Before he was Beaver, Jerry Mathers made his TV debut in one of the earliest Halloween episodes

Mathers was just four years old when he went trick-or-treating at the Nelsons.

Read to Me

The Halloween episode is a favorite ritual of sitcoms. It's hard to find a show these days that doesn't celebrate Halloween. Heck, many of them have a special October costume-athon every season.

But, in the early days of television, the Halloween episode was not so common. Sifting through the Fifties, you come across classics like The Honeymooners' "Halloween Party" (1953) and Lassie's "The Witch" (1955). Digging deeper into the plastic pumpkin, you'll discover another "Halloween Party."

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet dressed up for its "Halloween Party" in 1952, in what is one of the earliest sitcom episodes celebrating the holiday. In our cursory research, we could not find an older one. It was just the fifth episode of Ozzie and Harriet, which would go on to air another 430 episodes over the span of 14 seasons. Ricky, sporting a skeleton bodysuit, looks shockingly young.

 

"I think Halloween is mainly a night for kids," Ozzie bemoans to his neighbor Thorny. Ricky was not the youngest kid to appear in this episode. Midway through the story, the doorbell rings at the Nelson residence. A girl and a boy stand anxiously with masks perched atop their heads and wicker baskets in their hands. "Trick or treat!" they declare.

The one on the right is none other than Jerry Mathers in his first-ever television appearance. He was still five years away from becoming Beaver on Leave It to Beaver. He was only four years old.

On his personal website, Mathers posted a story from his mother, Marilyn, who remembers bringing young Jerry to the studio for this debut gig.

"Jerry had just begun modeling and doing some live TV… One day his agent called that he was to report for work at a location fairly close to our home the next morning," she wrote. "It was early October. I dressed him in his everyday clothes and trekked the short distance to catch the big red streetcar that ran along Santa Monica Blvd."

"An assistant director called the kids to the set. There was no script. Ozzie Nelson, the director, just told them to knock on the door, and when the door opened say trick or treat," she recalled.

Perhaps little Jerry was showing off his scene-stealing improv skills, then, when he yells to his companion, "Hey, wait for me!"

Mrs. Mathers remembers the scene taking no more than 15 minutes to film. "We boarded the streetcar for home, Jerry, a very happy little chappie," she said, "with his early start on Halloween trick or treat candy."

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wayne123 3 months ago
Loved June Cleaver as the Jive talking mama in the classic movie Airplane.
lweisberg18 4 months ago
2 Reasons Why Wally Didn't get the Job as a Lifeguard in Wally The Lifeguard besides being underage
1.Wally doesn't get interviewed for the job until the episode is half way over because the
show is 30 minutes and not 60 minutes
2.Boy Child Actors could not be seen wearing sandals unless it was a full vacation episode
or water beach scene episode or the actors feet were not showing for the whole scene or the scene was blurry If Wally would have got the job and Beaver Gilbert and Whitey did get to
swim Beaver Gilbert and Whitey would have to be seen wearing sandals swimsuits and summer clothing
3 Scenes that never happened in Leave It to Beaver because the Scene would be too long
or somebody would get hurt
1.Beavers House Guest At the end of the episode when Wally and Beaver are playfighting
Wally was supposed to pick up the Beaver and shut him in one of the clothes drawers
and then a scene would have happened where a phone call happens for Wally but Ward
answers and tells Wally his friends arent supposed to call at night time when It's a school
night and because Beaver is in the next episode it be rumored that after Wally told his
friends not to call on school nights he took Beaver out of the dresser and told him to go to
bed as no one figured out
2.Beavers Big Contest At the end of the episode when Wally finds out Beaver is not doing
his homework on the Typewriter after Beaver says one day I'll have to win something my
parents will have to let me keep Wally grabs on Beaver and locks him in the closet and
then a scene happens where Wally hears Ward call the boys for dinner so he lets Beaver out
3.Beaver the Hero In the Scene where Eddie comes over because he reads about Beaver scoring the winning touchdown before Eddie starts telling Beaver about being drafted
Eddie pushes Beaver off the chair and when Beaver gets back on the chair Eddie gives
him the news the same scene was supposed to happen in Beavers Accordion when
Eddie talks to Beaver about becoming an accordion player
bsantaniello 5 months ago
Recently saw the Ozzie and Harriett’s Halloween episode. I spotted Jerry Mathers right away. It was a cute episode.
crazyrobert 6 months ago
Halloween a holiday? I think the only people who get it as a holiday are government employees. Of course they get National Potato Day and Moohamids birthday off too. I guess that’s the only way they can be kept from doing more stupid bureaucratic stuff, give them a lot of days off.
AgingDisgracefully 6 months ago
I've never seen the episode.
Did the Nelsons dish out good stuff - Snickers, Nestle's Crunch, M&Ms etc. - or those calcified peanut butter insults in black or orange wax paper?
Well, it proably depended on who that week's sponsor was...LOL!
stephaniestavropoulos 6 months ago
This story was as sweet as all the Halloween candy, that I think I've developed cavities!
MrsPhilHarris 6 months ago
I watch this episode every year. Also listen to the old time radio version as well. 🎃👻


justjeff 6 months ago
Another fun fact, Jerry appears as Arnie Rogers [Shirley MacLaine's character's son] in the Alfred Hitchcock Dramedy "The Trouble with Harry"...
cperrynaples justjeff 6 months ago
Yes, his reaction to "Harry" is great! This is proably the most family-friendly Hitchcock and can be seen on Peacock!
cperrynaples 6 months ago
Fun Fact: He also played Little Ricky in a dream sequence on Lucy!
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cperrynaples texasluva 6 months ago
So are you saying Jimmy was Little Ricky? BTW, no one has commented on my post about the METV commercial where old Beaver calls young Wally! Look for it on another page, as the sponsors used to say when they bought commercials on 2 networks!
texasluva cperrynaples 6 months ago
No. I just put the pic up for fun. Plus guess the board game. It was a 1960 photo of the Mather family. The guess which one is Beaver only made because they look pretty much the same. Jimmy was not born until 1955.
cperrynaples texasluva 6 months ago
I figured out The Game Of Life, updated but still sold! Bonus Question: What popular TV star "wholeheartedly endorsed" this game? Hint: Believe it or not, he let Bill Cosby take over one of his shows!
That boy was too big to be Jerry Mathers at that time.
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