Dow on his luck: 10 Tony Dow quotes about his time as Wally

The Tao of Dow.

Close your eyes and picture the perfect older brother. You pictured Wally, right? That's because Tony Dow, as Wally on Leave it To Beaver created one of the most indelible elder siblings of all time. Tony Dow made us all want to be better to our siblings, and for that, he should be applauded. 

Of the two actors who played siblings on Beaver, Jerry Mathers definitely had more chance to go on the record. He was interviewed much more, and his thoughts are readily available in lots of places. Tony Dow wasn't profiled nearly as often, but when he was, he gave eloquent insight into his life and career. In September 1987, Dow was interviewed in the Mount Vernon Argus where he was able to give a few thoughts 30 years after the start of Beaver. Again in 2003, Dow gave a great interview, this time with the Kansas City Star. The further passage of time granted the actor even more perspective. 

Collected here are 10 quotes from Tony Dow about his career, his co-stars and what it was like to be Wally.

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1. On public speaking

 

"It's rare for me. It scares me to death every time I have to do it."

2. Regarding re-runs

 

"It's sort of like there's a disconnect. I mean, I know it was me. I was on the show. But I can watch it and be divorced from it."

3. How was his performance?

 

"Some of the real early ones, I cringe, because of my lack of acting ability. But that's one of the charms of the show."

4. Leave it to Jerry

 

"Jerry [Mathers, the Beaver] was an actor. He was unbelievably good. Every line he read was perfect. he was amazing."

5. Feelings on fandom

 

"I could never understand the reaction that Jerry or I would get from people. [...] All of a sudden I realized what it is. I mean, I don't know what it is - but it happened to me. I just got that warm feeling and smiled and thought, 'You know, that's really cool."

6. Screen similarities

 

"Wally is much more conservative. He's a neat guy, a nice, likable, honest guy who's there when people need him. I tend to be honest and loyal."

7. Memories with Mathers

 

"As kids, we played a lot of ball together. The director and producers were concerned with genuinely creating a family and in treating Jerry and I like the kids next door."

8. On Hugh Beaumont

 

"He wasn't an easy guy to know. He was very moody, introspective. He was a complex guy, but certainly worth knowing."

9. Returning as Wally

 

"I do other things also. I do plays and episodic television. If it's available to do and there's an interesting project to continue it, I'll do it.

10. The show's legacy

 

"Leave It To Beaver is not just a show. It's a phenomenon."

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26 Comments

PierreKhoury 10 months ago
I liked all the characters on the show except that Richard. He had a smart-mouth! I liked Gilbert
and Eddie Haskell.
trogg888 10 months ago
My mom was a nurse in pattons army during ww2 and richard deacon traveled with the unit.she said he was always crackinn people up.guess he brought that talent t the beaver and dick van dyke show.they called him deak.really talented guy and always added to the cast of everything he did
BorisK 10 months ago
I love the show, and also loved how Connelly and Mosher took some of the plotlines and applied them to The Munsters. Beaver especially just had some very good writing and comedic wit.
Moverfan BorisK 10 months ago
Yeah, I can see how that would work. Herman was just a big kid, anyway...
DizzyDean42 10 months ago
I loved the show and each character. I watch the episodes more now than when I was a kid. I think that’s because through Wally, Beaver, and Ward I get to see much of the innocence of life then and get to reconnect a little with a portion of my childhood.
JL1965 10 months ago
This show was brilliant and still remains timeless. The cast was incredible and the story lines were outstanding.
CoreyC 10 months ago
I liked Frank "Lumpy" Bank. He went from bully to a likeable big guy. Lumpy was always third behind Wally and Eddie.
BorisK CoreyC 10 months ago
Me too! Also liked how he turned into a big baby and called for 'Daddy' when something bad happened -- and Fred Rutherford (Richard Deacon) would call him a 'big BOOB!'. Too funny.
tootsieg 10 months ago
LITB is a phenomenon. I remember watching it when it first ran and when I was home sick from school. Still watching.
francolaguna1 10 months ago
Everytime I watch LTB, it reminds me of my own childhood. We watched it as reruns - loved it then - love it now.
Rick 10 months ago
Kudos to whoever wrote this headline.

And the producers really did create a sincerity with the show. I like the chemistry between Beaver and Wally, but I think the interaction between June and Ward is some of the most intelligent writing of the era. They were both smart, and were both always communicating things besides the literal dialog.
LoveMETV22 10 months ago
Good article with Tony Dow's perspective of his role of Wally on LITB.

Wally had a number of funny quotes on the series:
"Are you giving me the business?"
"Look, don't get sloppy on me. I might just slug you one."
"Dry up, Beaver."
"Just watch what your sayin' Beaver or I'm liable to clop you one."
"Are you being a wise guy?"

(June Cleaver) "Wally, where are you going?"
(Wally Cleaver) "I'm going over to slug Eddie."
(June Cleaver) "That's no way to talk, this is Sunday."
(Wally Cleaver) "You're right, I'll wait 'til tomorrow and slug him in the cafeteria."
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He had others too, that were funny.
Runeshaper 10 months ago
Tony Dow was super cool 😎 and from what I read here, pretty humble.
Andybandit 10 months ago
Wally was my favorite character on LITB. He was cute.
teire 10 months ago
Wally Cleaver, still a major crush. One of the (many) charms of the show.
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MrsPhilHarris teire 10 months ago
I agree, although Lumpy and Fred Rutherford were entertaining.
CoreyC LoveMETV22 10 months ago
Rusty Stevens left cause the producers disliked his mother.
MichaelPowers CoreyC 10 months ago
Rusty did an interview a few years back and claimed this was not the case although it had been circulated for years. Rusty was not interested in acting anymore, plus, his family relocated from California to another state.
trogg888 harlow1313 10 months ago
From what i read his stage mom got him fired for being so demanding.im surprised beavs mom and dad let him hang out with him.it was almost always him that got the beav in trouble.
Bapa1 10 months ago
Nothing about Ken Osmond?
MichaelPowers Bapa1 10 months ago
I recall reading that Tony felt that Ken was one of the finest actors on the show, and a good guy in real life, nothing at all like Eddie Haskell.
FrankensteinLover 10 months ago
One of my Favorite Shows ever and the Cast was so Good.
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