Bilko discovers one of his platoon is an expert on birds. He signs Pvt. Honnegan up for 'The $64,000 Question' TV show. Honnegan is a smash hit on his specialized subject of birds, until he is struck by an unexpected case of amnesia.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Col. John T. Hall (credit only)
Maurice Gosfield ...
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Cpl. Steve Henshaw (as Allen Melvin)
Walter Cartier ...
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Cpl. Sam Fender (as Herby Faye)
Bernard Fein ...
Pvt. Gomez (as Bernie Fein)
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Karl Lukas ...
Jack Healy ...
Maurice Brenner ...
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P. Jay Sidney ...
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Storyline

Bilko discovers one of his platoon is an expert on birds. He signs Pvt. Honnegan up for 'The $64,000 Question' TV show. Honnegan is a smash hit on his specialized subject of birds, until he is struck by an unexpected case of amnesia.

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Comedy | Family

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25 September 1956 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Goofs

The audio closing credits announce Fred Gwynne's role as "Private Honnegan", rather than Corporal Honnegan. His uniform bears two stripes. See more »

Connections

References The $64,000 Question (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fantastic stuff from Silvers and Gwynne
19 October 2015 | by (glasgow, scotland) – See all my reviews

I love Bilko. 60 years old last month and now rarely broadcast - at least in the UK- it still knocks spots off almost all of the subsequent pretenders to its crown as the greatest situation comedy of them all.This is a fine, fine episode with a truly glorious final scene that makes me laugh uncontrollably every time I see it.

The plot is I suppose fairly standard for the show- Bilko spots an opportunity to make a very quick buck and then sees his dreams off the money dashed when he can almost smell the money. The plan this time is to enter a fellow soldier at Fort Baxter on the $64000 Show and claim the prize. His unwitting accomplice is this time a Corporal Honnegan (played by Fred Gwynne) who has become an expert on ornithology after being posted for nearly two years to the Arctic with only a bird encyclopedia to read. He knows the book off by heart and when he is finally persuaded to take part he strolls to the $32000 prize nonchalantly answering every question thrown at him. And then the trouble starts.

In the hotel between recordings he sustains an accident that empties his brain of all knowledge of birds. When shown a bird in a cage he asks 'Is it a chicken?' Bilko, close to the big money hatches a scheme that will see himself accompany Honnegan into the booth for the big money question wearing a bandage that conceals headphones that will allow his comrades to feed him the answer to the final question - which is to identify a bird known as 'Richardson's Owl'. This scene is , like Niles Crane trying to press his trousers in Frasier and Basil Fawlty lashing his motor car with a branch absolute comic heaven before finally Honnegan rediscovers his knowledge, wins the prize and donates his prize to others- For The Birds.

Phil Silvers is, as always, a maestro of wise cracking deviousness but Gwynne matches him as the otherwise dull-witted bird expert- he is possibly better known in the context of Bilko for the equally glorious 'The Stomach' and of course as Herman Munster (and as one of Lee J Cobb's heavies in 'On The Waterfront') but he is absolutely perfect in this role where his gangling awkwardness is a perfect fit for the comically troubled corporal.

Treat yourself and search this episode of this wonderful episode. Oh and there really is such a thing as 'Richardson's Owl'.


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