While filming “The Seven Little Foys,” a 1955 comedy movie about vaudeville entertainer Eddie Foy, there was a fire scene that got out of hand. Too much gasoline was poured into igniting the scene, and Mathers’ life was in danger.
Hope, the legendary actor/comedian, grabbed a blanket and essentially ran into a burning building to save young Mathers.
The ABC Network Landed the Show
When poor Nielsen ratings left "Leave it to Beaver" on the chopping block, backroom wrangling kicked into high gear. In his 1998 autobiography, "And Jerry Mathers as 'The Beaver,'" Mathers revealed why ABC landed the show.
He said it was Purina pet food that sealed the deal. The company offered the most money to sponsor the program and sealed a contract with ABC.
Leave It to Beaver Was Launched on the Same Day as Sputnik
October 4, 1957, was a momentous day in the United States. On the upside, one of the greatest and most enduring television programs debuted, but on the other hand, Russia took the lead in the space race, flinging its Sputnik 1 satellite into outer space.
It represented a stinging defeat for the U.S.A. in the Cold War battle, and it triggered public support for the race to the moon. In the end, it would identify the ‘50s as much as the Cleaver family did.
ABC spent $50,000 on One Episode
"Leave it to Beaver" enjoyed a generous budget. The episode, “In the Soup,” in which the Beave decides to climb up to see if it’s real soup, was one of the most expensive.
Luckily, it’s also one of the most memorable. The reason it was so pricey is that the studio built the actual billboard in the Universal backlot. In today’s money, it would be $400,000. In today’s world, they would have had Campbell’s Soup pay for it!
It Wasn’t Until the Final Episode When Fans Learned How the Beave Got His Nickname
It came out in the “Family Scrapbook” finale. Beaver asked his mom why they call him “Beaver” instead of his actual name, Theodore. Mrs. Cleaver explained that when Wally was young couldn’t pronounce his baby brother’s name, and it sounded like Beaver instead of Theodore, so they just left it.
Next, Wally pipes in characteristically with, “Gee, I’m sorry, Beave, I didn’t know what I was saying.”