The Phil Silvers Show (1955–1959)
1 user

The Court Martial 

Colonel Hall is attempting to set a new Army record for inducting new recruits. Unfortunately he also inducts a chimpanzee then has to convene a court martial to discharge Private Harry Speakup.


Al De Caprio


Nat Hiken (created by), Nat Hiken | 2 more credits »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode cast overview:
Phil Silvers ... MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko
Harvey Lembeck ... Cpl. Rocco Barbella
Paul Ford ... Col. John T. Hall
Allan Melvin ... Cpl. Steve Henshaw
John Boruff John Boruff ... General Rogers
Nicholas Saunders Nicholas Saunders ... Captain Barker
Joey Faye Joey Faye ... Charlie Chapman
Zippy the Chimp Zippy the Chimp ... Pvt. Harry Speakup (as Zippy)


Colonel Hall is keen to set a new Army record for inducting new recruits into the army. He aims to enlist 309 men in less than 2 hours and ALMOST achieves this by inducting 308 men + 1 chimpanzee. Somehow Zippy the chimp has been enlisted as Private Harry Speakup and once the Pentagon have him on their books the only way to get him out of the army is by convening a Court Martial. Bilko's head is also on the block and so he decides to act as Private Speakup's legal counsel to ensure a fair trial and save his own skin. Written by Stephen Farnsworth

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family





Release Date:

6 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Uncredited technical advisor, George Kennedy, confirms in his dvd commentary that one of the funniest lines in this story ("Just a minute, sir. I think he's calling for another lawyer.") was ad-libbed on the spot by Phil Silvers. See more »


[Harry, the chimp, is being defended by Bilko at his court martial trial]
Col. John T. Hall: Bilko, this time, I think you've gone too far!
MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko: Sir, I hate to give this trouble to the court...
Pvt. Harry Speakup: [abruptly leaves defense table and scampers to another table and picks up a telephone]
MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko: [ad-libbing] Just a minute, sir. I think he's calling for another lawyer.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Considered "The Most Remembered Episode"
7 October 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

The Court Martial 3-6-56 According to the introduction, this is the most-remembered show of this famous television comedy series, the one in which a monkey is official enlisted in the U.S. Army.

Colonel Hall and Fort Baxter want to make history by inducting 309 recruits in less than two hours, an all-time record for "efficiency." However, one of the new recruits bring his pet chimpanzee to the barracks and, because of hectic conditions, Sgt. Bilko is too late to stop the induction process. At each station, things happen so quickly that "Harry Speakup," a name given the monkey, passes inspection. Now, once discovered, the Army has to find a way to get "him" out of the military with nobody the wiser.

They decide to court martial him after the chimp bites the mess sergeant and Bilko is ordered to defend him! I found that last six minutes - the court-martial trial - as the funniest part of the show.

Yes, this story is totally ludicrous and incomprehensible, but it's a classic episode. Watching it 50 years later, I didn't think it was all that fantastic. It was okay but not a lot of laughs to me, but I do remember this story, so it must have had an impact, even on me.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed