"THE GRINNING MAN"
So here's a Zonk to be reckoned with.....
This is Joey Ross.
Always loved your Ritzik on 'Sgt. Bilko'.
Both Mrs. Gessler and Joey Ross looked at Jonathan as if he had been speaking in tongues.
The magician was making a play on the name, referring to the comic actor Joe E. Ross, who played Sgt. Ritzik on 'The Phil Silvers Show' but who is probably better known as Officer Gunther Toody in 'Car 54, Where Are You?' (He also played Gronk the caveman in 'It's About Time'.)
In a perfect Toobworld, this reference would never have come up, since the characters of 'Sgt. Bilko' exist in the same world as Jonathan Creek. But it's like a variation on Andy Warhol's famous statement: In Toobworld, everyone will have their own TV show.
At some point, the Army career of Ernie Bilko, master of the Fort Baxter motor pool and master manipulator, must have been deemed worthy of a TV show. We've seen Bilko get involved with Hollywood types in the past, always trying to take advantage of the situation when they needed expert advice or were filming on location. Somebody from one of the studios must have remembered this con man extraordinaire when it came time to come up with a new sitcom premise.
So it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Jonathan Creek saw that sitcom based on the life of Ernie Bilko and remembered Joe E. Ross as Sgt. Ritzik.
Presto change-O! No more Zonk!
Eventually I would have had to come up with a splainin for why there would be a show about Sgt. Bilko in a world where Ernie Bilko actually "lived". Plenty of other shows referred to Bilko as a TV character:
The Patty Duke Show: The Songwriters (1963)
Richard tells Patty that she "usually has more angles than Sgt. Bilko."
Rhoda: Jack's Back (1978)
Jack mentions falling off his chair laughing while watching the show as his "war injury".
B.J. and the Bear: Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers: Part 2 (1979)
The Fox refers to Sgt. Wiley as "Sgt. Bilko."
Cheers: How to Marry a Mailman (1989)
Mentioned by Robin (as Bilko).
Mystery Science Theater 3000: It Conquered the World (1991)
Joel: "Sgt. Bilko, this tollbooth idea isn't working."
Mystery Science Theater 3000: War of the Colossal Beast (1991)
Crow: "Sgt. Bilko? What's he doing here?"
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Attack of the the Eye Creatures (1992)
Tom: "Bilko, what are you up to?"
Game On: Laura (1998)
Matthew wears a Sgt. Bilko shirt
Ballykissangel: Pack up Your Troubles (1998)
Brian is referred to as Sgt Bilko.
The Sopranos: Army of One (2001)
When Tony sees Anthony Junior in a military school uniform, he calls him "Sgt. Bilko."
Red Dwarf: The Tank - Series VIII (2006)
Reference to Bilko
Weeds: The Brick Dance (2007)
Andy calls his drill sergeant "Sgt. Bilko"