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Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season

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Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season + Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show-50th Anniversary Edition
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Editorial Reviews

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.

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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


Special Features

None.

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 (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003KSO3QQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,777 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By David C Anderson on August 18, 2010
Format: DVD 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 By Robert Badgley on August 31, 2010
Format: DVD
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 T.in 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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ty on July 22, 2010
Format: DVD
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Q Public on July 29, 2010
Format: DVD 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on September 23, 2010
Format: DVD
Five stars so far, let's keep it that way for the greatest TV comedy. My thoughts have been more or less summed up by others already but I wonder how many of you have a copy of Bilko: The Fort Baxter Story?

Published in England in 1985 and as far as I know the only Bilko book. Particularly interesting because it has a listing of every show, writers, air date and a plot synopsis. Also included is a Bilko A to Z and chapters on the background to the CBS show. Black and white program stills are scattered throughout the pages.

The book is still available at reasonable prices if you search the net and I've upload a few pages from the book. Click 'customer images' under the DVD cover.

Best episode in the first series? I'll go for The Court Martial (aired March 6 1956) where Zippo the chimp gets inducted. Comedy can't get any better than this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Serpico on December 13, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A classic comedy series, if not the classic, next to the Honeymooners, so why are we being made to wait for series 2,3,4. The DVD is selling well and for the life of me why the delay. In Las Vegas we now have a channel that screens 2 episodes every Sunday at 5am would you believe. So how about it!
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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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