There’s Leave It to Beaver and everything else. Ward Cleaver is a showcase of quiet reserve, uncommon decency, and dispensed wisdom in every show. Whatever problem it was Dad had an answer. He could spell it out so plainly. A talk in his study and it was done. Girls, peer pressure, right and wrong, complex issues were gone in 20 minutes. Like magic. To Ward, it wasn’t a laughing matter. It meant something. Hugh seized on actually caring or at least the illusion. However easy it seemed, his conviction sold it and generations remembered.
A product of Lawrence Kansas, Beaumont went to the University of Chattanooga excelling in football. After he attended the University of Southern California leaving with a degree in Theology. A conscientious observer and medic during WWII, Hugh was a lay minister in the Methodist Church. Dabbling in entertainment even before the war, Hugh performed in nightclubs, theater, radio, and in the 40s moved to films. Right to the Heart (1942), Unseen Enemy (1942), Young America (1942), Canal Zone (1942), Wake Island (1942), Northwest Rangers (1942), Flight for Freedom (1943), He Hired the Boss (1943), Bombadier (1943), Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event (1943), The Fallen Sparrow (1943), The Seventh Victim (1943), There’s Something About a Soldier (1943), The Racket Man (1944), The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944), Song of the Open Road (1944), Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944), The Seventh Cross (1944), I Love a Soldier (1944), Strange Affair (1944), They Live in Fear (1944), Practically Yours (1944), Objective Burma! (1945), Blood on the Sun (1945), Counter-Attack (1945), The Lady Confesses (1945), You Came Along (1945), Apology for Murder (1945), Murder Is My Business (1946), Johnny Comes Flying Home (1946), The Blue Dahlia (1946), Larceny in Her Heart (1946), Blond for a Day (1946).
By now he took off. The Guilt of Janet Ames (1946), Three on a Ticket (1947), Too Many Winners (1947), Railroaded! (1947), Bury Me Dead (1947), Reaching from Heaven (1948), Money Madness (1948), The Counterfeiters (1948), Tokyo Joe (1949), Second Chance (1950), The Flying Missile (1950), The Last Outpost (1951), Danger Zone (1951), Roaring City (1951), Pier 23 (1951), Lost Continent (1951), Overland Telegraph (1951), Wild Stallion (1952), Night Without Sleep (1952), The Member of the Wedding (1952), Hell’s Horizon (1955), The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956), The Mole People (1956), Night Passage (1957), The Human Duplicators (1965). And of course his television work. The Lone Ranger, Adventures of Superman, The Loretta Young Show, Fireside Theatre, Four Star Playhouse, The Lineup, Studio 57, Cavalcade of America, Medic, Crossroads, Science Fiction Theatre, The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, Climax!, Lassie, Tales of Wells Fargo, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Petticoat Junction, Mannix, Medical Center, Marcus Welby M.D., The Most Deadly Game.
Preferring to grow Christmas Trees in Minnesota, he retired when he suffered a stroke in 1972. Leave It to Beaver is his largest legacy though he lives on in his body of work. Three movies on MST. Lost Continent, The Mole People, The Human Duplicators. Angry or happy, he’s a sight for sore eyes. A familiar face. And so ripe for the riffing. And the skits. Oh those skits. Mike Nelson as One Of The Four Horsemen. The door bell, the floating home. Father Knows Best or All In The Family?