Steve Talbot – My Leave it to Beaver Pal!

Happy Birthday Steve!

Steve TalbotHey Jerry, thanks for the birthday greetings, my friend. Unbelievably, I have now reached that age immortalized by the Beatles — “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m 64,” an age that seemed impossibly distant when I was playing the role of your pal, Gilbert. What’s amazing to me is how vividly I remember our days at Republic Studio and then at Universal, where we’d see people like Alfred Hitchcock in the commissary or rummage through the monster masks in the costume department.

Beaver and GilbertI’ve been thinking a lot about my Hollywood past these days because my youngest sister, Margaret Talbot, who is a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, just wrote a book about our father, Lyle Talbot, who, as you know, had a long career as a stage, film and TV actor. The book is called, “The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father’s Twentieth Century.” She even includes an analysis and appreciation of  “Leave it to Beaver,” which she watches in re-runs with her son and daughter.

One thing that seemed totally normal back then, but strikes me as pretty unusual now is that while I was your pal on “Leave it to Beaver,” my Dad (who was also in several “Beaver” episodes) was playing Ozzie’s best friend and neighbor, Joe Randolph, on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” So, my Dad and I were sidekicks on two of the most iconic American shows about suburban life in the Eisenhower and Kennedy era.

I’m hardly the first to say it, but one of the real distinctions of “Leave it to Beaver” was its portrayal of life in the ‘burbs from the point of view of the kids, something the show captured very well. It’s a baby boomer time capsule in black & white.

So, what have I been doing for the past 50 years?  I became a reporter and a producer of TV documentaries, first for KQED in San Francisco, and then the PBS series, Frontline. I’m now producing a music show for PBS called “Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders” and I’m a senior producer at the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley (right down the street from your alma mater). My wife, Pippa, and I have lived in San Francisco for over 30 years, and our two grown kids, Dash, a lawyer, and Caitlin, a yoga teacher and actress, both live in L.A.

I have very fond memories of working on the show with you, Tony Dow and the whole cast.  I was lucky to have been a part of it all.

Steve Talbot

                                                                        

                                                            

65 Responses to Steve Talbot – My Leave it to Beaver Pal!

  • Edward Escobar says:

    I just wanted to say that you guys were really a part of something truly great. I, like millions of others, grew up watching your show as a kid. It was the one show that got what being a kid was truly like in that era. Others came close but you guys nailed it and I think that was mainly due to the cast. Glad to see you guys are alive and doing well. HBD Gilbert.

    Truly, thanks for the laughs and the memories.

    Ed Escobar

  • Dear Steve,
    What a great little remembrance of your time with Leave it to Beaver, Jerry and Tony. While you guys were working in Hollywood I was a normal kid in Cheyenne, Wyoming–but making sure to watch you guys every day to make sure I knew how to behave correctly, interact with my peers and parents and how to deal with life’s unexpected turns and twists.

    Whether in Cheyenne or Hollywood, we all grew up in an idylic post-war America. You formed your shows by watching us, and we formed our lives by watching you! In truth, its a great example of how symbiotic we all were throughout those years and how America formed along with us.

    I became a radio guy and worked across the country–including Hollywood–event selling the Hollywood Sign in 1980! I got a pretty good taste of the life you guys lived and hung around with many people who were working on the coast during that marvelous time! They wrote about us in Time, People, US, the LA Times and others. It was great to see my picture on the news stands and shop with Mrs. Miller as she harrassed fellow customers at Ralph’s. I would not have given it up for anything. My uncle Hub was even a set designer for 25 years, and his son Dyre worked for KFI for 25 years after that.

    But the main point is that we are all in this together. And we can use our experiences–interjected with the impossibly potent power of the public media–to help serve others…as you do through your “Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders” and as a senior producer at the “Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley.”

    So, I say, “Keep going!” God bless you and all of your great friends there in LA! I am proud to have watched those shows fresh, and prouder still that we can still watch them.

    George Jay Wienbarg

  • Diana Ross says:

    Happy Birthday:) Sounds like you’ve had a very successful and wonderful life since The Beaver:) I’ve enjoyed watching you on the show! Glad to hear about what you’ve been up to and wishing you many more happy years to come!

  • Thank you, Jerry for sharing this. I have often wondered how “Gilbert” was doing. You know what would be really neat? I think it would be really cool if you and all of the remaining cast did a reunion. We never did get to see Stephen Talbot in the new series, but I think it would be nice to see you, Gilbert, Larry, Wally and his gang as well. Just an idea! Thanks again for sharing Mr. Talbot’s note!

    • Lisa says:

      I hope that Jerry, Stephen & all the precious LITB actors still with us, are aware of how very much so many millions of us love them….and how deeply we cherish the show they gave us!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!! ‘Beaver’ is a true classic—its still so funny!! I miss the way the world used to be….

  • Ashley says:

    Happy Birthday and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. My parents enjoyed Leave it to Beaver as kids, I enjoyed it as a kid and now my own children enjoy it too. It was a joy to read how you are doing now. I’ve often wondered too what happened to Gilbert. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  • sharon gilligan says:

    a very happy birthday to you! yes, indeed, i have so many happy memories of that golden age of childhood! ‘leave it to beaver’ will always be one of my all-time favorites …. we all grew up together! thank you!
    may your birthday be as special as you are….again, thanks for the memories!

  • Cyndee Tara says:

    It appears your 64 years has been good to you. You were one of my favorites on Leave it Beaver. Have a Blessed Birthday!

  • Bob Black says:

    Happy Birthday Steve! You have had a very interesting life… I still enjoy watching Leave It To Beaver! It’s one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. It was very well written!

  • Sarah Warrington says:

    Happy Birthday Steve! I still watch Leave it to Beaver everyday and I’m 60. Gilbert sure had a knack for talking Beaver into anything Thanks for the smiles:)

  • sharon wardlow says:

    What wonderful memories of those childhood days and sitting around the tv watching Leave it to Beaver. Your live sounds rich and full, Steve! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • Jon says:

    Happy birthday and I like the song you chose for you 64Th birthday! My wife gave me a card with that song on it and who would have thought that record would mean so much to us as seniors :). I have recently been watching every episode of Leave it to Beaver and its like a nice trip back to the 50’s with no oft color jokes. Its hard to believe that its been over 50 years as it seems just like yesterday sitting down weekly to watch what kind of problems Wally or the Beaver would be lead into by you and the people in the cast. Thanks for all fun and great chuckles-Jon

  • Jon says:

    Nice to see Gilbert checking in. I often wonder what the cast is up to on this show. I’m not the typical LITB fan. I’m currently 34 and only first saw LITB when TV Land started showing it in 98, when I was about 20. The humor of the show grabbed me especially, as did the realistic portrayal of how children think. I feel like I have a ton in common with Beaver’s childhood, even being a couple of decades apart. I think there are more differences in a childhood now, in the internet age, compared to mine, than there were between the early/mid 60’s and early/mid 80’s. I was also born to parents who were 40 and 42 in 1978, so I was raised by a generation with values more similar to those of June and Ward than what I saw in my friends’ parents. It is really comforting to watch LITB… I feel less alone knowing I wasn’t the only one with someone like Gilbert talking me into the same things. I think LITB gets called “innocent” way too much as well. It is a lot more realistic, and grittier, than something like “Full House”. Thanks for all the great memories, even if they weren’t created in my mind for over 3 decades after you made them!

  • Mark Tomlinson says:

    Happy birthday Steve and thanks so much for letting us all know what you have been doing. God bless and thanks again

  • Patsy says:

    I thank this was one of the most wonderful shows of it’s time it was hard too wait from one show to the next and it was and is very funny loved the whole cast.And Happy Birthday Steve!!Hope you have had a great day.

  • David L Harr MD says:

    Happy Birthday Steve! My brother and you share the same birthday. I followed the career of you dad. He was a great actor. He played the first Lex Luther in the Superman Serials. I feel as if Jerry, Tony and you are old childhood freinds of mine. I wish you the best and great health.

  • Christy says:

    Happy Birthday! I was 3 years younger than you guys. Probably closer to Chuckie’s age. I still enjoy watching LITB on “Antenna TV”. Yes, it has memories of growing up in that era. Too bad that age of innocence is long gone.

    Signed,
    Gramma to 3 boys.

  • David Scollo says:

    Thank you Steve for the update and also for the many years of the joy you gave me / us on TV. Your still in my home after all these years. I do hope you have a Very Happy Birthday and Many Many more.

  • Debbie Paduch says:

    Happy Birthday to you ! You were always a favorite of mine on LITB. So, nice to hear how you and your family have been over the years. Leave it to Beaver will always be my favorite show ever ! Thanks for great memories.

  • Debra Aiuto says:

    Want to add my wishes to you for a very Happy Birthday! I am 57 years old and watched the show all those years ago and still love watching them on one of our stations out here in NJ. Sounds like you have made yourself a wonderful life and watch PBS very often, I hope to catch this show you are producing. Have to say this though…..Felt so bad for “Beaver” when you talked him into going outside to try out the kite he and his father built for the contest. LOL But Beaver never tattled on you and took responsibiity for it and that was the true message. Again, Happy Birthday and enjoy your day and every year after to come. Thank you for letting us be able to leave messages. I miss the good old days!!! lol
    Deb Aiuto

  • Robin Hogaboom Smith says:

    Love, love, love that Beatles song! Steve, hope you had a very Happy Birthday! Wow, what fantastic memories and how wonderful that you keep in touch after all these years. As a fellow Baby Boomer, I too enjoy watching LITB over and over again on NetFlix! Thanks for capturing some of the best years of our childhood era, the classroom, the teachers, the cars, the clothes……everything!

  • John says:

    Happy birthday and best wishes to you and your family, Mr. Talbot! Likewise to you, Mr. Mathers. The entire Leave it to Beaver cast and crew were so instrumental in portraying Americana culture of the 50’s and 60’s. You guys are the best!

  • Dave Brooks says:

    Happy birthday, Steve! I’ll be 63 this coming Sunday and grew up watching “Leave It to Beaver.” Great that it’s still being aired on Antenna TV and I catch episodes as often as I can. Still waiting to see one of my favorites again, the one where Beaver climbs up on the billboard to see if there’s really soup in the bowl – and I seem to recall you were the one who convinced him to climb up there, but it’s been a long time since I saw that particular episode. Thanks for the childhood memories. -Dave Brooks.

  • cheryl vega says:

    Happy birthday, Steve!!! Im addicted to “Leave it to Beaver” and watch it twice a day! I truly believe it was a pioneer show and we all wish wehad parents and friends like these! Have a wonderful day!!!

  • Raven Alexander says:

    Happy Birthday Steve! Many “Thanks” to you and the entire cast of ‘Leave it to Beaver’, I love the show. One of my favorite episodes was “Beaver’s Long Night”, the episode where you and the Beav went into panic mode after watching a gangster movie on TV, called the police and had ‘Lumpy’ and Bill Scott arrested – a classic! Stay well and once again… “Thanks”.

  • Alex Kelley says:

    Happy Birthday to you Steve. I became a fan of LITB years after the show ended. We only had one channel growing up in the area of Central Texas. I taught school with at risk youth for about 17 years and on Fridays I would show LITB or TAGS for character and social skills. The kids loved the shows and still watch them on NF. I truly do miss the values that were taught and exemplified. May you know that you have had a hand in encouraging the up and coming generations. May you experience God’s best in this life and the next. Thank you! :)

  • Sooo great to hear from you Jerry and Stephen!! I too will turn 64 this year (just don’t look like it yet, thank God! I will NOT go under the knife)! It is fun to know what you favs from my childhood are doing…both of you are my age!! Now my Children and Grandchildren are watching Leave it to Beaver and LOVE it!! The Grands just giggle and giggle!! I told them that this is the way it used to be in my growing up era, it is intriguing to them!! I bought all of the Leave it to Beaver shows for them…such fun!! Maybe this year would be a timely year to have a reunion…like Bryan Nelson Jr. mentioned above!! God’s Blessings on all of you!
    Your friend, Dorena
    PS: Jerry I liked you on Face Book, so will follow whats happening there!!

  • countryart says:

    healthy birthday 2 steve. steve and jerry i think we all have fond memories watching beaver. even today we can still relate 2 the show. i think its timeless the actors and charachters. much love countrart

  • Tom Burkard says:

    Happy Birthday Steve, and you picked a great Beatles song to mention this monumental birthday! You were great on Leave It To Beaver, and undoubtedly contributed to making the show one of the greatest TV programs in history! Thank You!

  • Jean Clabeaux says:

    Happy Birthday Steve. You were part of one of my all time favorite shows, Leave It To Beaver. I have the entire collection and watch frequently. I wish you many more years of happiness, success and good health

  • wes chapman says:

    Happy birthday birthday to you steve and best wishes!!!!!!! Jerry it is nice to to meet you as well!!!! I have always loved watching your show as well. I will be 40 on may 7th!!!! Talk to you soon, wes.

  • Debbie says:

    Happy Birthday Steve! My husband and you are the same age my husband’s bday is March 7th! Love Leave It To Beaver! Also my husband bought me the complete set of LTB last Christmas!

  • Tina Miller says:

    Thanks for the update.I miss those days made brighter by your show!!! Glad to know youre doing great!!! Tina in Oregon

  • Johnny Jake says:

    So nice to hear from Steve Talbot! Happy Birthday Steve ! Your Gilbert character was just great, brought us a lot of laughs!
    I will check out sound tracks. Thanks!

  • Thank you all for your birthday greetings. For all you music fans, I include the website of my PBS music show, “Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders.” We have done two episodes so far, as well as 20 “Quick Hits” for PBS online, which you can also find watch on the website. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Toby Russo says:

    Happy Birthday Steve…when u mention Ozzie, and Harriot neighbor “Joe Randolph” Then I knew who ur Dad was. (have complete seasons of “O,and H, as well as LITB on CD”….good luck to you..Toby (diehard Fan)

  • Ron Cox says:

    Happy Birthday Steve. Thank you for all the memories. I grew up with LITB. Tony Dow was also a family friend. I only wish life was still that innocent and simple.

  • mar lam says:

    Oh Steve, Gilbert was always leading the Beav astray! I so enjoyed the show when I was a kid ( I’m in your ballpark, age wise, sixty now) and I enjoy the reruns several times a week! If I had not gone through life crisis and had to have antenna tv I may not have been reunited with the show. So, even getting uber broke can have some bennies! Look on the brightside of things, right? LOL. K. Smiles and birthday cake, candles, high fives and hugs from fan and a survivor like you are! :D marlam/puget sound, near Seattle. :D :D :D

  • John Arbogast says:

    Happy Birthday Steve and thanks to Jerry for sharing with us. Even though we were not associated with the cast or with the crew of LITB, we are all in a way an extended family of an American television treasure. As an extended family, we share memories of LITB even after all these decades. We are all fortunate enough to have made it this far and how nice is it that we can still enjoy our breakfast each morning with an episode of LITB, as I do each morning. Thanks for keeping your fans (your extended family) in your thoughts….we all love you.

  • Nancy says:

    Best Wishes, Steve. Thank you for all the interesting background. I enjoy classic sitcoms and Hollywood movies. I have “42nd Street” on DVD, and I love the style of the old trailer, with the voice-over man presenting the cast. “Lyle Talbot” pronounced so very classily. You brought a lot of personality and humor to the role of Gilbert. What a wonderful family legacy.

  • sally gorgas says:

    happy birthday steve. I always liked how you talked beaver into getting in trouble and then left the “scene”.

  • Terry Kelly says:

    Happy birthday Gilbert! Ihave been a fan of LIB since its inception, still watch it whenever I can! you and the cast were real people to me, and your so right, you folks encapsulated a magic time that can never be repeated. Thank you so much! When ever I want to back in time to my childhood years, I find LIB and watch a couple of episodes!

  • Vince says:

    great memories! you were my favorite of all Beaver’s ‘tv pals’..didn’t you guys spend a night in some coffee mugs once??
    Big fan of your Dad’s too – thanks to the miracle of DVD, LITB and Ozzie and Harriet still grace my television and make us laugh..
    I put them on at night and fall asleep to them. What better company ? Thanks for the great memories, boys!

  • Linda Jean Limes Ellis says:

    A belated happy birthday Steve!! I think you did Gilbert perfectly! Gilbert gained wisdom as he aged in the series; something that seemed more slow in coming for Eddie Haskell. The one sad part I recently learned about one of your castmates was the fella who played Whitey who has passed away. There is a memorial posted for him on the website: “Find A Grave” as there are memorials for Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley and others who have left us. Unfortunately though for Stanley Fafara, he was buried in an unmarked grave. I think that is quite sad. I am so glad, Steve, that you, Jerry, Tony, and Ken who played Eddie have been successful and true survivors in your lives. We are almost done watching series 6 right now, and it will be sad to see it end. I prefer somehow to remember you all as you were; which helps me remember my childhood growing up in the late 1950s and 1960s with my parents and how it was for me as well during those ‘black and white’ years that were colorful, but in a good clean way. It was such a special time that just can’t be duplicated because life like that only happens once. Thank you for your past and, of course, your recent contributions which have made such a huge difference, for the better, in so many of our lives. We watch PBS all of the time and love Frontline!

  • Linda Hesson Bryant says:

    Happy “belated” birthday Steve! – It amazes me that I am one year older than you – I loved the show and my husband and I still argue over who would introduce the cast before the show began – I keep telling him it is Hugh Beaumont – which I had a tremendous crush on!! I still love watching the show – it reminds me so much of our childhood when we worried only about getting in trouble at school and then coming home and facing our parents. So sad for the ones today growing up and not being able to live the “fun” life we had. Did not know that your Dad was on the old Ozzie and Harriet show – loved that. Happy Birthday again – and God Bless you and your family.

  • Kathy says:

    Happy belated Birthday Steve – What an instigator you were but always with a lesson learned. What a wonderful show to be apart of – you all were so lucky to have each other but we boomers are sure glad we had you all. What wonderful memories were created – who would have ever known. I’m glad we are able to have the dvd’s and to relive a much simpler time. Thank you Jerry for this site. I agree with one of the other posts – we need a reunion of all you guys.

  • Carolyn So says:

    happy birthday Steve, i like watching your old show “Leave It To Beaver” even though i wasn’t born yet when that show came out, and i like it when u and Jerry Mathers were buddies on that show.

  • James K. says:

    Happy birthday, Steve! I had no idea that you were Lyle Talbot’s son. Wow! I was always a Lyle Talbot fan. He seemed to show up all the time on TV and movies. From Joe on Ozzie and Harriet to Ed Wood movies. A big part of TV and movie history.

  • Parl Guthrie says:

    I too very much enjoy reruns of the Beaver on Netflix. With the exception of the original NCIS episode, and The Good Wife which comes on in 20 minutes, there isn’t anything else on TV that interests me in the least.

    It’s amazing how certain people on certain shows effects the way we look at things. When my brother and I are trying to describe someone we generally just say two words, Eddie Haskell, and everyone knows what we mean.

  • susanne says:

    Loved this show back then and still love it now. Watching it on antenna tv nightly, even though i have collection set. Loved that time period. I think this show should be shown to kids today. That might learn some valuable life lessons. Thanks for some of the best tv on air.

  • Fred Downs says:

    A very belated Happy Birthday, Steve old pal. I sometimes wonder if we will ever finish our walk? Haha. I wonder if Gilbert could have talked Beaver into that one.
    You probably don’t know that Jerry and I used to eat lunch together in high school. Such a small world. I wonder if I will see Jerry at our next class reunion? 50 years. YIKES!
    I am glad that you have done well, and would love to hear from both you and Jerry.

    Warmest Regards, Fred

  • Tom Watson says:

    I can’t believe that this show is still going strong after all this time… I was too young to watch first run, but I remember summer days watching it during the lunch hour.

    Who would have thought that not only would it still be on TV, but that it would be airing every night in prime time!

  • Torrey says:

    Hi,

    I just wanted to say that “Leave it to Beaver” is what every home life should strive to be. It was a television series, but it really gets the message across as to how people should live. I certainly wish people still lived and conducted themselves in the way they did when this program was airing on television. I am truly saddened at how horrible our society has turned out over the last 50 years or so. If we could only turn back time, but it’s only wishful thinking.

    Guys, thank you for being a part of my life, and I will keep watching the re-runs til I can’t do it any longer.

    God bless.

  • Gene Casciari says:

    Steve, thanks for sharing your fond memories with your fans of LITB. I remember watching the re-runs in late 60;s when I was about 8 or 9 and now as a grown man LOL. I loved each show when you and the Beaver got into all kinds of trouble. Kind of reminds me of me and my friends when we were kids. Nothing serious, just dumb stuff, but your shows taught life lessons with a moral to it. Hugh Beaumont who was an actual minister at the time, was the appropriate role model at the time. Steve, I remember that Twilight Zone episode, the Fugitive, where at the beginning of the show, you were playing softball with a bunch of kids, and you played the space commander who shot at the monster with your fingers, and then Rod Serling did his beginning of the show monologue. I am so glad that some of you are still around, but we will all remember Frank Bank. RIP. It is so hard to believe that everyone is now past 60 and even 70! Boy, do I feel old at 51 going on 52 in August! God Bless, and the best of luck to you in your future endeavors. :O)

  • Beatrice Hart says:

    I am enjoying LITB more than ever which brings back so many wonderful memories of how things were and just how much I realize and appreciate life as it was then. I am happy to know that (actually, I am too emotional right now to write about what
    happiness that show and cast brings to me). All I can say at them time, is, Thanks for the memories and God Bless you all and may Lumpy & Whitey R.I.P.

  • Carolyn So says:

    Yesterday when I was watching the celebration of former president John F. Kennedy’s death last night, I always think that he looks like you when he was young.

  • Bob Grasso says:

    Thanks for the memories, guys! I actually saw you, Jerry on a trip to Hollywood in 1960 during a tour of the set..at that time I stayed with Richard Dreyfuss family who had recently moved there from Bayside, New York (we were neighbors there). Still watch the show when it’s on and remember Steve..his Dad was a good actor. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  • Wow, Such a good synopsis so to speak and I am in my mid ’50s where I still enjoy watching the Leave it to Beaver reruns because they still mean quite a bit to me. The good work you guys did still mean a lot, even today!

  • Brian Humek says:

    I’m just about finished writing a book in which unfortunately, you Steve are not mentioned because it only covers season one. But in going my writing, I interviewed an actor who did have some scenes with you in season two and he wondered what you had been up to and I found this page when I Googled you.

    You were one of my favorites on the show and I want to write an additional book about Leave it to Beaver and in that one, you will be prominently mentioned.

    Thanks for the memories,
    Brian

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