Years before he made his official debut on Leave It To Beaver, Jerry Mathers reportedly was saved by acting legend Bob Hope from dying in a fire while on the set of the 1955 film The Seven Little Foys.
MeTV reports that during a 2015 interview, Mathers spoke about what happened on the set. He stated that the film’s story followed Eddie Foy, an American Vaudevillian actor, whom Hope portrayed in the film. During one performance at the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago, a fire broke out. Foy attempted to calm the audience but ended up causing more issues in the process. The incident was later recreated for the 1955 film. However, the production used too much kerosene to light one of the set curtains.
Prior to the fire breaking out, Jerry Mathers said he was supposed to have a stuntman come up and take him off the catwalk. But the fire caused chaos on the set. “The actors and extras began running out the door,” Mathers recalled. He had made a cameo portraying one of Foy’s sons. “I was up on a scaffold behind the stage and the flames were getting close. Bob climbed a ladder to get me.”
According to IMDb, The Seven Little Foys follows the story of Eddie Foy after his wife passes away. He incorporated his seven children into his act and takes them on the road. Bob Hope starred in the film alongside Milly Vitale and George Tobias.
Jerry Mathers also worked with Bob Hope in the 1956 film That Certain Feeling.
Jerry Mathers Said Bob Hope Was Really Fun to Work With
In a separate interview, Jerry Mathers had nothing but praise for Bob Hope. He declared it was really fun to work with the acting icon.
“Actually I did The Seven Little Foys first and I had a very small part in that,” Mathers explained. “He liked me so much that in the next one in his next movie.”
Jerry Mathers noted in the next film with Hope that he had a larger part. “It’s a great movie. And he always made it fun. You know we’d sit there and do this same scene and he just made it so much fun as I say most people know him by seeing him on stage and he was just fun-loving and just a great person to work with.”
Hope went on to act until 1998 when he officially retired. He died in July 2003 at the age of 100.
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