Sunday, March 8, 2009


With the passing of Charlie Chaplin's son, Sydney Chaplin, I thought it might be interesting to spotlight an appearance he made as himself in Toobworld. On January 23, 1959, CBS broadcast "Keep In Step", a special which can be considered a musical episode of 'You'll Never Get Rich' (AKA 'The Phil Silvers Show', AKA 'Bilko').

Sgt. Bilko found out that Chaplin was in military service and it gave him an idea on how to make some money. He persuaded Chaplin to write up Bilko's life story, with the intention of getting Cary Grant to play the lead. (Schyeah, Bilko and Grant could pass for twins....) However, another actor is available for the role - some comic schlub named Phil Silvers!

Another member of the League of Themselves who appeared in the special was the British sex siren Diana Dors, during an audition scene in Hollywood.

So this extended 'Bilko' episode can join a select club in which TV characters actually met the actors who portrayed them. Others in that group would include episodes of 'Mork & Mindy', 'Moesha', and 'Here's Lucy'.

I looked around for some video or screen capture of Chaplin with Bilko, or of Bilko with Silvers, but all I found was an extended clip from the beginning of the episode as the motor squad rehearses while Bilko faces the music from the Colonel.

Toby O'B


Paul Brazill said...

Great post!

Mercurie said...

Yet another reason The Phil Silvers Show was a work of genius!