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Scene from Sgt. Bilko

Phil Silvers 

as the hilarious Sgt. Bilko, you gotta love the guy!

The Phil Silvers Show (a.k.a. "You'll Never Get Rich", a.k.a. "Sgt. Bilko") was a fast-paced and clever situation comedy that ran on television from 1955 to 1959. The Sgt. Bilko character was a fast-talking, deceitful, manipulative schemer — but in a friendly, conscientiousness kinda way. That's not easy to do, but Phil Silvers played it just right. One of the funniest characters, and one of the greatest sitcoms, of television's golden age!

Contained in the Museum of Broadcast Communication's description of the tv show is a great explanation of why the complex Sgt. Bilko character was ultimately lovable:

Aside from money and favors won in poker games and elaborate rackets, Bilko never benefits at the expense of others. Faced with innocent victims, the Sergeant's conscience kicks in and he expends every mental resource to resolve the problem. Bilko's one redeeming moral quality, therefore, is his heart of gold, which prevents him both from truly prospering or losing his humanity.

While describing his character Phil Silvers once said:

"...this Sgt. Ernie Bilko is a complete picture of all the great goldbrick artists who ever made good in the Army. He's king of the motor pool, lord of the mess hall, scourge of the orderly room. Even the colonel quails before Bilko. Bilko is the smoothest operator you've ever seen- He runs poker games, baseball pools and bedmaking contests. He also sells embroidered pillows. He even rents his car at 10 cents a mile—with a group plan available at special rates. And not only that, but this Bilko comes from a distinguished line of Army goldbricks. Why, his great-grandfather, Major Horatio Bilko, sold tickets to fill up the boat when Washington crossed the Delaware. That's why the general had to stand up."

Sgt. Bilko Comic Book

Mr. Silvers made his "debut" singing with a street gang on the boardwalk at Coney Island at the age of 14. One day a stranger threw him a dime, handed him a business card and said, "Drop around and see me, kid. On the card was the name of Gus Edwards. Phil didn't know that Edwards' vaudeville act, "The School Days Review" played the famous old Palace Theater. (It produced such stars as Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Groucho Marx and Ray Bolder.) But he dropped around anyway. Ten days later he was making $40 a week as one of Edwards' singing newsboys at the Palace—then, the goal of every old trouper.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

While many old TV shows understandably have become outdated and a little stale, the comedy of The Phil Silvers Show still holds up today. A top-notch production in every way, even the character actors that made up the platoon were exceptionally funny in their very limited roles. The energy and clever writing, and the sheer amount of work that went into the production of the show, helps it to stand the test of time.


PICTitlePriceBidCount
Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series (DVD, 2014 20 Disc )Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series (DVD, 2014 20 Disc )USD 35.99Buy It Now
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The Phil Silvers Show - Sgt. Bilko  & First Day Cover  The Phil Silvers Show - Sgt. Bilko & First Day Cover USD 30.99Buy It Now
PHIL SILVERS TV's SGT. BILKO 1950's Hit Comedy Series Photograph Autograph 8x10PHIL SILVERS TV's SGT. BILKO 1950's Hit Comedy Series Photograph Autograph 8x10USD 7.99Buy It Now
Image: Sgt. Bilko. Phil Silvers. TV. Television.Image: Sgt. Bilko. Phil Silvers. TV. Television.USD 6.4Buy It Now
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 Judy Garland Show original photos Phil Silvers CBS-TV 1963 Robert Goulet great Judy Garland Show original photos Phil Silvers CBS-TV 1963 Robert Goulet greatUSD 39.95Buy It Now
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