In addition to the autograph request I sent to Shirley Temple on February 25, 1986, I also sent letters to three additional celebrities. Clint Eastwood responded by having his secretary sign a couple of photos for me which came back on March 31. I had the wrong address for Art Carney – which I didn’t find out until my Honeymooners photo arrived back at my house nearly ten months later (I thought I had lost it for sure this time). And finally, I sent a request to Mr. Jerry Mathers (as “The Beaver”).
Leave It To Beaver was always one of my favorite television shows. Through my young years, I had often marvelled at the sixties lifestyle portrayed in the oftentimes-hilarious show. I sent Jerry Mathers a photo of him and his TV brother “Wally Cleaver” – played by Tony Dow – and he kindly inscribed it and signed a couple of notecards for me.
It would be quite a while before I would re-visit my desire to collect autographs from the cast of this show, but in 1997, during one of the Hollywood Collectors shows that I attended, I was able to actually meet two of the original cast members, Ken Osmond (“Eddie Haskell”) and Frank Bank (“Lumpy Rutherford”). I had Ken Osmond sign a nice color reunion shot from Still the Beaver and purchased two additional shots, one for myself and one for my Dad for his birthday. I also picked up a solo autographed shot of Frank Bank. Still later, they would make another joint appearance at a collector’s show and I would have Bob pick me up a shot signed by both.
Lumpy and Eddie meet Whitey
Later in 1997, my friend Stephen Cox traded me a nice reunion shot of the cast that had been autographed by series creator Joe Connelly. I thought that this was a really cool and unique autograph to have, not really dreaming that I would be adding signatures to it. I have never had any luck in obtaining a Tony Dow autograph – and finding a Hugh Beaumont (“Ward Cleaver”) signature in any form is next to impossible. But when Bob met up with Ken Osmond again, the first autograph was added when I had him get the photo inscribed for me.
In the Spring of 1998, I obtained still another signature on the photo, that of Barbara Billingsley (“June Cleaver”), when she made an appearance at a Las Vegas memorabilia show that Bob attended. Later that Summer, I actually wrote to her and she signed an additional cast photo and sent me an additional inscribed portrait. Quite a haul from Mrs. Cleaver, and might I add it was a lovely signature she had.
Finally, I did have some good luck getting Jerry Mathers to sign the Connelly shot – this time for a fee of $25.00! I had actually tried to get Ashleigh started with mailing for autographs in 1997, and she started by writing a letter to Jerry Mathers. From his response to her, we found out that he was no longer signing for free at this point like he did back in 1986. At least the money was going to his favorite charity.
So without further ado, here is the reunion cast shot in its current incarnation. Hopefully one day I will be able to add the signature of Tony Dow.
It has been most excellent to now be able to purchase the first two seasons of Leave It To Beaver on DVD. Long ago, when they were aired on Nick at Nite, I had videotaped nearly fifteen tapes full of the episodes and shared them with Ashleigh and Briana, who also grew to love the show. Long may it live.
I would later meet up with Tony Dow and get him to add his signature to four of these items as seen here…
Continue with autographs of 1986…
Continue with celebrities of the 1997 Hollywood Collectors Show… (under construction)
Continue with autographs of 1997… (under construction)
Continue with autographs of 1998… (under construction)