Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series

Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series

Director: Andrew McCullough, Anton Leader, Bretaigne Windust
Cast: Barbara Billingsley



Back in 2005, Universal began issuing Leave It To Beaver on DVD with the first two seasons, a bit less than a year apart -- the Season One set came in both a basic DVD edition and a deluxe package, the main feature of which was an authentic 1950s-style school lunchbox outer container. And then there was nothing -- from 2006 until the early summer of 2010, no further episodes were seen on DVD. It seems as though Universal did a major re-thinking of their DVD strategy, at least where vintage programs were concerned, and started licensing them to specialists in the field, Timeless Video getting the westerns and police shows while Shout Factory has gotten the rights to more mainstream comedies. And this 37 disc set of the complete six-season run of Leave It To Beaver is a mother-lode, 234 half-hour episodes plus bonus features, comprising more than 6090 minutes (that's 101 hours) of programming. By most reckonings, a list price of $200 is pretty hefty, even for the complete run of a classic 1950s series, but this reviewer jumped on it, owing to the overall quality of the show, which seldom ever faltered (though it it can be argued that Leave It To Beaver "jumped the shark" with the 1962 episode Three Boys And A Burro -- oh, sure, Ward and June Cleaver, upstanding citizens of Mayfield's suburbs, or any other parents in that area, are going to say yes to their boys buying a piece of live-stock, a burro no less . . . .). And the quality does hold up, for the most part -- fortunately, as series star Jerry Mathers matured and gradually grew out of the role, and the makers ran out of new situations for his character, the writers and producers were able to devise more stories dealing with older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and these, plus the work of the supporting cast, carried the series for probably at least a year of strong programs past the point where it, otherwise, would have started to fade. The quality of the transfers on the first two seasons in this set is identical to the those on the old Universal disc editions -- all shows are, of course, full-screen (1.33-to-1) and in black-and-white; the first season episodes look superb, the second season less so, with a surprising amount of grain in some of the sequences, but this isn't sufficient to put off viewers. And the sound is strong throughout, the chaptering more than adequate, and the menus easy to access and maneuver around. As to seasons three, four, five, and six, which are new to DVD, the transfers are excellent, with none of the grain that seems to be unique to some of season two's shows. For the purposes of this set, the bonus features that appeared on the free-standing first-season set (principally the pilot, It's A Small World)) have mostly all been shifted to a disc in the last set. The inclusion of previously made features focusing on the series and its evolution and production makes this set a vital resource for fans -- even this longtime viewer, who knew a fair amount about the show, found new information in the featurette Forever the Beaver: The Cleavers Look Back, and enough new information so that it was a necessary pleasure to go back it more than once -- the stories about interactions with Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen on the Universal lots were just two of many highlights. The audio bonuses, which are culled from radio appearances by the cast, are also very funny to hear, filled with good humor and a generous spirit on the part of all concerned. In short -- and with this series, it's appropriate -- the reunion and retrospectives are like walking in on a series of joyous family gatherings. The set is formatted as a series of slim multi-disc jewel cases in a larger slipcase, which makes this a fairly compact affair but simple to open and play. Each set comes with an insert providing a "map" to the episodes. Each disc opens automatically to a simple, easy to use menu offering individual episode access. And the audio bonus features are simple to activate or shut down during viewing. As to the viewing experience itself, the array of the complete series in one place bears out what a lot of serious fans always knew about Leave It To Beaver -- beyond its other virtues, in terms of comedy and entertainment, the program was virtually a mirror of how white, middle-class America (which, like it or not, and for better or worse, was what defined America in those days) saw itself, and wanted to see itself. The creator/producers, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, who also wrote a good many of the early scripts and supervised the writing for the full run of the show, managed to tap into several rich veins of material, all rooted in reality. Watching the show from beginning to end, which is a herculean task best pursued over a period of many months, one absorbs some of the best writing about childhood foibles and anxieties ever set down in an entertainment context. And thanks to the fact that the series always made a good effort to stay in contact with the environment and social world it sought to portray, one sees a surprisingly realistic reflection of how childhood and teen-age life changed between 1957 and 1963. (Indeed, one suspects there may be a doctoral dissertation to be mined out of this series, for someone willing to do the excavation). In other words, its a series that can be enjoyed on a multitude of levels, by those who remember it and those who lived it, or viewers who didn't arive until long after it left production.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/29/2010
UPC: 0826663118353
Original Release: 0000
Rating: NR
Source: Shout Factory
Time: 101:30:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Forever the beaver: the Cleavers look back; Ken and Frank remember; The drum major of the toy parade; The original pilot episode; Audio interviews

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Barbara Billingsley June Cleaver
Stephen Talbot Gilbert Bates,Gilbert Gates
Anne Dore Mrs. Wentworth
Annette Gorman Betsy
Barry Curtis Johnny Franklin,Harry Myers
Barry J. Gordon Chopper
Ben Baker Stanley the Barber
Beverly Washburn Jill Bartlett
Buddy Hart Chester Anderson
Burt Mustin Gus
Carol Sydes Penny Jamison,Alma Hanson
Charles Gray Harry Donaldson
Dennis Holmes Friend #1
Diane Brewster Miss Canfield
Dick Simmons Mr. Langley
Don Drysdale Himself
Doris Packer Mrs. Rayburn
Eddie Marr Mr. Payton,Carnival Vendor,Uncle Artie,Man,Water Dept. Worker
Edgar Buchanan Captain Jack,Uncle Billy
Eric Snowden Salesman,Clothier
Francis de Sales Mr. Anderson
Frank Bank Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford,Lumpy Rutherford
Frank Ferguson Jeff
Frank Wilcox District Court Judge,Mr. Farmer,Dr. Harrison
Gary Hunley Jackie Waters
Gloria Gilbert Judy Henderson
Harry Tyler Boatman
Herb Vigran Barber
Hugh Beaumont Ward Cleaver,Director
Jackie Kelk Mr. Merkel
James Gleason Pete
Jean Vander Pyl Mrs. Hanson,Mrs. Thompson,Mrs. Woods
John Hart Troop #21 Scoutmaster,Construction Worker
Karen Sue Trent Penny Woods,Cowgirl
Karl Swenson George Haskell
Keith Taylor Harry
Ken Osmond Eddie,Eddie Haskell,Eddie Haskell (stock footage)
Lyle Talbot Charles Dennison,Mr. Dennison
Madge Blake Mrs. Mondello,Mrs. Mondello (stock footage)
Madge Kennedy Aunt Martha,Aunt Martha Bronson
Mary Carroll Mrs. Manners
Pamela Baird Mary Ellen Rogers,Mary Ellen Rogers (stock footage)
Ralph Sanford Mr. Garvey,Fats Flannaghan
Ray Kellogg Mr. Donaldson,Mr. Waters
Ray Montgomery Herb Wilson,Kenny's Father
Richard Correll Richard,Richard Rickover,Richard Rutherford
Richard Deacon Fred Rutherford
Richard Lane Marshal Moran
Rusty Stevens Larry Mondello,Larry Mondello (stock footage),Larry Mondelo
Stanley "Tiger" Fafara Whitey Whitney,Tooey
Stanley Clements Salesman
Stuart Wade Dr. Bradley
Sue Randall Miss Landers,Miss Landers (stock footage)
Vicki Albright Carolyn Stewart
Wendell Holmes Andy Hadlock,J.J. Willit,Mr. Blair,Mr. Willet
Ahna Capri Cindy Andrews,Cinda
Alan Reynolds Newspaper Delivery Man,Man in Train Station
Alan Roberts Costello Roberto "Chuey" Varella
Ann Barnes Frances Hobbs
Ann Doran Agnes Haskell,Mrs. Bellamy
Barbara Dodd Librarian
Bartlett Robinson George Compton
Bernadette Withers Kitty Bannerman
Bobby Hyatt Frank
Bobby Mittelstaedt Charles Fredericks
Brenda Scott Lori Ann
Candy Moore Margie Manners
Cheryl Holdridge Gloria Cusick,Julie Foster
Christine Jordan Donna Yeager
Chrystine Jordan Paper "Boy"
Clark Howat Dave,Mr. Barnes
Claudia Bryar Mrs. Dennison,Mrs. Harris,Librarian,Mrs. Bates
David Halper Friend #2
David Kent Bill Scott
Diane Mountford Susan Stewart
Diane Sayer Marlene Holmes
Douglas Wade Thomas
Ed Prentiss Mr. Bailey
Frank Sully Cab Driver
George Cisar Postman
George Spicer Ray
Gilbert Frye Mr. Tyne,Newspaper Customer
Gladys Wallis Huddle Mrs. Prentiss
Helen Jay Perfume Customer
Helen Parrish Geraldine Rutherford
Henry Hunter Mr. Briggs,Sam,Mr. Thomas
Howard Caine Foreman
Irene Tedrow Mrs. Hathaway
Irving Bacon Postal Clerk
James Parnell Johnny
Jeri Weil Judy Hensler
Jerry Mathers Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver
Jess Kirkpatrick Henry Fletcher,Police Sergeant,Shoe Salesman,Car-lot Owner,Mr. Parker
John Alvin Frank Haskell
John Collier David Manning
John Gallaudet Arthur Howard
John Hoyt Dr. Compton,Salesman,Mr. Franklin
Karen Green Caroline Cunningham
Katherine Warren Mrs. Brown,Mrs. Prescott
Ken Parker Chuck
Lillian Bronson Miss Cooper
Lillilan O'Malley Mrs. Whitney
Linda Bennett Ginny Townsend
Lori Martin Mary Margaret Mathews
Lurene Tuttle Mrs. Brady,Mrs. Evans
Marjorie Reynolds Mrs. Murdock,Mrs. Gregory
Martin Dean Rick Davis,Usher
Mary Mitchel Evelyn Boothby
Maudie Prickett Mrs. Bennett
Michael Ross Board of Health Official
Netta Packer Customer
Norman Leavitt Veterinarian
Patty Turner Linda Dennison
Phyllis Coates Betty Donaldson
Raymond Hatton Charlie the Fireman
Richard Connell Richard Rickover
Richard Smiley Willie Dennison
Russ Bender Mr. Barnsdale
Ryan O'Neal Tom Henderson
Shirley Mitchell Janet Wilson
Tim Matheson Michael Harmon
Toby Michaels Georgia
Vince Williams Radio Announcer,Mr. Swanson
Wendy Winkelman Violet Rutherford
William Kendis Charlie
William Newell Postal Clerk
William Schallert Mr. Bloomgarden
William Woodson Mr. Gaines
Aline Towne Mrs. Cunningham,Secretary
Allen Windsor Ice Cream Man
Arthur Space Mr. Judson
Barbara Parkins Judy Walker
Bartlett Robertson Mr. Hill
Bea Silvern Waitress
Beverly Lunsford Shirley Fletcher
Bill Baldwin Rendering Man,Mr. Johnson
Bill Erwin Man
Bill Idelson Newstand Worker
Billy Chapin Chris Fletcher
Billy Hughes Chuck
Carol Faylen Janet,Donna
Carole Wells Kathy Gregory
Charles Davis Willis Cornelius
Cindy Robbins Carole Martin
Connie Gilchrist Minerva
Dee Carroll Woman #1,Florist
Dick Foster Don
Don Haggerty Ted Worden
Don Voyne Ted
Dorothy Abbott Secretary,Miss Walker
Dorothy Neumann Woman #1
Ed Peck Salesman
Frances Mercer Mrs. Carter
Frank Gerstle Police Sergeant
George Petrie George Haskell
Gil Rogers Kenneth Purcell
Jack Powers Tom Brittingham
James Seay Mr. Boothby
Jan Gillum Kathleen
Jane Dulo Mrs. Rickover
Joey Scott Bengie Bellamy
Julie Bennett Waitress
Kim Charney Terry
Laraine Stephens Gail Preston
Lee Torrance Miss Walker
Louise Fitch Miss Higgins
Maria Andre Carmella Varella
Mark Murray Alan
Marvin Bryan Police Officer
Mary Lawrence Alice Manning
Maurice Manson Judge Morton
Mimi Gibson Mary Tyler
Nancy Reynolds Gloria
Pat McCaffrie Bill Boothby
Paul Bryar Sgt. Peterson
Paul Langton Mr. Yeager
Reba Waters Caroline Schuster
Richard Eyer Kevin
Robert Dugan Cleaning Man
Robert Koff Wayne Gregory
Rory Stevens Chuckie Murdock
Shirley Rastatter Mrs. Waters
Stephanie Hill Bessie
Than Wyenn Waiter
Theodore Newton Mr. Davenport
Tim Mathieson Michael
Tommy Ivo Duke Hathaway
Tony Dow Wally Cleaver
Veronica Cartwright Peggy McIntosh,Violet Rutherford
Will Wright Pete at Firehouse #7
William Fawcett Mr. Johnson
William Stevens Man #2
Abel Franco Enrico Varella
Alan Hewitt Lt. Barnes
Allan Ray Bert
Ann Staunton Mrs. Yeager
Anne Barton Agnes Haskell
Audrey Swanson Mrs. Ashby
Bert Remsen Mr. Thompson
Carleton Young John Gates
Charla Doherty Melinda Neilson
Charles Wagenheim Painter
Cheryl Miller Helen
Danny Richards Roger Delacy
Dennis Joel Kenny
Dennis Pepper Dennie
Dennis Richards Young Man
Don Lyon Pete Fletcher
Erik Nielsen Boy #1
Fletcher Allen Man
Frank Albertson Mr. Gannon
Frederick DeWilde Jack Bennett
Gail Bonney Woman Clerk
Gary Allen Boy #1
Hal Smith Restaurant Manager
Hank Stanton Fred
Hardie Albright Mr. Collins
Harry Holcombe Frank Whitney
Herbert Rudley Mr. Gregory
Howard Wendell Mr. Heller
Howard Wright Mr. Newton
J. John Willis Moderator
Jennie Lynn Patricia Murdock
Jim Drake Don Kirk
Jim Hawkins Dudley McMillan
Jim Nolan Man #1
John Close Mr. Henderson
Johnny Yount Chuck
Joseph Crehan Train Conductor
Judee Morton Marjorie Muller
Kathleen O'Malley Mrs. Halloran,Woman
Kevin Jones Alan
Larry Blake Instructor
Lee Meriwether Woman #2
Lenore Kingston Woman,Mrs. Whitney
Linda Lowell Frances
Mark Allen Police Officer
Mary Alan Hokanson Woman #2
Norman Alden Water Dept. Worker
Pamela Beaird Myra
Paul Engle Boy,Boy #2
Penny Carpenter Girl
Peter Leeds Theater Manager
Philip Greisman Boy #1
Ralph Brooks Mailman
Ralph Montgomery Caddy Master
Randy Herron Barry
Rankin Mansfield Postmaster
Rex Hill Ronald
Robert Carson Coach
Ross Elliott Mr. Foster
Russ Conway Mr. Doyle
Sara Anderson Mrs. Bellamy
Stephen Wootton Clyde Appleby
Ted Baer Assistant
Terry Burnham Virginia
Thomas Callen Sonny Cartwright
Tommy Cole Red Bennett
Valerie Allen Miss Thompkins
Will J. White Al
William Bakewell Mr. Purcell
William Hunt Grocer
Yolanda White Julie
Yvonne White Female Bus Passenger,Newspaper Customer
A.G. Vittanza Bartender
Amzie Strickland Woman
Anne Loos Miss Thompson
Bruno Ve Sota Man
Donald Dillaway Mr. Rickover
Dorothy Adams Miss Wakeland
Douglas Evans Bus Passenger #1
Eddie Pagett Boy #1
Edith Terry Secretary
Fred E. Sherman Taxi Driver
Gretchen Voeth Shirley
Harlan Warde Mr. Thompson
Harp McGuire Attendant
Harry Harvey Captain Drake
Howard McNear Barber
Jack Smith TV Director
Jason Robards Mr. Henderson
Jo Anna Lee Classified Ad Lady at Courier Sun
John Eldredge Mr. Preston
Johnny Silver Man
Larry Adare Alan
Larry Thor Mr. Watson
Leilani Sorenson Phyllis
Leslie LaTourette Patsy
Lonnie Thomas Boy #2
Majel Barrett Gwen Rutherford
Margaret Stewart Mrs. Rutherford
Marta Kristen Christine Staples
Merle Allen Police Officer
Neil Seflinger Harold
Pam Smith Betsy Patterson
Raymond Karr Boy
Richard Gering Lifeguard
Robert B. Mitchell & His St. Brendan's Man
Robert Singer Boy
Stephen Courtleigh Father
Tim Graham Mr. Allen
Tom Masters Fred Thorton

Technical Credits
Andrew McCullough Director
Anton Leader Director
Bretaigne Windust Director
Charles F. Haas Director
Dann Cahn Director
David Butler Director
Earl Bellamy Director
Gene Reynolds Director
Hugh Beaumont Director
James Neilson Director
Jeffrey Hayden Director
Norman Abbott Director
Norman Tokar Director

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Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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