources for seniors and their families. Exhibitors will represent housing, health care, finances, recreation, safety, and other government programs.
Tickets are $9 for the first ticket and $4.50 for the second ticket. Groups of ten or more are $6 each. Free parking is available at the Pepsi Center with free shuttle service to the front door of the Colorado Convention Center. Lunch is available through the Convention Center Cafe as well. For information and tickets call (303)333-3482 or visit www.senioranswers.org.
Patti Wampach is the Owner of Prime Time News LLC,
A Marketing Support Service Focusing on Senior Issues