Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show Keeps The Laughs Coming In Its Third Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is one of the greatest sitcoms of the twentieth century. While it only ran for a total of four seasons from 1955 – 1959, it still has gone on to prove itself more original and entertaining than most of the series on television today trying to call themselves sitcoms. That is proven through the awards that it won throughout its original run on CBS and through its continued popularity in its ongoing series of releases from Shout! Factory and CBS DVD. In 2010, the two companies released the series’ first season in its own standalone season set. It was followed up last year with the release of the show’s full series set in 2014 and Season Two earlier this year. Late this summer Season Three was released to the masses, too. The latest, but not last release from this classic series, it is yet another wonderful addition to the collection of any Phil Silvers Show fan and of any classic TV fan. The main reason that it is such a welcome set of episodes is the writing behind every one of this season’s episodes. This includes not just the stories penned for each episode but also the dialogue and jokes. They are collectively even more example of everything that once made television so great for audiences of all ages. The work of the show’s cast is once again of note, too. From Silvers himself to his fellow cast mates and the show’s guest stars, there are plenty of laughs to be had thanks to the work of the show’s cast. Last but not least of note is the bonus material included with this season’s set. The commentary from veteran actor Dick Van Dyke in “Hillbilly Whiz” makes for its own enjoyment. The bonus interviews with his daughters Nancey and Tracey add even more interest to the overall viewing experience as does Silvers’ interview on The Paul Ryan Show. Each element within itself makes the third season of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show enjoyable in its own right. All three elements combined, they make this latest installment of one of television’s greatest sitcoms another fully welcome addition to the collection of any of the show’s fans and of any classic TV lover.

The third season of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is another fully welcome addition to the collection of any of the show’s fans and of any classic TV lover. The main reason for this is the work of the show’s writers. The stories that were penned for each of the season’s thirty-seven (yes, thirty-seven) episodes are each well worth the watch and laughs that are generated in and of themselves. The dialogue, which includes the countless jokes, should also be noted as part of the writing. One of the best examples of how the episodes themselves serve to make this season so enjoyable is “Bilko and the Flying Saucers.” It’s one of the series’ rare moments in which the writers didn’t have Bilko trying one of his usual get rich quick schemes. Rather he just decides to pull a prank on some of his fellow officers by getting them to believe that aiens have landed . The end result of the whole thing is just as funny as the rest of the story. And thsoe that know their movie history will love the direct homage paid to the classic 1951 sci-fi/political drama The Day The Earth Stood Still. It’s a minor homage but still a great addition to the episode’s writing regardless. It is just one of so many examples of how the writing succeeds so well this season not just in terms of the episodes but their overall content, too. “Hillbilly Whiz” is another great example of why the writing behind each of this season’s episodes is so strong. It is in this episode that a then very young Dick Van Dyke is transferred to Sgt. Bilko’s unit and just happens to have quite the throwing arm. Biko takes notice and decides to try and sell the talented young solider to the New York Yankees. The catch is that he [the soldier] is from the south and wholeheartedly refuses to play for the Yankees as a result of his heritage. What Van Dyke’s explanation behind why he can’t sign with the Yankees is in itself just one of so many examples in this episode of why its writing is so great in considering the episode’s content. The way in which Bilko gets the Yankees’ scout interested in the young pitcher is just as funny. It’s yet another way that the writing shines within the episode. Even when the young man tells Biko early on about the ease of hitting a target a one hundred fifty feet away, there’s something so funny about it. That is tied more in to the work of the show’s cast and will be discussed at more length later. “The Colonel’s Inheritance” is one more example of how important the writing is within this season. The very concept of Bilko investing the Colonel’s (his superior officer) money in the stock market only to lose it makes for plenty of laughs. His attempts to recoup the lost money are just as hilarious, again showing the skill of the show’s writers not only in developing entertaining stories but in executing said stories, too. All three episodes noted here are prime examples of why the writing behind this season’s episodes is so important to the season’s success. They are only a glimpse into that, too. Any one of this season’s episodes could just as easily be used to exemplify the importance of the show’s writing. That having been noted, the work of the series’ writers this season is only one part of what makes it so enjoyable. The work of the show’s cast (including the guest stars) is just as noteworthy.

The work of the writers behind Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show in its third season lies at the heart of the season’s enjoyment and overall success. The stories that make up Season Three’s episodes and their content therein make for more than their share of laughs no matter how many times audiences watch them. It–the writing–is just one part of what makes this season so enjoyable, though. The work of the series’ cast (including its guest stars) lies right next to the writing at the center of this season’s enjoyment and success. From the season’s premiere to its finale Silvers’ comic timing is spot on in every episode. Every time that he comes up with a new hair-brained scheme to make some quick money, there is a certain look on his face that is difficult to put into words. But audiences that are familiar with the series know that look. There is something so funny about that simple look. His reactions when his schemes ultimately fail for one reason or another are just as entertaining. In regards to the show’s guest stars, Dick Van Dyke was spot on hilarious in “Hillbilly Whiz.” The look on his face when he originally showed Bilko and company his pitching talent and his motions are riotously entertaining. He looks like a circus clown without the makeup as he makes his throws. It is such a classic moment both for the show and for Van Dyke. This and the other examples noted here are their own small glimpse of why the work of the show’s cast is just as important to the show’s enjoyment and success as the work of the show’s writers. Both elements set alongside one another paint a rich picture as to why the third season of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is so enjoyable. They still are not the only reasons that this season is so enjoyable, either. The bonus material featured in this season’s standalone set round out the reasons that Season Three is so enjoyable.

The work of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show’s writers and cast collectively makes for plenty of laughs and entertainment from one episode to the next in this classic series’ third season. They are of course only two thirds of the whole of this season’s positives. The bonus material included in this season’s set rounds out the reasons that Season Three proves so enjoyable. Included in this season’s set is another pair of interviews with Phil Silvers’ daughters Nancey and Tracey as well as commentary from Dick Van Dyke on the episode “Hillbilly Whiz.” The interviews with Silvers’ daughters offers its own insightful look behind the scnes at Phil Silvers the man and Phil Silvers the actor. That insight in itself adds even more interest to this season’s set. Van Dyke’s commentary adds its own share of interest and insight, too. Audiences that watch “Hillbilly Whiz” will be interested to learn that Van Dyke was actually just starting out when he came on board for this episode. The days of The Dick Van Dyke Show were still some time away at the tim of this episode’s broadcast. On another note, viewers will be just as interested to learn that it was actually thanks to one of the people behind The Andy Griffith Show that he even got the chance to appear in this episode. Van Dyke even jokingly says that considering his character’s profile in “Hillbilly Whiz,” he could have been Gomer Pyle before Gomer Pyle existed. That little moment will have any classic TV buff laughing along with him. He offers plenty more insight throughout the episode than is mentioned here. And in hearing said inight, audiences will agree that his commentary in whole makes this episode even funnier than it is without said commentary. What’s more it makes one wonder just how much more enjoyable the season’s other episodes would be if they had featured their own commentary. Regardless, every one of the episodes featured throughout Season Three is funny in its own right. Getting back on track, the combination of that commentary and the interviews with Silvers’ daughters make for their own share of enjoyment that together with the work of the series’ writers and cast will have viewers laughing nonstop from the season premiere to its finale.

The third season of CBS’ classic sitcom Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show offers fans of the series and classic TV fans in whole plenty of entertainment from its season premiere to its finale. That is thanks in large part to the work of both its writers and its cast. The addition of the interviews with Silvers’ daughters Nancey and Tracey, and the bonus commentary from Dick Van Dyke in “Hillbilly Whiz” makes this season all the more enjoyable. All three elements together make Season Three clearly one more fully welcome addition to the collection of any of the series’ fans as well as any lover of classic TV in general. Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Third Season is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




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20th Century Fox’s Night At The Museum Series Goes Out On A Low Note With Its Last Installment

Courtesy:  20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

When it originally debuted in theaters late in 2014, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb ended up being pulled not long after its original run. It comes across as no surprise that it was pulled so quickly. That’s because it is just a hollow shell of the movie that kicked off 20th Century Fox’s Ben Stiller-led franchise some eight years ago with Night at the Museum. The movie is alleged to have had a production budget of approximately $127 million. By comparison, its total domestic take at the box office was rumored to be around $113,531,745. On the surface that may seem like it was a relative success despite coming up short of its budget. It’s deceiving, though. That’s because the box office sales number is the movie’s gross rather than net. After 20th Century Fox recouped its production budget that left the movie to actually keep only $13,468,255. That is a massive loss to say the least. Put more simply, the movie hemorrhaged money. Given, the total domestic plus foreign sales actually garnered the movie a healthy net profit. But it doesn’t make up for the movie’s lackluster domestic sales. It’s even more proof that American audiences are in fact growing weary of Hollywood’s constantly running river of prequels, sequels, and remakes. So what caused this movie to perform so poorly at least at the American box office? The primary issue with the movie is its script. The script breaks absolutely no new ground in comparison to the franchise’s first two movies. As a matter of fact it goes so far as to rehash much of the material from those movies in hopes that audiences would fall for the writing team’s pathetic overall lack of originality and creativity.  The acting is another issue that should be noted in considering what doomed this movie. Having seen the same sort of comic performances twice over in both NATM and NATM 2, Stiller’s acting here—and that of his cast mates—has become old hat and is just as uninspired as the movie’s script. For all of the movie’s cons, there is one saving grace to the whole thing That saving grace is the fact that the movie continues to push the values of the world’s museums and on a larger scale, learning about the history of the world. In simpler terms, it continues to promote the importance of education albeit history education. That is certainly laudable considering that today’s youths are more concerned with the latest video games and the next big viral video than the excitement of the world’s history. Is it enough to save this movie? Sadly, the answer is no. But at least it doesn’t try to fictionalize history and make it something it isn’t in its efforts to entertain young audiences. Taking into account each of its noted elements, NATM 3 (as it will henceforth be known) proves to be just as forgettable in its new home release as its big screen release last year.

20th Century Fox’s third and hopefully truly last installment in its Night at the Museum franchise is the worst of the studio’s three-movie series. There is by and large very little that makes this movie memorable or even enjoyable. The movie’s script is the main reason that it suffers and in turn makes audiences suffer. The script is laughable especially considering that the trilogy first kicked off eight years ago. The story presented in this movie’s script sees Larry (once again played by Ben Stiller) and all of his friends from the original Night at the Museum movie go on a trip across the Atlantic to return the magical tablet at the center of the trilogy to Ahkmenrah’s father in “Egypt.” The trip has to be made because *gasp* the tablet has been away from its proper place for too long. Apparently it hadn’t already sat in the Museum of Natural History in New York for far too long at the time of the trilogy’s first installment. Go figure. So instead of any new story, it all centers on the tablet once again. And not to ruin things for those that haven’t yet seen the movie now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray combo pack, but the group’s “epic” quest isn’t quite as epic as one might think. Instead of actually going to Egypt, they travel to London’s major museum and have to get to the museum’s Egypt wing so as to return the tablet to Ahkmenrah’s father (played in little more than a cameo role by Sir Ben Kingsley). With a budget allegedly topping $127 million one would have thought that Larry and company might have actually somehow made the trip to Egypt or the country’s main museum instead of the Egypt wing of London’s central history museum. Add in the fact that Larry and his friends have to hunt for their pint size pals Jedediah and Octavius (once again played by Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan respectively) and also have to get the tablet back from a misguided Sir Lancelot along the way all while maneuvering their way through the museum, and audiences get a script that when examined in such full detail, can only be described as completely contrived, unoriginal, and completely lacking in any creativity. That’s not even to mention the underlying plot of Larry’s relationship with his now teenage son who wants to travel the world instead of go off to college. It is all too much.

The script thrown together by NATM 3’s writing team does more than its own share of damage to this movie. The very fact that multiple parties played a role in the script’s creation could in fact be to blame for its numerous issues. As much damage as the movie’s script does to the movie’s overall presentation, it’s just one of the movie’s major setbacks. The work of the movie’s cast does its own share of damage, too. Larry’s back and forth with Dexter and Laa is all too familiar for those that have watched NATM and NATM 2. It’s been done. It’s one of those situations that proves to be anything but funny this time around because it has already been done so much before. Even Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan felt slightly like they were just “phoning it in” during their parts. It was almost like they themselves had grown somewhat tired of the roles and were trying hard to not show it. On a lesser note, Rebel Wilson is just as annoying in her role of Tilly as Jonah Hill was as security guard Brandon in NATM 2. To be totally frank, having a similar character type used as the secondary guard twice over shows yet again the writers’ lack of creativity or enlightenment. They obviously didn’t learn from Hill’s failures as is evident in Wilson’s portrayal of Tilly. For all of the damage that the cast does with its work in front of the camera, it can at least be said that Robin Williams didn’t disappoint in what is one of his final roles before his untimely death. It’s easy to tell that once again he put in his whole effort from beginning to end. The same can be said of Patrick Gallagher in his return as Attila The Hun. While he is not the lead star, he is still just as entertaining as ever. To that extent one can argue that at least the movie has that as its single, shining ray of light in an otherwise dark cloud of a sequel.

The writing that went into NATM 3 and the work of the cast by does a lot to prove this movie to be one more sequel that never should have seen the light of day. Though, not the entire cast is so disappointing. Robin Williams and Patrick Gallagher both shine in their own right. Sadly, their work in front of the camera is the movie’s only fully noticeable saving grace in terms of the movie’s intrinsic value. For all of the problems that show up throughout NATM 3, there is at least one positive that can be noted when looking at the movie from a larger scale. That positive is the series’ continued push for history education and the support of the world’s museums. In an age when the world’s youths are increasingly being distracted by social media, video games, and their cell phones, the continued push to get those same younger audiences interested in history and the houses that keep said history is actually welcome. After all, it has been said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Not only that but those who forget the past won’t have an appreciation for what they have today, either. NATM 3 does a good job of reminding audiences both young and old alike of how far the world has come over the centuries. And when coupled with the series’ first two movies, it does in fact make this installment more worth the watch if only for that one reason. Sadly though, it is the only reason other than the work of Robin Williams and Patrick Gallagher that NATM 3 is worth the watch. Other than those two reasons, there is no reason to watch this otherwise forgettable flick.

There is not much positive to say about NATM 3. Other than the work of two of its cast members and the continued solid push for history education and the buildings that house the world’s history, there is not much that can be noted to the movie’s positive side. The script was completely unoriginal and contrived. That is likely because of the number of people working on the script. It just feels like it has all been done before. The same can be said of the cast’s acting, even in the case of new cast member Rebel Wilson. There is no new ground broken in this avenue, either. One could even say that seeing even more museum figures coming to life is anything but new, too. On the other hand though, introducing new historical figures also continues the series’ push for history education and support for the world’s museums. To that extent, NATM 3 has at least that much to its credit. Sadly that is all that it has to its credit. That means that while it’s worth at least a watch, it’s not worth much more than that.

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Shout! Factory Resurrecting Sgt. Bilko And The Phil Silvers Show

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The classic comedy series Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show will finally see the light of day on DVD this fall.

Shout! Factory will release the series in a full twenty-disc collection DVD box set on Tuesday, November 4th. The series, which was created by Nat Hiken, features a hilarious cast including: Harvey Lembeck, Allan Melvin, Joe E. Ross, and Paul Ford. It also featured some of the biggest names in television and movies as guest stars. That stars include the likes of: Dick Van Dyke, Alan Alda, Dean Martin and Lucille Ball.

The comedy served up by Silvers, his cast mates and guest stars is just the tip of the iceberg in the enjoyment of this upcoming release from Shout! Factory. The box also boasts a bevy of bonus material including the show’s original opening from its broadcast days, various audio commentaries, and even a bonus episode of The Lucy Show among much more. The complete list of bonus materials included on Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is noted below.

Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show – The Complete Series Bonus Features:

  • Lost Audition Show
  • Original Network Opening
  • Original Cast Commercials
  • Photo Gallery
  • Audio commentaries with Allan Melvin, George Kennedy, Mickey Freeman, Larry Storch and Dick Van Dyke
  • “Lucy and the Efficiency Expert” (from The Lucy Show season 5)
  • Allan Melvin (Cpl. Henshaw) Episode Introductions
  • Promo for The New Phil Silvers Show
  • “Harry, the Good Neighbor” from The New Phil Silvers Show
  • Interviews with Phil Silvers (includes rare interview from The Paul Ryan Show)
  • Phil Silvers and Jack Benny on The Dick Cavett Show
  • Footage from the 1959 TV Special Keep In Step
  • The Cast of Phil Silvers On Broadway
  • New interviews with daughters Cathy, Tracey and Nancey Silvers

Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show will be available in stores and online Tuesday, November 4th. It can be pre-ordered now via the Shout! Factory online store at Audiences that pre-order the box set now will get free shipping and will have their copy shipped out on October 7th, a full four weeks before the box set hits store shelves. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online now at:



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Dick Van Dyke Show Blu-Ray Set A Welcome Re-Issue

Courtesy: Image Entertainment

The newly re-issued Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Series is one of the most welcome box sets of 2012.  This fifteen disc box set brings together the show’s full five-season run from 1961 to 1966.  At a time when so much programming on television today is anything but family friendly, this re-issued set resurrects one of television’s greatest programs for a whole new generation of audiences.

This new Blu-ray release isn’t the first time that the Dick Van Dyke show has been released to the public.  But it’s a welcome return for one of television’s most revered names and sitcoms.  From funny episodes such as ‘All About Eavesdropping’ and ‘Never Bathe on Saturday’ to the hilarious ‘Coast to Coast Bigmouth’, the show had more than its share of laughs throughout its run on CBS.  The show’s episodes have never looked better.  What’s makes it even more of a joy to watch is that it is a relic of a bygone era in television.  Add in a bevy of special features, and any true classic television buff will find this a welcome gift under the Christmas tree this year.

The Dick Van Dyke Show is one of the most respected and revered sitcoms in television history first and foremost for its writing.  Unlike so much of today’s programming, this is a classic sitcom in which every episode was a stand-alone episode.  Viewers didn’t have to worry about missing an episode or another to be able to enjoy the show.  Every show was a different episode all in itself.  In comparison to so much of what is on television today, being able to enjoy each episode without having to know what happened in the previous episode is a breath of fresh air.  It’s something which today’s generation knows next to nothing about as so many network programmers have leaned more in favor of serials.  With any luck, the resurgence of shows such as this and The Carol Burnett Show among others will prove to those programmers the value and importance of this style programming.

That fans can enjoy The Dick Van Dyke Show without worrying about each episode’s storyline from one to the next is one of the most important values of this show.  It isn’t the show’s only value, though.  The show’s writing also goes into its general content, too.  Again, in comparison to so much of today’s programming, this show is one of those breaths of fresh air in that it’s something which the entire family can enjoy together.  It mixes great physical comedy with family friendly jokes that will get the entire family laughing from one episode to the next.  The proof is in the pudding.  The show’s episode, ‘Never Bathe on Saturday’ earned the show a Primetime Emmy in the “Outstanding Comedy Series.”  That’s just one of its accolades.  For those who have never seen this classic episode, Rob and Laura go to a hotel for a romantic honeymoon.  But when Laura goes into the bathroom of the couple’s hotel room to try out the tub, she gets her toe stuck in the tub’s faucet.  The resulting jokes and comedy are proof of why the show won its Emmy for this episode.  Like so many other episodes from this classic sitcom, it’s a simple story with a simple and family friendly story that is still one of the show’s most beloved episodes to this very day.  And it’s just one tiny piece of evidence of what makes this show so timeless.  Thanks to Image Entertainment, families and fans can enjoy every episode and find their own favorite with every watch.

The show’s writing exhibits both intrinsically and extrinsically, the show’s value.  The writing makes all the difference in the show’s continued success nearly five decades after it ended.  Now on its new Blu-ray release, the writing continues to play a major role in the show’s continued success.  The show looked great on its original multi-disc DVD set.  Now on its new Blu-ray re-issue, the footage has never looked better.  It looks even sharper than ever.  It is crystal clear.  Given, the older grainy footage of the older DVD release is great for creating an extra sense of nostalgia.  But seeing it cleaned up so precisely without losing any quality from the original masters is incredible in its own right.  There are those who will and have had their own say about how the footage has been cleaned up.  But the very fact that there are those who want to preserve the show should make those critics change their minds.  Keeping in mind the outstanding quality of this show’s transfers to HD, its overall writing, and the equally interesting bonus features that have been carried over from the previous DVD release, The Dick Van Dyke Show on Blu-ray will be a great addition under the tree for any classic television buff this holiday season.

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