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The Phil Silvers Show (1955–1959)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy, Family
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 958 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 8 critic

Sgt. Ernie Bilko is the ultimate con man. He runs the motor pool at a small Kansas US Army Camp. Colonel Hall, nominally in charge of the base tries to keep Bilko's plans in check. Bilko ... See full summary »


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4   3   2   1  
1959   1958   1957   1956   1955  
Won 8 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko / ... (142 episodes, 1955-1959)
 Col. John T. Hall / ... (142 episodes, 1955-1959)
 Cpl. Rocco Barbella / ... (141 episodes, 1955-1959)
 Cpl. Steve Henshaw / ... (141 episodes, 1955-1959)
Maurice Gosfield ...
 Pvt. Duane Doberman / ... (138 episodes, 1955-1959)
Herbie Faye ...
 Cpl. Sam Fender / ... (138 episodes, 1955-1959)
 Pvt. Dino Papparelli (138 episodes, 1955-1959)
Bernard Fein ...
 Pvt. Gomez / ... (136 episodes, 1955-1959)
 Pvt. Fielding Zimmerman (132 episodes, 1955-1959)
Jack Healy ...
 Pvt. Mullen (132 episodes, 1955-1959)
Maurice Brenner ...
 Pvt. Irving Fleischman / ... (131 episodes, 1955-1959)
Karl Lukas ...
 Pvt. Stash Kadowski (95 episodes, 1955-1958)
 Pvt. Sugie Sugarman / ... (91 episodes, 1955-1959)
Jimmy Little ...
 MSgt. Francis Grover (61 episodes, 1955-1959)


Sgt. Ernie Bilko is the ultimate con man. He runs the motor pool at a small Kansas US Army Camp. Colonel Hall, nominally in charge of the base tries to keep Bilko's plans in check. Bilko runs every money making scheme that he thinks he can pull off. Midnight cruises on Landing Craft, Tank Rides, Poker games, and an interesting deal with local service stations for spare parts for jeep tires. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family





Release Date:

20 September 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

You'll Never Get Rich  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(143 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the ratings were still good in the show's final season, it was canceled by CBS because they wanted to sell the reruns in syndication. At the time, it was believed that a series could not still be in production in order to do well in reruns. The reruns were sold to NBC and aired continuously for 40 years. See more »


MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko: You said "but". I've put the finger on the whole problem. You're a "but" man. Don't say "but". That little word "but" is the difference between success and failure.
See more »


Referenced in The Jack Benny Program: The Phil Silvers Show (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

This Series Didn't Win All Those Emmys For Nothing - A Great TV Show!
25 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

On the Collector's Edition DVD, there are 18 episodes from the Bilko television series, a series that won numerous Emmy awards and sure entertained me, my family and friends in the mid-to-late '50s. Silvers starred as the con man of the Army, a sergeant whose love of money and thrill of gambling or pulling some con job seemed to supersede everything else in his life. Yet, as shallow as he often appeared, inside was a compassionate person with a heart (although they wasn't always evident!).

Almost all of Ernie Bilko's schemes worked for awhile but failed in the end, but he was never deterred. He would just look up to the heavens, say "Why me? Why? Why!" and go on to the next scheme the following week.

It wasn't always humorous to see him lying, cheating, conniving, giving false praise to old ladies like Colonel Hall's wife and friends, pulling rank on hapless new recruits, etc., but most of the time it was because we knew it wasn't done maliciously. Almost all of his stunts were designed with one purpose: to gain money, although sometimes he gave it back when his conscience got the best of him.

The cast surrounding Phil Silvers also was outstanding. The names of the characters live on forever in the mind's of Bilko fans like me. I didn't need to watch this DVD to remember names like "Col. John Hall and his wife Nell, Duane Doberman, Rocco Barbella, Rupert Ridzik, Francis Grover, Fielding Zimmerman, Dino Paparelli, Joan Hogan, Henshaw, Fender, Kadowski and others.

To be honest, I didn't find the show 50 years later to be as funny as I had remembered it, but what is? I had such fond memories that I probably elevated it too high on the pedestal. Still, this DVD provided many hours of nostalgia and laughs and when it was over, I was sad to see it end. I just hope they put out another edition on DVD.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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