One of the first television situation comedies written from a child’s perspective, the 1950s series Leave It To Beaver was a hit when it aired and it remains popular.
In addition to its beloved status in the U.S., it’s also been a steady performer in the ratings overseas, where it’s known in one country as The Happy Boy and His Family.
‘Leave It To Beaver’ represented America to its writers
The writers of Leave It To Beaver wanted the show to accurately present the average American family.
“[Writers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher] were very aware that Leave It to Beaver was one of the first shows about an American family and, especially, from a child’s point of view, to go around the world,” Mathers told the Archive of American Television in 2006.
“Some of the shows that were family shows showed the United States but they didn’t have worldwide recognition,” he continued. “And so [the writers] were very, very conscious of presenting the United States in a very good light.
“Leave It to Beaver has played, and still plays, in 91 different languages in like 127 countries.”
One country refuses to broadcast the series
It might surprise Leave It To Beaver fans to know that, as of Mathers’ 2006 interview, the one nation that wasn’t keen on airing the show was an English-speaking country.
And it’s also where the Beaver actor says he can remain relatively anonymous.
“One of the kind of interesting things, and it’s not that it really bothers me, is that sometimes when you’re eating, someone will come up to you,” he said. “It’s not really annoying, but it can get old after a while.
“If I want to go someplace and be totally unrecognizable, and know that no one will know that I was ever an actor, I can go to England,” he said. “Leave It to Beaver, although it plays in Farsi, Swahili, and Japanese, for some reason, the BBC would never show Leave It to Beaver.
“Of course, as soon as the English didn’t show it, it showed on Irish TV.”
‘The Happy Boy and His Family’
So what’s the country that basically renamed Leave It To Beaver as The Happy Boy and His Family? It’s Japan.
“In Japan, they have a little girl do my voice,” he said. “Which is fine for like the first three or four years. But at the end of it, I’m not only speaking Japanese but I have a little girl’s voice.”
Mathers told The New York Times in 2007 that “in Japan the show is called ‘The Happy Boy and His Family.’ So I’ll be walking through the airport in Japan, and people will come up and say, ‘Hi, happy boy!’”
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