View Full Version : History of the Cleaver's house at 211 Pine Street

Mark B.
07-31-2003, 01:10 PM
Here is a little something (OK, its no so little...) I posted over at the LITB board. I thought some here might find it intersting as well:

A brief history of the Cleaver’s house:

The first thing to remember when talking about ‘the Cleavers’ house’ is that there were actually 2 different houses occupied by Beaver and family during the course of the shows 1957-63 run. During the first two seasons of the show, the Cleavers lived at 485 Maple Drive in the fictional town of Mayfield. During seasons 3 through 6, their new home was at 211 Pine Street, still in Mayfield. In the years since the original show aired, the house at 211 Pine Street has become the one most identified with the show.

Both Cleaver homes existed as interior sets built on a sound stage and exterior facade sets on a studio backlot street. The Maple Drive house facade was part of a residential set street at the Republic Studios (now CBS Studio Center). Today the former Cleaver house is either gone or altered so much as to be unrecognizable.

The latter Cleaver home was and is of course at Universal City Studios in California.
The house and garage facades were constructed for the 1955 Humphrey Bogart movie ‘Desperate Hours’. This was actually a Paramount Pictures release, but it was not unusual for studios to rent each other’s backlots to suit their production needs. A one story bungalow-style house was moved to the end of the street to make room for the new facade. The house was referred to internally at Universal as the “Paramount House”.

In Desperate Hours, the house is largely the same as it would appear 4 years later on Beaver.

The house was changed little to get it ready for filming “Beaver”. A room extension on the garage side was removed as well as a few other small details.

After “Beaver” wrapped in 1963, the facade continued to play minor roles in countless movies and TV shows, usually as just another house in the background.

The house landed a starring role again in 1969 through 1976 in TV’s Marcus Welby M.D. This time the front appearance of the house was radically altered to become the home office of the title character.

In 1981, Universal relocated Colonial Street and a few other set streets to the West end of the back lot. The houses were reassembled in a different order on a new Colonial Street- one that had been re-designed to better accommodate the tour trams.

During the move, the original Cleaver’s garage ended up on ‘Industrial Street’- a row of smaller (mostly 1-story) houses. The garage sits next to one of two houses from the original Colonial Street that were re-located to the new Industrial Street in 1981

The Marcus Welby alterations to the house stayed intact until 1983 when it was restored to its LITB appearance for the production of “Still the Beaver”- the CBS television movie-of-the-week that continued the story of the Cleaver family in the 80s. The TV movie spawned a New Leave it to Beaver series that ran until 1989.

There were a few minor differences compared to the original Beaver. This time, the garage set was a simple two-sided facade and was located closer to the kitchen-side of the house. The familiar breezeway structure was still there, albeit shorter. The rear of the exterior set was never shot for the new series since there was a tram access road mere feet from the back of the house. Shots of the Cleavers on the back patio were only done on the interiors sets in a soundstage. The Cleaver’s house facade also now had the destination of housing the restrooms for Colonial Street. Ironic since on the original series, June always wanted a down stairs bathroom!

Shooting of the 1988-89 season of “The New Leave it to Beaver” was moved to Universal Studios Florida. The interior sets for the show were packed up and reassembled for shooting at their new home in Orlando, but the exterior house facade stayed behind.

In 1989, the Cleaver house facade was uprooted once again to make room for a new set for the movie “The Burbs”. In the movie, the street was named ‘Mayfield Place’ in honor of Colonial Street’s most famous house, even though that house was gone.

The Cleaver house facade ended up in a far corner of the Universal backlot at the end of a barely-paved road off the path of the tram tour. This is where the house sits today in a somewhat neglected state. In the past few years, a few other old facades have ended up in the same small area- including Wally's house from the New Beaver series. These sets are still available for use for film crews, but not longer as part of a grand residential street set.

If you take the tram tour today, your attention will be directed to the Leave it to Beaver House right in the middle of Colonial Street- this is however not the original house. It is the facade built for the 1996 production of the Leave it to Beaver Movie. While similar in style and bearing all the trademark features of the original house (3 dormer windows, garage, bay windows and brick walkway leading to the front door in the center of the house), make no mistake- this is NOT the original house from the TV series. For some reason, the tram tour guides do not make the distiction.