Bilko’s Conscience​

Bilko's good side, mentally. This is who Bilko thinks he really is. He wants to make Ernie an honest human being again.
See episode: Bilko Gets Some Sleep
Played by Stanley Simmonds
In 1959, Stanley appeared in the comedy musical Li’l Abner playing a character that could have been invented by the great Groucho Marx.  The part he played was Rasmussen T. Finsdale.

Bilko’s Ego

Bilko's bad side, mentally. This is who Bilko knows he really is. He wants to keep Ernie as he is.
See episode: Bilko Gets Some Sleep
Played by Robert Webber
Robert actually served in the United States Marines during World War II and he fought in Okinawa and Guam. He had a hugely successful film and TV career for himself. Appearing in 12 Angry Men, The Dirty Dozen amongst others

Sergeant Baycher

He is a strict 'targets-met' motor pool replacement for Ernie. Bilko gets himself transferred and Baycher replaces him. Soon the colonel wants Ernie back as Baycher is loading him up with extra paperwork. This is due to his obsession, with efficiency ratings. 
See episode: Bilko's Transfer
Played by Bob Hastings
After World War II had ended Bob got himself onto radio with Mutual Broadcasting System. He was the man who provided the voice for Archibald "Archie" Andrews. A fictional character created in 1941 by Bob Montana, part of an American comic book series.

Sergeant Quentin Q. Benton (aka The Beast)

He is super-tough Drill Sergeant, from Camp Hanley, who takes over Ernie Bilko's "money making" schemes. He thinks he has Bilko right where he wants him ……..........at least that is what he thinks.
See episode: Bilko and the Beast
Catchphrase: ‘Shaddapp!!'
Played by George Mathews
In 1963, George was a regular in the American situation comedy-drama show Glynis as retired cop, Chick Rogers. In 1960, he played Fatso O’Rear in the play Do Re Mi with Phil Silvers topping the bill.

Corporal Crimm

Henchman of Sergeant Quentin Q. Benton (aka 'the Beast')
See episode: Bilko and the Beast
Played by Don Hanmer
After Bilko, Don seems to have gotten himself quite a fancy for appearing in television cop/mystery shows. He went on to appear in The Untouchables, McCloud, Kojak, Banacek, Cannon, Ironside, Hill Street Blues; Father Dowling Mysteries etc etc the list is endless.

Corporal Edwin C. Honergan (Ed)

A Mechanic transferred from Camp Dixon. AKA 'The Stomach' the food gulping champion of the army. Company 'B', Bilko's men, challenge Company 'A', Sergeant Allen’s men, to an 'Eating Contest' and Ed is the star turn. Corporal Barbella says he once saw him, in one day, eat: 'Nine chickens, a bushel of carrots and peas, nineteen corn on the cobs, eight pies and he wasn't even breathing hard!!' 'The more miserable he gets the hungrier he gets.' He hasn't seen his girlfriend, Hazel, for ten years. In the contest, he is up against Sergeant Hog Henderson; here is the menu for them both!! Ten dozen Oysters with plenty of crackers, Cream of tomato soup with lots of croutons, twelve chickens, Three bushel of salad, fourteen steaks, six pies with cheese.
See episode: The Eating Contest
Played by Fred Gwynne 

Fred went on to play Herman Munster in the 1960’s TV comedy, The Munsters. For the part, he had to put on about 50Ibs of pad and wear boots that had four-inch elevation. This would put Fred’s total height, whilst filming this show, to six feet nine.

Corporal Ed Honnegar

Whilst stationed abroad at an isolated posting, the only reading matter available to him was a book on birds. Ed read it over and over again. Ernie Bilko gets him an appearance on the $64,000 question quiz show - specialist subject, birds.
See episode: It's for the Birds
Played by Fred Gwynne
Facts: Nat Hiken spotted Fred’s huge comedy potential, so he offered him one of the main parts in his upcoming new comedy show, Car 54 Where Are You? In this show, Fred would encounter a lot of the old ‘Bilko’ crew. Joe E Ross, Jimmy Little, Beatrice Pons, Billy Sands, Al Lewis, Frederick O'Neal, Charlotte Rae, Jack Healy – these are just some of the many names who worked on both shows.

Private Bopsters

A musical jazz group. Bilko arranges it for their band to tour Europe.
See episode: Bilko's Bopster
Played by Larry Storch, Mickey Deems, Josip Elic, Roger Landry and Bernard Reed.In 1975, Larry Storch appeared as Eddie Spenser, in a children’s TV show called The Ghost Busters. Eleven years later, he would play the voice part of Eddie Spencer’s father, in the animated remake, called Ghostbusters.

Private Clem Bilko

Ernie's sharp cousin who also happens to have an eyeshade under his cap, ready for poker! He is the younger brother of Bilko's dim cousin, Swiffington.
See episode: Bilko's Cousin
Played by William Hickey
In 1997, William played Rudolf Smuntz, the dying father of Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, in his final film role in Mousehunt.

Private Swiffington 'Swifty' Bilko

Dim cousin of Ernie Bilko.  In a game of poker, with Ritzik and Grover, he throws away three aces. Colonel: 'Why do you want to be an officer?' Swifty: 'So I can ride a big white horse'
See episode: Bilko's Cousin
Played by Dick Van Dyke
Dick went on to have major success with Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder. 

Private Claude Brubaker

An excellent singer, in fact he is a tenor. He is also the man who tends to Bilko's furnace.
See episode: Singing Contest
Played by Bob Dixon
In 1948, Bob joined the cast of the stage musical, Lend an Ear. The show would run for another 460 outings. Also in the cast were Carol Channing and another actor who would appear in ‘Bilko’, Al Checco.

Private Carter

This fellow was born in Kentucky so obviously he is an equine expert.  He finds the platoon a racehorse.
See episode: The Horse
Played by Bob Shawley
Bob played 'Blondie' Peterson in the classic 1953 World War II movie Stalag 17.

Private Gregory Chickering

A former army buddy of Ernie Bilko. In civilian life, he is left a one-eyed-parrot called ‘Cyclops’ and $1 in his Uncle Abner's Will.
See episode: Where there's a Will
Played by Bruce Kirby
Bruce later made quite a few appearances as Sergeant Kramer in the TV series Columbo.

Private Chuck Forbes

Mr Muscles himself, former PT Instructor. A new Tarzan is wanted and Ernie thinks Forbes would be ideal.
See episode: Bilko's Ape Man
Played by Kenneth Vaughn
In this show, Kenneth is given the unenviable task of having to make the great actress Lucille Ball faint.

Private Wally Gunther

He takes out an insurance policy with Bilko’s new company. Bilko panics when he realises he is a twin.
See episode: Bilko's Insurance Company
Played by Orson Bean
On Broadway, Orson was the star of the original cast of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955), and featured in Subways Are For Sleeping (1961), for which he received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Although, he is possibly best known, as a long-time panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth.

Private Eddie Hanagan

A tall, but not much to look at, platoon member. Because of his looks the platoon thinks he has no sweetheart.
See episode: Miss America
Played by Will Able
Through nearly all of 1970 Will starred, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, on Broadway, in Coco. An original musical, about the life of celebrated fashion icon, Coco Chanel. Playing Coco was the multi-Oscar winning actress Katherine Hepburn.

Private Higgins

He trusts Bilko to look after the new recruits’ money.
See episode: New Recruits
Played by Michael Dreyfuss
Tragically, Michael died only five years after starring on the show, aged just 32.

Private Jenkins

He mixes applejack and oil in a Jeeps crankshaft and creates a get younger potion.
See episode: Bilko's Formula Seven

Played by Tom Noel
Two years before his Bilko bow, Tom made a fleeting appearance in Trackdown, a television show about the exploits of Texas Ranger, Hoby Gilman.

Private Wong Lee

He is the son of a Chinese restaurateur.
See episode: Bilko's Chinese Restaurant
Played by Jon Lee
As well as appearing in countless Broadway productions, Jon has had a twenty five year as one of the most prolific announcers in the history of radio and television commercials. He has been heard on over 35,000 ads worldwide, winning accolades with Clios and Mobius Awards, in the process.

Private Hugo Lockman

The writer who penned the play, 'Sharecroppers Summer'. Bilko thought he could win a big literary prize!
See episode: Sergeant Bilko Presents
Played by Gordon Polk
Gordon had to have heart surgery in 1960 and tragically, he died during the process.

Private Hank Lumpkin

He was born in Tennessee so naturally his family hates Yankees.  Bilko sees that he is a natural baseball pitcher. He learnt to throw whilst hunting squirrels back home, so he tries to get him playing for the New York Yankees!! But, he hasn't reckoned without Lula Belle, Hank's girlfriend.
See episode: Hillbilly Whiz
Played by Dick Van Dyke
Fact: Most people know that Dick played Bert, the Chimney Sweep, in the movie Mary Poppins. But did you know he also starred as the old bank chairman? In the closing credits the part of the said chairman is given as played by "Nackvid Keyd" (which is of course an anagram of ‘Dick Van Dyke’).

Private Mike McClusty

A Handsome recruit to the army he has tremendous power over women. They just won’t leave him alone!
See episode: The Face on the Recruiting Poster
Played by Eric Fleming 
In 1933, Eric jumped onto a train, in order to escape the clutches of his nasty father. He later found great fame when appearing in the western series Rawhide, alongside another up-and-coming actor in the form of Clint Eastwood. Eric drowned in Peru aged just 41.

Private Lester Mendelsohn


He has been marooned on a Pacific island since 1942.
See episode: Bilko's Black Magic
Played by Gerald Hiken
Gerald is the cousin of Bilko creator, Nat Hiken. Later, he would again appear alongside Phil Silvers, in the 1959 musical, Louie the Louse

Private Montana Morgan

He is a cowboy recruit to the motor pool. He loves Hoot Gibson (Photo click Here) and won’t hear a word said against the man. Sold to Ritzik for $75 by Bilko, but then bought back because he may have a bright future in TV.
See episode: Bilko's TV Pilot
Catchphrase: ‘YAHOO!!’
Played by Wynn Pearce
After his cowboy appearance on the show, Wynn went on to play cowboy after cowboy in a variety of television shows.Gunsmoke, Maverick, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Lawman, Outlaws, Bonanza; who says people don’t get typecast!

Private Steve Nagy

Steve is a Hungarian born soldier, who just cannot keep away from his family.
See episode: A.W.O.L.
Played by Pat Hingle
1960 was an almighty unlucky year for Pat. He fell fifty feet down an elevator shaft and broke nearly every bone in his body. He was close to dying and part of his recuperation was learning to walk all over again. It gets worse, when you find out that before this accident, Pat had been offered the main part in the film Elmer Gantry. Burt Lancaster took over, due to Pat’s horrific injuries, and promptly won an Oscar for his performance.

Private Nelson

A handsome guy, who Bilko puts in the front rank of his platoon, when a film maker appears.
See episode: Platoon in the Movies
Played by ?? 

Private Mike O'Brien

A platoon member and devoted family man of three kids. Bilko baby sits for him so that Mike can have a three-day-furlough with his wife. The trouble is Bilko panics when he cannot change the nappy/diaper.  And soon the whole US army is helping 'worldwide'.
See episode: Kids in Trailer
Played by Dickie Belton
In 1954, Dickie made an appearance in one of the plays of the long-running TV show, Armstrong Circle Theatre. Notably, some other Bilko co-stars appeared in these plays. Murray Hamilton, Hildy Parks, David White and Private Gander himself, Tige Andrews,

Private Chick Parker

All that Parker wants is a dishonourable discharge!!
See episode: The Hoodlum
Played by Paul Porter Junior
As a child performer, Paul appeared in the Broadway plays; My Sister Eileen (December 26, 1940 - January 16, 1943) and Tomorrow the World (April 14, 1943 - June 17, 1944)

Private Elvin Pelvin

A Rock 'n Roll' star of the 1950s. Aka Elvin Pilbeam, Irving Melvin, Edwin, Elmer etc. Bilko tries to get him to make a record.
See episode: Rock 'n' Roll Rookie
Played by Tom Gilson
In 1961, Tom had major problems with his personal life. He was married, to Sandra and they had a young baby son, Tom junior. After a stormy few weeks, the pair separated with Sandra moving in with her sister in California. Tom turned to drink and on one ill-fated night on October 6th 1962 he broke into the house. Sandra was frightened by his behaviour and shot him dead. ‘Justifiable Homicide’ was the verdict at the coroners hearing.

Private Perkins

He is an orphan, who is sent to Ernie's platoon, after being thrown out of fourteen camps. An incessant practical joker, he tests Ernie's patience to the limit.
See episode: The Son of Bilko
Played by Rob Kilgallen
Six months after his appearance on the ‘Bilko’ show, Rob got a bit-part in The Night America Trembled. This was an episode of the successful Studio One in Hollywood TV series.

Private Skinny Sanders

He is a famous Bopster jazz drummer. Bilko arranges it for his band to tour Europe.
See episode: Bilko's Bopster
Played by Ronny Graham
He was born, Ronald Montcrief Stringer in 1919, in Philadelphia. He was the son of vaudevillians who did a double act as Steve and Flo, and as a child he would accompany them on the music-hall circuit. He became a hugely successful Broadway star, comedian and writer. Ronny wrote seven episodes of M*A*S*H and nine episodes of The Brady Bunch Hour and the screenplays for the films To Be or Not to Be and Spaceballs.

Private Emil Schneider

Bilko thinks Emil is a crack rifleman. But as Emil says himself; ‘I can’t hit the side of a barn door’ - He marries a rich girl who he met through the USO, after Ernie Bilko, unwittingly sent him to a different address.
See episodes: Bilko's Sharpshooter, Bilko the Butler
Played by Leo Liebman

Private Harry Speakup

Chimpanzee that is inducted into the army by mistake. Part of the circus act ‘Charlie and Zippo’. He was charged with “wilfully and maliciously break Army Regulation 67B2 by assaulting a superior officer, Master Sergeant Stanley Sowici, by biting him on the right index finger.”
See episode: The Court-Martial
Played by Zippy the Chimp 

During filming of this episode, Zippy inexplicably climbed out of his seat during his military hearing. He then picked up the telephone, to which Sergeant Bilko (Phil Silvers) gave the immortal ad-lib; "I think he's calling for another lawyer!"

Private Tow

Platoon member who only appeared very briefly.
See episode: Bilko's Boys Town
Played by Godfrey Cambridge
Godfrey appeared both on stage and screen. Memorable film roles include Watermelon Man, where he plays the lead character, a white bigot who one day wakes up and discovers his skin color has turned to black, and The President's Analyst, where he plays a depressed government agent. He also had a starring role in the 1970 Ossie Davis adaptation of the Chester Himes novel Cotton Comes to Harlem of the same name. 

Private Tommy Vandermeer

A wealthy young man in the future, He is the sole heir to a $200 million automobile fortune.
See episode: Rich Kid
Played by Mark Rydell
As well as being a fine actor, Mark became a film director too. One of the movies that he directed is the Oscar-winning On Golden Pond.

Private Tony Van Dyke

A rotund, shall we say, member of the platoon.
See episodes: New Recruits, Platoon at the Movies, Mardi Gras
Played by Tony Corrado (??)

Private Harold Westroom

He tries to pluck up courage to ask a girl out.
See episode: Cyrano de Bilko
Played by Earl Rowe
During World War II, Earl commanded an American mortar squadron. He was a regular Broadway performer from the 1950’s onwards. He only ever starred in two movies, Attica (1980) and much earlier in 1958, The Blob. This film had him co-starring with the legend that was, Steve McQueen.