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




Series cast summary:
 Cpl. Rocco Barbella / ... 143 episodes, 1955-1959
 Col. John T. Hall / ... 143 episodes, 1955-1959
 Pvt. Dino Papparelli 139 episodes, 1955-1959
Maurice Gosfield ...
 Pvt. Duane Doberman / ... 139 episodes, 1955-1959
 Cpl. Sam Fender / ... 139 episodes, 1955-1959
Bernard Fein ...
 Pvt. Gomez / ... 137 episodes, 1955-1959
Jack Healy ...
 Pvt. Fielding Zimmerman 133 episodes, 1955-1959
Maurice Brenner ...
 Pvt. Irving Fleischman / ... 132 episodes, 1955-1959
Karl Lukas ...
 Pvt. Stash Kadowski 97 episodes, 1955-1958
 Pvt. Sugie Sugarman / ... 92 episodes, 1955-1959
Jimmy Little ...
 MSgt. Francis Grover 61 episodes, 1955-1959


Sergeant Ernie Bilko is the ultimate con man. He runs the motor pool at a small Kansas U.S. 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 <>

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:

,  »
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Technical Specs


(143 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Never before available, but now available on the season one, five-DVD set, is the unaired pilot called "You'll Never Get Rich" from Nat Hiken's private collection archives. This never broadcast pilot had the late Jack Warden in the role of Corporal Steve Henshaw. When the real pilot was aired, it was re-titled "The New Recruits" with newcomer Allan Melvin replacing Jack Warden as Corporal Henshaw. It kept the same storyline of Bilko needing to raise money in order to get in a big poker game. Melvin stayed with the series throughout it's entire run. 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.
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Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: It Conquered the World (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Still worth watching!
25 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

A great testament to the talents of Phil Silvers. With its complex plotlines and quickfire dialogue it's still a treat to watch Silvers's monumental character when you can find it somewhere in the BBC schedules. The most said line in the whole series must be "but, Sarge!" as Bilko launches into another diabolical and, ultimately, flawed scheme to make money and dodge work. And Col Hall's stunned looks, "what is he up to?" are a joy.

It must also contain the best adlib in TV history. Bilko has to hide a chimp in camp (don't ask!)and the chimp accidently gets enlisted. To avoid even further embarrassment, the US Army decides to court martial the chimp to get him discharged. Bilko defends him. In the middle of a monologue from Silvers, the chimp, obviously impossible to rehearse, gets off a chair and picks up a nearby phone. After a pause, Silvers says, "he's calling for another lawyer".

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