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



DVD Release Date: May 9, 2006 (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Black and White (Closed Captioned)
MSRP: $49.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 18
Running Time: 505 minutes
Languages, Subtitles: None Running Time of Special Features: approx. 76 minutes and 14 seconds (not including commentary, audio clips or photos)
Special Features: Lost audition show, Original opening titles, Episode intros, special guest appearances by the cast on other shows, Audio commentaries by Dick Van Dyke, George Kennedy, Allan Melvin, Larry Storch and Mickey Freeman ... and more!


"Salute the 50th Anniversary of the Army comedy that started them all - The Phil Silvers Show - with 18 classic episodes of the Emmy award-winning series. Re-enlist in some of TV's funniest moments with Sgt. Ernie Bilko (Phil Silvers) and his bumbling platoon as he schemes his way through his tour of duty at Ft. Baxter. With a barrage of bonus features and commentaries, this remastered 3-disc set will assault your funny bone and keep you laughing all the way to the infirmary!" – Paramount.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars / Episodes Included:

Memorable episodes include "New Recruits," "The Eating Contest", "The Twitch," "The Court Martial," "Doberman's Sister," "The Big Scandal," "Hillbilly Whiz," "The Art Lover," "Bilko Joins The Navy," and "Weekend Colonel."

Some notable guest appearances in these episodes include: Fred Gwynne ("The Eating Contest"), Charlotte Rae ("The Twitch"), Julie Newmar ("The Big Scandal"), Dick Van Dyke ("Hillbilly Whiz"), Yogi Berra ("Hillbilly Whiz"), Phil Rizzuto ("Hillbilly Whiz"), Alan Alda ("Bilko The Art Lover"), and Al Lewis ("Weekend Colonel").

Here is the complete list of the 18 episodes included:

Disc 1
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)

Disc 2
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)

Disc 3
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)


The main cover art has an army print background, green in color, and features the logo on top with a cartoon drawing of Bilko. Underneath that is a shot of Bilko with his crew in the background. Inside the case are three individual disc cases. The individual disc cases have the same design as the main art. An army print as the background (Disc 1 is blue; Disc 2 is red; Disc 3 is green) with a picture of Bilko in a pose in color, with his crew in the background in black and white. It's a simple but nice design. The discs themselves have an army print pattern, with a black and white photo inside of a dog tag. Disc 1 is green in color and has five episodes. Disc 2 is blue in color and has seven episodes. Disc 3 is red in color and has six episodes.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menu is pretty much exactly like the cover art (army print background, pictures, logo, etc.). The menu immediately pops up and lists the episodes you can select to watch. There is a "Play All" feature as well as "Special Features" which takes you to another menu where you can find the special features located on that specific disc. And clicking on an episode title takes you to another screen that asks if you want the commentary that is for that episode (only a select few episodes have commentary).

Video and Audio Quality:

As it states on the box, the episodes are remastered. They are in great quality--a little dust and a little debris here and there, but overall, fantastic quality. The audio is fine--nothing to be worried about. The episodes are about 25-26 minutes in length, which was the norm for a show like this. There are chapter skips available and each episode is presented in order of their original airdates (although this isn't a season release that still holds true).

Special Features:

Audio Commentary:
Audio commentary by Allan Melvin on "New Recruits." Commentary by George Kennedy on "The Court Martial." Commentary by Larry Storch and Mickey Freeman on "Doberman's Sister" and "Bilko Joins The Navy. And Commentary by Dick Van Dyke on "Hillbilly Whiz."

Allan Melvin Episode Introductions:
Before each episode starts, series regular Allan Melvin in an audio clip talks briefly about the episode. It's an awesome inclusion! He also tapes introductions to nearly every single special feature included! What a trooper!

* Nick@Nite Promo Taping for Sgt. Bilko movie with Dan Aykroyd and Phil Hartman (approx. 3 minutes)
An interview with Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd and the late Phil Hartman. They discuss their roles in the movie.

* Phil Hartman NICK@NITE Episode Intros (approx. 2:13 minutes)
Basically what it says. All of the intros Phil Hartman taped for a special three-day marathon of Sgt. Bilko episodes on Nick@Nite.

* The Ed Sullivan Show Clip (approx. 8:39 minutes)
This is just a clip of Phil Silver's appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

* Lost Audition Show (approx. 33 minutes)
This episode was filmed on 16mm kinescope. It was never meant to be broadcast and was used as the audition show for CBS. It's in pretty good shape, honestly (except for of course debris all over the picture). The original title of the show was "You'll Never Get Rich" and you can see it used here.

* 1956 Emmy Awards Highlight (approx. 4:51 minutes)
A clip of the 1956 Emmy Awards. Phil Silvers won the award as Best Comedian, up against Art Carney, George Gobel, and Sid Caesar. The next clip shown was for Best Comedy Series, which of course, "You'll Never Get Rich" (The Phil Silvers Show) won, up against "The Jack Benny Show," "The Bob Cummings Show," "The Sid Caesar Show," "The George Gobel Show," and "Make Room For Daddy." The next category shown was Best Actor, Continuing Performance. Phil Silvers won again and was up against Bob Cummings, Jackie Gleason, Danny Thomas, and Robert Young.

* Phil Silvers on The Dick Cavett Show (approx. 5:03 minutes)
A clip of Phil Silvers (and Jack Benny) on "The Dick Cavett Show" which is shown in color.

* Friars Stag Roast for Humphrey Bogart
An audio only clip. A very fun piece!

* Gag Still Photo courtesy of Mickey Freeman (Pvt. Zimmerman)
Basically what it says, heh.

* Original Network Opening (23 seconds)
This is an original CBS network opening, with Camel cigarettes as it's sponsor. Obviously, for syndication, this was cut out.

* Original Commercials (approx. 1:50 minutes)
Basically, a commercial using characters and actors from BILKO to promote Camel cigarettes.

* Tony Randall and Jack Klugman remember Sgt. Bilko on TV LAND (approx. 25 seconds)
I believe this little spot featuring TV's "The Odd Couple" was aired in 2001 during TV Land's 5th anniversary marathon, which featured episodes of "The Phil Silvers Show."

* 1957 Emmy Awards: Best Comedy Writing - Variety or Situation Comedy (approx. 2:27 minutes)
Phil Silvers presents this award to - of course - The Phil Silvers Show!

* The Cast on "Phil Silvers on Broadway" (approx. 7:15 minutes)
A funny clip of the cast on Broadway, doing a skit within a skit, basically.

* 1959 Pontiac Commercial (approx. 41 seconds)
Phil Silvers appears in a commercial for the Pontiac vehicle.

* The New Phil Silvers Show Promo: CBS 1963 Fall Preview (approx. 3:21 minutes)
Phil Silvers appears in a promo spot to tease his new series "The New Phil Silvers Show" which debuted in the fall of 1963 on CBS.

* Phil's Final TV Interview with Sonny Fox (approx. 5:06 minutes)
The last TV interview by Phil Silvers, which was shot in Phil's home in 1985.

* The Bilko Growl (audio)
The Bilko Growl was Phil's last recording. The song was written by Phil's son-in-law Iren Koster, who also provides the lead vocal. A Very cool song!

* Photo Gallery
A still gallery of pictures.

Final Comments:

Amazing! That's the best word to describe this release. Paramount has done an absolutely fantastic job with this release. It's a shame it's not a season set, but this is an awesome collection for fans to pick up. And since there isn't any word on season sets, I do encourage all the fans to go out and get this set! Its well worth it for the bonus features ALONE. I really cannot say enough about this set. Well done ... spectacular... you name it, that's what it is. Good job Paramount! This is MPI Home Video style and we all know they do a great job in the added value department!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by TVJunkie101 (Shawn Eaton) on 05/01/06 (updated on 05/06/06)

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