‘Leave It to Beaver’s Jerry Mathers Used This ‘Sneaky’ Work-Around to Memorize His Lines: ‘That Was Very Embarrassing’

The team of 'Leave It to Beaver'
The cast of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Walt Disney Photo Archives / Television via Getty Images

As a children’s actor in his own sitcom in 1957, Jerry Mathers had a lot on his shoulders taking part in the now classic television comedy. Leave it to the beaver.

In portraying Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver, Mathers as the title character had many lines that he had to constantly learn.

He appeared in an interview in 2006 with the American Television Archive his clever way of remembering his lines.

Mathers beat 5000 actors for ‘Beaver’ role

When Mathers heard about a Beaver role, it was a “cattle call” of 5000 actors.

By the time the test had knocked down the intended Beaver candidates down to 10 boys, the actor had just joined the Cub Scouts. Unfortunately, the day of his first meeting was the day of the final interviews for the Beaver role.

The actor made it clear to his mother that he did not want to go to trial because of his duty to the scouts. And so, she dressed him in a Cub Scout uniform so that they could both go to the interview and go from there to his scout meeting.

The children’s actor did not want to be at his lab, which pleased the producers

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“I was the last one,” Mathers said, recalling the impossibility of waiting through the other nine boys ’interviews in the final test process. “So I came in and I was just horrified. The reps knew me because they had interviewed me over six to eight weeks.

“They looked at me and said, ‘Jerry, what’s wrong? You are so jittery today. Don’t you want to be here? ‘I said,’ No, I want to go to a scout cub meeting. ‘ They said, “All right, you can go.”

Although Mathers’ mother was not happy when her son told her what he had said, it turned out that he had honored the work for him.

“That night, they called and said my job as a Beaver was in a new pilot,” he said. “And the reason I got the job was because they said they would prefer a child who wanted to go to a Cub Scout meeting to a child who wanted to be an actor. So that’s how I got the job Leave it to the beaver. ”

Work around mothers to remember scripts

In his interview, Mathers said, “I am dyslexic. Being dyslexic, my eyes and mind jump forward. That embarrassed me. ”

The actor appeared when he was in school and knew he had to read aloud, that his mother would have read his excerpt the night before in order to remember him. That way, he would seem to be reading.

The team of 'Leave It to Beaver'
The cast of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Walt Disney Photo Archives / Television via Getty Images

With his Leave it to the beaver scripts, he did the same.

“Locked up for an actor, because I only had someone to read [the script] for me and I could remember right off the stick, ”he said. “I had trained myself not to read but to remember. ”

It seems that Mather’s teachers, the representatives of his show, and even his mother were not ignorant of his initial reading challenge.

“I’m a very sad man,” he admitted. “I didn’t want to tell. It was a huge shame for me. Even though I’m an actor, I’m kind of a divided personality. Even as a child, I didn’t enjoy being sung. ”

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