Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


 One bright comedy spot in 1950s televsion was The Phil Silvers Show (a.k.a. Sgt. Bilko and You'll Never Get Rich). winner of three Emmys for Best Televsion Comedy.  Silvers played Master Sergeant Ernie Bilko, a fast-thinking con man who was always looking at a way to get rich, who ran the motor pool at Fort Baxter, Kansas (later, in the fourth season, at Camp Fremont, California).  Bilko was aided by his two corporals Rocco Barbella (Harvey Lembeck) and Steve Henshaw (Allan Melvin).  Paul Ford played Bilko's superior, Colonel John t. Hall.  The most popular member of the motor pool to audiences was Duane Doberman (Maurice Godfield), who was a dumpy "poor soul" with puppy dog eyes and a naive personality.

In this episode, Col. Hall tried to court martial a private Harry Speakup, not realizing that the private was a chimpanzee that was accidently inducted into the Army while Hall was trying to set a speed record for inductine new recruits.  Pure comedy gold, thanks to creator/writer Nat Hiken, fellow writers Coleman Jacoby & Arnie Rosen, plus Silvers and the highly talented cast.

Playing the platoon members were Tige (billed as Tiger) Andrews, Maurice Brenner, Walter Cartier, Herby Faye, Bernie Fein, Mickey Freeman, Jack Healy, Karl Lukas, Billy Sands, and P. J. Sidney.  Special mention should be made of Zippy, who played Harry Speakup -- even though he did not necessarily follow the script.


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