Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

A Gifted, Conniving CreepPeople under the age of 65 have no business reading any further. They won’t understand, and I didn’t take a bunch of ignorant whippersnappers to raise. Away with them.

There. Now that the room is clear of the clueless, let us pause for a moment of silence in fond memory of Ken Osmond of Los Angeles, Calif., who left this mortal coil, age 76, two years ago this month.

(At this point, some Baby Boomers may be scratching their heads and saying, “Huh? Who th’hell is Ken Osmond? Is Venable off his meds again?” Rest assured I am not. Read on.)

Long ago, Ken Osmond was an actor, a well-known and famous TV star. You’ll know immediately who I’m talking about when I give you his stage name.

Eddie Haskell.

Yes, that Eddie Haskell, the sneering teenager, champion prankster and smarmy brown-noser supreme from the 1950s sitcom, “Leave It to Beaver.”

I can imagine what transpired when he showed up at that big principal’s office in the sky and started laying it on thick with Saint Peter: “Gee, Mister Peter, that certainly is an attractive gown and halo you’re wearing today. If Wallace and young Theodore were here, I’d be delighted to show them what a regal bearing you present.”

Decades before Bart Simpson became TV’s perennial bad boy, Osmond’s Eddie Haskell was making millions of kids howl in laughter and an equal number of parents rage in disgust. Here was a role created in scriptwriting heaven. I can’t imagine anyone else with such a gift for con artistry.

In retrospect, Eddie’s schtick as a “creep” seems totally believable. Through the lens of 2022, he was the only honest-to-gosh, real person in the Norman Rockwell world of Beaver Cleaver. Everybody else was fake.

Th’Beave, in his high-water jeans and baseball cap, was the angelic kid, an innocent waif imbued with childlike wonder.

His perfectly coiffed mother wore pearls and a dress while pouring breakfast coffee for his business-suited father, buried behind his newspaper before driving to the office.

Brother Wally was the quintessential Big Man on Campus: handsome, athletic, courteous, never a hair out of place or a venal thought in his mind.

(I hated Wally’s guts because my real-life parents held him aloft as the ideal older brother, a role model Little Sam should emulate instead of tormenting his two younger siblings on a daily basis. Yeah, right. Barf.)

Funny how life turns out. Remember that ominous threat—“Young man, this is going on your permanent record!”—we often heard from teachers Way Back When? That’s precisely what happened to Ken Osmond.

He got typecast as Eddie Haskell, making it difficult to land other acting roles. He wound up becoming a cop in Los Angeles. And from all I’ve read, he was an excellent officer.

Well, duh. You think any punk could out-B.S. the guy who wrote the book?

Sam Venable is an author, comedic entertainer, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN)
News Sentinel.
His latest book is
“The Joke’s on YOU! (All I Did Was Clean Out My Files).” He may be reached at