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.