Moving from Saturdays to Thursdays for its sixth and final season, Leave It to Beaver acknowledges the fact that both Beaver Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) and his brother Wally (Tony Dow) are now teenagers by reorchestrating the series' familiar theme music in emulation of a rock & roll beat. Also, whereas Wally was previously the only sports hero in the family, now Beaver is old enough to win a football award, and to score a winning touchdown -- though he's still not mature enough to handle the responsibilities of athletic fame and adulation. Additionally, for the first time in the series, Beav and Wally go on a double date with two attractive sisters -- and later on, Beav and not Wally gets in trouble for scheduling two dates on the same night! Too, Wally's hormones have kicked in to the extent that he seriously considers growing a moustache to impress his steady.
Yes, six years have definitely gone by since Leave It to Beaver's first season. Episode highlights this year include "Eddie the Businessman," in which that unregenerate creep Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond) unwittingly becomes accessory to a robbery scheme, and the thematically similar "Beaver the Caddy," in which The Beav must choose between telling a lie and getting a big tip on the links; "Tell It to Ella," wherein Beaver's complaint to a newspaper advice columnist about unfair parents backfires big-time (watch for a young Tim Matheson in this episode); and "Wally and the Fraternity," in which Wally's plan to pledge to his father Ward's (Hugh Beaumont) old fraternity may be scuttled by the words of a disgruntled ex-pledge. One of the season's best offerings showcases Doris Packer in the role of Beaver's eighth-grade teacher Miss Rayburn; in "Beaver's Book Report," Beav attempts to summarize The Three Musketeers based on the 1939 film version starring the Ritz Brothers. The series' 234th and final episode is also the only "cheater" in Leave It to Beaver's history: "Family Album" is a retrospective of clips from classic earlier episodes, including the series' very first offering, 1957's "Beaver Gets 'Spelled." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi