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Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season (2010)

Phil Silvers , Paul Ford  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season + Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show-50th Anniversary Edition + Car 54 Where Are You: Complete First Season
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Product Details

  • Actors: Phil Silvers, Paul Ford, Harvey Lembeck, Allan Melvin, Billy Sands
  • Writers: Nat Hiken
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 882 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003KSO3QQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,178 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The Phil Silvers Show, originally titled You'll Never Get Rich, ranks as one of television's greatest comedies, and more than 50 years later it still passes inspection, thanks to masterful writing, a platoon of great character actors, and the commanding presence of Phil Silvers as major schemer and private fixer Sgt. Ernest Bilko. In movies, Silvers, a vaudeville veteran, was a scene-stealing Top Banana. On TV, his Emmy Award-winning performance as Bilko promoted him to Top Cat (the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character inspired by his iconic role). Bilko is the best motor pool NCO that Ft. Baxter in Kansas has ever had. He is also "a gambler, a sharpster, a promoter," observes the base chaplain in the first episode, "everything I'm here to prevent soldiers from becoming. Tell me, why do I like you?" We like him because Bilko, always looking for an angle, usually ends up outsmarting himself, as in the episode "Doberman's Sister," in which he cons himself into arranging a blind date with the sibling of the platoon's lovable slob, convincing himself she must be a beauty. We also like him because he uses his unique talents for good, as in "The Con Men," when he turns the tables on a trio who bilk Doberman (Maurice Gosfield) out of $500. Silvers's Bilko is a quick-thinking, sharp-witted, double-talking weapon of mass distraction. "You didn't tell me your daughter was visiting," he flatters the matronly wife of Col. Hall (Paul Ford). The genius of Bilko is that he more or less gets away with everything even though he isn't fooling anybody. The entire layout of the post, Col. Hall reveals at one point, has been reorganized "so that no rookie even by accident could ever get near Bilko." Special commendations are due to the ensemble, including such familiar faces as Ned Glass, Joe E. Ross (Car 54, Where Are You?), and Allan Melvin (Barney Heffner on All in the Family and Sam the butcher on The Brady Bunch) and Harvey "Baron von Zipper" Lembeck as Bilko's partners in chicanery. Two of this set's special features--the never-broadcast live audition show and the show's original opening titles--are re-enlisted from the 50th Anniversary Edition. Also included is an episode of The Lucy Show featuring Silvers as an efficiency expert. But this first season, an Emmy winner for Best Comedy Series, stands on its own. For new recruits especially, it's great to see this classic character in action, and thanks to DVD, you have a grandstand seat. --Donald Liebenson

Product Description

This classic TV gem follows the fast-paced antics of Sgt. Ernie Bilko (Phil Silvers) as he attempts to swindle, bluff and flatter his platoon and his fellow comrades at the Ft. Baxter Army Post, in the wilds of Kansas. The camp is supposedly run by Colonel Hall, but it's Bilko that calls the shots! Along with the other sergeants from the mess hall; Signals and Supply, Bilko is continually at war with Colonel Hall, who is desperately trying to put a stop to the gambling Bilko is running.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
This set has English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired. As someone with bad hearing, I find that information vital whenever I buy a DVD these days.

Of all the TV comedies I ever saw, this one has to be the best. Not even Lucy or The Honeymooners, the two other great series from the golden age of US sitcom, came anywhere near it. Maybe it hit me at an impressionable age; maybe I missed some other great series; maybe they showed only the best episodes here (Melbourne, Australia, the early 1960s). But the pleasure that I've had from watching this long-awaited set of the first season has proven to me at least that Sgt Bilko really is the best. For anyone who wants proof of the genius of Phil Silvers, I'd suggest they try the episode where Bilko goes to bring back a Hungarian private who's gone AWOL. The story is practically non-existent and the dialogue is forgettable, but from the moment when Bilko enters the house of the celebrating Hungarians, the laughs just keep on coming. Phil Silvers was an amazing performer.

One question though. Is there anyone out there under the age of 40 who enjoys Bilko? I'd hate to think he has no young fans.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blarney-ed to the max=Sgt.Bilko! August 31, 2010
When one watches the Phil Silvers Show,one cannot help but ask who else but Phil Silvers could ever have successfully pulled off such a brilliant characterization of one Sgt.Ernest T.Bilko?I cannot honestly think of any actor then extant who had the moxy and energy coupled with such an innate ability for ad libbing than Silvers had who could have.He was creator Nat Hiken's first and best choice for the role.
This is the first season of "The Phil Silvers Show",for a short time known as "You'll Never Get Rich",with eps spanning from Sept.20/55 to May 15/56.The opening credits are the syndication animated titles which show a group of soldiers walking on with the shows title card ,Bilko barking orders,the group marching off,then Doberman appearing with an upside down card only to be righted by Bilko shouting again.However the original titles,bumpers and end credits ARE included in this five single DVD set which are a delight to see.Also included are numerous commentaries,show related commercials(sponsors were the life blood of /50s TV),the so called "lost"audition show and an ep from the /60s Lucy Show with Phil Silvers as an efficiency expert.Silvers was SO good at his character that ever after,it seemed,everyone wanted to see him playing Bilko in some way,shape or form.Just watch him in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and you'll see Ernest full swing there,just dressed of course in Roman garb instead of combat fatigues.
The show featured a bevy of great supporting cast members,among them Harvey Lembeck as Corp.Barbella(who would soon gather another following as the aged biker in the Frankie and Annette films),stalwart and talented Allan Melvin as Corp.Henshaw,Herby Faye as Pvt.Fender,Maurice Gosfield as the slovenly Pvt.Doberman,Billy Sands as Pvt.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Ty
they pull me back in. This is one of the funniest shows ever and Phil Silvers is excellent as Master Sgt Ernie Bilko. And the supporting characters such as Ritzik, Doberman and Colonel Hall (as the straight man) complement Bilko nicely. I remember staying up and watching this on WOR-TV in NYC in the late 70's and early 80's. Some episodes came out on VHS and also the 50th Anniversary DVD release were better than nothing but nothing beats a season set, hopefully eventually leading to the complete series release. Other shows from this era such as The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy may have more fame but this show is not only just as funny (funnier) but also wittier and more cleverly written than most from this era.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Two things that never go out of fashion are honesty and class, and honestly this show is class, real class. Its popularity has been especially enduring in Britain, where it is still shown occasionally by the BBC. The series was rerun on late Sunday nights around the early 80's, just before BBC1's signoff; despite this, the viewing audience was as large as 8 million.
I purchased the 50th anniversary edition and I will still purchase this.
Phil Silvers is a master of comic timing, all those years in vaudeville show through in his marvellous comic creation, Master Sergeant Earnest Bilko.
34 classic episodes on 5 discs, and bearing in mind the age of this show I'm amazed they managed to find a lot of extras too.
Ten episodes from this season are also on the 50th Annivesary Edition!
BUT- twenty four are not! bargain.
Trivia:- There were four seasons of Bilko, 1955-59, 143 episodes in total.
After season three they moved from Fort Baxter, Kansas to Camp Fremont, California.
Production did move from New York to California.
Creator Nat Hiken left when they moved it from New York, two years later he created, "Car 54 where are you?".
In the 1980's a British tourist was nearly arrested when a Chinese soldier thought the man depicted on her Sgt. Bilko T-shirt was the Dalai Lama.
I think Bilko would have liked that.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show-First Season July 29, 2010
Verified Purchase
I thought they would never release this show. My father and I watched it when it first came out in 1955.
We thought it was the funniest of any of the comedy shows of that era, and I still do.
This is one show all of the family can watch.
Hope they release the rest of them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My son and I were howling when we first watched ...
My son and I were howling when we first watched this dvd. The wife and daughter had to come to see why we were laughing so much.
Published 2 days ago by J. Winton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great comedy series.
Published 28 days ago by William Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a G I i wish the Army was so simple
Published 1 month ago by Walter Truss
4.0 out of 5 stars Phil Silvers all but carries every episode. I carried smiles, laughter...
Sgt. Bilko was originally broadcast about the time I was old enough to remember anything about TV. The impressions this show made lasted since the 1950's. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Phred
3.0 out of 5 stars One plot endlessly recycled
Brilliantly performed, the zenith of professionalism, but each episode is only a twist on the last. & How soon one tires of men without women.
Published 6 months ago by E. F. Isaacs
5.0 out of 5 stars No One's Like Bilko
The Phil Silver's Show in which he plays Sgt. Bilko is in my opinion one of, if not the top, comedy program to come out of the 50s and 60s era. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Robert Basile
5.0 out of 5 stars Best sitcom ever.
Five stars for the content, but only two or three for the lack of restoration. My old VHS recordings from BBC2 were almost as watchable as these versions. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Graham S. Exton
3.0 out of 5 stars Made a great gift
I don't know who Sgt. Bilko is but my dad sure seemed to enjoy this dvd. I remember him talking of this show and thought I'd get it for him for Christmas. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Extremely Satisfied with Pink Moose Company
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT SHOW.
Phil SIlvers was an amazing quick thinking actor. With a fantastic supporting cast, the actors of this show keep you laughing. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ron
1.0 out of 5 stars too expensive
it's too much money, maybe $15.00 for the season,it's overrated and most of the cast members have passed on anyhow.its not such a great deal.
Published 15 months ago by william rundle
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Sgt Bilko petition for release of all seasons
It's been nearly two years since Paramount released Season One. So, is Season Two far behind? DVD companies have been painfully slow releasing other series, so there is still hope that another release in headed our way.

However, because Season One sales may be lagging behind expectations,... Read More
Apr 25, 2012 by Jerry Warriner |  See all 9 posts
can anyone tell me if this is closed captioned?
you can order with confidence! This set is close-captioned. That is, it has English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Dec 1, 2010 by David C Anderson |  See all 2 posts
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