‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Stephen Talbot Describes Watching Reruns 60 Years Later: ‘It’s a Trip’

by Joe Rutland

For Leave It to Beaver star Stephen Talbot, watching reruns of the classic TV show is definitely interesting for him to do. Talbot, who played Gilbert Bates, left show business as a young boy. Seeing the sitcom that stars Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow from a distant view is different for him these days. Still, the former child actor has some thoughts about his tenure on the show.

Stephen Talbot Of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Loves Watching Old Episodes

When asked if he watches the reruns, Talbot said that he does. “I do, and honestly, I’ve had ups and downs about how much I’ve related to this show over the years,” Talbot said in an interview with Best Classic Bands. “But I do now watch episodes that I haven’t seen in 50, 60 years.

“For me, it’s a trip to see whether I was acting well in this episode or not,” he said. “But most of the time, I’m really drawn into the plot. Mostly, for me, it’s like a home movie. I’m watching the episode and I’m thinking, oh, was that the day we went to the studio commissary and saw Alfred Hitchcock?”

One actor who Talbot had mixed feelings about was Ken Osmond, who played Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver. As you know, Haskell was a pain in the neck to some of the show’s characters. Still, Talbot would remember his favorite Eddie Haskell moment. He recalls seeing an episode where Wally, played by Dow, is supposed to take Beaver, played by Mathers, and his friends camping. Gilbert was part of the overnight crew, too. Talbot recalls that Eddie and Wally start trying to terrorize the kids by playing recorded mountain lion sounds.

Child Actor Recalls Scene Involving Himself, Eddie Haskell

Talbot says that a real mountain lion comes along on Leave It to Beaver and Eddie ends up falling off a cliff and onto a ledge. He picks up the story here. “He [Eddie] turns into a whimpering coward and needs to be rescued,” Talbot says. “Everyone goes off to find the park ranger and he says, ‘Don’t leave me alone.'”

As Gilbert, he says to Eddie, “OK, Whitey will stay with you.'” But Eddie wasn’t wanting Whitey to stay with him because “he’ll throw rocks.” This leaves Gilbert alone with Eddie. Talbot says Eddie begs Gilbert by saying, “I’m lonely. Talk to me.” Gilbert seizes on the opportunity and says, “What should I say?”

“And so, finally, I get my one chance in 57 episodes to tell him what I really think, which is to say he’s a jerk and a horrible guy,” Talbot says. “The writers gave me that one chance.”