"Leave It To Beaver: Season 1" -- A Personal Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by David Von Pein, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. Louis C

    Louis C Supporting Actor

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    On the pilot there is no laugh track, which affects the feel of the show. I agree they did good by changing actors for Ward and Wally.

    I have watched all of my set and it had no problems playing.

    And, yes it is annoying to see and hear the Universal logo and theme play before EVERY single episode. Just once at the beginning of the disc is enough, OK?

    Please give us Seasons 2 - 6!!!
     
  2. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Some Additional Casual Beaver Observations & Hunks O' Trivia..........................
    Anybody notice something somewhat unusual about the TV series Leave It To Beaver (in general terms that is)?........
    This something "unusual" hit me recently when watching the Season-One LITB episode "The Paper Route", which is a top-notch ep. featuring The Beav and The Wallace getting a job delivering newspapers to earn money for a new bicycle.
    Unlike most other TV sitcoms from this 1950s-1960s era that I have seen, Leave It To Beaver has many scenes shot out-of-doors, instead of the "fake outdoors" method employed by I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show, and many others, where the "outdoor" scenes are obviously filmed inside the more-controllable environment of the studio soundstages.
    But in Beaver, "outdoors" is really outdoors, which I think adds even more of a realisitic and authentic feel to this TV series. In the "Paper Route" episode, about half of that program was filmed in the sunny outdoors at "Revue" Studios in California. And the outdoor scenes look absolutely wonderful and crystal-clear on the DVDs (as I previously mentioned in the review for the S.1 set). And it makes me wonder if a different type of film stock (with less or no grain) was utilized for those out-of-doors scenes, because they are definitely much less grain-filled than the indoors scenes.
    The Andy Griffith Show was another show from this era that filmed a lot of stuff outside, which is definitely a good thing IMO. It's hard to imagine Beaver and Andy without all those "real" outdoors scenes. A fake blue-screen background just wouldn't cut it for either of those shows.
    Jerry Mathers, in his 1998 self-authored book "...And Jerry Mathers As 'The Beaver'", even makes mention of how unusual it was for a TV series' production crew to film a lot of outdoor scenes......
    "'Leave It To Beaver' was shot on 35mm film, like a movie. We used one camera, and much of the show was filmed outside. It took four days to shoot. The full crew had to be there every day we worked. The show was edited like a movie. In its day, the $45,000 per week 'Leave It To Beaver' production cost was considered expensive. In comparison, the one-camera {1985-} 1989 version of {The} 'New Leave It To Beaver' {aka 'Still The Beaver'} cost $800,000 per week to shoot." -- Jerry Mathers; circa 1998
    ------------------------
    LITB Trivial Anecdotes:
    Also relating to "The Paper Route" ep. -- June pays $6.20 to deliver Beaver's papers in a taxicab one night.....and she pays by check. Does anyone know of any cab driver who will accept a personal check from somebody for a cab ride? LOL. [​IMG]
    But, then too, perhaps June just turned on her magnetic charm and had the poor sap of a cab driver eating out of her hands. (Who knows what favors she might have promised the poor schnook! [​IMG])
    More Meaningless, But Kinda Neat, "Paper Route" Trivia .............
    The check that June made out to the cab company, btw, was Check #436 .... and was made out to the order of "City Cab Co." on March 7th, 1958. I'm sorry, but the account number is not visible on the check when you freeze the episode in question at the 12:21 mark on the Digital Versatile Disc. [​IMG]
    There's a verifiable error uttered by Ward Cleaver in that "check" scene of the episode too. Ward says that the check was dated "last Tuesday", which is impossible....since March 7, 1958, was a Friday....not a Tuesday. (Perpetual calendars are great, aren't they?) [​IMG]
    --------------
    Post-Script Trivia:
    Barbara Billingsley ("June Cleaver") turned 90 years young on December 22nd, 2005! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    This following stat seems somewhat incredible to me -- Barbara B. is 5.5 years older than the late, great actor Richard Deacon (aka "Fred Rutherford"). Doesn't seem quite right, huh? (It must be Deac's ever-present Chrome Dome that just made him seem older than he was. [​IMG] He was only 36 during the first season of LITB.)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    Sitcoms in the '50s and '60s were filmed in two different ways.
    Some were filmed with three cameras in front of a live audience. This was the system "I Love Lucy" made popular. Besides "Lucy," two popular shows using that technique were "Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show." That's why these shows have "fake" outdoor scenes (with a few exceptions -- there are some "I Love Lucy" moments filmed outdoors, including scenes in the first episode on the trip to Hollywood in Season Four.)
    This technique became very big in the 1970s, with "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoffs "Rhoda" and "Phyllis" and all those Norman Lear shows done on videotape -- "All in the Family," "Sanford and Son," "Maude," "Good Times," etc. It was so popular that "Happy Times" switched to it soon in its run. The great majority of shows since 1970 have been filmed or taped with three cameras in front of a live audience.
    The other style of show was filmed as movies are -- with one camera, not in front of a live audience. Thus, you'll find realistic outdoor scenes. Besides "Leave It to Beaver" and "The Andy Griffith Show," these shows included "The Beverly Hillbillies" and its spin-offs "Petticoat Junction" and "Green Acres," and the Screen Gems shows "Father Knows Best," "The Donna Reed Show," "Dennis the Menace," "Hazel" and "Bewitched."
    I like both systems -- they both have their advantages and disadvantages. The shows in front of live audiences seemed funnier, for some reason -- but the shows filmed as movies seemed more realistic, if anyone can use the word in relation to stuff like "Green Acres" and "Bewitched." [​IMG]
    Speaking of Barbara Billingsley -- I'm sure many of you know about this already, but for those who don't: Many of the interviews made for the Television Academy are now available for viewing online, including a most-interesting one by Ms. Billingsley. Here's the link:http://www.emmys.tv/foundation/archive/interviews.php
    The links to the interviews seem to be broken at the moment, but these interviews can be seen by doing a search at Google video:http://video.google.com
     
  4. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I believe I dream of Jennie was Done this way as was the Munsters and Adams Family, and Gilligan's Island.
     
  5. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Wow - I didn't Barbara B was admitting to being 90 years old. Wasn't her "official" birthdate something like 10 years younger for the longest time?
     
  6. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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  7. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  8. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  9. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    It's good to know that Dave Lambert is still hanging on my every word and is willing to get me the answers to my questions. [​IMG]
     
  10. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Mike has a good point. I thought by definition a DVD was "digially remastered". You see all those $1 type DVDs slapping this lingo on trying to entice people to think they're getting something special.

    Big difference between "remastered" and "restored".
     
  11. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    "Beaver the Athlete" is one that jumps off the S2 list for me. (If its the episode I'm thinking of...when a little parental pressure from Ward forces Beave to try to be something he's not. I'm not sure though because I would have thought Beaver was a little older for that episode. Dave?)
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  14. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  15. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    T'anks for the clarification, Dave! And, even more so, thanks for the great news about Season 2! [​IMG]
     
  16. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    If you don't have Beaver Season 1, looks like now is a good time to pick it up -- 50% off at Amazon (as of this writing on 03/28/2006). Won't last forever, no doubt...so stock up on your Beavers (and Wards, to boot). [​IMG] ....
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B7HZUK/qid=1143552753/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-4869852-5319368?s=dvd&v=glance&n=130
    [​IMG]
    If I had been June/Barbara in the above family photo, I think I might have been a tad wary about Wally standing behind me; because it looks as though perhaps June's lunch didn't sit too well with Wallace here; looks like he might be about to hurl on June's pretty 'do. [​IMG]
     
  17. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    That's about as low as I've seen this set priced. It took me a while to pick up this set and had I not recently picked it up at the same price at a Sam Goody liquidation sale, I would have purchased this set through Amazon. Just watched the episode "Vodoo Magic" last evening . . . very funny stuff with Eddie Haskell at his smarmiest. The humor is timeless. Good pre-order price for season 2 at Amazon, as well.
     
  18. Jack Platt

    Jack Platt Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes Guys,

    It is a beautiful set! I had one small freeze up on "Cleaning Up Beaver" in the same spot each time. But cleaning the disk and after running it through about 5x. It works fine now.

    Jack
     
  19. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  20. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Thanks for commemorating the anniversary, David. While Universal couldn't be bothered, at least TVLand understands "Leave It To Beaver's" place in television history . . . . .
    http://www.tvland.com/marathon/beaver/
     

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