Sergeant Ernie Bilko is the ultimate con man. He runs the motor pool at a small Kansas U.S. Army Camp. Colonel Hall, nominally in charge of the base, tries to keep Bilko's plans in check. ...
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Sergeant Ernie Bilko is the ultimate con man. He runs the motor pool at a small Kansas U.S. Army Camp. Colonel Hall, nominally in charge of the base, tries to keep Bilko's plans in check. Bilko runs every money making scheme that he thinks he can pull off. Midnight cruises on landing craft, tank rides, poker games, and an interesting deal with local service stations for spare parts for Jeep tires.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Originally, the series was filmed like a play. The cast had to memorize the entire script, and the scenes were filmed in one take, in sequence, in front of a studio audience. When Mike Todd made a guest appearance in the second season, he insisted on the episode being filmed like a movie, out of sequence, multiple takes, with no audience. Silvers and the crew found Todd's way was faster, cheaper, and less demanding for the actors, so the series changed over to this new policy. The episodes were screened for audiences of military servicemen, whose responses were recorded and added to the shows. See more »
Sgt. Bilko routinely wore his decorations incorrectly, and differently from one show to the next. He nearly always wore his Combat Infantryman Badge with the lower wreath overlapping the top row of ribbons; the lower edge of the CIB should always be about 1/4" above the top edge of the top row of ribbons. Also, he nearly always wore a unit commendation ribbon centered below his other ribbons, just below the top edge of his left breast pocket flap; unit commendation ribbons on Army uniforms were worn just above the top edge of the right breast pocket flap (although that style of "Class A" uniform is now long obsolete). Also, Bilko sometimes wore a unit commendation ribbon above the pocket flap of his right breast pocket, and sometimes wore the same ribbon below that same pocket flap; all unit commendation ribbons on Army uniforms were worn together, just above the right breast pocket flap. See more »
MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko:
You said "but". I've put the finger on the whole problem. You're a "but" man. Don't say "but". That little word "but" is the difference between success and failure.
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A great testament to the talents of Phil Silvers. With its complex plotlines and quickfire dialogue it's still a treat to watch Silvers's monumental character when you can find it somewhere in the BBC schedules. The most said line in the whole series must be "but, Sarge!" as Bilko launches into another diabolical and, ultimately, flawed scheme to make money and dodge work. And Col Hall's stunned looks, "what is he up to?" are a joy.
It must also contain the best adlib in TV history. Bilko has to hide a chimp in camp (don't ask!)and the chimp accidently gets enlisted. To avoid even further embarrassment, the US Army decides to court martial the chimp to get him discharged. Bilko defends him. In the middle of a monologue from Silvers, the chimp, obviously impossible to rehearse, gets off a chair and picks up a nearby phone. After a pause, Silvers says, "he's calling for another lawyer".
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