Who Was the First Unambiguously Dumb Kid/Teen on TV?

The Dumb Kid is almost a trope nowadays: Luke Dunphy, Axl Heck, Jake Harper, Michael Kelso, etc.

But who was the first kid on TV that was unambiguously portrayed as downright dumb?

Mrs. Homie nominates Boner from Growing Pains. I proffered the Sweathogs, but disqualified them because, though they were ostensibly high school students, the actors portraying them were adult men.

Wasn’t one of the boys on My Three Sons pretty damn stoopid?

None of the boys on The Brady Bunch were portrayed as idjits, particularly.

Richie Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show wasn’t all that bright (and Larry Matthews was one of the worst child actors ever, which didn’t help).

Probably right at the birth of TV: 1948 Richard Crenna as Walter Denton in Our Miss Brooks

It’s gotta be one of the Little Rascals.

Walter Denton was a geek- now Stretch Snodgrass, he was a dummy!

Larry Mondello on** Leave It to Beaver** was a simple food monster, although it was the nature of LITB that sooner or later everyone of Beaver’s friends got the best of him, so maybe Larry wasn’t unambiguously dumb.

Although I believe Susan Olsen, who played Cindy, has called her character too stupid to live, or something to that effect.

I agree, but if the OP is excluding characters played by adults, Crenna was already in his 20’s when he played Walter Denton. (Ditto with Tom Lester as Eb in Green Acres.)

Maynard G. Krebs was a total doofus. The characters on “Dobie Gillis” we’re in high school when the show started in 1959. Bob Denver (Krebs) was 24.

I actually was going to suggest The Beav himself for this but then I did think of how Larry was even dumber. I actually think a pretty strong case can be made for Lumpy Rutherford being one of the first dumb teen characters played by an actual teen.

This covers everything I was going to suggest.

Actually I vote for Lumpy Rutherford on “Leave It To Beaver.”

His name is Clarence, squirt!

Timmy did fall down a lot wells.

Richard (played by Eddie Applegate) on The Patty Duke Show was a complete moron and also one of the least attractive teenage boyfriends in TV history.

I agree - I always wondered why, if Patty was such a popular girl, why she ended up stuck with that guy. (Not that a popular person couldn’t like someone who’s not handsome, but she obviously wasn’t that deep.)

Some 50 years later I still remember an episode where Patty had laryngitis and wrote on a series of placards answers to Richard’s questions. After about four answers

Richard “How do you know what I am going to ask?”
Patty’s placard “Because you are so predictable”
Richard (indignant) “I am not!”
Patty’s placard “Yes you are”

I think that you’ll find that they predated TV by a few decades.

Another coming to say Lumpy from LITB. A 1950’s Chumley.

How about “Dumb Old” Margaret Wade on Dennis the Menace?

She’s got “dumb” right there in her name, fercryinoutloud!


nm. double post.