This Season 1 Boxset went on the pre-order list so fast it broke the sound barrier. Although I'm far too young (my parents were still young children!) to remember this the 1st or even nth time round, I grew up watching Bilko via my dad, who in the 80s and 90s (before VCR, DVD) used to stay up till 12.35am or get up at 6am for the quirky times it was shown on the BBC, which was wonderful, because there were no adverts (sadly now about only a handful of things the BBC has going for it).
A lot of "comedy" wears with time or is only funny for the first 30 seconds of the first airing, and when you come back to it a few years later, you find yourself sitting there thinking: what *was* I thinking? There a few very rare exceptions, such as Dad's Army, Hancock's Half Hour, Porridge, Blackadder, Hi-de-Hi, Only Fools & Horses; The Phil Silvers Show fights for top billing - I can't remember a single bad episode amongst the 120-episode run, and even those that were less than stupendous are still largely unmatched by anything we have today.
The number of brilliant scenes and perfect episodes is lengthy - even more so when you consider the show was filmed live and any "fluffs" had to be covered over by the actors hastily improvising - my personal favourite was the one with the chimp, where the animal began to deviate from the script, and Phil Silvers adlibs to the chimp's actions, making the scene even funnier than it already was. I'm sure everyone has their favourite moments, and characters; Doberman, Zimmerman, Rocco, "Hench" Henshaw, Colonel Hall, etc.
The Phil Silvers show is also excellent for being way ahead of its time in terms of its portrayal of women and ethnic minorities, although I despite Political Correctness and having to use that phrase. Few knew that Fischal Silvers was a Russian Jew who with his parents fled the Tzar's pogroms pre-World War I - another young boy who arrived at the same time possibly on the same ship in the USA was Isaac Asimov, the famous scientist and sci-fi/mystery author. Silvers insisted on having black American actors portray members of his platoon, despite racist executives complaining they were 'too obvious on screen', and the women/love interests are always intelligent as well as beautiful - Silvers had five daughters and no sons, which may have been where he learned to respect the female of the species - and he was a committed anti-racist and anti-sexist individual, which was why so many of his platoon 'characters' were of an ethnic background - Italian-American, Polish/Russian/Slavic-American, etc. At the time nobody realised American-as-apple-pie good ole Phil Silvers was a Jew and a 'Ruskie' as the idiotic racists and McCarthy hysterics labelled them.
It you want guaranteed humour that you can laugh at over and over and over again every time you watch it, without any so-called 'edgy' foul language or cringing crudeness, this is the show for you. The only thing is, now someone has finally got their act together and brought out Season 1, please can we have Seasons 2-5 (120 episodes divide by 24 = 5 boxsets) at regular, frequent intervals, please!