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Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show-50th Anniversary Edition (1955)

Phil Silvers , Paul Ford  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show-50th Anniversary Edition + Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season + 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: Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: May 9, 2006
  • Run Time: 465 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EBGE9G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,416 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show-50th Anniversary Edition" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 18 remastered black-and-white episodes from 1955-1959
  • Commentary by Dick Van Dyke, George Kennedy, Allan Melvin (Cpl. Henshaw), Larry Storch, and Mickey Freeman (Pvt. Zimmerman)
  • Lost audition show
  • Original opening titles
  • Nick@Nite promo taping for the movie with Dan Aykroyd and Phil Hartman
  • Phil Hartman Nick@Nite episode intros
  • Tony Randall and Jack Klugman remember Sgt. Bilko on TV Land
  • Special guest appearances by Phil Silvers on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dick Cavett Show, and by the cast on Phil Silvers on Broadway
  • Emmy Award highlights
  • Allan Melvin (Cpl. Henshaw) episode introductions
  • The Bilko Growl (audio only)
  • Friars stag roast for Humphrey Bogart (audio only)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

"Goldbricker." Now there's a term you don't hear much anymore. But that's what Ed Sullivan called Sgt. Ernest G. Bilko back in the 1950s, and it's as apt a term as any for Phil Silvers' immortal comic creation. Hustler, gambler, scam artist, and con man also apply, but anyway you slice it, Bilko is inarguably one of the greatest characters to emerge in television's so-called Golden Age, and this three-disc 50th Anniversary Edition, cherry picking episodes from all four seasons (it ran from '55-'59), is a beautiful thing. Created by Nat Hiken and originally called "You'll Never Get Rich," The Phil Silvers Show is classic situation comedy. There's no character arc, no lessons learned, no sentimental denouement; just laughs, and plenty of 'em. The typical episode finds Bilko on the make--usually, though not exclusively, for money--and generally ends with him holding the short end of his own shtick. (They don't all follow the formula; a hilarious exception is "The Court Martial," in which Bilko is ordered to defend a chimpanzee that the Army has somehow managed to enlist and is now trying to expel.) Silvers, a master at both verbal and physical comedy, is the focal point, of course. But the ensemble work, featuring Bilko's usual stooges from the Fort Baxter motor pool (Barbella, Doberman, Paparelli), his favorite victims (cf. Col. Hall), and occasional guest stars (episodes with Fred Gwynne, Alan Alda, and Dick Van Dyke are included in this set), is uniformly brilliant, the acting is seemingly effortless, and the pleasure they take in their work is palpable. Bottom line: these shows may have been produced 50 years ago, but the jillions of TV comedies that followed have never improved on them. Among the many quality bonus features are a full-length "lost audition show" (recorded on kinescope), appearances by Silvers on Ed Sullivan and Dick Cavett's programs, audio commentary on some episodes, and more. Some fans will undoubtedly quibble with the episode selection; with only 18 of the more than 140 produced shows included here, it's inevitable that a few favorites didn't make the cut. Still, until (or unless) Paramount gets around to releasing each individual season, this set is a must-have. --Sam Graham

Product Description

Phil Silvers plays Ernie Bilko, a motor pool sgt in the US army. He is based at Fort Baxter, a small camp hidden away near a town called Roseville, in the wilds of Kansas. The camp is supposedly run by Colonel Hall, but it's Bilko that calls the shots. Whether it's poker games, betting on the horses, or when ever he was short of money, which was just about all the time, getting his platoon to cough up. Along with the other Sgt's 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 once and for all.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phil Silvers, a comic genius in top form May 20, 2006
Format:DVD
From TV's Golden Age comes this vastly underrated sitcom with the brilliant Phil Silvers in the role of Sergeant Bilko, a conniving motor pool sergeant in peace time Middle America. He has at his his beck and call a platoon of fiercely loyal privates and a duo of devoted corporals played by Harvey Lembeck and Allan Melvin (the latter of whom provides an audio introduction for each episode on the DVD). Bilko's primary foil is Colonel Hall who is wonderfully portrayed by the avuncular Paul Ford. But Bilko and his crazy cadre will take on all comers, be they a visiting Senate investigative committee, crooked gamblers or a new strictly-by-the-book officer.

Bilko is the classic comic anti-hero. Whether his best laid planes pay off or not (and those of you familiar with sitcoms of the 50's and 60's know all about get-rich-quick schemes) the laughs are a sure thing. All this comedy and it comes sans the scatological references and overuse of sex that are mar today's TV fare.

The hallmark of Silver's comic brilliance is that you often now what's coming but its funny just the same. Bilko was the perfect vehicle for him with its wonderful writing and deep supporting cast (where did they ever find Maurice Gosfield?)

This DVD presentation is long overdue but worth the wait. In addition to the fine prints of these shows comes such special features are vintage commercials, Silvers' Emmy victories at the 1956 version of that TV award show and the obligatory talking heads from today.

Whether you remember the shows from their initial airings, or grew up with scattered reruns as I did or are brand new to Bilko, this DVD set will, like Phil Silvers, not disappoint.
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118 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sitcom gem gets a diamond treatment (hopefully). February 6, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This should have been the first season of Sgt. Bilko (not the Steve Martin movie) show starring Phil Silvers. But the folks at Paramount got cold feet about releasing Bilko with season sets. So what we're left with as an introduction is a sampler of 21 episodes from the four seasons (there were 142 episodes made). Seeing how you rarely catch Phil Silvers on TV anymore, it's still important to have in the collection next to the Hogan's Heroes boxsets. Although you could also put this next to the Beach Party films since it features that man who would go on to become Eric Von Zipper. And don't forget Phil's animated tribute "Top Cat."

the bonus elements do have me excited.
Ed Sullivan Show (scene from episode on show a week before premiere of series)
Emmy Awards (some of them, not all - 56/57) acceptance speeches
Dick Cavet Show with Jack Benny
Promos for Sgt Bilko movie on Nick @ Night
Phil Hartman does his intros for Nick @ Night
Friar's Stag Roast for Humphry Bogart (by Phil Silvers)
Commentary from Allan Melvin (Henshaw)
Episode intros by Allan Melvin
Commentary by Dick Van Dyke
Commentary George Kennedy (army technical advisor)
2 Commentary tracks with Larry Storch (guest star) and Mickey Freeman (Zimmerman) together
Tony Randall and Jack Klugman remember Bilko on TV land promo
Original Network Opening (Camel cigarettes presents), as well as cigarette commercials with cast
Cast on Phil Silvers special "Phil Silvers on Broadway"
Promo for "The New Phil Silvers Show"
Phil's final TV interview with Sonny Fox
Bilko Growl - Phil's last record (single song)
Lost Bilko audition film
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Shows--but not enough June 15, 2006
Format:DVD
I guess if you're a fan of old black & white TV shows you're gonna have to go through this, but "You'll Never Get Rich" was one of the biggest TV hits of the 50s, every bit as big as "the Honeymooners" or "I Love Lucy", but the owners of the show (I guess that's CBS video) don't feel secure in offering a complete run without first putting out this sampler to see how Sgt. Bilko will sell.

I think as far as it goes, it's a great set; but even as a sampler there aren't enough episodes--only 18. The selections are uniformly good--every show on here is a gem, but I think there should have been at least 30-36 programs offered in this, as a "best of" set.

The extras are also neat. My biggest complaint is that my two all time favorite episodes ain't here: the one with THE BEAST, featuring the famous HARVEY from the Honeymooners as a brash bully who comes new to Ft. Baxter and pushes his way into Bilko's enterprises; and the episode where Col. Hall hires a professional card shark to masquerade as an ordinary soldier and beat Bilko at his own game (with hilarious consequences). Hopefully these will be in the next "sample" set, or, better yet, CBS will com e out with a complete season-by-season Bilko.

In the mean time, this is the best we have and it ain't bad. I would also encourage all Bilko fans to buy it as this may show CBS that a complete Bilko would be a profitable offering. The idea that F-Troop, an amusing show, but a second-rate knock-off of Bilko, is being offered complete, but Bilko ain't, is a travesty.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never realized.... September 22, 2006
Format:DVD
The early 1950's saw a lot of great comedy TV shows (besides Lucy) that really had audiences begging for more. As my family laughed and applauded the antics of Joan Davis, Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers and others, I always looked on in wonderment. That's all a toddler can do: enjoy the opening title theme music, and then watch the show, understanding none of it and not getting a single joke.

A lot of these shows are on DVD now and I'm getting a chance to go back and see what all the fun was about. Watching the Phil Silvers Show, I now realize what I was missing. This show rox!

Dear Paramount/CBS video, Your 3-disc set of Sgt. Bilko is great; the sound and picture are superb and the extras are fun Fun FUN! So THIS is the kind of great quality film you have languishing in your vaults? And you're just letting it SIT there? For shame! I promise you, if you release all the shows in boxed sets, one season at a time, I won't be able to order them FAST enough. And believe me, I'm not the only one who feels that way!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage humor. Stands up well.
Enjoyed most of the ones picked. My all-time favorite was not on this dvd, but enjoyed seeing the shows again. Very funny, stands up better than many shows of the era.
Published 1 month ago by Frank Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the All-Time Greats
This is one of the consistently funniest TV shows ever made. Nearly all episodes follow the same format, Silvers as MSG Ernie Bilko comes up with some bizarre money-making way to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Al Hence
5.0 out of 5 stars Another oldie but Goodie!
Ah, the oldies, Phil Silvers! A Classic! Look, no violence, no swearing but a whole lot of fun! If you remember this series, then this is for you.
Published 2 months ago by Lord Rhys
4.0 out of 5 stars Phil Silvers at His Best
I grew up watching Sgt Bilko and I find the show still entertaining after 50+ years. Silvers had great timing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gary Severson
5.0 out of 5 stars so far the dvd's are in good shape
my husband loves bilko; we watch a show each day together.
the delivery was timely; haven't got to check out all of the dvd's; i hope there are no
flaws in the disc. Read more
Published 7 months ago by millard wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars BILKO IS STILL GREAT
Watched these episodes on our old Emerson b&w tv set.It is nice to gave a few of these even though it may not be the comlete series. Read more
Published 7 months ago by phillyd9
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Bilko
If you grew up in the 50's and 60"s You know the show Bilko. Ernie and his crew are hilarious
Published 10 months ago by BILLY OHENRY
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Item
Item advertized as new and it was! Funny and great "extras" with the DVD package. Such a fun old show!!
Published 10 months ago by Lawrence B. Ripp
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of early TV comedy
Television in the '50s was, mathematically, extremely lucky to have on hand Phil Silvers, Nat Hiken, the incredibly talented regular and guest cast and iconic-writers-to-be such as... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bob Grady
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Fun Fun!
I had not seen Sgt. Bilko for 50 years -- more or less -- and had forgotten how entertaining Phil Silvers was.
Published 13 months ago by Patricia L. Varner
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Phil Silvers and his comic genius truly made the Sgt. Bilko series work!
Absolutely!! I just wish they'd put out more sets. A local channel has started showing Bilko once a week, so I'm now seeing some that aren't on this set. But wouldn't it be great if they'd put more Bilko out? Silvers makes the show & makes the whole family crack up. Great delivery. No... Read more
Mar 29, 2008 by jb |  See all 4 posts
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