Saturday, October 16, 2010


Thanks to Mick Clews and the British appreciation society for the work of Phil Silvers, I was finally able to see some examples of what the second Phil Silvers sitcom was like.

Apparently, CBS cancelled the 'Bilko' show (officially, 'You'll Never Get Rich') so that they could bring on a new sitcom which they had more control over - especially its profits. But it failed within a year, probably because the audience still wanted more of Ernie Bilko.

The character of Harry Grafton wasn't too far off the mark from Sgt. Bilko, - this time a grafter in a factory rather than an army base. But some of the elements were off in fantasy land; it was just too much. And when it focused more on his home life, there was no way I could believe those two kids could be his children. (Maybe Elena Verdugo's character as his wife cheated on him. Or, more likely, they adopted.)

See for yourself what the show was like with these excerpts:

And then there's this song, "The Bilko Growl", by Silvers' son-in-law. Phil Silvers recorded his bits shortly before his death.

Thanks for sharing that with us, Mick!



micheal.clews said...

Thanks for posting...anything celebrating Phil is cool with me. Just a couple of points - The Phil Silvers Show was cancelled in 1959 because CBS felt they could make serious money by selling the show into syndication - plus with an average cast of 22 it was becoming increasingly expensive to shoot.

Secondly - The New Phil Silvers Show was made in 1963 (4 years after Bilko) and the character of Harry Grafton just didn't gel with the public - CBS was swamped with complaints that Harry had a good job and his schemes smacked of selfish greed. (Bilko was something of an underdog...Grafton was not!). They brought in a family for Harry....his sister and her two kids. Harry was their Uncle, not their Father. Hope this clears things up.

Mick Clews
Appreciation Society

Toby O'B said...

Thanks for the clarifications, Mick! I should have gone back to the entries in my TV encyclopediae rather than rely on my faulty memory! But I'm nothing if not lazy!