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Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season

DVD | Box Set

4.6 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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(Jul 27, 2010)
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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.

Amazon.com

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, Harvey Lembeck, Paul Ford, 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.)
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 882 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B003KSO3QQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,942 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season" on IMDb

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on August 18, 2010
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