Gus the Fireman (Burt Mustin) Happy Birthday!

What many people don’t know is that Gus (Burton Mustin) began his professional acting career at the age of 67 after director William Wyler cast him in the 1951 film Detective Story.  And, did you know he also had a degree in Engineering?  Burt played Gus the Fireman on our show Leave it to Beaver and he was one of our favorite supporting characters.

Known for his dependability and versatility, Burt was a well-known character actor and worked extensively in film and television from the 1950s to the 1970s.

In 1957, he made his first appearance as “Gus the Fireman” on Leave It to Beaver.  He continued in the role until 1962 making a total of 15 appearances on the show. In 1960, he made his first guest appearance on The Andy Griffith Show as Jud Fletcher.   Burt appeared in the role until 1966. He also portrayed “Old Uncle Joe” on two episodes of The Lucy Show in 1967. The following year, Mustin guest starred as “Grandpa Jenson” on Petticoat Junction in three episodes.

During the 1970s, Burt continued with guest roles on Love, American StyleAdam-12, and Emergency!.  Known for his quick wit and song-and-dance abilities, Mustin was a frequent closing act on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson during the 1970s. From 1971 to 1976, he had a recurring role as “Justin Quigley” in five episodes of All in the Family

Burt was a very kind man and I enjoyed working with him very much.  On January 28, 1977, he died in Glendale, California at the age of 94.

45 Responses to Gus the Fireman (Burt Mustin) Happy Birthday!

  • Jeff Barna says:

    It’s always good to hear that someone you thought was probably nice…really was! Thanks for the memories, Jerry. Enjoy sunny Californ-i-a. We’re digging out here in the northeast!

  • Joe Pesetski says:

    Burt Mustin also appeared in the 1960′s version of Dragnet, playing several different roles.
    The last time I

  • Diana Ross says:

    Wow! What a treasure it must have been, for you to have known and worked with him:) I’ll bet he made a huge impression on you, at such a young age, and we don’t realize how blessed we are to meet angels like that until later in life:) I really enjoyed watching all the episodes of Gus the Fireman on Beaver!

  • Diane Morgan says:

    wow that’s amazing that he would be that old! I love all your posts Jerry, I love watching the shows. Great memories from my childhood. Thank you…….
    diane

  • Joe Pesetski says:

    Burt Mustin also appeared in the 1960′s version of Dragnet, playing several different roles.
    The last time I saw him was on an episode of Phyllis.

  • Kellard Walker says:

    Jerry, if I did not feel up in my years before I read this article, I certainly do now.It seems as though it was just yesterday. You take care, Kelly

  • Dan Brown says:

    Thanks Jerry. I have always enjoyed seeing Burt Mustin on television. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy playing the multiple characters he portrayed throughout the years. Thank you for letting all of us know that he really was a kind person. I have no doubt that he enjoyed working with you also.

  • Ed Gamble says:

    Gus was just another warm character in a show filled with warm characters. When they produced Leave it to Beaver they threw away the mold. Thanks for the memories.

  • Ken says:

    Great memories and thanks for the info Jerry. I just watched “The Trouble with Harry” yesterday for the first time (!). You were so little-do you rember much about shooting the movie?

  • Brian E. says:

    I saw Gus on many of his TV episodes. Along with enjoying Gus the fireman, I also enjoyed his character on Dragnet as a retired police chief helping Friday & Gannon solve a case when they thought he was a suspect.
    Hope all is well with you Beav.

    Brian

  • Rich Tyner says:

    I seem to recall that on one of your last LITB episodes you went to the fire station to visit Gus. A nostalgic moment when you visited with him as a teenager and reminisced about old times when you were a younger child! What a fabulous wholesome show! Thanks for sharing about Gus (Burt)!

  • Denyse M Robinon says:

    Thank you for sharing about Gus. Your relationship on the screen was very sweet and special. It is interesting that he started performing later in life. Encourages those who dreams have yet been fulfilled. Jerry, I do not think I watched LITB much when I was young but I do enjoy it now and I, too, am a baby boomer.

  • Tom says:

    I think I saw him on The Outer Limits (1963). He escaped a house where people did not age until they stepped out of a gate. The people were held captive by a monster made out of jelly.

  • Corrina says:

    Really! Thanks for sharing this information! My Dad (who doesn’t have internet) would be interested in Burton. I thought I had seen him on Andy Griffith! :)

  • Larry, Linda and Angela Fischer says:

    Thank Jerry for the Gus info it was very intersting and inforative I liked how you told the whole story about Gus his background and how old he was when he passed away. Thank you vey much!!

  • Bob Black says:

    Burt sounds like he was a very nice man. I really liked his character… I also remember seeing him on an episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show.

  • Terry Kelly says:

    This was a great read! I always loved Burt in Gus the Firemans role. A real friend to the Beaver and his buddies growing up. So nice to know he was good a guy in real life as he was in that role. Thanks so much Jerry, you and cast of ” Leave it to Beaver” became our friends, and lived the childhood we all wanted. Mine was very different of course. ( I never had a Dad for instance) But we could always escape to your world for that 30 minute visit. I still do when ever I can!

  • Ella dee says:

    Thank you for the post, and for taking time for you fans. For only 15 episodes he’s remembered as major part of the show. ,I am enjoying Leave it to Beaver on Ch 5.2 in Los Angeles. On Friday Feb 15,8a and 830a season 6 Episode 39 and season 1 Episode 1 will be shown…I really like watching the Episodes in order.

  • Richard Bennett says:

    I loved Gus the fireman. My favorite episode in which he appears was the one where Beaver and Wally worked at a circus, were paid with a horse instead of money, the horse got sick and Gus went to the Cleavers’ to figure out what was wrong with the horse.

    Also, 131 lit candles on a birthday cake could cause a fire…..

  • Kathy says:

    I loved Burt – it was nice to see that a kid could have an older person as a friend and confidant. I just loved this show. Thanks Jerry

  • Leonidas says:

    I specifically recall this old guy on Johnny Carson I quote… “When I was a little boy in the nineties” then Carson lipped “in the 90′s” he seemed like a guy from another epoch… His recollection was amazing of things from his childhood.. Cool guy….

  • Susan says:

    Funny. I just saw him on an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” the other day. I asked my husband if “that man was ever young?” He was always older in EVERYTHING I saw him in. Now I know why. It’s amazing that he would now be 131 years old! WOW! He was born BEFORE my great grandfather, who would now be 118 if he were still living. Thank you for the information!

  • LyndaLou Smart says:

    I Loved you talking to Gus, he give good advice to you and this was good for all who watched the show. He was some one you could go to any time and even wake him up . He looks like the bank watch man on the Andy Griffin show. ? I loved that show too. Love ya in the Heart of Texas
    .

  • Glenn says:

    Burt Mustin was a great character actor. One of his memorable roles that I enjoy was in a Twilight Zone episode called “Night of the Meek” broadcast during the 1960 Christmas season. He was great on “All in the Family” in the 1970s and on “The Andy Griffith Show in the 60s. But of all these shows, Gus the Fireman was my favorite role of his. I love the episode where the fire dog “Chief” is with him in the fire house and Beav pays him a visit. Good, clean, wholesome family fun replete with wisdom, morality, and values. All the things that are lacking in most TV shows today.

  • Tony says:

    don’t forget the Brady Bunch episode when Bobby was fascinated with Jesse James.He killed Gus’s dad during a train robbery.

  • christie says:

    LOVED Gus + all the characters of Beaver…. I was just 6 then + did not realize how much I appreciate that show. Every morning here in New York , Beaver is on daily!!

  • scott says:

    Burt was the commencement speaker at pmc colleges in 1972. He was pennsylvania military academy grad in the early 1900′s. We were the last cadet class

  • david says:

    hi everyone,i just seen him in gunsmoke id say 1964 1965 he was named uncle finney also victor french was his nephew in gunsmoke as well uncle finney was 103 in gunsmoke he was celerbrating his 104th birthday when james arness returned from abilene ,regards david leach nsw australia

  • Bill Pall says:

    Howdy Y’All. Loved the way Gus used to speak with Beaver. This possibly influenced my life’s work as a child psychiatric counselor. Have always admired this man and his manner. Peace.

    • Melvin Schlecht says:

      I remember he was in the episode of My Three Sons when Robbie and Katie went back to Robbie’s home town for a friends wedding.

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