Customer Reviews


82 Reviews
5 star:
 (75)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The greatest sitcom of them all - but even Bilko might have something to say about the DVD
Ten-HUT!!! It's taken them four long years to get around to it after releasing the 50th anniversary compilation, but Paramount and CBS have finally got around to releasing the complete first season of Sergeant Bilko aka The Phil Silvers Show from 1955-6. It may not be as extras-packed as the compilation - a couple of audio commentaries with Allan Melvin (on first episode...
Published on 5 Sept. 2010 by Trevor Willsmer

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Some interference on all episodes - pity - But great service from Amazon as it had to be returned
Published 3 months ago by Mary Mc Carron


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The greatest sitcom of them all - but even Bilko might have something to say about the DVD, 5 Sept. 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Ten-HUT!!! It's taken them four long years to get around to it after releasing the 50th anniversary compilation, but Paramount and CBS have finally got around to releasing the complete first season of Sergeant Bilko aka The Phil Silvers Show from 1955-6. It may not be as extras-packed as the compilation - a couple of audio commentaries with Allan Melvin (on first episode New Recruits) and technical advisor George Kennedy (on The Court Martial) carried over from the earlier set, the original title sequence, a couple of cast commercials for Camel cigarettes and Pontiac cars, the unbroadcast pilot from when the show was still going to be called You'll Never Get Rich and a 1966 episode of The Lucy Show with Phil Silvers guest starring - but the show is what matters here, and season one comes filled with plenty of classic episodes from the most consistently funny and ingenious American sitcom of them all.

Among the first 34 episodes you'll find The Empty Store, with Bilko pulling one of the greatest cons of all time; The Eating Contest, where Bilko's secret weapon in a eating contest, Ed `The Stomach' Honergan (The Munsters' Fred Gwynne) turns out only to be able to eat when depressed; The Rest Cure, where Bilko tries to con his way out of the heat wave at Fort Baxter and into a free holiday at the army's expense by pretending the Motor Pool are going insane with overwork (listing a Private Marilyn Monroe and naming human sacrifice among their group hobbies on an army questionnaire); The Twitch, where Bilko manages to turn a lecture on Beethoven into an international betting sensation by running a book on how many times the lecturer brought in to stop the men from gambling will involuntarily twitch; The Court Martial, where a chimp on rollerskates is inducted into the army as Private Harry Speakup, coming third in the intelligence test in the process!; Hollywood, where Bilko is sent as a technical advisor on a film the Pentagon doesn't want made and unwittingly drives the studio mad with his creative demands (Three Coins in the Fountain songwriter Jule Styne cameos as himself in this one); and Bilko and the Beast, where Ernie nearly meets his match in the belligerent drill Sergeant Quentin Q. Benton. But even in the lesser episodes, the standard is remarkably high, with plenty of laughs, superb writing and some great moments of ad-libbing, particularly when the odd horse or chimpanzee misses their mark or when Paul Ford stumbles over a line or strays off script.

Bilko himself is one of the great comic creations, the finagling regular army sergeant out to wring every cent he can from every man on the post, who knows all the angles and who can wrap the post's nominal commander, Paul Ford's wonderful Colonel John T. `Melonhead' Hall, around his finger, yet who can still come out the other side likeable for all his duplicity. And, like Dad's Army's blustering Captain Mainwaring, when the chips are down, he genuinely cares about his men - when the slobbish Private Doberman is insulted in Mardi Gras, he takes it as a personal insult to be avenged as a matter of honor. And, of course, there's that great supporting cast: his loyal sidekicks Henshaw (Allan Melvin) and Barbella (Beach Blanket movie regular Harvey Lembeck), his constant rivals Grover (Jimmy Little), Pendleton (Ned Glass) and Mess Sergeant Sowici (Harry Clark) and his motor pool platoon, one of the most amazing collection of geeks, gimps and oddballs ever assembled. In fact, throughout its run the show had a surprisingly huge ensemble of supporting players, the expense of which would ultimately be a factor in its cancellation after four seasons.

The pilot episode, surviving as a scratched 16mm Kinescope copy that was also included on the earlier 50th Anniversary set, is particularly revealing. Somewhat overwritten (it runs 33 minutes versus the regular episodes' 25), the script benefits from some heavy editing when it was reshot as the opening episode, New Recruits, the pilot's dress rehearsal feeling replaced by a much more smoothly-oiled machine that delivers the laughs with much more pace and panache. Some of the casting is different, too. Henshaw is played by Jack Warden with a harder edge than Allan Melvin: a more believable corporal but a less effective stooge, he seems to have come in from a different show. John Gibson's padre is played here by Jimmy Little, who would play a far more convincing Sergeant Grover in the series, while `Melonhead' Hall is played as a bland and unmemorable cipher by an unidentified actor. Other changes are slightly more cosmetic, with Maurice Gosfield appearing in the cast but as Mulrooney rather than the legendary Doberman (who is played by Maurice Brenner, who would be recast as Private Fleischman). It's still a good episode, but it falls just short of the greatness of the series proper.

It's not all good news, however. While they're comparable to the TV prints (though some of the copies that play on the BBC are a bit better), the episodes haven't undergone any remastering, leaving some minor niggles - some episodes are a bit grainy or too bright and there's some slight overcropping of the image in places as well. But worse is that The Horse (and, to a much lesser extent, Mardi Gras) is a curiously re-edited version that loses the odd line here and there by cutting out the original fade-outs and fade-ins and replacing them with abrupt lap-dissolves to remove all trace of commercial breaks. Nothing important is lost, but it seems pointless releasing an inferior version when good prints of the uncut version are still in circulation. And, a more minor niggle, not having a `play all' option but having to return to the menu after each episode is a bit of a pain. It would be nice to think that CBS/Paramount might take a bit more care with the next three seasons, but having waited this long for them to get around to releasing this set, it might just be optimism to assume that they'll be any quicker off the mark releasing them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


157 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten-Hut! Episode Guide Series One., 14 Aug. 2010
By 
Armchair Pundit "Armchair Pundit." (Durham City, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
The ten episodes marked with an * are also on the 50th anniversary edition. Not as many extras as that release but when It's Sgt Bilko who needs extras.
Although for those of us who got the 50th anniversary edition there are ten stories we've already got, but twenty four we haven't. Bargain!
~
Disc 1:
New Recruits (commentary by Allan Melvin) *
The Empty Store
The WAC *
The Horse *
AWOL
The Boxer
Special Feature: The Lost Audition Show - (Rarely seen, live audition show that was never broadcast.)
~
Disc 2
The Hoodlum
Mardi Gras
The Eating Contest *
The Centennial
Bivouac *
The Singing Contest
The Twitch *
Special Feature: Original Opening & Cast commercials (Camel cigerettes and Pontiac car commercial.)
~
Disc 3
The Reunion
The Rich Kid
Hollywood
The Investigation *
Kids in the Trailer
The Revolutionary War *
The Transfer
~
Disc 4
The Rest Cure
Dinner at Sowici's
Army Memoirs
Miss America
The Court Martial* (commentary by George Kennedy , this is the one featuring the chimp.)
Furlough in New York
The Big Uranium Strike
~
Disc 5
Bilko and the Beast
Physical Check-up
Recruiting Sergeant
Hair
The Con Men *
War Games
Bilko on Wall Street
Special Feature: "Lucy and the Efficiency Expert" (An episode from Lucille Ball's "The Lucy Show", which features Phil Silvers as the Efficiency Expert.)
~
Trivia:- There were four seasons of Bilko, 1955-59, 143 episodes in total, after season three they moved from Fort Baxter, Kansas to Camp Fremont, California.
Creator Nat Hiken left when they moved the production from New York, two years later he created "Car 54 where are you?".
In the 1980's a British tourist was nearly arrested when a Chinese soldier thought the man depicted on her Sgt. Bilko T-shirt was the Dalai Lama.
I think Bilko would have liked that.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BILKO-Phil silvers series 1, 14 Sept. 2010
By 
A. W. Wilson - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Can i say how really helpful all the reviews here are (particularly "Armchair Pundit) who has taken a lot of trouble,telling me which eps are on the "best of" and giving me a chance to weigh up whether I get this series 1. Anyway, how could I not get it?? Brilliant still, after all these years. Fantastic dialogue which actually requires listening to. Great performences from Silvers and Paul Ford, and well, ecveryone. The price on Amazon is very good, delivery quick, anf the prints (those that I have seen so far) are good. Young or old, if you like good, clever comedy, you cannot not get this. And as others all say... Bring on the rest, preferably for Xmas 2010.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes! yes! Finally! At last! 10 stars out of 5, 1 Sept. 2010
By 
C. Stewart "The Cat's Whiskers" (Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last!, 17 July 2010
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
I suspect that most people who read these reviews will have already seen most of these shows, and won't need any persuading to buy, but if you are oblivious to this almost forgotten gem, then this is possibly a chance to see what - in my mind - is the 'daddy' of all sit coms.
I first saw 'Bilko' in the 1970's on the BBC, when it was screened after 'Parkinson' on a Saturday night, and have been a fan ever since, despite not seeing anything appear on DVD for a long long time. I'm certain that I've seen every episode many times, but never tire of Phil Silvers' comic genius, and will order every series they bring out without hesitation.
I simply cannot recommend this DVD highly enough! This is classic comedy at its very best - the fact that it was first aired over 50 years ago is irrelevant.
Perhaps Phil Silvers regretted never having as much success with his later work, but if that was the case, he needn't have worried, as that was an merely an illustration of how he 'was' Bilko, and there was no shame in that, as he created, then played the part to perfection. When can we expect the other series?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Old Ernie, 26 Jan. 2011
By 
J JARVIS "Nostalgia Fan" (HOLT, NORFOLK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Can`t praise this collection enough, still as good as ever. Brings back so many happy memories when all we had at home was a 12inch screen Murphy television and only one channel to view. Sounds incredible with so much to choose from nowadays nobody argueed about what to watch. I was a sixteen year old in heaven. Saturdays viewing started with The Range Rider, I was then sent to out to get fish and chips for tea. Four lots Mum, Dad and my Sister. Then came Bilko followed by Dale Robertson in Tales of Wells Fargo. Father and I loved Wells Fargo and Bilko they were our highlights of the weeks viewing along with Perry Como who I believe was on a Wednesday.
Like a previous reviewer I had some bad copies I had bought from E Bay but this is the genuine article with out a doubt possible the best quality we have ever seen Good old Ernie Bilko. Col Hall and the Platoon. I often question why did Steve Martin attempt it, (Must have been money) The show has stood the test of time so well and is just as funny as ever. Duane Dodermans smile alone is guaranteed to cheer you up. Sadly my Mother and Father are no longer with us along with Phil Silvers and the majority of the cast. I myself am considerable older than sixteen. The size of the TV has changed I now have a 50 inch. And even though we have endless amounts of channels the majority is rubbish. Thank goodness and God bless Phil Silvers who never alters and is still as good as it was 50 odd years ago....Good Old Ernie
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best comedy ever - possibly the best TV programme ever, 10 Jan. 2011
By 
R. GORDON (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
I've never written a review for Amazon I don't think but even if I have I want to now because this is amazing value for money. Great shows. The vintage era of Bilko - Nat Hiken at the peak of his powers. George Kennedy - the George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke et al) provides an insightful commentary for the Chimp Court Martial episode - he was a technical adviser for the show (new to me)Don't waste any more time reading my review or anyone else's do yourself a favour and buy this DVD now. No regrets!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Stuff, 21 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
A must for fans of Phil Silvers and his alter ego,Ernie Bilko.This DVD is stuffed full of comic gems and will appeal to fans and Bilko virgins alike.Quality is not bad for the period and does not detract from the content. I can't wait for Series 2 to be released.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Comedy, 17 Jun. 2011
By 
Eric Faragher (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Like many others who have reviewed this item, I already had the 50th anniversary DVD box set, but Phil Silvers is so good in the role of Bilko that I couldn't resist getting the complete first series, and I'm glad that I did. There are plenty of shows to enjoy here that do not appear in the anniversary set, enough to make it well worth the money.

Bilko is a classic character who can only be played by Phil Silvers. His comedy is athletic, but not in the conventional, slapstick sense. His use of reaction and his portrayal of thoughts and emotions demand an expressive face, fast movement, fast talking and lightning switches, but all without losing realism. Every time he's selling his pitch, the audience is "in on it" and enjoys the satisfaction of being an insider, which is a subtle skill for any performer to master, yet Phil Silvers appears to handle it effortlessly, even though he was in fact powered by sheer nervous energy and a frenetic brain that could pull out a side-splitting ad lib instantly. In close support to such natural talent, honed by years of practice, we are treated to quality scripts and a great supporting cast.

I watched Bilko as a kid and laughed. I'm now in my fifties and he can still make me laugh, loud and long. I expect that I will still be laughing at him as long as I can managed to laugh at all. I just hope that the rest of the shows are on the way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special Features:, 7 Aug. 2010
By 
R. Phillips (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Audio Commentaries feature George Kennedy on "The Court Martial" and Allan Melvin on "New Recruits." Both have good memories of working with Phil Silvers.

The Lost Audition Show (33:05) is the original pilot. The story is the same as "New Recruits." Jack Warden plays the role of Cpl. Henshaw that went to Allan Melvin. Warden's just a little too intense to be one of Bilko's henchmen. This was never aired on TV since the audition was shot with videocameras and captured on 16mm with a kinescope process. The camera work is rough and the print has scratches.

Original Network Openings (0:26) has the troops marching under the orders of Camel Cigarettes. Remember that smoking is bad for you.

Original Cast Commercials (2:38) has them pushing Camel cigarettes and the '59 Pontiac. The guys at Pontiac gave Phil a horn that matches his personality.

Lucy and the Efficiency Expert (25:28) is from the fifth season of The Lucy Show. Mr. Mooney (Gale Gordon) hires an efficiency expert (Phil Silvers) to transform his bank's workforce. Little does he suspect that Lucy will connect with Silvers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 [DVD] [1955]
£13.30
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews