Original U.S. Army Visor Hat Worn by Phil Silvers as Sergeant Bilko 1955-1959 - Last of the Collection
Original Item: Only One Available. Some months ago IMA purchased a portion of a remarkable named uniform collection out of Indiana. Included were some TV stars hats including three used by PHIL SILVERS in 1950s Television Series "The Phil Silvers Show" in which he starred as the ever popular Sgt. Ernie Bilko. The Show ran for four years and has become part of TV legend.
We had three visor caps, two khaki and one OD green. All were correctly marked to CBS and had both the star's name and the show clearly marked on the inside. This particular cap is our last one, CBS Reference #8502.
Costume designers and wardrobe directors constantly evaluated garments and those items showing too much use were replaced or subject to heavy cleaning. We actually have a photocopy of the CBS instruction dated Tuesday 4th, listing the original two hats and various other material for upgrade. This khaki tan hat shows staining and wear and therefore was replaced.
Many of us old boys remember the "original" sergeant Bilko from the days of President Eisenhower. What a riot he was with his exceptional crew! This is an original U.S. Army Visor Hat from the late 1950s bearing old typed label inside the hatband that bears the CBS Television logo with:
SGT. BILKO SHOW
The leather hatband clearly stamped in black:
Size 7 ¼ is in overall good condition (stains by chin strap) having sat in a private collection for nearly 50 years the owner of which has only recently died and the collection disbanded.
Also included with this hat is a photocopy of a CBS document that reads:
Memo Wardrobe ( Sgt Bilko Show ) Tuesday 4th.
The following items listed below need to be pulled from wardrobe to be cleaned-repaired or replaced.
Please release the item to Kyle.
1 - Phil Silvers Green Hat # 8501
2 - Phil Silvers Tan Hat # 8502
3 - Paul Ford Tan Jacket # 7822
(Please get the ribbons right)
4 - Joe Ross Tan Jacket # 7816
5 Jimmy Little Tan Jacket # 8510
(name not legible)
History of the Phil Silvers Show:
The Phil Silvers Show, originally titled You'll Never Get Rich, was a sitcom which ran on CBS from 1955 to 1959 for 142 episodes, plus a 1959 special. The series starred Phil Silvers as Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko of the United States Army.
The series was created and largely written by Nat Hiken, and won three consecutive Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series. The show is sometimes titled Sergeant Bilko or simply Bilko in reruns, and is very often referred to by these names, both on-screen and by viewers. The show's success transformed Silvers from a journeyman comedian into a star, and writer-producer Hiken from a highly regarded behind-the-scenes comedy writer into a publicly recognized creator.
By 1955, the American television business was already moving westward to Los Angeles, but Nat Hiken insisted on filming the series in New York City, believing it to be more conducive to the creativity and humor. Early episodes were filmed at Dumont's television center in New York City now home to WNYW-TV with later episodes shot at the CBS "Hi Brown" Studios in Chelsea, Manhattan.
Most of the series was filmed to simulate a live performance. The actors memorized their lines, and performed the scenes in sequence before a studio audience. Thus, there are occasional flubs and awkward pauses. Actor Paul Ford, playing Bilko's commanding officer, was notorious for forgetting his lines; when he would get a blank expression on his face, Silvers and the rest of the cast would improvise something to save the scene, like "Oh, you remember, Colonel, the top brass is coming..." At that point, Ford would pick up where he left off.
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