Jerry Mathers received over 1,000 fan letters a week

Jerry Mathers received more mail than some zip codes do in a year.

Talk about a passionate fanbase!

In January of 1962, Leave It to Beaver was in the middle of airing its fifth season. Beaver entered the sixth grade at Grant Ave. Grammar School and Wally was in his senior year at Mayfield High. To coin a phrase, Beavermania was reaching a fever pitch. Fans from all over were tuning in to see that plucky lil' Beav deal with his relatable dilemmas and realistic high jinks.  

Audiences weren't only tuning in, either. According to a 1962 article in the Carlisle, Pennsylvania Sentinel, a large base of viewers took steps to further engage and interact with the star of their favorite program.

Jerry Mathers, then just 14 years old, was at the center of the fandom's fervor. As Beaver Cleaver, Mathers became the smiling standing for youth everywhere. He wasn't just Beaver, either. Somehow, Mathers on Leave it To Beaver was every young suburbanite ever. If Tom Hanks is the great cinematic everyman, then Mathers was the everykid.

He struck a chord, too. "Jerry receives about 1,000 letters a week from all over the world," read the January 13, 1962 edition of The Sentinel. The letters that were sent in were "mostly from boys [Mathers'] own age who want to discuss their problems with him."

But kids weren't the only ones writing to the Beav., Mathers also received plenty of letters "from adults complimenting him on his acting or for something he has done in the show which pleased them." That shouldn't come as much of a surprise to fans familiar with Mathers' biography. By the time he was 14, he'd been in show biz for 12 years!

Tony Dow got nearly as many letters. However, his fan mail was mostly from teenage girls confessing crushes on the young actor. 

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20 Comments

obectionoverruled 4 months ago
Miss Landers: Now Beaver, why didn’t you do your homework? Beaver: uh, because my dad fell out of an airplane! Hilarious! Right out of the 1950’s and 1960’s playbook. Reminded me of the time my brother Brian faked a note to his teacher concerning his hooky the day before. He grabbed a pen and paper from our dad’s desk and wrote: Dear Sister Catherine Patrice: please excuse brain yesterday as he was not feeling well enough to attend school. BRAIN! She penned a response and pinned it to his shirt for the walk home. Dear Mr. X: I am returning Brain’s sick note to you and would like for him to spend a little more time on his spelling! Ha ha Sister and my Dad must have had a good laugh out of my idiot brother’s shoddy attempt to cover for hanging out at the creek all day instead of showing up at school. Beaver was the poster child for all of our dumb doings when we were ‘so much smarter than our teachers and parents’.
Moverfan 4 months ago
Beaver was in sixth grade...so about 12...Wally was in twelfth grade...about 17 or 18...so Wally was at least five when his brother was born and he couldn't pronounce Theodore?
DanDolgin Moverfan 4 months ago
They had to find some reason to call him Beaver. I don't think "Leave it to Teddy" would have been a success. Also if it was called "Leave it to Theodore" someone would think it was a show about the Chipmunks. I guess a beaver is better than a chipmunk!
Coldnorth DanDolgin 4 months ago
Never lol
PierreKhoury 4 months ago
I wish I could step back into the 60's again!!!
I wish DJT could re-appear at the White House, and it’s looking more and more like it’s going to happen.
Possibly true. The prison he will be rotting in could be painted white. No Big Macs for his lard ȃșș there.
professorecho 4 months ago
I think the article is wrong about saying Beaver was entering 6th grade in that season. It would have to be 7th grade because when the show ends the following year, the 6th season, Beav finishes up 8th grade and is heading to high school. I think?
I also recall - though I'm happy to be corrected - that Beaver was in the 8th grade
when the show ended. Besides, he had already started maturing, voice wise and otherwise
and he would have looked ridiculous as a 6th grader at that point, especially to other kids
who are more apt to notice such things. If Beaver was 14 in 6th grade that means he had
already been held back twice in grade school, not likely under Ward and June's watch.
On the other hand if my teacher was the stunning uber babe Miss Landers I wouldn't
want to leave her class either.
DanDolgin professorecho 4 months ago
I think Beaver was in the 2nd grade when the show started. So maybe one season took place over 2 years in Beaver's life. Also Grant Ave Grammer school went all the way through the 8th grade. 7th and 8th grade should be in Middle School or Jr. High. I guess Grammer Schools went to the 8th grade while Elementary School went to the 6th grade.
AgingDisgracefully 4 months ago
How many were from wise guys giving him the business?
We have one here from time to time giving us the business 👉🏻Spelling, wrong word use, proper English and posting non-story line banter. Maybe the Fonz sent one to him telling Beaver to be more cool (aaaaay) 👍🏻.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
To be technical, there weren't Zip Codes when LITB was on the air! They were introduced AFTER it was canceled, which means that even if Mathers recieved only one letter a week, the subheadline would STILL be correct!
clovergirl cperrynaples 4 months ago
ZIP codes came about in either March or April 1963. Before that, the Post Office did use postal codes of some sort, an example being "Chicago 21", etc.
Bapa1 4 months ago
He never replied to mine. Rat! Rat! Rat!
tootsieg 4 months ago
What a nice story. Days of innocence.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
Must have been a GREAT feeling to receive all of that love!
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