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Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - 50th Anniversary Edition

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The Phil Silvers Show (Sgt. Bilko) - The Complete Series

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Old 08-01-2010, 10:39 AM   #1
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Thumbs up 'Sgt. Bilko' Made Phil Silvers A Household Name

Comic actor Phil Silvers had been kicking around in show business a long time by 1955. He had appeared in burlesque, won a Tony on Broadway in 1952 for "Top Banana," played second bananas in movies and even co-wrote the classic tune "Nancy With the Laughing Face."

But just as Lucille Ball with "I Love Lucy" and Jackie Gleason with "The Honeymooners," it was a TV series that made Silvers a household name.

"I had adoration before, but it was never anything like this," Silvers once said. "It was a limited-type adoration. Now they adore me all out."

Originally titled "You'll Never Get Rich" and quickly retitled "The Phil Silvers Show" the 1955-59 CBS comedy series became one of the best-loved series of the so-called "Golden Age of Television." On Tuesday, CBS Video is releasing on DVD the first season of "Bilko," the title by which it is best known today.

Its lasting influence can be seen in such sitcoms as "McHale's Navy," "Hogan's Heroes" and " MASH," just to name a few. And in 1996, Steve Martin starred in the ill-fated movie version "Sgt. Bilko." With its witty scripts, fast-paced plots and memorable main character the shrewd, slick but ultimately lovable con man Bilko the series seems as fresh today as it did more than 50 years ago.

Created by writer Nat Hiken, who would later do "Car 54, Where Are You?," the series fit Silvers liked a glove. He played Master Sgt. Ernest G. Bilko, who was the head of the motor pool at the sleepy Ft. Baxter in the fictional town of Roseville, Kan. Bilko was always coming up with get-rich schemes, scams and other crazy ideas. Helping him were Cpl. Rocco Barbella (Harvey Lembeck) and Cpl. Steve Henshaw (Allan Melvin). His clueless superior was Col. John T. Hall (Paul Ford).

Other members of his platoon were played by Herbie Faye, Maurice Gosfield, Joe E. Ross and Mickey Freeman. Several young actors who went on to greater fame, including Dick Van Dyke, Alan Alda, Fred Gwynne and Pat Hingle, also guest-starred in the show.

"Bilko" won the Emmy for comedy series three years in a row, with Silvers winning for his performance in the first season.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul...lvers-20100727
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:10 PM   #2
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My favorite Phil Silvers character is "Shifty Schafer" a con man he played on 6 episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. I also enjoyed his guest appearance as Jenny Piccolo's father (Jenny was played by his real life daughter Cathy Silvers) on Happy Days.
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