Monday, December 22, 2008


Too often "Inner Toob" is marking the passing of somebody who enriched the TV Universe, either behind the scenes or in creating characters to populate Toobworld. (I've got about five waiting to be honored, as a matter of fact, but it's just so depressing.)

So when presented with the opportunity to celebrate someone's life while they're still alive, I'm going to take it!

And so it is that Today's Tiddlywinkydink is a salute to Barbara Billingsley, who is most famous in Toobworld for playing June Bronson Cleaver, the mother of Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver, on 'Leave It To Beaver'. Today is her birthday.

She's guaranteed membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame one day, thanks to the "Beaver" franchise. Besides the original series, there was the TV reunion movie "Still The Beaver" and the sequel series, also called 'Still The Beaver'.

Earlier this year, I saw her in an episode of 1955's 'The Lone Wolf'; and although I figured she was indelibly stamped in my mind as June Cleaver, she quickly established this new character (who just might have been June's evil twin!)

Ms. Billingsley had a movie career as well, which included a cameo in the theatrical remake of 'Leave It To Beaver' in which she portrayed the legendary Aunt Martha. That's the type of casting that brings good karma to cinematic remakes of TV shows.

And I'm going to hazard a guess that her cameo in 1980's "Airplane!" has to be her most famous movie role.

Attendant: Can I get you something?

Jiveman #2: S'mo fo butter layin' to the bone. Jackin' me up. Tightly.
Attendant: I'm sorry I don't understand.
Jiveman #1: Cutty say he cant hang.
Woman (Barbara Billingsley) : Oh stewardess, I speak jive.
Attendant: Ohhhh, good.
Woman : He said that he's in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.
Attendant: Would you tell him to just relax and I'll be back as soon as I can with some medicine.
Woman : Jus' hang loose, blooood. She gonna catch up on the`rebound wi de medcide.
Jiveman #2: What it is big mamma, my mamma didn't raise no dummy, I dug her rap.
Woman : Cut me som' slac' jak! Chump don wan no help, chump don git no help. Jive ass dude don got no brains anyhow.

Here's the link to a six-part interview with Barbara Billingsley from the Archive of American Television Interviews. The woman is just a delight!

Happy birthday, Barbara Billingsley, from all of us at Toobworld Central!

Toby O'B

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