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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]

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"After all, why should I take the blame for these mechanical imperfections, with which all of us must contend."


"the typewriter isn't so hot"

"My typing is lousy, but the typewriter isn’t so hot either"

why do I have this sense that in 1958 people weren't saying "the typewriter isn't so hot"

[I don't know. Why do you? - Dave]

Too much like real life

Reading this, I am suddenly transported back 25 years to my American History class in 10th grade. I was supposed to be writing an essay about American gangsters of the early 20th century, and for some reason I became convinced that my teacher would never read everyone's paper every single time. So being the incredibly wise-ass young man that we all are at 16, I dropped in three or four lines, beginning mid-sentence in a paragraph about Al Capone's bootleg whiskey empire, all about how my grandmother's poodles enjoyed riding in cars (or some equally stupid text about my grandmother...the exact words escape me now), and then went on to say that I know that he (my teacher) would never read everyone's paper and that he would never know these lines were buried in my own paper. I then went on to finish the rest of the paper normally, and handed it in with a smile on my face.

The day after I turned in the paper, the teacher stood in front of the whole class and read my paper out loud. Had there been a way to drop through the floor at that time...I'd have taken it. 25 years later, I can STILL feel my face get red, just thinking about it!

I can commiserate with the author of Beaver's letter...

That is so awesome! How

That is so awesome! How freaking cool...I got chills reading it, because I'm sure that guy never thought anyone would ever read that letter.



...So, where's the text for the second page, which contains the *real* "Roswell Press Release"? :)


Golly geewillikers that was swell. The absolute bees knees. Just dandy. thanks.

I use the word Crikey on occasion

And have been known to utter the odd 'by jingoes', 'cobber' or, my personal favourite, 'strewth'.

Anyone who doesn't occasionally enjoy such words (especially when overseas) is quite simply un-Australian mate :)


PS: Good work on the leave it to Beaver letter - I love this stuff!

Prop fun

In a high school production of the musical Cinderella, the scroll that's supposed to contain all the names of His Royal Highness Christopher Rupert Windemere Vladimir (and so on) was covered by our props department with just one line, in big bold letters: "DON'T SCREW UP".

BK Canberra. crikey?

For anyone reading BK's reply above, as another resident of australia, let me just assure you that nobody here actually uses the word "crikey". That would be like an american going around saying "dandy", "swell" or even that old chestnut, "geewilllickers". The crocodile hunter only ever used the word "crikey" when teasing an animal or selling something.




i can't wait to get the second season. it's a great show. that is one hell of a letter. obviously Mrs. Rayburn is either on a nice dose of pharm's or desperately needs one.


That's tamer than most prop

That's tamer than most prop letters I've seen. In the last play I worked on the prop master ranted for 3 pages about the playwright, added sexual escapades in the characters backstory and other in-jokes. Thank god the audience is 40 feet away and there's no freeze-frame in live theatre!

I would guess

I would guess the tomfoolery is the prop master's work, and he probably made the prop the day before, or earlier in the day, so it's more likely the actual day of shooting was October 3rd.

["The date" means the date the note was typed. My hunch is that the show's producers, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, are behind it. They slipped written references to themselves into a number of other episodes. - Dave]

This comment has absolutely nothing to do with anything

it's just here to take up space. I'd use this space to root for my favourite hockey team and thus forever determine the exact time this comment was written but I can't get excited about any of them.

So, did a writer on the show type this up, or

did he hand it off to a secretary for her to type?

Re: awesome!

Don't you know? Back inthe fifties people didn't HAVE embarrassing thoughts that could spill out onto the printed page! Sheesh. Get with the program.


Canadian viewers who get SunTV will be able to catch that episode this Friday (May 4th) at 12:30 pm...

21 inch B&W TV set.

That's what you had if you really splurged on a TV for the living room in those days. No sense buying a color TV, since for the $700 (and up) one of those cost, you got to watch maybe one show a week in color - a variety show "special" with Fred Astaire perhaps. Anyway, you couldn't possibly read the letter from a 525-line video, no matter how big your TV was. Film, maybe, but not video.

[I don't know about that. I'm the one who deciphered the letter and created this post, and I used a 10-year-old, 27-inch, 525-line low-definition Sony. The main obstacle to being able to read it in 1958 would have been that it was onscreen for just a few seconds. - Dave]


I wish every movie had stuff like that for us to find.

Fan-freakin- tastic!!

This is just too cool for mere words. Nonetheless, words must suffice. Excellent!!

Great post!!

Great post!!


Back in the 50's they never dreamed anyone would be able to freeze frame on the TV picture. How funny would it have been had the writer typed something REALLY embarrassing!

I love it.


Ahh...that's awesome. Thanks

Ahh...that's awesome. Thanks for posting this!

beaver letter

too funny!!!!!!!!!


Season 1 and Season 2 are available on DVD from Amazon.

Leave It To Beaver, 1958

Thanks for the update.
We used to get this show Down Here (Oz) and I can remember watching every episode if possible.
Crikey...that gives my age away!


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