October 16, 2010

"Barbara Billingsley, TV’s June Cleaver, Dies at 94."

Ah!

I was 6 years old when the show "Leave It to Beaver" began in 1957 and 12 when it ended in 1963. I watched an unbelievable amount of television in those years, but, without question, the TV family that impressed me most deeply was the Cleavers. June and Ward were, for me, the perfect parents. From this long distance, it now seems that were not really that different from June and Ward, but back then, how I longed for a family like the Cleavers. I can still make the theme music play in my head and open a flood of memories of childhood feelings of what a family should be. How profoundly affecting were the gender differences between the 2 parents! Ward and June were a beautiful team, and they were not even all that dissimilar. Both were tough and principled and at the same time caring and sensitive. But I can hear June in my head, echoing for all the ages, urging Ward not to be too severe with the boys. And Ward always listened and hesitated before he proceeded with his fatherly role.

Here's some video.

25 comments:

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bgates said...

RIP Jive Lady.

(All that time watching Leave it to Beaver, and you vote for Eddie Haskell?)

mr said...

Sometimes, when you watch the show, you can see a thought flit through Ward's mind. It is usually in response to something June has said that is, lets be kind, less than sensible.

The look clearly indicated that Ward was fondly remembering the plain-but-brilliant girl from his Environmental Design class, the one who had such interesting things to say about Danish Functionalism. They went out for coffee that one time....

He met June the next weekend at an Alpha Chi Omega mixer.

deborah said...

My hat is eternally off to anyone who vacuumed in pearls and heels. Here's to you, Jive Lady.

edutcher said...

She was bi-lingual, and she was fluent in Jive, also.

Rarely saw the show (think it was opposite "Laramie"), but, along with Harriet Nelson, she was America's mom.

DADvocate said...

Slowly my childhood is dying off. Loved Barbara. Thanks for the memories.

traditionalguy said...

Ditto. She was also famous for her line," Ward, don't you think that you were too hard on the beaver last night".

EDH said...

Nothing better than June Cleaver's interactions with the unctuous Eddie Haskell, a polite mistrust that humorously marked the boundary between family and friends.

LITB was some of the best TV comedy writing ever. The scripts are timeless and they hold up even to this day. I can't think of a show that captured so well the child's mentality.

While idealized and sanitized by the network Standards & Practices of the day, those obstacles speak to how well the shows were done.

I find those who seize on those limitations to stereotype LITB as out of touch either don't know the show or are simply parroting the preferred deconstructed version of reality that they've been conditioned to espouse.

Trooper York said...

Has anybody spoken to ironrailsironweights today?

He must be really upset.

He is a really big fan of the Beaver.

Ralph L said...

LITB is another show, like the Mickey Mouse show and several westerns, that I watched quite often, not realizing they were several years old until I was an adult. And like those, I have no memory of plots and barely remember the characters. Perhaps no real brain damage occurred until Get Smart and Laugh-In several years later.

WV - sysubity - the Phil Collins song that didn't make it.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

EDH said...
"Nothing better than June Cleaver's interactions with the unctuous Eddie Haskell, a polite mistrust that humorously marked the boundary between family and friends. "

As a teenager and adult all I noticed was June carefully defending against Eddie Haskell's horny teen vibe.... one that I felt myself every time she was onscreen!

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

David said...
June was lucky--she did not have to raise girls.

As my daughter said, when her three year old was cute and cuddly, "In ten years she will hate everything I stand for."

Joe said...

Why the raising girl hate? My oldest daughter became a terror as a teenager and caused us all sorts of grief, but I still preferred her over my oldest son who became a hate-the-world grouch.

(The youngest two, boy and girl, are angels by any definition, but especially by comparison.)

AST said...

I could never understand why Beave and Wally talked about their dad "yelling" at them, when all he ever did was speak sternly. Wimps! My dad yelled.

But I'll bet he wouldn't have if he'd been married to June Cleaver.

PatCA said...

We rarely got to watch TV--our parents let it sit there once it broke down. Studying was all.

So every once in a while I would see the show at a neighbor's. Loved it. BB was marvelous, a great lady. We shall miss her!

Julie C said...

My boys and I have been watching LITB on Netflix recently. They love all the situations Wally and Beaver got into and especially the school stuff - all of the character types are still very much with us - the kiss-ass friend (Eddie), the annoying quasi-bully with the braggart father (Lumpy and his dad), the tattletale girl at school ...

I never got the feminists who sneered at June Cleaver. She is a great role model.

bagoh20 said...

The flawless neatness of everything is cool. All the people are attractive and the quality of the image is great.

Almost Ali said...

"1957," that's when America crossed the Rubicon, when television became the defining arbiter of domestic life. And I can't think of a more representative example of the ensuing social decline than Leave It To Beaver.

My god, what family in America lived like the Cleavers! And don't get me wrong, the TV-Cleavers were very, very nice people (except for the "Beave," who was apparently retarded, or an excellent child-actor scripted that way).

But the Beavers were also downright sneaky in the way they brainwashed countless young minds into believing the TV-world was the real world. Parading across the 12" screen like Mr & Mrs Perfect.

And look where it's gotten us; non-stop, real life garbage. Because it's taken 50 years for those once young minds to finally realize that real life is Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.

Almost Ali said...

...

If I had to live the fantasy life, I might do it as The Third Man.

William said...

From Danny Thomas through the Cleavers and the Bradys and on to Happy Days and beyond: There is always some sitcom playing and some child taking it all in and wondering why his family could not be as loving and kindly as those nice people up on the TV screen. Ten or twenty years later, someone from the show writes a tell all book about their miserable time on the show. The child, now a grown up, is saddened to learn that it was all a lie. The cast was full of drunks, philanderers, and junkies. They were more dysfunctional than his own family. It happens so much that it's almost like a rite of passage into adulthood. Ms Billingsley did nothing in private life to disgrace her screen persona. She deserves some credit for that.....I remember reading the obit on Roy Rogers. I was moved to learn that he really tried and, for the most part, succeeded in being Roy Rogers.

Methadras said...

Her best work was on airplane. RIP!!! But don't be hard on the Beaver.

AllenS said...

Leave It to Beaver has been replaced with Leave It to Obama, which is turning out to be not very entertaining.

ndspinelli said...

Pallbearers: Whitey Whitney, Larry Mondello, Lumpy Rutherford, Miss Landers, Gus, Eddie Haskell.

Paul said...

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.

RIP, Barbara.