The 1997 Leave It to Beaver movie was rated PG, so Jerry Mathers declined to be in it
The actor felt anything Beaver-related should be "G-rated" and voiced his issues with television in the '90s.
When you think of Leave It to Beaver, you probably envision curious Beaver Cleaver figuring out life and learning lessons with his older brother Wally.
You probably also see two parents, Ward and June, who show love to their boys even when they make mistakes, and instead of harshly scolding them, help the boys realize that being honest is the best solution.
It's a family sitcom; something children can enjoy without their parents being concerned about the content. That view of the show was "updated" in the Leave It to Beaver 1997 movie, and it's why Jerry Mathers decided not to be a part of the production.
In an interview with New York Daily News in 1998, the then 50-year-old talked about his issues with television in the '90s.
"I see a lot of sitcoms today, and I'm uncomfortable watching them with my two daughters," he said. "The show is going along and suddenly the character is debating whether to sleep with her boyfriend."
He added, "I don't want to shelter the kids forever. But there's such a short time to be young. Why take it away?"
To Mathers, Leave It to Beaver was one of the shows that portrayed "late-50s innocence." It was important to make sure the sitcom was for everyone. So after reading the script of the 1997 movie, Mathers was against the updates producers added.
"I knew from the script that it would be a PG," the actor added. "And I told the producers I was very disappointed about that. I think everything to do with Beaver should be G-rated. They told me it was 'updating,' and I told them you don't need it — and that's why I decided not to be in the movie."
If you watched the movie, a few familiar faces from the original show appeared in the film. Barbara Billingsley portrayed Aunt Martha, and Ken Osmond played Eddie Sr.
No matter where Mathers went, people saw him as Beaver, even at 50. "I think people who don't know me have a tendency to think I am the Beaver. I'm not. But there's so much of all of us in the Beav that there's a part of him in me too."