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Leave It to Beaver: 1958

Leave It to Beaver: 1958

I was watching an episode from the second season (1958-59) of "Leave It to Beaver" tonight when I got to the part where Ward reads a note from Beaver's principal, Mrs. Rayburn. If you freeze-frame the note it says:

Mr. Ward Cleaver
485 Mapleton Drive
Mayfield, State

My Dear Mr. Cleaver:

This paragraph has absolutely nothing to do with anything.
It is here merely to fill up space. Still, it is words,
rather than repeated letters, since the latter might not
give the proper appearance, namely, that of an actual note.

For that matter, all of this is nonsense, and the only
part of this that is to be read is the last paragraph,
which part is the inspired creation of the producers of
this very fine series.

Another paragraph of stuff. Now is the time for all good
men to come to the aid of their party. The quick brown
fox jumps over the lazy dog. My typing is lousy, but the
typewriter isn’t so hot either. After all, why should I
take the blame for these mechanical imperfections, with
which all of us must contend. Lew Burdette just hit a
home run and Milwaukee leads seven to one in the series.
This is the last line of the filler material of the note.
No, my mistake, that was only the next to last. This is last.

I hope you can find a suitable explanation for Theodore’s
unusual conduct.

Yours truly,
Cornelia Rayburn

To judge by the contents (here's the last line, whoops, no, HERE's the last line) whoever did this folded the note first, to mark the middle third of the paper, then put it in the typewriter, started the body of the letter at the first crease and banged away until he had enough to fill out the middle section.

The Lew Burdette reference would put the date at October 2, 1958 — Game 2 of the World Series between the Braves and the Yankees, and a month before this episode ("Her Idol") aired. I see where this has been referenced elsewhere on the Web but as far as I can tell no one has transcribed the entire letter. Until now!

We now return to our regularly scheduled program. [Postscript: The Jim Letter]

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Leave it to Beaver - the Skokie Connection

Here is an update on Leave it to Beaver including vintage stock footage of Skokie, Illinois. I also very proudly deciphered the Beaver letter featured here, only to find Shorpy beat me to it by several years. As you'll see, I give full credit where it is due.

Home Address

shame on that staff writer. If he had only payed paid attention to the opening theme he would know there was a clear shot of front door showing the house number as "211".

But .. specifically: 211 Pine Street, Mayfield, Ohio

[The Cleavers lived in two houses. The first was on Mapleton, the second on Pine. And as for Ohio, Mayfield was famously stateless. - Dave]

Those 1960s Birthdays

Everyone here looks terrified. My 7th Birthday Party in La Puente, California.

I admit it!

I went out with Loren Ipsum in high school and we fooled around behind the stage.

Second base only!

Modern speak

Wow, they used correct English in that letter. If that letter were typed today it would read:

Mr. Ward Cleaver
485 Mapleton Drive
Mayfield, State

My Dear Mr. Cleaver:

tl:dr GTFO. LOL, ur son iz dum. k thx

Currently #1 on Reddit

The Beaver Letter has been the No. 1 post on Reddit since around midnight. Check out the comments.


I remember when Beav was playing with a set of trains over at Mary Ellen Rodgers's house. The were marked for the JC & BM railroad. Quite a nice layout, wonder who got to keep it.

[Right. JC & BM were Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, the series creators. - Dave]

Lew Burdette

I remember Lew pitching. He had a routine: Adjust hat, lick fingertips, wipe on chest! I later copied the move when I pitched in Little League!

Other Letters on LITB

Wonder if the other letters that are sent to the Cleavers are written like this one. For instance the letter Beaver gets from the Continental Modeling Company which we only see the address or the letter from the Merchant Marines. Sometimes they don't even show the letter like the one from Mason Acme Co or Marathon Record Company.

The Letter

This is the greatest letter I have ever read. Thank you.

A better letter

How fun! 100 years from now it'll be easier to find your transcription than to watch the entire episode. Perhaps the episode will have been made famous to future generations because they're hoping to catch a quick view of the Famous Letter. Full circle ironics and all that.

P.L. Frederick
Small and Big

Lou, The Braves and the Beav...

As a Milwaukee kid (then not quite five years old), I got a special kick out of seeing this. Oct. 2, 1958 was my big sister's 15th birthday. At that age she was a HUGE Braves fan-- found and mailed the team four-leaf clovers, etc. So (the '58 Series outcome notwithstanding) a Braves victory and a three-run shot by Burdette was probably a birthday present for her.

Soapy Suds

Notice how one magazine Ward is reading always has a Soapy Suds ad on the back.

The Beaver Letter

Ward did read it out loud - the crucial last paragraph.

Newspapers on LITB

You should talk to Marcus Tee at his web site (its posted a few comments down) he is the expert

Newspapers on LITB

Did you notice how many different newspapers are shown on the show. I had to freeze frame to find them all.

Mayfield Times
Mayfield Dispatcher
Press Herald
Courier Sun
Mayfield News anymore?


Letters shown on camera

So I guess Ward didn't read this one out loud as others were read out loud. Wally reading the letter from the Continental Modeling Agency and the letter from the Merchant Marines. Also they don't show the letter from Marathon Records but Beav read it out loud as does Ward reading the letter from Mason Acme Products.


Now you've done it.

I always wondered what was written on prop letters, but never did anything to find out. Now I know how, and every movie I watch on DVD gets freeze frame and zoom.

Last night it was My Fair Lady and while Eliza is working on her 'H's, just over 1 hour into the film...well, you ought to check it out.

My family hates you.

Very funny and entertaining!

Very funny and entertaining! Gotta love all those old B&W shows!!!


I think that is so very cool!


If you read the letter upside down and backwards, it says that Space Aliens are going to attack the world on May 09, 2007.


Lew Burdette's World Series Homer

Did come in the bottom of the first inning on October 2, 1958. The Braves had already won the opening game the previous day, also in Milwaukee. The bottom of the first inning, after the Yankees got a 1-0 lead in their first at bat, began when Bill Bruton hit a 2-2 pitch for a home run to tie the game. The Braves went on to win the second game and then the Yankees won the third. After the Braves also won the fourth game, The Yankees won three in a row to win the series. This had only happened once before in 1925 when the Washington Senators came back with three straight wins after being down 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ten years later in 1968, the Detroit Tigers came back to win the final three games after being down 3-1 to win the 1968 World Series.

Donald F Nelson

Old school Formatting

Well, I tried the paper trick (folding it in thirds and starting the body of the letter at the crease) and now my printer is broken and the red light is flashing. Now what?

have you ever

I have noticed that, even in Mayfield. That was for Ward not the kids, the show was done from a childs view.

Marcus your web site is really great, and the encylopedia with its "map" is a lot of fun.

Nice running into you on this site.

my quiz for all

Hi all!
You are The Best!!!

LITB rocks

excellent "leave it to beaver" rocks!! ward rules! june was hot and i dont mean the month.

Lew Burdette's homerun

Lew's three-run homer came in the first inning of Game 2.

Burdette "hit a homerun"?

That's very odd, given that he was not a batter, but was instead famously known as the Braves' MVP pitcher, who won three games in the World Series of 1957!

[It's kind of hard to pitch when your team is at bat. Lew hit a three-run homer. - Dave]

Thanks for posting this!

It's too, too wonderful. Thank ghod there are people like you in the world who pay attention to details.

interesting interchange!

i enjoyed reading this very much. i'm in a library in orlando, florida.

letter to mr. cleaver

I thought it would read:
"Gee, Ward. Don't you think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night?"

Building Code Under Fire

I think I've seen "Building Code Under Fire," & maybe the other headline as well in episodes of Perry Mason. Obviously some prop house printed a zillion front page mock-ups that were used forever. And often the program-specific headlines are in a completely different font than the rest of the mock-op.
I also dig when a prop magazine is on glossy paper so it will look real, but the glossy stock it's printed on is so heavy it barely moves, let alone looks real.
M. Bouffant

Speaking of Ward's newspapers...

... do they ever include my two favorite column headlines:

New Petitions Against Tax
Building Code Under Fire

After watching nearly 200 old films (courtesy of Mystery Science Theater 3000), these seem to be the two most common newspaper prop filler headlines in films of the '40s and '50s. I wonder if they found their way into '50s and '60s television, too.

Have you ever

Have you ever noticed the newspapers Ward reads during this series? There is usually some reference to a MURDER or some other catastrophe. Highly unusual for Mayfield.

And I thought we were obsessed with Beaver at The First Leave It To Beaver WebSite

Stop by and learn about The Complete Unofficial Leave It To Beaver Trivia Encyclopedia

Marcus Tee


Re: greek to me

"Lorem ipsum" etc. is Latin not Greek.

greek to me

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Vivamus risus risus, ultrices vel, mollis vel, faucibus sagittis, diam. Nunc dignissim odio in est. In mattis condimentum erat. Nunc ac nunc. Vivamus eget elit. Aliquam pellentesque. Aliquam dignissim tellus vitae tortor. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Nam tincidunt pulvinar urna.

Quisque sed risus. Sed tempus, elit ut tempus iaculis, purus sapien vulputate leo, quis commodo pede magna vel turpis. Cras ac pede. Suspendisse tincidunt, nunc vel ultrices adipiscing, lacus augue bibendum magna, sit amet scelerisque felis nulla eu lectus. Sed sit amet elit. Pellentesque id dui.

Pellentesque vel justo. Quisque sit amet mi quis tellus rhoncus blandit. Maecenas arcu. Aliquam ipsum.

[More like "Latin to me" - Dave]

Not a typical American, but...

I say "swell" all the time. "Keen" and "Dandy", too.

Common Practice

Having been a Property Master in the television business for quite a few years, I can assure you that this is extremely common. The text could be the actor's lines if they have a tough scene and the prop guy likes them. Sometimes it is jokes designed to crack the actor up during the first take. Other times it is exactly this kind of stream-of-consciousness rambling serving no greater purpose than filling up the page. My specialty was always the fine print on package labels. The warning on the beer labels in the first "American Pie" movie said that beer could cause pregnancy, cause you to act like an idiot, or just plain F- you up.

Leave it to Beaver, 1958

Great photo from the archives. I was only 3 years old at the time. I'm sure that I saw it a few years later. Loved the baseball reference. Keep up the good work. rcisco

Cisco Photo

Carmel, IN

Re: Written 10/2/58

Another clue would be the caption under the letter that says it was written during Game 2 of the World Series on Oct. 2, 1958!

Written on 10/2/58

I don't know why but I decided to do some research on the date this letter may have been written and I'm pretty sure it's Thursday October 2nd 1958. I tried to go further and find the time of day but I can only estimate late afternoon pacific time (assuming it was written in LA). The Lew Burdette sentence references the first inning of game 2 in the 1958 World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees. Milwaukee went on to win the game 13 to 5 but the Yankees won the series.

It's like the whole Roswell

It's like the whole Roswell Memo, but more important.

That's what I'm always

That's what I'm always scared of! too funny!!!


Can you post some BtVS freezeframes you find of interest?

It's a pretty common practice.

I've read some interesting freeze frames in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell, also.

Lorem Ipsum to Beaver

That is just so much better than the placeholder text one typically sees.

Are there jobs out there for lorem ipsum writers? Craigslist has not a one.

Excellent post. Thanks.

the sobsister

Re: "crikey"

@Dan Re: "crikey"

That was helpful. I've always wondered when Steve Irwin said that why no one from our Australian offices used the term. You confirmed what I thought.


Love the Beav

I love this show. So many great quotes:

"Gee Dad, I wouldn't mind telling the truth if so much hollering didn't go along with it."

But who knew there were Leave it to Beaver easter eggs? This post made my day.

I adore this

So far, this is the highlight of my day. Thanks for transcribing this!

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