Monday, April 3, 2017

Mickey Mantel and June Cleaver

Growing up I always watched “Leave it to Beaver”. My favorite character “June”.  She always looked so feminine, cute, put together and the beautiful dresses and high heels. The all American housewife and mother. If there were one show that captured the idea of the typical suburban family of the mid 20th century the best, it was "Leave it to Beaver." 

Growing up in the 50's If I had to choose one person that I want to be, it was Mickey Mantel. However June Cleaver was my number two choice.  I was terrible at baseball and my friends would tease "You throw like a girl and you can't catch." So as time went on, I figured out I was not going to be a major league baseball player.  So my next choice, Mrs. Cleaver. 

As Eddie Haskell put it in one episode "That's a lovely dress you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver."

I found this on the site, National Woman’s History Museum. Enjoy. 

Barbara Billingsley had a deep hollow in her neck, which caused an unpleasant shadow to appear across her neck when filmed on the unsophisticated (compared to today’s technology) film and cameras of early television.  It is similar to the problem the Leave It to Beaver crew had when trying to film outdoor scenes, as the sun reflected too strongly off dry pavement and caused glares on film.  When watching the show, you can frequently see wet pavement whenever there are outdoor shots, as the darker wet ground provided better contrast on screen.  Like wetting the pavement, Billingsley’s neck had to be covered up in order to prevent the shadow.  June does not wear pearls in every scene of every episode, though – sometimes she is seen wearing shirts that cover the hollow of her neck, scarves, and other types of necklaces.  Eventually pearls became her trademark in part because the clean, bright look of them translated well to film.  As the seasons went on, June also took to wearing high heels, which she did not often do in the beginning of the show.  As Billingsley explained, she wore flats when the show started, but as the boys grew as they aged over six seasons, she had to wear heels in order to look taller than them.  June was, after all, still the parent and the producers wanted her to appear that way on screen.  Billingsley also cleared up further rumors about June’s wardrobe, which many viewers believed looked quite expensive.  In fact, according to Billingsley, her wardrobe came from Penney’s (now known as JCPenney) a lot of the time and some of it was also bought wholesale.  Apparently, the most expensive items of clothing June owned were sweaters. 


  1. very interesting historical info Rhonda..

  2. Ditto on both. Mickey Mantle was my hero and I would love to watch June on Leave it to Beaver. A close runnerup was Donna Reed.

  3. Rhonda -Where did you get that red dressing last weeks post . I love it
    & want it.


    1. Ralph Lauren Jersey Knit - I think I got it at Macy's.

  4. June Cleaver, and Donna Reed my 2 favorites and the type of style I now try to simulate as a 66 year old as a male to female transitioner, those 2 were real ladies, wonderful examples of well put together women.