And Jerry Mathers as the Beaver

Jerry Mathers, Author, Herb Fagen, With Berkley Publishing Group $14 (272p) ISBN 978-0-425-16370-2
Leave It to Beaver first aired on TV 41 years ago, and has been playing ever since in reruns. The All-American Cleaver family, writes the series' star, provided ""innocence, optimism, respectability, and adventure. The pleasures were simple and the values were constant."" Through episodic ""morality plays,"" the show ""presented a child's view of the world."" That child, of course, was ""the Beaver,"" played by 10-year-old Mathers, and the show provided the closest thing the baby-boom generation had to cultural mythology. The only surprise in Mathers's autobiography may be the impressive credits with which he came to the role in 1957, having already worked with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Ray Bolger, Alfred Hitchcock, Shirley MacLaine and John Forsythe. Unfortunately, this Hollywood memoir reads as if it were penned by the Beav himself, rather than by a 50-year-old man with two marriages and a philosophy degree from UC-Berkeley behind him. Mathers delivers a poorly written recitation of data rather than an in-depth examination of a life or career, and the voices of other actors from the show contribute little additional scope. This collection of trivia will appeal only to die-hard fans and avid collectors of Beaver memorabilia. For others, it may simply provide further evidence of the banality of American pop culture. Eight pages of b&w photos, not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 978-0-425-16405-1
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-425-16471-6
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