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 https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/sgt-bilko-the-phil-silvers-show-season-three. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

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Paramount, CBS DVD’s Gomer Pyle Full Series Re-Issue Is One Of 2015’s Best New Box Sets For Families

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount Studios Home Entertainment

Well surprise, surprise, surprise! Gomer Pyle is back! This past March, CBS DVD resurrected the classic sitcom Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in its entirety for a whole new generation of audiences and for the show’s original viewers. Last month’s re-issue is only the first time since its original release in 2008 that entire series has been released in one collection. And regardless of one’s familiarity with the series, audiences will instantly be impressed by the set’s packaging. By comparison to the series’ 2008 release, this box set is far more ergonomic than that 2008 release. In other words, the packaging, while slightly bulky, is far less bulky than the series’ 2008 box set. The writing behind the series’ five-season run is just as entertaining today, too as it was in the series’ original run from 1964 – 1969. The material included as bonuses in this set rounds it out. That is not to discount the still impressive look and sound of the series’ footage, either. Even that should be noted. Whether for that element or for any of the others noted here, audiences will agree in watching CBS DVD’s newly re-issued full series set of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. that there is plenty to like in this box set. Audiences will also agree that because there is so much to like, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series is more than deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s Best New Box Set For Families come December.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s newly re-issued full series set of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. is one of this year’s best new box sets for the whole family hands down. Considering that this classic sitcom’s full series set has already seen release in 2008, the instant question that is likely raised by many is with such a short span of time having passed between its (so far) two releases, what sets this set apart from the sitcom’s previous release? For that matter, what sets it apart from all of the other TV sets released so far this year, too? One answer is the new set’s packaging. In comparison to the packaging of the series’ 2008 release, the packaging is far more ergonomic than that of the 2008 box set. Rather than just placing five stand-alone box sets in a larger box, Paramount and CBS DVD have taken all twenty-four discs that make up the series and placed them into one large box set. Each of the discs is placed on one side or another of twelve separate “plates” inside the box. While the end result is still slightly bulky, it saves far more space on any fan’s DVD rack than the series’ previously released full series set. While many people take packaging for granted, this is one of those times in which packaging shows to be just as important as any other element in a box set. It leaves one wondering how much space could be saved with a Blu-ray release since so much more information can be stored on a BD than on a DVD. Time will tell. But maybe Paramount and CBS DVD will take that subtle suggestion into consideration and perhaps re-issue the full series on Blu-ray in the not too distant future. In the meantime, this set will definitely do if only for its packaging.

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C: The Full Series’ packaging in its new re-issue is a subtle element in considering what makes it such a welcome re-issue. But when compared to the series’ 2008 release, it proves to be far more important than one might think. It’s a rarity for packaging to play such an important role in a box set. But it truly does play an integral role in this case. It’s only one element of this box set that makes it so enjoyable. The work of the show’s writers is just as important to the whole as the packaging if not more important. And so much could be said of the writing, too, beginning with Gomer’s relationship with Sgt. Carter. The relationship in question comes across as almost that of a surrogate father and son with Gomer filling out the role of the son and Sgt. Carter the father. Considering this, one can’t help but root for Gomer as he constantly tries to do the right thing and impress Sgt. Carter just as a son would a father yet stumbling and learning the whole way along. As audiences will see throughout the series, right up to its finale, even Sgt. Carter himself finds himself truly appreciating Gomer in his surrogate father role. It is a really entertaining and at times touching aspect of the series writing that despite its subtlety plays one of the most important roles of all in regards to the series’ writing. On a larger scale, the work of the writers in regards to the episodes should be noted, too. Of the series’ 150 episodes there is not one bad episode. That is evident right from the series’ premiere in which Gomer first arrives at the base and begins his training as a Marine. The gags and jokes that are written for Nabors are just as funny today as they were in the show’s original broadcast on CBS so long ago. Audiences know this especially from that episode’s closing scene just what’s in store for Gomer and Sgt. Carter from that point on. It goes without saying that the show more than lives up to those expectations from there on out. Audiences will love seeing Gomer capture a submarine without even trying during his platoon’s training with its Navy counterparts. This even after he caused so much havoc for Sgt. Carter and the others along the way. Gomer’s trip back home to Mayberry late in the series is one of the series’ best. He discovers that all of his old friends and his cousin are all gone on vacation. His sadness is something to which so many viewers can relate even today whether they are military or just someone coming home from college or even from visiting their old home town after having lived elsewhere for an extended time. Making this episode even more enjoyable is that while all of his old friends are away, Gomer helps Andy’s replacement catch a pair of crooks. If this great episode isn’t enough example of why the series’ writing is so important, there is another episode that sees Gomer encounter “men from Mars” that are actually actors in a movie being filmed near the marine base. Gomer’s reaction to the actors is hilarious as is Sgt. Carter’s reaction to Gomer’s continued assertions. The series’ finale is one more wonderful example of the importance of the series’ writing in the success of this re-issued box set. This episode is that rare moment when both Gomer and Sgt. Carter show the bond formed between them but of which they have never spoken. It is such a moving moment and one of the best of the best from this classic series. And it is one more way that the writing proves to be so important to the enjoyment and success of the set.

The episodes noted here are each great examples of what makes Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. such a hit for audiences of any age. The notation of those episodes is not to take away from any of the series’ other episodes either. Every one of the series’ 150 total episodes could just as easily be used as examples of what makes the series’ writing so impressive. It would take far too long to go into detail about each one, obviously. So moving on, there is one more element of this box set that makes it so enjoyable. That last element is the set’s collective bonus material. Included as bonus material in the set are audio introductions for every one of Season One’s episodes as well as commentaries on specific episodes. Also included is the complete pilot that led to the birth of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. As if that isn’t enough, Paramount and CBS DVD have also included clips of Jim Nabors on The David Frost Show and on his own show, Jim Nabors Hour. Paramount and CBS DVD even went as far as to include a clip from the classic series The Lucy Show. The bonus clips are themselves enjoyable in their own right. But the bonus audio introductions in Season One are the real highlight of the bonus material. The select audio commentaries live up to the title of bonus material, too. It would just have been nice to have even more. In the same vein it would have been wonderful to have the audio introductions throughout all five seasons. Beggars can’t be chooser, though. Perhaps if Paramount and CBS DVD should re-issue the series on Blu-ray in the not too distant future then perhaps that would be a possibility. Even if not, the intros and commentary provided here still does plenty to make the overall viewing experience of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. so much more enjoyable. They help to prove once again exactly why Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. is one of this year’s best new box sets for the whole family.

Whether for the material included in the set, the work of the series’ writers or for the much more ergonomic packaging, it is obvious to see that there is a lot to say to the positive of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series. One could even note the set’s quality production values (I.E. audio and video). The series looks and sounds just as impressive as it did in its previous full series release. It could even be argued that it looks and sounds as good as it did in its original broadcast on CBS so long ago. Regardless of what element(s) viewers choose to note, every one of the elements that can be noted all lead to the revelation that this set is a great addition to any family’s home DVD collection. It is available in stores and online and can be ordered direct via CBS DVD’s online store at http://cbshe.com/PyleCS. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.