Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween TV Countdown #6: "Leave it to Beaver"

We love Leave it to Beaver around here. It's one of the handful of babyboomer-beloved sitcoms that is truly a classic, an artistic classic. Beaver is incredibly clever, still hilarious, humane and still relevant as it finds its humor in everyday life and human interaction. Nothing flashy or over-the-top about this one, nor anything sanctimonious or preachy. Leave is to Beaver is pure gold.

Our Halloween choice here wasn't even a Halloween episode, but it fits the holiday perfectly. It's from LitB's 1958 - 1959 season, the show's second, and it's called "The Haunted House". Beaver (Jerry Mathers) is scared of an old house in the neighborhood, a decrepit abode where the kids think a witch lives. The woman isn't a witch at all, but just a older lady with a cute dog, but Beaver doesn't find that out until he's scared himself silly.

The dialogue is funny, with Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and June (Barbara Beaumont) making up excuses why Beaver thinks Mrs. Cooper is a witch, and Wally (Tony Dow) offering up some practical advice. One of my favorite lines is when Wally explains to Beaver that she's not a witch, because if she was, she'd "probably just cook up a monster to walk her dog." Leave it to Beaver frequently exhibits a tremendous sense of the absurd and it's a breezy delight to hear one of these great silly lines come out. Always a treat!

Of additional interest is veteran actress Lillian Bronson who plays Mrs. Cooper. Longtime Los Angeles residents and commuters would remember her beautiful haunting visage overlooking the Hollywood Freeway for many years in artist Kent Twitchell's giant "Freeway Lady" mural. (You can read more about Twitchell, Bronson and the mural here.) Lillian Bronson also played Fonzie's grandmother in a 1975 episode of Happy Days, and died at the age of 92 in 1995.

Leave it to Beaver "The Haunted House" is available on YouTube in three parts, starting here, so definitely take a look. You'll enjoy it!

Boo! And Bow Wow!

1 comment:

john said...

thank you. i love this series and this episode.