THE PLOT THUS FAR
One of the all-time classics from the golden age of television, Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Complete Series has finally arrived on DVD. This multiple Emmy Award winner, which originally aired from 1955-1959, was one of early television’s biggest smashes and still commands attention today as both a hilarious sitcom and a star-making showcase for legendary comedian Phil Silvers (It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) in his signature role as Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko.
Running the motor pool at Fort Baxter, the cagey Sgt. Bilko has always got an ace up his sleeve and a scheme in his head. From get-rich-quick scams to plots designed to keep himself free from the drudgery of work, he’s always running an angle that will be sure to leave his commanding officer Colonel Hall tearing out his hair: and viewers in stitches!
Featuring a memorable supporting cast, including Harvey Lembeck, Allan Melvin, Joe E. Ross, and Paul Ford, the 143 episodes in this set represent a true masterpiece of American comedy. With some of the snappiest jokes and kookiest characters of all time, Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Complete Series is an essential piece of any classic television fan’s collection.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Sgt. Bilko” is a gambling cagey military type that runs the Motor Pool. It was Phil Silvers’ signature character, which means that people my age only remember that crappy Steve Martin movie. Anyone younger than us is wondering who the hell I’m talking about in great detail. Phil Silvers had his run over at CBS for four years back in TV’s Golden Age. Unfortunately, what was once groundbreaking has now become the mold for later sitcom stories. It’s hard to look back at the show in hindsight due to these issues.
Phil Silvers is only memorable to me due to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. That’s only because I love the scene where he drives his car into the river. This show is dominated by puns, military humor and basic appeals to authority. The humor is there and I did laugh, it’s just that the show is so old. I love that kind of stuff and it’s killing me to keep up with over one hundred episodes of the same stuff. I would recommend checking out a few clips on YouTube before making purchasing decisions.
The DVD comes with commentaries, interviews, material from The New Phil Silvers Show and footage from his 1959 TV Special as the special features. The A/V Quality is on par with the past Shout classic TV releases. The transfer is sharp, as well as the original mono audio track. I wish other home entertainment companies could take a look at how Shout is killing it and find ways to copy that perfection. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to fans of Classic TV.
RELEASE DATE: 11/04/2014