1957: When Mom Worried About the Beaver
American families have had a love/hate relationship with Beaver Cleaver since his show debuted on this day in 1957 on CBS. On one side, they loved that fact that the show was good, clean fun. On the other, they hated that the Cleaver clan became the ideal for the American family. Sure, most of the episodes for unrealistic, but then again, so was I Love Lucy. Jerry Mathers had the starring role as the inquisitive kid, Theodore, after referenced as “Beaver.” Hugh Beaumont starred as father Ward, Barbara Billingsly as mother June and Tony Dow as older brother Wally. The Cleavers lived in two homes during the show’s run, but most people remember the second one on Pine Street, and it is easy to do so since that same house has been featured on other shows and movies including Marcus Welby, M.D., The Burbs, Desperate Housewives, The Bill Engvall Show, The Young and the Restless and even the 1997 Leave It to Beaver movie. Airing from 1957-1958 on CBS and then from 1958-1963 on ABC, America literally got to see Beaver grow up. The show was still popular when it ended, but Wally was about to go to college and the family dynamic would be broken. However, the family (and the stars except for Beaumont who had passed away) were reunited in 1983 for the made-for-TV movie, Still the Beaver. Its popularity led to the sequel series, The New Leave It to Beaver from 1984-1989.
First ABC Afterschool Special is Aired
The Last of the Curlews was the very first ABC Afterschool Special to air on this day in 1972. Created by Hanna-Barbera, it was one the few animated specials to air during its 25 year run. The special ran about six times throughout the school year featuring hour-long made-for-TV movies that dealt with social and controversial issues in the day. Later, CBS followed suit with its’ own Afternoon Playhouse and NBC did as well with Special Treat. Later, ABC would air similar programming on Saturday mornings called Saturday Superstar Movie and the ABC Weekend Special.
- 1895: Buster Keaton (actor)
- 1923: Charlton Heston (actor)
- 1937: Jackie Collins (author)
- 1945: Clifton Davis (pastor)
- 1946: Susan Sarandon (actress)
- 1961: Jon Secada (singer)
- 1967: Liev Schreiber (actor)
- 1976: Alicia Silverstone (actress)
- 1988: Melissa Benoist (actress)
- 1989: Dakota Johnson (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.