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Retroville - the coolest place on the Net to find out everything about the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s - movies, music, news, cars, fads, crazes, disasters... just about everything... and neat stuff to buy from way back when...
You are here -> HOME - RETROVILLE - 1955 - On Television - The Phil Silvers Show
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Star Registry - name a star!

Welcome to Retroville! It's 1955!
The Phil Silvers Show premiered on CBS in 1955. The role of Master Sergeant Ernest Bilko, head of the motor pool at Fort Baxter, Kansas, was actually crafted after Silvers' real life. With an excellent supporting cast, scripts that gave Silvers a chance to shine, and great guest stars, the show was a runaway hit for the four years it stayed on the air.

Silvers' character was reprised by Steve Martin in a 1996 film. Unfortunately, Martin's version of Silvers' character was less than impressive and the original magic of Sergeant Bilko failed to come through.

The Phil Silvers' Show continues to run on various cable and nostalgia channels. Sergeant Bilko would be proud to know that his efforts to control Fort Baxter from behind the scenes is still appreciated.

Main Characters:
  • Sgt. Ernie Bilko played by Phil Silvers
  • Cpl. Barbella played by Harvey Lembeck
  • Doberman played by Maurice Gosfield
  • Ritzik played by Joe E. Ross
  • Henshaw played by Allan Mervin
  • Paparelli played by Billy Sands
  • Mrs. Hall played by Hope Sansberry

Show Concept:

  • The premise of the show was easy enough to understand--Sgt. Ernie Bilko was in charge of the motor pool at Fort Baxter, Kansas. From his vantage point, and with his connections, he was arguably running most of the camp. A compulsive gambler willing to take odds on just about anything, any time, Bilko's antics and those of his motor pool cohorts always made for intense comedic situations.

Hosts or Guests:

  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Bing Crosby

Writers or Producers:

  • Writers included Nat Hiken, Neil Simon, Arnie Rosen, and Leonard Stern
  • Produced by Nat Hiken, Al DeCaprio, and Edward Montague


  • unknown

Networks or stations:

  • CBS

Total shows or length of production:

  • Premiered in 1955
  • Final episode in 1959
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