Monday, June 15, 2009
When I was younger -- meaning when "Leave It to Beaver" was still on network TV -- I thought its town of Mayfield was in Ohio. (I was in Virginia.) Maybe I had heard of Mayfield, Ohio, somewhere. And when there was talk about State University, it has made me think of Ohio State. In fact, Mayfield wasn't supposed to be in a specific state. But there is considerable thought nonetheless that it's the one in Ohio. More after the jump.... . In his 1998 memoir "And Jerry Mathers as 'The Beaver,' " Mather says, "Mayfield is anywhere, USA. ...
Actually, there are twenty-seven Mayfields across the country," the book continues. "Some people think it's Akron, Ohio, because there's a Mayfield near Akron. But at different times Mayfield is described as being only twenty miles from the ocean. Others think it is somewhere in California, but the characters travel to California. We even altered the mileage signs at the bus station when Beaver goes on a trip, so viewers wouldn't be able to go their atlas and pinpoint a town.
But viewers are more dogged than that.
On the fan site Leaveittobeaver.org, the following is part of the discussion of Mayfield's location:
The show makes numerous mentions to neighboring cities and communities, and even street names, that would correspond with the Mayfield located in Ohio. Ohio is always the most popular speculation.
In one of the episodes Wally takes the Beaver to the new amusement park with his friends, to ride on The Giant Dipper. The Giant Dipper is located in Santa Cruz but it is also in San Diego and in Chippewa Lake, Ohio. It is obvious that the contradictions are done on purpose. If they live in Mayfield, Ohio it would have taken Wally 1 hour and 13 minutes to drive to Chippewa Lake, That isn't far but for a teen taking his little brother to a park it would probably be out of the question.
One fan writes to me: It was not California because the people who owned the Haunted house in "Mistaken Identity" moved to California. They are not from Indiana because the new student (young blond girl) that Wally had a crush on, that Mrs. Cleaver invited on the picnic to Friends Lake was from Indianapolis Indiana or "one of those states." This seemed to eliminate Ohio, though the checkbook evidence seems quite positive proof. Illinois Ohio, Indiana seem to be one of those states.
Another fan ... states: 'I live in Cleveland and the references made in the episodes can't be any where else. Grant Avenue, Mayfield, and all the other bits of information indicate Mayfield Ohio. We do have a Mayfield Ohio. '
Finally, closely inspecting the prop checks used in the 1997 Leave It To Beaver movie shows an Ohio address of "211 Pine Street, Mayfield, Ohio."
The reality may be less glamour and more practical. Looking at the occasional exterior shots on Leave It To Beaver, Mayfield’s neighborhood looks pretty like the Pacific area, right around the region where Leave It To Beaver was filmed in Hollywood, California.
I boldfaced the one section, since it is the strongest evidence for Mayfield, OH. The fan site also offers other info, both for and against Mayfield being in Ohio. I still lean toward the Beav being a Buckeye, although Mathers offers this description of the TV Mayfield:
"It's always spring or fall, and it never snows. It's usually sunny, unless the plot calls for rain. It's expensive to make rain, you have to set up rain machines and hire a special effects man."
And a Mayfield where it rarely rains cannot be in NE Ohio.