Jerry Mathers recalls crossing paths with Alfred Hitchcock on the Universal Studios backlot

The titan of terror bumps into the Beav!

NBC/Universal

One of the reasons studios constructed backlots in Hollywood back in the day was to centralize all their resources. If two productions needed a similar interior, the studio wouldn't have to spend out to build it twice. Instead, one production would film in the set, and then, the other would move in. This consolidation had an unintended result as well: A ton of film industry people mingled and met on the backlots. Stories were told and collaborations were forged simply because people were near each other.

One young benefactor was Jerry Mathers. As the star of Leave It to Beaver, Mathers had a ton of free time during production to run around Universal Studios, where he got into plenty of mishaps and misadventures. But he also absorbed a lot of crucial filmmaking knowledge while he was there. As he recalls in the foreword to the book The World According to Beaver, Mathers even made a few famous friends along the way.

"Working at the studio, I absorbed a lot of professional knowledge about movies and television that people spend years trying to study formally. I also got to meet a lot of famous people, although I was a little young to fully appreciate some of them. The figure I most remember was Alfred Hitchcock."

Their studio run-in wasn't the first encounter between the famous filmmaker and the young actor. Mathers had previously worked together in one of Hitchcock's movies. 

"The great director had seen me on a Lux Television Theater production and remembered me for the part of a small boy for his film The Trouble With Harry in 1956, my first significant feature film part.

"Several years later, I remember running around the Universal lot in my usual fashion during a series rehearsal break and stopping to watch a big chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce pull up. Out stepped Alfred Hitchcock whose own program was filming on the lot."

While Mathers may have been a little young to tune in for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he was still enamored with Hitch, mostly due to a small courtesy that went a long way.

"The imposing Hitchcock looked down at me and said, 'Aah, good day, Mister Mathers.

"I just stood there in open-mouthed euphoria. No, not because the great Hitchcock remembered me. I was thrilled that an adult had called me, little Beaver, Mister."


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2 Comments

ncadams27 24 days ago
Imagine if Hitch made a cameo appearance on LITB like he did in his movies.
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