Jerry Mathers revealed the episode of Leave It to Beaver he is asked about the most

This fan-favorite comes up again and again!

NBC/Universal

So, picture this scenario: You're at a convention, or maybe a meet-and-greet. You're next in line for an autograph signing with one of the legends of American TV. You've waited for weeks to get there and then waited your turn for hours. The person in front of you turns around, satisfied, and leaves wearing a huge smile. You clear your throat, because now's your chance. What do you say to this person who graced your screen for all those years?

For millions of expo-goers and signature-seekers, those few moments can be a real source of anxiety. After all, you'll only have a few precious minutes with your beloved actor. How do you best use your time if you're meeting someone like Jerry Mathers? There are a hundred people behind you, but you want to make the most of your face time with the Beav!

You might want to rethink your game plan if there's one episode in particular you're curious about. As it turns out, "In the Soup", the 32nd episode of Leave It to Beaver's fourth season comes up a lot. In fact, it's such a recurring talking point when fans meet Jerry Mathers that the star of the show mentioned it in his autobiography. Here's the inside scoop so that you can use your time more originally if you're ever lucky enough to meet the Beav!

"The one episode that people seem to remember most is the teacup show," Mathers wrote in his 1998 memoir —And Jerry Mathers as the Beaver. The former child star goes on to explain that even though the episode is called "In the Soup", most people associate the story with a teacup. This is the episode of Leave It to Beaver that Jerry Mathers gets asked about the most, according to the man himself. Naturally, he proceeds to answer some frequently asked questions.

"It was the most expensive Leave It to Beaver we ever did. Normally, the show was budgeted at about $30,000 to $40,000 per episode. Today, a really cheap show is $750,000 to $1,000,000 for a half-hour show. But in those days, $30,000 was a big budget show. Leave It to Beaver wasn't cheap. But they decided to go way out for this [episode], and audiences loved it."

"In the Soup" was about Beaver getting stuck in a giant soup bowl on top of a billboard. It was all due to peer pressure from that darn Whitey Whitney. 

"They actually built two billboards, one outside and the other on the soundstage," wrote Mathers. "The show cost about $50,000. It was a very interesting show, and to answer the most asked question, yes I did all the climbing myself.

"The fun part about that was they had to get special permission for me to miss school. It took a week to shoot the whole thing, so my school time was cut short. I had to go an hour the week before for three days, and an hour the week after for three days."

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25 Comments

Charlotte 10 days ago
What about Gilbert! Out of all the friends, Gilbert was the most manipulating kid. He could talk Beav into anything.
trogg888 12 days ago
Beav and wally had some bad friends.i only had one friend my mother didn't like.i would have gotten rid of Larry mmondello if he got me in as much trouble as Larry did the beav.that episode where he got beav locked in the school would have gotten him a whuppin big time
MichaelVegas 13 days ago
If you are wondering $50K in 1961 is $527K now, now MY question is, pretty much all the show was shot on already built sets, so why did each episode cost around $400,000 that is a lot for a 30 minute show where all the sets are already built
jmworacle 13 days ago
That episode remains a claasic today.
STTOS 13 days ago
Definitely one of my favorites too. Love Whitey's response when while climbing up to the soup cup Beaver says to Whitey "what a dumb kid you are". Whitey looks back at him with a Cheshire Cat grin and says "Yeah, I'm a dumb kid alright." Classic!!
QazWiz 13 days ago
six hours of school to make up for a whole week? my grade school did 9am-3pm each DAY
so just same time for just one day...

yea, they skipped recess but still if i could go to school for a 6hrx5days and be off a month YIPPIE
Wiseguy70005 13 days ago
Silly to say the episode comes up again and again. ALL the episodes come up again and again.
AnnieM 13 days ago
I think the greatest thing about LITB is that the humor still holds up all these years later without feeling very dated.
djfone AnnieM 11 days ago
Good call, Annie. There's a reason for that. The 1950s/60s comedy shows employed writers who had actually lived real life. They had grown up during the Depression. They had struggled to find jobs to support their spouse and kids. They had experienced rejection, eviction, unpaid bills, and living in real America. Today's sitcom writers tend to come up in luxury, attend Ivy League schools, and get hired right away with very little real life experience. Even Shakespeare, in the 1600s, knew The Human Experience is timeless; it's not snarky pop culture references and snappy comebacks that are already dated after they air once.
AnnieM djfone 10 days ago
Very true. I've told people for years that the reason I can still enjoy the show so much is that Wally & Beaver acted like 'real' kids.
JHP djfone 8 days ago
snappy comebacks with thee very annoying canned laughter - that induces viewers to think that the show is a great comedy
MadMadMadWorld djfone 24 hours ago
The writers Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly, used many of their own experiences from their children's lives to incorporate those into LITB's episodes. Not sure there was a real-life experience for the "In the Soup" episode in either of their kids' lives to inspire it.
gockionni 15 days ago
Of all the LITB episodes, “In the Soup” stands out the most in my memories of watching this show as a kid. Always wanted to see it again and was happy to have that opportunity, thanks to MeTV!
Of course, back in the day, the billboard seemed higher, the event more dangerous and the outcomes more intense (childhood innocence and imagination at work!). Wonderful episode for sure!
Lillyrose 16 days ago
"In the Soup" is one of my favorite episodes of Leave it to Beaver. My favorite episode is "Beaver Plays Hooky." Both funny episodes! Great article!
harlow1313 17 days ago
My favorite episode is the one with Wally's Jelly Roll hair. I like the little bursts of jazz.

Unfortunately, the hair style ruined Clarence Rutherford's looks.
I think Fred Rutherford said Lumpy had a funny-shaped head.
seltaeb 17 days ago
All of Beaver's friends were always getting him into trouble. My favorite episode is when Larry Mondello talked Beaver into smoking Ward's pipe. They smoked coffee grounds and tobacco from cigarette butts that Larry got from the ashtray at his house. Ward thought it was Wally smoking the pipe until Beaver admitted that it was him who smoked the pipe.
JamesB 17 days ago
No surprise here - "In the Soup" is the best episode of "Leave it to Beaver". It's a lot of fun and really demonstrates Beaver's reputation (with his parents and teachers) that he actually is something of a scamp. I liked this even more than those times where Beaver sends for strange things in the mail or signs up for subscriptions, as those happened to a LOT of people in real life in the era.
Sway 17 days ago
My favorite LITB episode. Even Eddie Haskell makes an appearance.
hendrix_media Sway 15 days ago
Yeah. 'Fireman, save my child." Classic!
MrsPhilHarris 18 days ago
Not sure which episodes I would mention.
There are a lot of great ones.
Exactly. It would be hard to pick one.
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