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Leave It To Beaver

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

 

Feel free to suggest a suitable subtitle folks!

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I originally watched this show when I was a child, many years ago. At the time, I never paid much attention to the adults in the show as I was mainly interested in Beaver. Saw it again several years ago and this time around was much more interested in what the adults said and did, especially June. She was so graceful and elegant as she went about her everyday duties as a homemaker and mother. I found myself wanting to be like her in that respect. Anyone else out there feel the same way?

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A couple of my favorite episodes-

The one where Beaver & his friend climb up into a bowl of soup on a billboard. They're stuck up there until the Fire Dept. comes and rescues them.

The other one is where Wally has a party at his house for all his teenage friends and Beaver plays the practical joker (putting rubber cheese in a sandwich was one gag) to get back at him because he wasn't invited.

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I too watched the series as a child. I loved the Cleaver home  And  the elegance of their evening meals - cloth napkins and  milk drunk from goblets! Wow.

What baffled me then was June's apparent  all consuming interest in the happiness and well-being of her sons. Did an episode ever go by without June saying, "Ward, I am worried about the Beaver!" ? And people think helicopter parenting is a recent phenomenon ;)

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I don't think they had a dishwasher, at least in the early years of the series. Wasn't drying the dishes one of the chores of the boys?

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I'm currently finishing up season 5 (1961-1962). I just watched The Yard Birds where Wally and Beaver had to clean up the yard and garage and Eddie and Lumpy leave all the stuff in someone's vacant lot instead of the city dump. Chaos ensues. I'm amazed that each season of Beaver contained 39 episodes. And that new shows ran well into the month of June. Tony Dow was certainly handsome. I also find Hugh Beaumont to be a very attractive man. Beaver gets on my nerves as he ages. I never realized that Larry Mondello and Judy were on so few episodes. When I was a kid watching the reruns it seemed as if they were on every show. Not so...

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Mrs. Mondello seemed so old to me, way too old to have a child as young as Larry. That poor woman had absolutely no clue on how to raise a child, Larry seemed to ride roughshod all over her.

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Just finished watching 'Wally's Orchid'.

 

4/02/1960
Wally asks the most popular girl in school to go to the upcoming sophomore dance with him, and in order to impress her, he attempts to purchase the most expensive corsage but finds his funds severely lacking and worries his date will dump him.

 

Myra, a beautiful and vain (IMO) 14 year old girl is "used to going out with seniors and stuff" according to Wally, but he gets her to agree to go to a dance with him.  Then she calls him up to ask him if he has a car, while playing with her hair and admiring herself in the mirror.  Really?  Obviously she knows that a boy his age won't have a car as evidenced by her not seeming to be at all surprised when Wally explains that his father will be driving them to the dance.  Then young Myra says she wants to tell him she's wearing a lavender dress.  Wally is mystified as to why she wants to tell him what she's wearing, so he just answers that he's wearing a blue suit.

 

Myra explains that as she's the head of the dance committee, her mother says that she should be wearing an orchid.  Wally finally seems to understand, and agrees with her.  He seems to know that orchids are expensive but is dismayed to learn that they're $7.50. 

 

Apparently most girls expected a standard corsage of gardenias, which was much less expensive (and nowadays I see all the girls are wearing orchids, my how times change).  There's lots of angst as Wally tries to accommodate Myra's wishes. 

 

Daddy Ward wants Wally to pay for gardenias or tell Myra to find another date; as he's not thrilled that a girl is demanding a specific corsage, and he's not happy that Wally doesn't seem to be handling his money very well.  June is on the other side of the fence.  She says that such a pretty girl, who is also head of the dance committee, is somehow correct to expect the most expensive corsage at the dance.  This seems strange to me, as June doesn't normally seem to be the type to think that way.

 

In the end, June gets Ward to buy the orchids because she shows him the orchid he bought her when they were 16, and she's had it pressed in a book since then.  Wally goes off to the dance with a white orchid for his date's lavender dress, and he comes home unhappy because the lovely Myra dumped him and spent the rest of the evening dancing with the seniors.  Many lessons are learned, by all the Cleavers.

 

Question:  How do you think Myra ended up?  Did her mother really insist she should have an orchid to wear at the dance, or did Myra merely say that to get the gullible young Wally to ante up?

Edited by Zahdii

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Hard to say. I saw that episode too and Myra definitely looked like the type who knew how to get what she wanted from guys. But then again, the 60's were full of pushy mothers wanting to lord it over everyone by having only the best for their daughters.

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I now want to see an update movie that is full of cameos of past show characters.  Wally is visiting, perhaps to attend his high school reunion, and runs into Myra.  Turns out she married the beefcake football player who got a college scholarship, but never studied, so when he wasn't able to turn pro they moved back home and raised their family running a gas station.  After a couple of divorces and remarriages, Myra is a mother of six, grandmother of 25.  She's not so hot anymore, especially since her fashion sense is still stuck in the 60's.  (That sometimes happens when you peak in high school/college, and don't move on).  Her life doesn't suck, but Wally is astounded to realize from their conversation that she now views him as 'the one that got away'.

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And then Wally heaves a sigh and realizes he dodged a bullet, not one but twice with her. His life with his wife Mary Ellen has been very happy.

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A couple of my favorite episodes-

The one where Beaver & his friend climb up into a bowl of soup on a billboard. They're stuck up there until the Fire Dept. comes and rescues them.

 

A small correction: Only Beaver climbed up into the bowl of soup. Gilbert goaded him into doing it. I hesitate to call Gilbert Beaver's friend because he always seemed to find ways to get Beaver in trouble while staying out of it himself. He was Eddie Haskell Jr. There was also the time he suggested that he and Beaver make goofy faces for their class picture. Of course, Gilbert didn't. Beaver was certainly naive! Other kids could talk him into anything.

 

I liked Larry Mondello as his pal the best, although even Larry got Beaver into trouble sometimes. Larry told him the school principal kept a spanking machine in her office. He went in there to look, and got locked in.

 

Does anyone know if Beaver married Violet Rutherford in the 80's sequels?

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I'm amazed that each season of Beaver contained 39 episodes. And that new shows ran well into the month of June.

That was the standard for all TV shows at the time.

Is "The New Leave It to Beaver," the follow-up series with most of the same actors, available anywhere these days? I'm surprised one of the nostalgia rerun channels hasn't picked it up. It wasn't very good (Jerry Mathers was a terrible actor as an adult) but it was still fun to see all of them as adults.

Edited by J-Man
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Favorite episode, after losing his hair cut money Beaver is scared to tell Ward. So Wally attempts to help by cutting his hair. Beaver then had to convince the folks that he must wear the hat as an initiation to a club.

When they finally see his head, June's reaction is priceless and of course Ward gets the blame for making the boys afraid to confide the truth to him. 

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News update: Antenna TV is no longer including Leave It to Beaver on their program schedule. When I tuned in today, the Joey Bishop show was on. 

But the good news is it's been picked up by MeTV, which airs 2 episodes starting at 8:00am in my local area. Thank goodness because I'd be really upset if I didn't get my daily dose of LITB! 

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On ‎1‎/‎23‎/‎2015 at 10:41 PM, Miss Chevious said:

Was Eddie destined for juvie? Did he have a mean streak or was he just misunderstood?

Probably ALL the above.

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Thanks to the summer of MeTv Leave It to Beaver is now on for a half hour at 4:30pm EDT.  It's annoying when they move programs around. Thank goodness for DVR's. 

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On 2/6/2015 at 11:10 AM, discorules said:

Mrs Mondello was one of my favorite characters. I thought the actress was a hoot!

I agree- and this rather flustered and clueless parent was a bit of refreshing comic relief compared to June who seemed to have-it-all! BTW, the recently deceased Adam West said that, in contrast to her onscreen characters' nervousness, the actress Madge Blake (who later played Aunt Harriet) , was a very eloquent and deep intellectual. However; Mrs. Blake had intense stage fright which she was able to make the best of re creating endearing characters.

Edited by Blergh · Reason: marital status adjustment
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Boy, Beaver's friend Gilbert is really a little weasel. He constantly goads Beaver into wrongdoing. Granted, Beaver should know better (and he so often does) but slimy Gilbert is a master manipulator so Beaver winds up doing it anyway. The episode where Beaver flies his kite, the one where he has a babysitter and this morning's episode about the electric trains are prime examples. As Beaver would say, "He's a creep alright."

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On 10/12/2017 at 0:27 PM, Miss Chevious said:

As Beaver would say, "He's a creep alright."

You are right about Gilbert, Miss Chevious.

The ironic thing is that the actor who played Gilbert went on to become a serious journalist, who reported for Frontline and other PBS shows and is married to a medical social worker.

Completely opposite of how we would imagine Gilbert would have grown up.

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I think as the series (characters) got older, some of them became more likable.

Lumpy Rutherford earlier in the series was a horrible jerk.   As the series got older, Lumpy became more of a goofy type character.  Calling his father "Daddy" all of the time.  Of course his dad  (Fred) was played by Richard Deacon.  Fred kept building up Lumpy to being more than he was in public, but in private was kind of mean to Lumpy.

Eddie Haskell was always a jerk, but even he started to mellow a little bit as he got older.  He started out as a bully, and became a smart ass.

My favorite episode is towards the end of the series,  "Wally's Practical Joke".  It is the episode where Eddie talks Wally into using Ward's tow chain to wrap around the rear axle of Lumpy's car.  It was done in retaliation for Lump wiring smoke bombs to go off in both Eddie's and Wally's cars.

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What baffled me then was June's apparent  all consuming interest in the happiness and well-being of her sons. Did an episode ever go by without June saying, "Ward, I am worried about the Beaver!" ? And people think helicopter parenting is a recent phenomenon ;)

It seemed like June worried about everything.  Kind of hard to believe that she ever had sex to begin with.  I can just imagine June and Ward on their honeymoon.   

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Thank you for the heads up, @wilsie 

METV replayed "The Broken Window" today and one thing suprised me.  I remember the Cleavers always seeming so perfect.  Almost too perfect.  But in this episode they pull back the veneer a tiiny bit and at least hint at the fact Ward and June could argue and fuss like many other couples:

At dinner, Ward kept bringing up the broken window and June pushed back a bit. 

June:  (Tiring of hearing how Ward's father would have punished him for the broken window)  Why don't you tell the boys how you had to sell matches in the snow on Christmas Eve?

Ward:  I thought we decided to drop the subject.

June:   Well, so did I  

A few minutes later. . .

Ward:  It seems someone has been driving the car with the emergency brake on.  Not very good for it, you know.

June:  You wouldn't be implying that I drove the car with the brake on, are you?  Well, just to put your mind at ease, no matter how much I drive that car, I'll never use the brakes again!

I hadn't seen that episode in a while, and didn't remember them ever getting close to an argument like that.

Edited by TheLastKidPicked
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On 11/5/2017 at 11:23 AM, icemiser69 said:

My favorite episode is towards the end of the series,  "Wally's Practical Joke".  It is the episode where Eddie talks Wally into using Ward's tow chain to wrap around the rear axle of Lumpy's car.  It was done in retaliation for Lump wiring smoke bombs to go off in both Eddie's and Wally's cars.

If memory serves me, this is where George Lucas came up with the idea to include this same scene in American Graffiti (just substitute the police car for Lumpy’s).

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On 10/12/2017 at 11:27 AM, Miss Chevious said:

Boy, Beaver's friend Gilbert is really a little weasel. He constantly goads Beaver into wrongdoing.

Yes, he really was. Larry was similar, but he didn’t quite reach the level of sleaziness as did Gilbert. I recall reading an article one time that mentioned that the kid that played Gilbert (Stephen Talbot, son of actor Lyle Talbot) resented this show, and refused to have anything to do with any follow up productions or cast reunions. I recall reading the reason that the kid that played Larry left the show, was because his family decided to relocate to another state. I liked Larry better.

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On 11/5/2017 at 11:23 AM, icemiser69 said:

Eddie Haskell was always a jerk, but even he started to mellow a little bit as he got older.  He started out as a bully, and became a smart ass.

I just caught the episode “Eddie’s Girl” again the other night. Eddie drags Wally over to Caroline’s house to show her off to Wally (Karen Green sure was a cutie!). It immediately becomes apparent that the girl only knows Eddie well enough to not like him, and that she’s definitely interested in Wally, not Eddie. When Caroline’s mother posed the question, “what about that other boy, Eddie?” I Lol’ed at Caroline’s reply: “Oh Mother!” ?

Funny, but even though Eddie was a rat according to 1950’s etiquette, he would be pretty tame by today’s standards.

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On 2/6/2015 at 9:10 AM, discorules said:

Mrs Mondello was one of my favorite characters. I thought the actress was a hoot!

Me too!! I love Mrs. Mondello! The poor lady, she was so old ! Larry was most likely a "change of life baby' and Mrs. Mondello was overwhelmed with raising a little boy esp. being that Mr. Mondello was always out of town!

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I'm catching recent episodes on MeTV, and I just can't express how much I love this show.

The current episodes are when the boys are a little older (well, I guess everyone is a little older, now that I think about it), and I always thought I preferred the ones when they were little, but these are really good.  The dialogue is just perfect, and I'm really appreciating Ward and June.  I always remember the episode where Aunt Martha was staying with Ward and the boys while June was out of town, and she had Beaver wearing short pants to school, and Ward saved the day by hiding in the garage with some jeans for him, and Ward tells him it's because June loves Aunt Martha and they don't want to hurt her feelings. 

He tried to do the same thing today, when June's childhood friend's son Dudley transferred to Wally's school, and June offered to have him and Wally walk to school together and Wally would introduce him around.  Dudley showed up at Wally's wearing an overcoat and hat.  June was delighted at what an upstanding young man he was, while Ward and Wally rolled their eyes at each other, and Beaver asked, "Is there a funeral?"  Ward hustled Beaver out and then plucked the hat off Dudley's head, saying, "Well, Dud, I don't think it's going to rain today. Why don't you leave the hat here?"  And clueless June said something favorable about the hat, so he wore it.  But Ward understood, and he tried.  In fact, he chastised June for making the offer in the first place, saying that's not how guys go to a new school:  they show up and do a lot of observing and after a few days they get tired of observing and talk about how things were at their old school, and the guys tell him to pipe down, and then everybody's friends.

And June talking about her days in boarding school, and how she was captain of her class's basketball team, to Wally's utter astonishment.  Or the time she was sitting in the living room listening to a record, and Wally walked in and wanted to know what in the world she was doing, and she mentioned seeing that opera in New York City. 

June's still waters ran deep, and Ward was a big ball of empathy, and I really really like them. 

They were very short with Eddie when Beaver went missing when he took the neighbor kid downtown to buy shoes.  Ward or June or both of them (I can't remember) apologized to him, and took it in stride when he responded in a typical Eddie fashion.  Really stand-up people.

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On 3/2/2018 at 5:15 PM, StatisticalOutlier said:

June's still waters ran deep, and Ward was a big ball of empathy, and I really really like them. 

They were very short with Eddie when Beaver went missing when he took the neighbor kid downtown to buy shoes.  Ward or June or both of them (I can't remember) apologized to him, and took it in stride when he responded in a typical Eddie fashion.  Really stand-up people.

StatisticalOutlier, that is a very insightful post and it will have even more meaning when you know a little bit of behind the scenes info:

The show was filmed during the post war boom of the 1950's and life was good!  It was the first time that people actually had financial security and free time.

So the challenge was not "how do we provide a warm home and enough food for our kids?"  That was now much easier to do.

The challenge became,  "How do we develop proper values in our kids?"  Hugh Beaumont especially wanted Ward and June to be people that parents could look to as examples of how to raise kids in this new era of prosperity.

Knowing that, it gives you a new appreciation when you watch the show.

Edited by TheLastKidPicked
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6 hours ago, TheLastKidPicked said:

 

The challenge became,  "How do we develop proper values in our kids?"  Hugh Beaumont especially wanted Ward and June to be people that parents could look to as examples of how to raise kids in this new era of prosperity.

Knowing that, it gives you a new appreciation when you watch the show.

This is why I love this show so much. The values this show imparts is really timeless. Decency, kindness, good manners and doing the right thing is just as important today as it was in the ‘50s. 

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18 hours ago, Miss Chevious said:

This is why I love this show so much. The values this show imparts is really timeless. Decency, kindness, good manners and doing the right thing is just as important today as it was in the ‘50s. 

Miss Chevious, that is very well said.  Maybe you should change your name to Miss Landers.

 

Miss Landers.jpg

Edited by TheLastKidPicked
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Hey, I saw the guy who plays Lumpy Rutherford on an episode of Father Knows Best.  He was playing a kid sitting in the cafeteria with Bud, and it was kind of hard to see his face because he was just shoveling his lunch, but then we got a good look at his face and that was definitely him, and then he said something, and it was before his voice had changed!  He looked the same, but had a very high voice.

 

On 1/24/2018 at 3:25 PM, Max fan said:

Me too!! I love Mrs. Mondello! The poor lady, she was so old !

I just looked her up, and she was about 60 at the time.  I want you to remember what you said when you turn 60.  :-)

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On 1/23/2015 at 9:41 PM, Miss Chevious said:

Was Eddie destined for juvie? Did he have a mean streak or was he just misunderstood?

Do you remember the episode where Ward got Wally and Eddie jobs at Mayfield Dairy?  Eddie unknowingly was helping his boss steal from the company. At the end, Eddie was truly concerned and worried that he let Ward down.

It was a great episode, and really deepened my appreciation for the character and the actor.

Edited by TheLastKidPicked
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A few questions... 

What did Eddie mean when he would tell Beaver to, 'dry up?'

Why did Eddie call Wally, 'Sam'? 

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21 hours ago, Waterston Fan said:

A few questions... 

What did Eddie mean when he would tell Beaver to, 'dry up?'

Why did Eddie call Wally, 'Sam'? 

Both expressions are colloquialisms that were popular back in the day.

’Dry up’ just meant dry up and go away. Like beat it, get lost, scram. 

‘Sam’ was just an all-purpose name, synonymous for man (usually used when a person’s given name was unknown). Examples like Jack, Mack, Bud, Pal were interchangeable.  Get lost, Bud. Scram, Sam. 

Eddie was just trying to be cool and as usual, failing miserably.

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Been watching the show on ME TV.  They really ran fast and loose with Beaver's friends.  They would come and go with no explanation.  What happened to Judy?  What happened to Larry and Harry.  Friends would appear and disappear from the classrooms scenes.  At least Wally's friends were consistent.  Also they did a few storylines were Beaver wore something ridiculous or did something stupid because one of his "friends" tricked him.  I liked stories centered around Wally more than the ones around "the Beaver"  One exception, the Chopper storyline, that kid was an old man trapped in a kids body.!  Hysterical and sad at the same time.

Edited by LucyEth
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Totally going from memory here, but I seem to recall that the kid that played Larry, moved to the mid-west or east coast, effectively ending his role on the show. Don’t remember what happened to Judy. Gilbert (Stephen Talbot, son of actor Lyle Talbot) stepped in where Larry left off. It seemed to me that Gilbert was an even bigger rat than Larry, and managed to get Beaver into even worse trouble.

I also recall that the later episodes centered more around Wally and his friends. It seemed that puberty was an awkward stage in a young Mr Mather's life, and he had somewhat morphed into an awkward and goofy acting teen. Almost overnight, it seemed that his natural ability to act and recite cute kid lines, in a way that cute kids do, was gone. That was about the time that you noticed that the episodes shifted more over to Wally.

Bit of Trivia: At one point, Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell) and porn star John Holmes, were thought to be one in the same person (Which may or may not have been a good thing, depending on Mr Osmond’s success with the ladies 😜 ). I once saw some footage of Mr Holmes, and I can totally see how they could have been mistaken for one another. At that time, they looked very much the same, and he (Holmes) even had very similar sounding voice, with the same wise cracking “Eddie Haskell like” demeanor.

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On 6/15/2018 at 1:29 PM, StatisticalOutlier said:

Hey, I saw the guy who plays Lumpy Rutherford on an episode of Father Knows Best.

Interesting how life imitates art sometimes.  When you see interviews with Tony Dow and others, they mention that Frank Bank is an accountant.  "In fact, he's my accountant!"  Ken Osmond says.  Since Fred Rutherford was an office worker, it would make sense for Lumpy to grow up to be an accountant.

14 hours ago, wanton87 said:

Bit of Trivia: At one point, Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell) and porn star John Holmes, were thought to be one in the same person (Which may or may not have been a good thing, depending on Mr Osmond’s success with the ladies 😜 ).

And here's where the  actors are complete opposites of the characters they play.  This came up in an interview, and I was expecting Ken Osmond to make an Eddie Haskell type remark.  Eddie would have bragged about being mistaken for a porn star.  But Ken seemed embarrassed by the entire thing, and was polite about it and downplayed the whole thing.

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On 3/14/2019 at 9:56 AM, TheLastKidPicked said:

Interesting how life imitates art sometimes.  When you see interviews with Tony Dow and others, they mention that Frank Bank is an accountant.  "In fact, he's my accountant!"  Ken Osmond says.  Since Fred Rutherford was an office worker, it would make sense for Lumpy to grow up to be an accountant.

Years ago I actually spoke to Frank Bank in his financial advisor role. He was counselling a client about their 401K which my company managed, After I helped them, he asked me who played Lumpy Rutherford on LITB? I of course knew the answer and I proudly said "Frank Bank." He said I was the only person who ever answered that correctly, then he introduced himself as Frank Bank. Made my day!

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On 3/16/2019 at 11:25 AM, KHenry14 said:

Then he introduced himself as Frank Bank. Made my day!

Thank you for posting that, Khenry14.  I love stories like that!

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