Classic TV legend Jerry Mathers, who played Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver on "Leave It to Beaver," will speak at the El Dorado Conference Center at 7 p.m. on Nov. 21, part of the eighth annual South Arkansas Community College Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public.
"The Golden Age of Television and Media Trends Today" will include behind-the-scenes stories about "Leave It to Beaver" and other projects as well as Mathers' thoughts on current trends in TV.
Born in 1948, Mathers began his show-business career at the age of 2 in a PET Condensed Milk commercial on "The Colgate Comedy Hour." He continued in minor roles as a child actor throughout the dawn of television and made his movie debut in 1954 in "This Is My Love." He went on to co-star in Alfred Hitchock's "The Trouble With Harry" and "The Seven Little Foys" with Bob Hope, among several other film roles throughout the mid 1950s. Mathers reached a higher level of stardom upon being cast as the Beaver in 1957.
"Leave It to Beaver" is one of the most beloved TV series of all time and often is used as a perfect example of 1950s Americana. Even though its original broadcast run ended in 1963, the half-hour comedy hardly ever has been off of the small screen since; on its 50th anniversary it was noted as the longest-running scripted show in TV history. It also crosses cultural lines well enough that it has been shown in more than 80 countries and translated into 40 languages.
Nostalgia for the era led to a revival with "The New Leave It to Beaver" in 1984, featuring Mathers and most of the original cast. The series aired until 1989. Mathers directed some episodes. "Leave It to Beaver" charted on Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-Time"; Mathers himself was named as one of the most well-known individuals in TV history by People magazine.
In addition to speaking dates, Mathers still does some acting, including TV, film and stage roles. In 2007 he debuted on Broadway in "Hairspray," portraying Wilbur Turnblad.
A type-2 diabetic, Mathers often is a spokesperson for diabetes awareness, even addressing the U.S. Congress on the topic. Mathers' talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
For additional information about the Lecture Series, call (870) 864-7156.