The family nickname of Theodore Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) on the sitcom LEAVE IT TO BEAVER/CBS/ABC/1957-63 and the sequel series STILL THE BEAVER/DIS/1983-85 and THE NEW LEAVE IT TO BEAVER/TBS/1986-89.


When Theodore was born, his brother, Wally (Tony Dow) tried to pronounce his new brother’s name but ended up mouthing “Tweeter” which sounded like “Beaver” to his parents, Ward (Hugh Beaumont) & June (Barbara Billingsley) and so began the saga of Beaver Cleaver and the jokes about his name. Beaver’s real name, Theodore was based on June’s Aunt Martha’s brother.

Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond), a wisecracking, insincere friend of teenager Wally Cleaver who called Beaver “Squirt” and “Creep” would greet him with taunts like “Hiya Beaver, you gnaw down any trees today?

Beaver’s brother Wally often said the phrase “Boy, Beave, are you gonna get it.”

During a 1995 episode of the sitcom ROSEANNE/ABC/1988-97 which gathered together many of the famous TV family mother characters, Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) sarcastically responded to June Cleaver’s (Barbara Billingsley) criticism of her parental skills by saying, “Yeah, well at least I didn’t name my kid, Beaver!”

Note: The nickname “Beaver” was inspired by the toothy smile of the Indian character “Little Beaver” in the western adventure serial RED RYDER/SYN/1956.

When series star Gerald “Jerry” Patrick Mathers (a.k.a. the “Beaver”) was in high school, he teamed up with former cast member Richard Correll (who played Richard Rickover) to form a rock and roll band. They called themselves “Beaver and the Trappers” and recorded the single “Happiness Is Havin'” (White Cliff Records). Jerry Mathers also recorded “Wind Up Toy” (Atlantic Records).

And TV rerun fanatics from the Huron High School intramural softball team in Michigan named themselves “The Almighty Beavers.” Their team motto was “We don’t care.”

In May 1982, when Hugh Beaumont died (the Beaver’s TV father), the team wore black armbands in mourning. (TV Guide 6/18/83).

The series title LEAVE IT TO BEAVER was probably inspired by a previous sitcom called LEAVE IT TO LARRY/CBS/1952 starring Eddie Albert.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Family Nicknames

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