On This Date in History:
TV Guide in it’s June 2004 issue named Ward Cleaver as the 28th greatest TV dad of all time. Everyone knows about Ward. We all know that Ward worked with Fred Rutherford, but did you know that Ward worked in the insurance business and that Fred was his boss? (Some say he was an accountant) Leave it Beaver was and is great. It is said that one can only judge the greatness of a book by its shelflife. At the time of its writing, Moby Dick barely sold at all for author Herman Mellville. I don’t think Billy Budd or anything else he wrote did well. He died in poverty. It was not until after Melville’s death that his writing skills were discovered and since, his has been considered a classic. It is still sold today…in other words, it has stood the test of time. If you apply that same line of thought to television, that means the Leave it to Beaver is indeed a classic of the genre.
Now, there are all sorts of jokes out there regarding Leave it to Beaver and there were all sorts of rumors. When jokes and rumors get spread, then you know you are an icon. I won’t touch the joke involving the title of this post nor the references to June’s ever present Pearl necklace, perhaps made infamous by ZZ Top. When I was a kid, the rumor was the Jerry Mathers (as the Beaver) was killed in Vietnam and that Eddie Haskell (played by Ken Osmond) was really Alice Cooper. Of course, I had also heard that Mr. Greenjeans from Captain Kangaroo was Alice Cooper so I didn’t know what to believe. Mathers was not killed in Vietnam and Osmond was a Los Angeles cop who was shot and wounded seriously, I believe in the late 1970′s or early 1980′s. I believe that ended his police career.
But, the perception of Ward as a super dad was actually probably pretty close to the truth. See, Ward was played by Hugh Beaumont. He had gained some fame in the early 1940′s as he got roles that may have gone to more famous leading men of the day except that they were off fighting World War II. Beaumont did not. He was a contientious objector. He went to college to the University of Chattanooga. He played football but quit when his position was changed. He left school but later attended USC where he got his Masters of Theology, which explains his contientious objector status. He was ordained as a Methodist minister but turned to acting instead. However, he was a lay minister for most of his life. Sounds like a good guy and he probably was because he was born in Kansas and I’ve never met anyone from Kansas that just wasn’t the nicest people in the world.
Hugh Beaumont died on this date in 1982. In 1972, he had a stroke and doctors said he wouldn’t walk or talk again. Leave to Ward though…he not only recovered but did so enough to perform in community theatres and do some directing. By that time he had retired to Minnesota to a Christmas Tree farm. Here’s what’s kinda interesting. See, Hugh had also done some educational and industrial films. I suppose that one was for the Army as training for what to do in the case of nuclear fallout. During the Cold War, there were all sorts of training and public service films out to show how one can protect themselves in the event of a nuclear exchange. Some of you old timers may remember Burt the Turtle who knew how to protect his head and also “duck and cover” drills at school. Of course, this was all nonsense because by the 1970′s, it was finally figured out that there was no real way to protect yourself in the event that a nuclear device is detonated in your area.
That gave rise to a documentary on the subject called The Atomic Cafe. I saw this film and its pretty funny because of all of the silly ideas that it had hoisted on the public. In one scene, you see an army officer explaining that one can avoid the dangers of nuclear detonation if you follow procedures. The officer was none other than Hugh Beaumont. He’s not listed in the credits and the clip seems like it was from an old army training film. I doubt if Ward knew about it though because it was released first in New York in March 1982 and later in Finland in October 1982. These dates are just before and after his death in Munich, Germany where he was visiting his university professor son.
There you have it…all you never wanted to know about Ward Cleaver…who was a good guy, probably influential on many people and was no doubt, never hard on the Beaver.
Weather Bottom Line: We had some rumbles of thunder early Wednesday but most of the activity was well north and most of the heaviest rain was in the northern part of the area. That was the warm front. Now comes the cold front. Wednesday night, the storms were pretty vigorous to our west prompting warnings and such. But, by the time they get here early Thursday, they should generally be just a line of t’storms. However, as I mentioned yesterday, a few strong storms with gusty winds can’t be ruled out. The upper support should be well north but there may be some forcing with winds coming in from the southeast bumping into winds from the southwest. When they bump together, you can get rising air and that may help in t’storm maintanence. Then you also have the potential for storms collapsing and big gusts of wind resulting.
The front is kinda pokey and doesn’t move through until Thurday afternoon so we could have some afternoon showers popping up. As with many pokey fronts, this one doesn’t get too far and it should stall out just to our south. That would be a region susceptable to scattered showers or storms but probably not a washout. Now, this guy may return as a warm front on Friday night which would perhaps support some more activity. But the real stuff comes on Saturday afternoon as a cold front moves through providing a chance for more t’storm activity and, given the time of day, if the atmosphere has time to reload, could be worthy of some interest. After this front, we finally get out of this pattern for a few days with seasonal temperatures, dry conditions and a fair amount of sunshine beginning Sunday afternoon through midweek.