Tony Dow's fan mail from the '60s proves he was the ultimate heartthrob
Dow would receive thousands of fan letters per week while on Leave It to Beaver. Over half of them were from hopeful teenage bachelorettes.
The '60s had its fair share of heartthrobs for tweens, teens and adults alike to all swoon over. Whether it was Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson or Frankie Avalon... there were many faces for fans to fawn over.
However, Tony Dow deserves a spot at the top of the list. Dow may not have initially come to mind, but the Leave It to Beaver star was one of the biggest heartthrobs of his time.
By most teen standards, he was an unusual idol for many to swoon over. He didn't sing, he didn't dance, his sense of style was basic and he was a pretty ordinary guy compared to other top teen idols of the decade.
Dow played the role of Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver for its entire six seasons. Dow beat out around 270 other hopeful teens who originally auditioned for the part of Beaver's older brother. Leave it to Tony Dow to get the part.
Leave It to Beaver had already been on air for two seasons when Dow's success with women exploded in the form of fan mail and offers to prom. Teenage girls around the world decided Dow was worthy of being their idol.
Dow would receive over thousands of fan mail from young women all around the world each week. He was even popular in Japan during the early '60s.
In a 1962 interview with The Bristol Daily Courier, Dow said about 100 of the fan letters would be from boys his age, and the other 900 to 1,000 letters would be from hopeful girls.
"It's really rough answering some of them," Dow said. "The idea of going steady kind of appeals to me. But 2,000 miles is a long way to go just for a soda. But I try to answer them as nicely as possible."
In the interview, Dow said he begged Leave It to Beaver producers, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, to play down any romantic situations on the show, in hopes that he could slow down all the real romantic situations created by fans.
"We try to slow down the romance angle for Tony whenever possible," Mosher said. "But it's pretty hard to keep it out of the show altogether when letters, all in delicate feminine handwriting, roll in by the stacks."
According to the thousands of pieces of fan mail addressed to Dow, he was the best teen idol to ever live... in the '60s.