Beaver learns about divorce when a camp friend stays over in ‘Leave It To Beaver’

The 1960s family sitcom Leave It To Beaver tackles the subject of divorce through a camp friend Beaver has stay over in the “Beaver’s House Guest” episode (Season 4, Episode 2).

The episode opens after Beaver has returned from Camp König. After explaining that he’s put on weight because his new friend’s mom sent treats hidden in books to camp, Beaver asks his parents if this friend, Dryden “Chopper” Cooper, can stay over. When Chopper comes over, they quickly learn that all is not well when a guy Chopper calls Uncle Dave drops him off. He’s the guy that’s trying to marry his mom, Chopper explains to Beaver. Chopper then gives out gifts to Beaver’s parents from each parents. Chopper comes from money, but as is repeatedly reinforced throughout the episode isn’t from a loving home. More than once he asks Wally if he’s a real brother (Chopper only has step and ex-step siblings) and nearly every encounter is another opportunity to show how sad and lonely Chopper’s life is back home.

Given the frequent topic of conversation between the two camp friends, Beaver starts to ask his parents a lot of questions and worry that they too might end up getting divorced.

“I like Chopper gee but he’s sort of an awful grown up kid,” Beaver says after Chopper cuts his visit short because his mom has “the weepies.”

Barry Gordon guest starred in the episode as Chopper. He later went on to serve as president of the Screen Actors Guild and got heavily into Democratic politics, hosting talk radio shows.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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