Lew Burdette’s Home Run

lew burdette autograph 213x300 Lew Burdettes Home Run

Ah, the good old days of television, back before the advent of the VCR. You could get away with a lot more in the 1950s than you can now. These days, every frame of a program can be easily analyzed by anyone with a DVR or a DVD player. Mistakes are quickly spotted, and goofs are logged in multiple places on the internet within microseconds of their airing.

Before the VCR made this careful and often tedious examination of every program possible, TV shows rarely had to worry about the little details of production. A program would air once, maybe twice with a summer rerun, and then vanish for all eternity, or at least until syndication picked it up a few years later. You didn’t have to sweat the small errors, like a water glass being half full one minute and completely full the next. The entire scene lasted three seconds, and no one was looking at the glass anyway.

Back then you could also get away with showing this wonderful gem of a letter from Leave It to Beaver. While it was displayed on camera, no one had the time to read it, and no one could have made out the words on their 12-inch screen anyway. The prop crew had no need to make the letter authentic. It simply had to look like a letter, which required text. Let’s read what important missive Beaver’s school sent home to his father.

 Lew Burdettes Home Run“My dear Mr. Cleaver,

This paragraph has absolutely nothing to do with anything. It is here only to fill in space. Still, it is words, rather than repeated letters, since the letters might not give the proper appearance, namely, that of an actual note.

For that matter, all of this is nonsense, and the only part of this that is to be read is the last paragraph, which part is the inspired creation of the producers of this very fine series.

Another paragraph of stuff. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. My typing is lousy, but the typewriter isn’t so hot either. After all, why should I take the blame for there[sic] mechanical imperfections, with which all of us must contend. Lew Burdette just hit a home run and Milwaukee leads seven to one in the series. This is the last line of the filler material of the note. No, my mistake, that was only next to last. This is last.

I hope you find a suitable explanation for Theodore’s abnormal conduct.

Yours Truly,

Cornelia Rayburn”

I especially love the ending to paragraph three, and I appreciate the quick update on the baseball game. Congratulations, Lew. I also like the sarcasm of the second paragraph. I picture some sweaty guy in the prop department being told to write this and him sitting down to pound away at the typewriter with one finger, all the time cursing his lot in life and wishing that he were working on the production staff of Ozzie and Harriet instead. This is my last paragraph.

No, wait, sorry, that was only the next to last. This is the last.

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