¶ From the day he enlisted in television's army Sept. 20, 1955, Master Sergeant Ernie Bilko (Phil Silvers) was obviously just the sort of career soldier whom TV sorely needs. Week after week, the Phil Silvers Show gave Bilko a chance to prove that noncoms really run the regiment, and week after week Bilko proved that he rated his stripes. Bolder than the brass he heckled, brasher than the brightest operator in his informal command, Bilko ran his outfit with the earthy, barracks-brand humor that can make service life (and TV watching) tolerable. He was one of those rare...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!