Watch the rarely seen introduction to the first episode of 'Leave It to Beaver'
Cold ice cream, warm and fuzzy feelings.
Read to Me
Picture this as the first shot of a television series: A soda jerk leans forward and hands you, the viewer, an ice cream cone. That's how you know you're in for some wholesome, nostalgic, 1950s entertainment.
Actually, you don't have to imagine it. This is precisely how Leave It to Beaver began upon its premiere 60 years ago, on October 4, 1957 — with two scoops of vanilla. Talk about a "cold opening."
"When you were young, you had your own set of values," the narrator says. "Values that nothing could change." That's the voice of Hugh Beaumont, better known as Ward Cleaver. He then describes said ice cream cone as "a snow-capped mountain of sheer delight." Mmm… poetic.
This was the introduction to "Beaver Gets 'Spelled'," the first episode of the series. (Beaumont did not appear in the pilot episode, "It's a Small World." Rather, Max Showalter, billed as Casey Adams, played dad.) During the first season of Leave It to Beaver, Beaumont would introduce each episode with a quick, welcoming summary of its morals. "That's our story tonight on… Leave It to Beaver!" he would announce. The familiar "wet cement" opening credits would then follow.
This rubric was dropped in later seasons. For syndication, the intros were chopped off altogether, for time. However, some survive on YouTube. Here's that very first one, with ice cream and all.