Tony Dow almost joined The Mickey Mouse Club... and Tarzan!

Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?

It's hard to picture a time when Wally wasn't the culture's ideal of an older brother. Even when he messed up, Wally always made things right, fixing his problems before the episode ended. Especially with matters of the Beaver, Wally never left things unresolved. The show may have only lasted six seasons, but its perpetual rebroadcasting in reruns has made it one of the most enduring shows ever. So, Wally has become a real touchstone in how we think of older siblings.

But, there was a time when Tony Dow and his parents were unsure whether he should join the Leave It to Beaver cast.

Before Leave It to Beaver, Tony Dow was already in and around Hollywood. His mother was an extra and stunt double in multiple productions. Meanwhile, Tony was becoming a remarkable swimmer and diver, winning Amateur Athletic Union awards and securing diving championships in the Junior Olympics.

While Dow had an impressive résumé as an athlete, he had almost no experience as an actor. He only filmed one television pilot prior to Leave It to Beaver. However, that didn't keep Dow from having a few offers for his next project. The cameras clearly loved him, even before he was famous as Wally. In an interview with Greasy Kid Stuff Magazine, Dow outlined his many prospects early in his career.

"I'd done a pilot and I'd been up for three different things: The Mickey Mouse Club, Tarzan, and Leave It to Beaver," said Dow. "I was actually offered all of them. My mom asked me which one I wanted to do. I said I couldn't sing and dance very well, so let's do Tarzan. But my mom felt that Leave It to Beaver had a lot of credibility behind it and that it might be better for me to do so I said okay and that changed my life."

We're lucky that Dow and his mother chose Leave It to Beaver as his next project, as the show continues to reward viewers to this day. There's no argument that it was the best course of action. While The Mickey Mouse Club has absolutely produced its fair share of stars, none of its episodes have the same long-lasting rewatch value as Beaver.

While it's clear Dow made the right decision, it is intriguing to think about him following in the footsteps of fellow swimmer and diver Johnny Weismuller in a Tarzan adaptation. Who knows what could have been?

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3 Comments

Bapa1 3 months ago
What Tarzan are they talking about? Maybe a movie?
cperrynaples 3 months ago
Bonus Question: which 2 MeTV stars WERE on TMMC? Hint: They played brothers on their future show!
Bapa1 cperrynaples 3 months ago
Don Grady and Tim Considine.
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