Season One - September 1955 to May 1956

 

Production Credits

 

Filmed at the DuMont Studios, NY by Kenco Films, Inc. for CBS Television

 

Produced and staged by Nat Hiken

Directed by Al De Caprio

Photographed by William J. Miller

Supervised by Edward J.Montagne

Edited by Sy Singer, Ray Sandiford

Art Direction by Don Gilman, Al Brenner

 

Production Manager - M. Clay Adams

Music by John Strauss

Additional Music by Hank Sylvern

Recording Engineer - James Shields

Assistant to producer - Kevin Pynes

Settings by Jack Landau

 

Writers - Nat Hiken, Arnold Auerbach, Barry Blitzer, Vincent Bogert, Coleman Jacoby, Harvey Orkin, Arnie Rosen, Terry Ryan, Tony Webster

 

Credits Announcer: Bern Bennett

 

Cast

 

Phil Silvers as Master Sergeant Ernie Bilko

Paul Ford as Colonel John Hall

Nick Saunders as Captain Barker

Harvey Lembeck as Corporal Rocco Barbella

Allan Melvin as Corporal Steve Henshaw

Harry Clark as Sergeant Stanley Sowici

Ned Glass as Sergeant Pendleton

Jimmy Little as Sergeant Grover

Elizabeth Fraser as Sergeant Joan Hogan

Billy Sands as Private Dino Paparelli

Herbie Faye as Corporal Sam Fender

Maurice Gosfield as Private Duane Doberman

Mickey Freeman as Private Fielding Zimmerman

Karl Lukas as Private Stash Kadowski

Tige Andrews as Private Gander

Jack Healy as Private Mullen

Maurice Brenner as Private Irving Fleischman

Bernie Fein as Private Gomez

P J Sydney as Private Palmer

Walter Cartier as Private Claude Dillingham

John Gibson as The Chaplain

 

 

Season One Episode Guide

 

 

New Recruits - (Air  Date - 20 Sep 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken)

Also starring - Michael Dreyfus and Jim Perry 

During an all-night poker session with Sgt.'s Sowici, Pendleton and Grover, Bilko is fleeced of his bankroll. Before he can join in another game he needs to raise another bankroll - could his assignment of a bunch of new recruits be the answer  to his prayers?

 

Empty Store (Air Date - 27 Sep 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken)

Also starring - Michael Dreyfus and Harry Gresham

Frozen out of poker sessions by Sowici, Pendleton and Grover, and unable to raise any stake money Bilko takes the unusual step of renting an empty store in Roseville and no one knows why. Soon the whole of Fort Baxter is buzzing with rumours and everyone wants in!

 

WAC - aka WAAC (Air Date - 4 Oct 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken & Arnold Auerbach)

Also starring - Jane Dulo 

Bilko volunteers for special duty that will also provide him with the use of an army jeep. A mysterious new sergeant also volunteers and Bilko hatches a plan to take the newcomer down. But has Bilko bitten off more than he can chew?

 

The Horse (Air Date - 11 Oct 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Bob Shawley and John Alexander

Using the Platoon Welfare Fund Bilko buys ailing racehorse Blue Boy. He has high  hopes of turning him into a winner. However looking after it presents more than a few problems!

 

A.W.O.L. - aka The Awol (Air Date - 18 Oct 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken)

Also starring - Hans Schumm, Pat Hingle, Jim Perry, Ben Astar and Jean Mowry

When Pvt.Nagy goes AWOL to take care of some family business it's up to Sgt.Bilko to bring him back from Chicago before Colonel Hall finds out.

 

The Boxer - aka Boxing Tournament (Air Date -25 Oct 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Frank Marth, Johnny Seven, Dody Goodman and Hollis Irving

Sgt.Bilko discovers that one of the men in his platoon, Claude Dillingham, is a former Golden Gloves boxer. Dillingham refuses to fight so Bilko must use all his cunning and guile to get Claude into the ring again.

 

The Hoodlum  (Air Date - 1 Nov 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken)

Also starring - Paul Porter Jr. and Jack Mullaney

Bilko is out to win the 'Soldier of the Month' award but his plans are threatened by the arrival of a problem recruit named Pvt.Parker. Bilko devises a cunning scheme to make Parker see the error of his ways!

 

Mardi Gras - aka Motor Pool Mardi Gras (8 Nov 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Constance Ford, Russell Hicks, Jane Dulo and Dody Goodman 

When Doberman is humiliated by Roseville socialite Joy Landers, Ernie decides to make Miss Landers see Duane in a new light. Soon the tables are turned and thanks to Bilko's scheming it's Miss Landers' turn to face humiliation.

 

Eating Contest  (15 Nov 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken & Arnold Auerbach)

Also starring - Fred Gwynne, Bern Hoffman, Murray Hamilton and Janet Waldo 

When Pvt. Ed Honnergan is transferred to Bilko's platoon Bilko soon discovers that he has a former army eating champion known as 'The Stomach' in his barracks. The problem is that 'The Stomach' has lost his appetite. It's time for Bilko to fight dirty!

 

The Centennial (Air Date - 22 Nov 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Al Checco, Herbert Evers and Temple Texas 

When special services officer Lieutenant Parker arrives at Fort Baxter he introduces a program of fine arts, dance and painting instruction. He threatens to put a stop to Bilko's gambling activities. Bilko uses a pageant marking Fort Baxter's centennial to put an end to Parker's hopes.

 

Bivouac - aka Sick-Call Ernie (Air Date - 29 Nov 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Arthur Storch, Philippa Bevans and Jim Perry 

As Fort Baxter's annual army maneuvers approach, Bilko has to think about which ailment he will contract this year to ensure he's confined to his sick-bed. However, wise to Bilko's every move Colonel Hall has an ace up his sleeve.

 

Singing Contest (Air Date - 06 Dec 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Bob Dixon and Jim Perry 

When Roseville is hit by a big winter freeze Bilko decides he needs to get away to warmer climes. He spots an opportunity to enter the platoon in an army singing contest, with the first prize being a trip to Florida. He cooks up a scheme to place bets against his own platoon but he hasn't reckoned on the talents of Pvt.Brubaker.

 

The Twitch - aka Lecture (Air Date - 13 Dec 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Charlotte Rae, John Stephen and Jim Perry 

In an effort to crack down on Bilko's gambling on the post, Colonel Hall introduces a series of lectures which he hopes will take the men's minds off gambling. When Mrs. Whitney, also known as The Twitch, arrives on the post Bilko spots another gambling angle and a chance to make big money!

 

Reunion (Air Date - 20 Dec 1955 - Written by Nat Hiken & Arnold Auerbach)

Also starring - John Anderson, Heywood Hale Broun and Horace McMahon 

When Bilko attends a 10-year reunion party with his old wartime buddies he's offered his dream job in New York. He soon finds out the grass isn't always greener!

 

Rich Kid (Air Date - 27 Dec 1955 CBS - Written by Nat Hiken)

Also starring - Mark Rydell, Jane Dulo, Dody Goodman and Henry Lasko 

Bilko's dreams of opening a new bar and grill house come a step closer when the latest recruit to his platoon, Pvt. Thompson, turns out to be none other than Tommy Vandemeer. Tommy just happens to be the sole heir to a multi-million dollar fortune.

 

Hollywood - aka Hollywood Picture (Air Date - 3 Jan 1956 CBS - Written by Nat Hiken)

Also starring - Ralph Stantley, Howard Smith, Jule Styne and Malcom Lee Beggs 

A Hollywood studio plans to make a new war film and they need  someone who served at the battle of Kabuchi. The Pentagon send Sgt. Bilko to act as a technical advisor and its not long before Bilko is running the production!

 

Investigation - aka Military Budget (Air Date - 10 Jan 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Ralph Dunn, Howard Freeman and Nina Olivette 

When a Congressional committee visits Fort Baxter to investigate reports of the Army wasting money Bilko gives them a tour designed to convince the committee that rather than cutting costs, his soldiers need a raise.

 

Kids In Trailer (Air Date - 17 Jan 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Casey Peyson, Eileen Merry & Dickie Belton  

When one of the platoon members wives arrives in town Bilko arranges a 3-day furlough for him. Bilko offers to baby-sit the kids, however a crisis soon ensues and Bilko calls on the Army to help out!

 

Revolutionary War (Air Date - 24 Jan 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Charles McClelland, Edith King and Frank Marth 

When he takes delivery of a box containing his ancestors' possessions Bilko is soon inspired by the diary of his great-great uncle Joshua Bilko. He makes an application for officer training. But it soon becomes clear that  Joshua's exploits show him to be anything but a good soldier.

 

Transfer (Air Date - 31 Jan 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Vincent Bogert & Harvey Orkin)

Also starring - Bob Hastings, Jay Barney, John Griggs 

Having reached breaking point over Bilko's schemes Colonel Hall finally gets one over on Bilko and accepts Bilko's transfer request. At his new base Bilko is amazed to discover just how gullible the  soldiers are and soon his schemes are meaningless. Ernie soon realises that Fort Baxter is where he belongs. Bilko's replacement becomes a thorn in Colonel Hall's side and he soon realises that life without Bilko is no fun!

 

The Rest Cure (Air Date - 07 Feb 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Vincent Bogert & Harvey Orkin)

Also starring - David White and Dina Merrill

In the midst of a heatwave in Roseville, and having seen an army film Bilko schemes for his platoon to be sent to Camp Paradise. Bilko sets about convincing his officers and the Army medical corps that the entire camp is in need of rest and recreation. But this time it's not Bilko who gets the last laugh!

 

Dinner At Sowici's (Air Date - 14 Feb 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Harvey Orkin & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Toni Romer, Darryl Richard and Dody Goodman 

After attending a wedding with Joan Hogan Bilko is convinced that she is trying to manouver him into marriage. By showing her the terrible state of the Sowicis' marriage  he hopes to make her realise that marriage might not be a good idea!

 

The Army Memoirs (21 Feb 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Harvey Orkin & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring -  Harry Holcombe 

Following a rash of complaints about his antics, Colonel Hall demotes Bilko to a Private. But Bilko has an ace up his sleeve when he announces he is to write his memoirs which may or may not expose a few skeletons in Fort Baxter's cupboards!

 

Miss America (Air Date - 28 Feb 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Arnie Rosen, Coleman Jacoby, Terry Ryan & Barry Blitzer)

Also starring - Will B Able, Judith Lowry, Anne Helm, Don Weissmuller and Renee Roy 

When Bilko organises a platoon sweetheart competition, Pvt. Honnegar's  beautiful 'sweetheart' picture convinces Bilko that he has a potential Miss America on his hands. He decides to enter her in a beauty contest. But just what is that Pvt.Honnegar has forgotten to mention?

 

The Court-Martial (Air Date - 6 Mar 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Coleman Jacoby & Arnie Rosen)

Also starring - Joey Faye, Zippy, John Boruff, Lee Ecuyer & George Kennedy 

Captain Barker introduces his new mass induction program at Fort Baxter. However, disaster strikes when a chimpanzee is inadvertently inducted into the US Army! So begins the case of Harry Speakup!

 

Furlough In New York (Air Date - 13 Mar 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken & Terry Ryan)

Also starring - George Landau, George McIver and Jim Perry 

Ernie and Joan decide it's a good idea to take a break from each other. They head off to New York hoping to rekindle old friendships and romances. But all does not run smoothly.

 

The Big Uranium Strike (Air Date - 20 Mar 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Tony Webster, Coleman Jacoby & Arnie Rosen)

Also starring - Kay Lyder and JackOrrison 

When Bilko learns that large uranium deposits have been discovered in Roseville he's convinced that there's uranium under Fort Baxter. However there's one major problem - the motherload is under Colonel Hall's house!

 

Bilko And The Beast (Air Date - 27 Mar 1956 - written by Nat Hiken, Tony Webster, Coleman Jacoby & Arnie Rosen)

Also starring - George Matthews and Don Hanmer 

When Sgt. Quinton Q. Benton, known as 'The Beast', is sent to Fort Baxter Bilko sees him as another pigeon for the taking. But Benton makes it clear that he's out to take over Bilko's patch. When his usual schemes fail to get the better of The Beast Bilko has to resort to psychological warfare!

 

The Physical Check-up (Air Date - 10 Apr 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Coleman Jacoby & Arnie Rosen)

Also starring - John Griggs and Don Douglas 

Colonel Hall orders everyone at Fort Baxter to take a physical. When Bilko misunderstands a conversation the Colonel has in his office Bilko is convinced the Colonel is trying to get him out of the Army so he embarks on a crash course of exercise.

 

Recruiting Sergeant (Air Date - 17 Apr 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Tony Webster & Terry Ryan)

Also starring - Bob Shawley, Paul Lipson, George McGiver and Vincent Gardenia 

Whilst he's away on a recruitment drive Colonel Hall restricts all personnel to the base. When Bilko gets a sure-fire tip on a horse he sets about finding ways to get off the base so he can place a bet!

 

Hair - aka Barber Shop (Air Date - 24 Apr 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan, Barry Blitzer & Arnold Auerbach)

Also starring - Michael Enserro 

Bilko and Joan's romance is going through a rocky patch. Bilko is convinced that a full head of hair might be the answer. When Tony the barber believes he has discovered a cure for baldness Bilko's vanity takes over!

 

The Con Men (1 May 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken & Tony Webster)

Also starring - Sally Masfield, Grant Richards and Danny Dayton 

When Pvt.Doberman receives a $500 windfall he is fleeced of the loot by a gang of professional card sharks. Ever protective of his platoon Bilko decides to deal out his own hand of sweet revenge!

 

War Games (Air Date - 8 May 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken & Arnold Auerbach)

Also starring - Eddie Bruce, Humphrey Davis, Jim Perry and Don Keefer 

When the Army is pitted against the National Guard in a series of war games, Bilko's promise to be best man at a friend's wedding is under threat. He comes up with a plan that will allow him to sneak away from the mock battle an attend the wedding.

 

Bilko In Wall Street (Air Date - 15 May 1956 - Written by Nat Hiken & Tony Webster)

Also starring - Eddie Phillips, MacLean Savage, Henry Lasko, Athena Lorde and Mort Stephens 

Believing that his old army pal is now a successful millionaire New York banker Bilko sets off to visit him. However when he arrives in New York he finds his old pal in less than wealthy circumstances!

 

The Phil Silvers Show - Season One Gallery

 

  

New Recruits                            Empty Store                             WAC

  

The Horse                                 AWOL                                       The Boxer

   

The Hoodlum                             Mardi Gras                                 Eating Contest

   

Centennial                                 Bivouac                                     Singing Contest

   

The Twitch                                Reunion                                     Rich Kid

   

Hollywood                                 Kids In Trailer                            Revolutionary War

   

Transfer                                    The Rest Cure                            Dinner At Sowici's

   

Army Memoirs                           Miss America                              The Court Martial

   

Furlough In New York                 Big Uranium Strike                     Bilko And The Beast

   

The Physical Check-Up                Recruiting Sergeant                    Hair

   

The Con Men                             War Games                                Bilko On Wall Street