View Full Version : The Phil Silvers Show (Sgt. Bilko) - The 50th Anniversary Edition DVD Review
Read it here:
Post your questions and comments about this set here. Maybe Paramount's best sitcom release so far.
Here is another review that I found about the Bilko DVD, from Bruce Kirkland of the Toronto Sun, dated May 1, 2006.
BACK IN THE BILKING BUSINESS: This is a slow week for major Hollywood releases, so that gives me the freedom to return to childhood. In this case, I'm referring to a nostalgic reverie inspired by the three-disc box set Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show, 50th Anniversary Edition. It is a week away -- the release date is May 9.
The late funnyman Silvers was a TV superstar in the 1950s. He played a gold-bricking yet essentially charming rapscallion who turned the U.S. Army into comedy central. While hardcore fans wish Paramount had started with full-season sets, this initial box set selects 18 "classic episodes" from the debut of creator Nat Hiken's sitcom on Sept. 20, 1955, through the Weekend Colonel episode, June 17, 1959.
This may be a smart strategy, given that it is an education process to convince those who are not hip to Silvers' brilliance that he is still funny today. And he is, partly because the exaggerated situations are simple to understand, because Silvers' pace is electric with few lags even with the laugh tracks, and because people should be laughing again at and with the U.S. military today. It's healthier.
The show, which debuted under the dual title, The Phil Silvers Show and You'll Never Get Rich, soon became known under its star's name only, and nicknamed Bilko.
As the Sgt. schemed to win money at cards, dice or horses and mocked discipline and figured out ways to avoid his duties and his duty to God and country, Silvers cleverly made him a lovable goof, too. That quick pace was a trademark.
"I'm a very impatient comedian," Silvers tells interviewer Sonny Fox in 1985 in his last TV interview, "and I feel the audience is as impatient as I am."
The box set is amazingly well appointed with extras, especially for a show this old. They include intros by Silvers' sidekick Allan Melvin (Cpl. Henshaw), as well as that Silvers interview, a 1955 Bogie roast, a 1959 Pontiac commercial and a priceless skit on The Ed Sullivan Show that introduced the Bilko character nine days before the series debuted.
The one question that I would have about the DVD is that, I have yet to see a full listing of all the 18 episodes that will be featured in the set. So far, the reviews that I've read---which are all overwhelmingly positive---have focused on the impressive group of extras but have somewhat ignored the actual episodes. I'd like to see what they are first before going out and buying the DVD, which will immediately be placed in my "Must Have" list.
Here are the episodes. Our reviewer had mentioned about 10 of them, but not all of them for some reason. I'll add them into the review:
1. New Recruits (09/20/55)
2. The Wac (10/04/55)
3. The Horse (10/11/55)
4. The Eating Contest (11/15/55)
5. Bivouac (11/29/55)
1. The Twitch (12/13/55)
2. The Investigation (01/10/56)
3. The Revolutonary War (01/24/56)
4. The Court Martial (03/06/56)
5. The Con Men (05/01/56)
6. A Mess Sergeant Can't Win (11/13/56)
7. Doberman's Sister (11/20/56)
1. Bilko's Tax Trouble (12/04/56)
2. The Big Scandal (05/14/57)
3. Hillbilly Whiz (10/01/57)
4. Bilko The Art Lover (03/05/58)
5. Bilko Joins The Navy (10/28/58)
6. Weekend Colonel (06/17/59)
05-08-2006, 11:00 AM
I should be picking this up real soon. :) Sounds great by the review
05-13-2006, 10:50 AM
I bought this the day it came out for $30 at Best Buy and have watched almost every episode. It is spectacular. My only complaint is the same one with many tv on dvd series. Why couldn't they have left the network openings and closings intact on the episodes themselves?
TV Knowledge Fan
05-14-2006, 03:00 PM
Because those episodes on the DVD are the SYNDICATED prints, that's why. Very few of the original network prints are known to exist, and those are mostly in collectors' hands. The original titles had a sponsor I.D.- "Brought to you by CAMEL! Have a REAL cigarette- have a Camel!"...or, "Brought to you by AMANA"...."Schick.."...and so on. The sponsor's product would be in a lower corner of the screen (with the animated grinning Bilko) during the original closing credits...and a credit tag at the very end stating, "THIS HAS BEEN A CBS TELEVISION NETWORK PRODUCTION FILMED IN NEW YORK" (at least during the first three seasons), which was seen in the syndicated prints, but no longer.
TV DVD Fan
07-12-2006, 11:18 AM
What was the length of the roast and the Bilko Growl? Also, how long approx. was each intro?
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