Memory Lane: ‘Sergeant Bilko’

As a kid in the 50s and early 60s, I just loved this show! It was “The Phil Silvers Show,” but who didn’t just call it “Sergeant Bilko”?

Phil Silvers played the oily, slick, fast-talking Sergeant Bilko to Paul Ford’s longsuffering, endlessly put-upon Colonel Hall. Bilko came up with one scheme after another, always several jumps ahead of everybody else.

We had a peacetime draft in those days, so an awful lot of people could relate to an Army comedy. If we’d had a few more real-life Sergeant Bilkos in our military, we could have won wars without fighting. Just turn Bilko loose on the enemy: he’d cheat the enemy’s pants off, and the enemy would thank him for it.

Ah, Phil Silvers! A very funny man. He had a long career in movies and TV, but “Sergeant Bilko” was his signature achievement.

But it’s probably a good thing more kids didn’t grow up to be like Sergeant Bilko.

Those who did, probably wound up in Congress or on Wall Street.

4 comments on “Memory Lane: ‘Sergeant Bilko’

  1. Phil Slivers was a classic – loved him as Sergeant Bilko. Steve Martin made a movie acting the part of Bilko but it was a dud (so I thought).
    Johnathan Winters was another great from that era.

  2. I never saw the original. I did see the Steve Martin move and liked it well enough, and I can definitely see that they borrowed heavily from the original for the movie. In both cases, there was obviously a lot of snake oil on the character of Bilko.

Leave a Reply