My mother’s memories of Hugh Beaumont…
I marvel at all the Internet can accomplish. It has risen historical research to unbelievable heights and refreshed as well as restored memories to people today that past generations could not even have conceived possible. That’s how the wonder of it all struck me when I saw that a small, commercial film Jerry did about 55 years ago about Rose Hills Memorial Park had been retrieved and I could view it on this website.
It brought back memories of a pleasant summer morning when Jerry and I walked into the Jerry Fairbanks Studio in Hollywood to work in a small commercial film.
During the day, as there were break times in the filming, I became acquainted with the actor, Hugh Beaumont, who was playing the role of Jerry's father. He was a nice looking, very personable man and soon we began an interesting conversation about the state of things in Hollywood at the time.
To digress a bit - this was a time, that today seems to be forgotten, when television was just entering into the average home and families were wildly excited to get their entertainment right in their own living rooms. Prior to this phenomenon of TV they went frequently to a neighborhood theater to watch movies. This lack of audiences for movies was devastating to the film industry and resulted in the big studio lots being empty of production and millionaire movie moguls going bankrupt. Working actors were devastated as there just wasn't any work to be had.
Hugh lamented how bad things were for him as he had a wife and three children to support. He said he was thinking of getting out of acting and into some other line of work. Well, as providence would have it, I had something very interesting to tell him. I told him my son, Jerry, had done a pilot which had sold and was going into production very soon and that they were replacing the original father and holding auditions. I said, "It might be too late. They may have already cast someone but here's the information where the interviews are being held."
That night, when Jerry was saying his bedtime prayers, he ended with, "Please God make the actor I worked with today my father in the new series."
When Jerry walked into that very first day of rehearsals for Leave it to Beaver he was overjoyed to see his prayers were answered and Hugh Beaumont was cast as Ward Cleaver!
Here is the commercial…