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McHale's Navy & Phil Silvers


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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 OFFLINE   David Grove

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Posted March 03 2005 - 04:31 PM

Saw these mentioned in passing during discussion in the Gunsmoke/Car 54 thread. They struck a chord with me, so just wondering if there might be any cheerleaders for them. Sign me up. DG
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#2 of 18 OFFLINE   ChrisPearson

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Posted March 03 2005 - 10:05 PM

I don't think McHale's Navy ever made it here to the UK, but The Phil Silvers Show has been running on the BBC for years (albeit at odd hours) – it's probably the best-loved US show of its era among Brits. So I find it baffling that it's not on DVD yet. Is it less well-known in the US these days? Personally, it's my most-wanted TV show not yet available on DVD – a hilarious, brilliantly written and performed series.

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Mark To

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Posted March 04 2005 - 05:58 AM

The last time I saw it was on BBC during the late 90s when I was in Northern Ireland. I think it was part of the original TV Land lineup when no one had them and like the other good shows they had it was dropped once they got in more homes. It's definitely in the top 5 funniest sitcoms of the 50s along with Lucy, Honeymooners, Our Miss Brooks and yes PC police, Amos and Andy.

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff#

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Posted March 04 2005 - 09:07 AM

I'd like to see something even rarer than The Phil Silvers Show from the 1950s, and that's The New Phil Silvers Show from 1963-64. In it he played a con man appropriately named Harry Grafton. Harry was basically the same as Sgt. Ernie Bilko in civillian clothing!

Actually, I did get to catch one episode of that sitcom back in the 1980s when I used to videotape trade with people.

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Mark To

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Posted March 04 2005 - 12:47 PM

I watched one a couple of months ago (New PS) and I thought it was weak compared to Bilko.

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff#

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Posted March 04 2005 - 02:06 PM

Well, I don't know if we can judge the New Phil Silvers Show based on just seeing one episode out of 30.

But I've seen every episode of The Phil Silvers Show, and I thought it was one of the best sitcoms of the 1950s (definitely better than I Love Lucy). The writing and theater-style performance of Sgt. Ernie Bilko and how he wrapped everyone around his finger was masterful. I also liked Allan Melvin and Harvey Lembeck's characters. Dangerously overweight (but mild-mannered and dimwitted) Doberman was freakish, but good for laughs. Whether it was a casino game Bilko arranged in the barracks, improving conditions on the base for the men, getting out of military manuevers, helping patch up problems with the marriage of Sgt. Ritzik and his wife, etc. the Bilko show was like a stage play. It deserved the Emmys it won during those 4 seasons.

Whatever Bilko did in an attempt to get rich out away from the base usually failed because of circumstances out of his control, but on a number of occasions he would have succeeded if his conscience didn't get the better of him. I suspect that Harry Grafton was no different that way in the second Silvers series. I think it only lasted a year, because it was more of the same thing -- only taking place in a warehouse rather than the Army.

It would be more fun for me to see the New Phil Silvers Show, even if the supporting cast aren't as notable. If only TV Land would bring that back too....

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#7 of 18 OFFLINE   David Grove

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Posted March 04 2005 - 05:07 PM

Although I will buy both, I am somewhat more familiar with McHale's Navy. I particularly liked Ensign Parker (Tim Conway) and "Old Leadbottom" (Joe Flynn). They seemed so natural in their roles. And McHale (Ernest Borgnine)... might you not say that he was somehat similar (instigator, planner, schemer, etc., but with "heart of gold") to Bilko? Let's have them both in "glorious B&W" years, as well as color (MN). DG
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#8 of 18 OFFLINE   Greig Forbes

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Posted March 05 2005 - 01:07 AM

I'll add a vote for The Phil Silvers Show. As others have said, Bilko has been on the BBC almost constantly over the last 20 years or so. It's the best-written, fastest-paced and funniest of the old sitcoms, IMHO. The whole cast are terrific, but Phil is so consistently brilliant that this really needs to be pushed on DVD. A lot of great writers worked on the show, too. Strange how this show seems to be a bit neglected in the States and so loved in other countries.

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff#

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Posted March 05 2005 - 04:47 AM

The Phil Silvers Show was once given the grand treatment when TV Land had a 2 day marathon a few years ago. They don't even air it anymore! I noticed the final season had some changes that made no real difference to the quality of the show: The entire base was transferred from Ft. Baxter, Kansas to Camp Freemont in California. The other thing was a completely new end theme song. I liked the original better because it sound like a patriotic Army ballad. The 1958-59 end theme was OK for a sitcom from that period, but not the same. As for McHale's Navy, I always like Tim Conway's work on The Carol Burnett Show but I wasn't a fan of his first series. I did watch it now and then when I was a kid. By the way, the sitcom was always in black & white but the two feature films the cast made (while the show was still on the air) "McHale's Navy" and "McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force" were shot in color. The last season of that military sitcom had their unit transferred also.....to Italy!

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   dave wright

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Posted August 29 2005 - 12:50 AM

Any distant rumblings about bringing Bilko or Mchale to DVD yet?

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Glenn Overholt

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Posted August 29 2005 - 05:14 AM

This, along with a few others, (One Day at a Time) were all supposed to start coming out this year. Don't know what happened, though. Does anybody remember what the other shows were? Glenn

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   LaurenceGarvey

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Posted August 29 2005 - 06:32 AM

I would snap up Phil Silvers, but leave Ensign McHale alone.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Jonathan_Clarke

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Posted August 29 2005 - 07:02 AM

Comedy Central used to show the Phil Silvers show way back in the early 90's. I was hooked from then on and have rarely seen these since. I'd buy every season on release day.
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#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Sean.S

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Posted August 29 2005 - 07:52 AM

I saw McHale's Navy a while ago on TV Land and enjoyed it quite a bit. I would buy it for sure. I've never seen Phil Silvers, but I've enjoyed his apperances on sitcoms like Beverly Hillbillies and Gomer Pyle.

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   JeffT.

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Posted August 29 2005 - 08:18 AM

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MCHALE'S NAVY (ABC 1962-66) was a popular favourite from my childhood and I even (fondly) remember seeing both theatrical feature films (produced in colour) MCHALE'S NAVY (1964) and MCHALE'S NAVY JOINS THE AIRFORCE (1965) at the neighbourhood movie theatre...both of which would make great (film) DVD releases in their own right!

I'm sure that this (now) classic 1960s military sitcom is forthcoming in an impending DVD release but please Universal Studios Home Entertainment give us the original black-and-white, complete versions and not those (abominable) colourized, time-compressed/edited video copies currently circulated in tv syndication.

One (distinct) advantage MCHALE'S NAVY has over THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW (CBS 1955-59) was it was more cinematic in its presentation combining the comedy with exciting adventure that utilized great outdoor location shooting (particularly the striking scenes of the PT-73 cruising through the South Pacific waters).

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#16 of 18 OFFLINE   David Lambert

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Posted August 29 2005 - 01:39 PM

Looks like this thread missed my June news item about Phil Silvers Show (Sgt. Bilko).
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#17 of 18 OFFLINE   John Carr

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Posted August 30 2005 - 07:08 AM

Thanks for the reminder, Dave! I'd love to have mutiple complete seasons of both McHale's Navy (I have a friend, Al, who was a bit player on the series -- he rowed the boat!) and the Phil Silvers Show, my favorite 50's sitcom. For us guys, back in the day, Sgt. Bilko was much better than Lucy!

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Jonathan_Clarke

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Posted August 30 2005 - 08:31 AM

Thanks for the reminder Dave but until it's confirmed we will still pine.
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