Shambala photos with Tippi Hedren

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I was so happy to visit with Tippi Hedren at her beautiful Shambala preserve.  She and her staff are dedicated to allow the magnificent animals at Shambala to live out their lives with love and dignity. Each “Wild One” has the best human, nutritional, medical, emotional, and mental care possible. The great photos here were taken by Bill Dow.

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Shirley Temple photos – Santa Monica History Museum

Here are photos from the Love, Shirley Temple event I attended on June 3, 2015 at the Santa Monica History Museum. There were so many beautiful costumes from Shirley’s films.  Her mother actually had it written into her contracts that she was allowed to keep the clothes that she wore.  The red carpet photo includes from left to right Kate Linder, me, Margaret O’Brien, Steve Railsback, Gigi Perrault and Kevin Dobson.  There is also a photo of Shirley’s children, Susan Black-Falaschi and Charles Black Jr.  and a photo of actress Jane Withers holding a picture of her and Shirley together.

The event is scheduled through June 10th.

Happy Birthday Tony Dow!

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Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow

As most people know, Tony Dow was my big brother on Leave it to Beaver.  Ironically, he was really “the Beaver” in his real life family because he only had an older brother and he was the youngest.  I on the other hand was the eldest of my 4 siblings so I actually was the “Wally” in my real family.

How Tony Dow got the part on Leave it to Beaver

Tony was a phenomenal athlete and had trained to be a swimmer and diver from a very early age.  He received many accolades and awards through the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) including Junior Olympics diving champion.  Before Leave it to Beaver, he had hopes of someday competing in the Olympics.  Although I had been an actor since the age of 2 years old, Tony’s only acting job prior to Leave it to Beaver was in a pilot for a television series similar to Tarzan where he played the “Boy” character.  The show did not sell and Tony’s second foray into acting on television was in Leave it to Beaver.  He wasn’t in our original pilot which was called “It’s a Small World.”  The boy who played Wally grew about 5 inches between the time the pilot was filmed and we went into production of the series.  He was almost as tall as Hugh Beaumont so the producers decided to put out another casting call for a boy who was more height appropriate for that age.  Tony’s true life ability as an athlete was a perfect fit for Wally, he was cast for the part, and the rest is television history!

– Leave it to Beaver DVD’s, Jerry Mathers movies, and other favorite tv shows!  www.jerrymathers.com/dvds-and-more/

Barbara Billingsley – A Pearl of a Lady

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Barbara Billingsley was a good friend and an even better mentor.  For me she was like the favorite teacher that we all had in school.  I was lucky enough to work with her for six years and have a life-long relationship with her.  She was a very kind woman and a generous philanthropist who supported many charities always ready to give anyone in need a helping hand.  Barbara was even more sparkling and fun than June Cleaver.  Every once in a while she would get frustrated or upset and we always knew when that was because she would say, “Hell’s bells” and then put her hands over her mouth with her cutest “oops” look.  This was the only “curse word” that I ever heard her say.  And she always looked flustered and turned red when she realized that other people had heard her say that.  She would then apologize profusely.

Barbara was always eager to teach a rambunctious lad (i.e. Me) proper civility and manners.   An example of this was when I would rush ahead of her to see what was beyond the next door.  She would reach up and grab me by the very short hairs at the nape of my neck and pull me back very gently and say, “Jerry, ladies always go first.”  And, this is what she was—a truly regal lady.  I miss her very much.

Barbara Billingsley and the great tv moms!

Here is a tribute to some of the great TV moms!  Who are some of your favorites?

Remembering TV mothers

Lucille Ball played the role of Lucy Ricardo in “I Love Lucy.” (Special photo)

Lucille Ball played the role of Lucy Ricardo in “I Love Lucy.” (Special photo)

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Harriet Nelson of “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” (Special photo)

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Florence Henderson starred as Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch.” (Special photo)

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Elizabeth Montgomery portrayed Samantha Stephens on “Bewitched.” (Special photo)

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June Cleaver, portrayed by Barbara Billingsley, talks with her son, Beaver, played by Jerry Mathers in an episode of “Leave it to Beaver.” (Special photo)

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Alley Mills and Fred Savage played Norma and Kevin Arnold on “The Wonder Years.” (Special photo)

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From left are Mackenzie Phillips, Ann Romano and Valerie Bertinelli of “One Day At A Time.” (Special photo)

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Phylicia Rashad and Keshia Knight Pulliam starred as Claire and Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” (Special photo)

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Wendi McLendon-Covey’s Beverly Goldberg masters the art of “smothering” on “The Goldbergs.” (Special photo)

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The Ingalls family of “Little House on the Prairie,” was led by matriarch Caroline Ingalls, played by Karen Grassle. (Special photo)

Happy Mother’s Day to one and all; enjoy this very special day with your mom. Remember the good times and how she helped shape your life. If you are blessed to be able to spend this day with your mother, treat it as a special gift because that’s precisely what it is.

Lavish her with love and affection because the day will come when you wish you could.

Believe me, I know.

And, remember, the most important thing you can give her is your presence and not presents.

In addition to our biological mothers, there have been a lot of moms who entered our houses on a regular basis during the past six decades through the medium of television.

Some were kind, caring and loving.

Others were off the proverbial wall.

Here is a list of some of the best-known TV mothers who spent time with us on a weekly basis.

Hope you enjoy the trip down television’s memory lane with some of the medium’s most renowned mothers and their children.

The list starts with Gertrude Berg as Molly Goldberg, believed to be television’s first mother, in “The Goldbergs.” The show first aired in 1949 – a whopping 65 years ago. The list concludes with Wendy McLendon-Covey who plays Beverly Goldberg on “The Goldbergs,” the highly rated first-year series.

The list is in chronological order and includes shows from the major networks and excludes animated series.

Molly Goldberg (Gertrude Berg) – “The Goldbergs,” 1949-54. Child: Sammy (Larry Robinson).

Gracie Allen (herself) – “George Burns & Gracie Allen Show,” 1950-58. Child: Ronnie (himself).

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) – “I Love Lucy” 1951-57. Child: Little Ricky (Joseph A. Mayer and Michael Mayer).

Harriet Nelson (played herself) — “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet,” 1952-66. Children: David and Ricky (played themselves).

Margaret Anderson (Jane Wyatt) – “Father Knows Best” 1954-60. Children: Betty (Elinor Donahue), Bud (Billy Gray) and Kathy (Lauren Chapin).

June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) – “Leave it to Beaver” 1957-63. Children: Wally (Tony Dow) and Theodore “Beaver” (Jerry Mathers).

Donna Stone (Donna Reed) – “The Donna Reed Show” 1958-66. Children: Mary (Shelly Fabares), Jeff (Paul Petersen) and Trisha (Patty Petersen).

Laurie Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) – “Dick Van Dyke Show” 1961-66. Child: Richie (Larry Mathews),

Samantha Stevens (Elizabeth Montgomery) – “Bewitched” 1964-72. Child: Tabitha (Erin Murphy).

Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) – “The Brady Bunch” 1969-74. Children: Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb), Cindy (Susan Olsen), Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight) and Bobby (Mike Lookinland).

Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) – “The Partridge Family” 1970-74. Children: Keith (David Cassidy), Laurie (Susan Dey), Danny (Danny Bonaduce), Tracy (Suzanne Crough) and Chris (Brian Forster).

Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton) – “All in the Family” 1971-79. Child: Gloria (Sally Struthers).

Olivia Walton (Miss Michael Learned) – “The Waltons” 1971-81. Children: John-Boy (Richard Thomas and Robert Wightman), Jason (Jon Walmsley), Mary Ellen (Judy Norton), Ben (Eric Scott), Erin (Mary McDonough), Jim-Bob (David W. Harper) and Elizabeth (Kami Cotler).

Florida Evans (Esther Rolle) – “Good Times” 1974-79. Children: JJ (Jimmie Walker), Thelma (BernNadette Stanis) and Michael (Ralph Carter).

Marion Cunningham (Marion Ross) – “Happy Days” 1974-84. Children: Chuck (Gavan O’Herlihy), Richie (Ron Howard) and Joanie (Erin Moran).

Caroline Ingalls (Karen Grassle) – “Little House on the Prairie” 1974-83. Children: Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson), Laura (Melissa Gilbert) and Carrie (Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush).

Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin) – “One day at a Time” 1975-84. Children: Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) and Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli).

Kate Lawrence (Sada Thompson) – “Family” 1976-80. Children: Nancy (Meredith Baxter Birney), Willie (Gary Frank) and Buddy (Kristry McNichol).

Elyse Keaton (Meredith Baxter) – “Family Ties” 1982-89. Children: Alex (Michael J. Fox), Mallory (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer (Tina Yothers),

Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) – “The Cosby Show” 1984-92. Children: Sondra (Sabrina LeBeauf), Denise (Lisa Bonet), Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe) and Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam).

Angela Bower (Judith Light) – “Who’s the Boss?” 1984-92. Child: Jonathan (Danny Pintauro).

Maggie Malone Seaver (Joanna Kerns) – “Growing Pains” 1985-92. Children: Mike (Kirk Cameron), Carol (Tracey Gold), Ben (Jeremy Miller) and Chrissy (Ashley Johnson).

Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal) – “Married … With Children” 1987-97. Children: Kelly (Christina Applegate) and Bud (David Faustino).

Norma Arnold (Alley Mills) – “The Wonder Years” 1988-93. Children: Karen (Oliva d’Abo), Wayne (Jason Hervey) and Kevin (Fred Savage).

Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) – “Roseanne” 1988-97. Children: Becky, (Alicia Goranson), Darlene (Sara Gilbert), and D.J. (Michael Fishman).

Katharine Howser (Belinda Montgomery) – “Doogie Howser” M.D. 1989-93. Child: Doogie (Neil Patrick Harris).

Vivian Banks (Janet Hubert-Whitten and Daphne Maxwell Reid) – “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” 1990-96. Children: Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), Hillary (Karyn Parsons) and Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali).

Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson) – “Home Improvement” 1991-99. Children: Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan), Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and Mark (Taran Noah Smith).

Nora Walker (Sally Field) – “Brothers & Sisters” 2006-2011. Children: Kitty (Calista Flockhart), Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), Kevin (Matthew Rhys), Tommy (Balthazar Getty) and Justin (Dave Annable).

Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) — “Modern Family” 2009-present. Children: Alex (Ariel Winter), Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Luke (Nolan Gould).

Beverly Goldberg (Wendy McLendon-Covey) — “The Goldbergs” 2013-present. Children: Adam (Sean Giambrone), Barry (Troy Gentile) and Erica (Haley Orrantia).

Classic TV Weekend – The Cloister at Sea Island, GA

The Cloister – Sea Island, Georgia

Please join me and my friends Ed Asner (Mary Tyler Moore), Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island) and Bob Eubanks (The Newlywed Game) at The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia January 16-18 for their Classic TV Weekend.  You can read about the fun activities in the New York Times article below.  And, for additional information please check The Cloister website at: www.seaisland.com/activities/sea-island-events#Classic-TV-Weekend.  Hope to see you there!!!


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“Hello Again” video tribute to child actors

Here is a wonderful tribute by Bobby Hay to the child actors we grew up with, many who are my real life friends.  How many do you recognize?

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