Leave it to Beaver star Rusty Stevens was in three different Halloween episodes on three different shows
He told Beaver a witch lived in Mayfield, wore a costume in court and pulled Halloween pranks in North Fork.
Robert “Rusty” Stevens will always be remembered as Beaver’s pal Larry Mondello in Leave it to Beaver. After getting discovered selling newspapers on a street corner, Stevens appeared in 67 episodes during Beaver’s first four seasons.
While Larry had many memorable moments, one fan-favorite episode is the spooky delight “The Haunted House.” Early in the story, as Larry and Beaver walk by the old Cooper place, Larry postulates “I bet we got the only school in the world with a haunted house on the way home from it.” Beaver wonders who would live in such a house and Larry determines they would have to be a witch.
Of course, this isn’t the last the boys see of the place. Beaver gets a job walking a neighbor’s dog for a whopping 50 cents a day. He’s excited by this new prospect until he realizes the woman offering the gig lives in the creepy Cooper house! Convinced she must be a witch, Beaver is afraid to go by himself, but neither Wally nor Larry want to go with him and he has to face the challenge alone.
It’s a fun episode about not judging a book by its cover that includes a few eerie elements not normally seen in this wholesome family sitcom.
It would also be the first of three spooky or Halloween-centric episodes that Rusty Stevens played a part in.
A few years after “The Haunted House,” Stevens showed up in the Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Dodging Domino.” This courtroom story may not sound like a Halloween episode but the holiday has an integral role in the plot. Stevens plays a young trick-or-treater who appears in court costume and all.
But even after these two roles, Rusty Stevens wasn’t done with All Hallows’ Eve. A year after his Perry Mason appearance, he played a rabble-rousing teenager in The Rifleman episode “Hostages to Fortune.” The story starts with Mark and two friends riding around on Halloween night wearing sacks on their heads pretending to be ghosts. They cause a ruckus riding through cattle herds, sending the animals running every which way.
The teenage pranks provide the perfect cover for cattle rustlers who hit herds the very same night. Stevens plays Melvin, an instigator of the Halloween night shenanigans riding with Mark. When Melvin bullies a new kid in town named Percy, Mark and Melvin get in a fistfight.
Stevens’ role in The Rifleman was his last appearance as a child actor. He left the entertainment industry behind when his family moved from southern California to Pennsylvania. He did come back to television twenty years later, though, recruited by the Beaver himself, Jerry Mathers. Stevens reprised his role as Larry Mondello in the 1983 TV movie “Still the Beaver” and the subsequent series The New Leave it to Beaver.