Colonel John T. Hall (Jack)
  1. Colonel Hall, centre, with Bilko and the Crosby clan.
    Colonel Hall, centre, with Bilko and the Crosby clan.
  2. Dapper Paul!
    Dapper Paul!
Commander at both Fort Baxter & Camp Fremont

A bumbler who is both anxious for the camp to be recognised by the top brass but keen too on the quiet life that resulted from its remoteness, 'Jack' longed to be rid of Ernie Bilko, but, when this occasioned, he recognised immediately that Ernie was an essential part of the status quo that granted him, mostly, an easy life.

After his 1922 graduation, he was a West Point officer who was cited for bravery in two wars. Nicknamed Melonhead by his old army chums. Dreams of being put in charge of a top military post and in his own words not to be 'an unknown colonel at a forgotten post.' He served with General Strait in the Cavalry. He spent most of World War II posted in Australia. Married his wife, Nell, at the age of twenty six after a three-year courtship. During his days at West Point he served 'strong lemonade' to the rest of the academy. Famed for his barnyard impersonations. Actually made up to a Brigadier but turned down the honour as he says he has far too much to do at Camp Fremont! He once played a round of golf with the President of the USA and broke 150! "He called me Jack" Said the colonel.  


Paul Ford was born Paul Ford Weaver on November 2, 1901, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Before he became an actor, he had been a proofreader, script writer and salesman of ads, adding machines and magazines.  His most enjoyable hobbies were sculpting and contract bridge.  


Paul became an actor at a very late stage. He was 38 when he made the decision to give up his job as a gas station attendant and try acting. His wife, curiously called Nell the same as his onscreen spouse, wondered if this was a wise move.

"I told her that I'd soon be making as much as $100 a week." Paul said at the time. "Since that was about what I was making a month at the time she thought I belonged in the looney bin. Nell wanted me to give up the idea of acting and take a more suitable occupation as superintendent of our building."

But Paul didn't see any hope or future in that job.  He had been bitten by the acting bug by his neighbour, Loyal T. Lucas, he was a thespian who worked on a WPA puppet show!!  Paul had helped him with the puppets and then essayed amateur dramatics.

His first acting paycheck was for a part in a radio serial.  He went on to be an established radio actor until one day he made another fateful decision.  At this time he was combining his radio work with appearances acting on Broadway, then he ceased to do the $200 a week radio shows and instead he accepted a part, at $86 a week, playing Mr. Arthur Malcolm in the Broadway play, Command Decision.


Since he became an actor, Paul has been in many Broadway plays, among them Flamingo Road, Another Part of the Forest, As We Forgive Our Debtors and The Teahouse of the August Moon.  It was while he was in the last named hit, where he played a United States Army colonel, that he was spotted and hired by writer-producer Nat Hiken to play another army colonel, the one soon to be beset on by Sergeant Ernie Bilko et al.

"It's curious,"  Paul said at the time. "I've worked in 14 plays and nine movies, and I was still pretty much an unknown.  Then I play an incidental character on Phil Silvers' television show and people treat me like a big star and a genius."


James Grover Thurber was an American author, cartoonist and celebrated wit. He was best known for his contributions (both cartoons and short stories) to The New Yorker magazine.

In 1960, James was able to fulfill his long-standing desire to be on the professional stage by playing himself in 88 performances of the revue A Thurber Carnival, based on a selection of his own stories and cartoon captions James appeared in the sketch "File and Forget," dictating fictional correspondence to his publisher.James won a special Tony Award for the adapted script of the Carnival.  

The revue was directed by Burgess Meredith. Following a six city tryout, during which Thurber continued to rewrite the show, it premiered on Broadway on February 26, 1960 and ran for 223 performances, with a break from June 25 to September 5. 

Paul Ford had a starring role in this comedy farce. He acted out many parts as "second man", these were as a Father, a Wolf, a man, General Lee, Darrel Darke, Bailey, Preble, Clint Jordan, John, Secretary Bird, Mr. Pritchard-Mitford, The Leader.

When the show opened it drew rave reviews becoming a huge hit over night.

Paul Ford appeared with Wynne Miller to act out an updated version of Little Red Riding Hood. Convinced trhat the wolf looks more like her grandmother "than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge" the smart girl shoots Paul - the moral being that it isn't as easy to fool little girls these days as it used to be.


In one of Thurber's wildest fantasies If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox. Tom Ewell plays the boozy General. When General Lee (Paul Ford) comes to surrender, Grant mistakes him for Robert Browning and ends up surrendering to Lee.

Gentlemen Shoppers  -  In a department store with free cocktails being handed out by a lovely girl two Christmas shoppers whoop it up as they buy presents for their wives. Helping themselves to more and more martinis. Then they eventually break into their own whiffenpoof song; "Gentlemen Shoppers off on a spree, wheel into Bonwit's for lingerie.........."
Paul appeared in his own sitcom, The Baileys of Balboa. He also had a classic cameo part in the rollicking comedy film, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Paul retired from acting in 1972; four years later he had passed away. He had been offered the chance to come out of retirement, to play the role of Principal McGee in a forthcoming new musical film, Grease. Sadly, his sad death put an end to that offer.
  1. Doctor Adams/Captain Masters
    Doctor Adams/Captain Masters
  2. Wac Billie
    Wac Billie
  3. Sergeant Francis Grover
    Sergeant Francis Grover
  4. Captain Barker
    Captain Barker
  5. Lieutenant Anderson
    Lieutenant Anderson
  6. Sergeant Joan Hogan
    Sergeant Joan Hogan
  7. Sergeant Mike Kennedy
    Sergeant Mike Kennedy
  8. Sergeant Andrew Pendleton
    Sergeant Andrew Pendleton
  9. Sergeant Rupert Ritzik
    Sergeant Rupert Ritzik
  10. Sergeant Stanley Sowici
    Sergeant Stanley Sowici
  11. Wac Edna
    Wac Edna
  12. Wac Mildred
    Wac Mildred
  13. Tom the Chaplain
    Tom the Chaplain
  14. Mrs Nell Hall
    Mrs Nell Hall
  15. Mrs Emma Ritzik
    Mrs Emma Ritzik
Captain/Doctor Adams (aka Captain Masters)​

Camp Psychiatrist/MO

He gives Bilko some advice and he listens and takes heed. He gives up gambling and he even gets up for reveille.

See episode: Bilko Gets Some Sleep

Played by Nelson Olmsted

Nelson achieved more on radio than television. His recordings of Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Terror stories are, even today, still very popular as audiobooks. On the back cover of the LP Sleep No More! Nelson summarized his life, thus: ‘Now that I think of it, we had a sort of Golden Age of Drama down in Austin, Texas, during those depressed middle thirties. There was the Curtain Club of the University of Texas and Austin’s Little Theatre, and working between them were such aspirants as Zachary Scott, Elaine Anderson Scott, Eli Wallach, Walter Cronkite, Brooks West and Alma Holloway, whom I had sense enough to marry. Most of them came on to New York, fought the actor’s battle, and made it one way or another. I stayed behind with the security of a radio announcer’s job. By the time I moved to WBAP, in Fort Worth, this security was pulling, and the announcer’s life seemed endlessly sterile. What to do about it? Dramatic shows cost money and there were no budgets. The cheapest drama for radio I could think of was good literature, read aloud. Especially the work of that great dramatist who never wrote a play -- Edgar Allan Poe. WBAP gave me some time with which to experiment. That was way back in 1939 -- and it worked. By 1940, the storytelling show was on NBC for a ten-year run. There were a couple of years out for the Army, but even so I managed to tell stories over the Army radio network in Italy. Television brought rough competition to the industry. Rather than fight, I joined by adapting some of the best stories into plays, selling them to Fred Coe, and playing a part in them -- sometimes the lead. So -- in the long run -- I got to New York, too, and made it as an actor, literally by telling stories!‘


Captain Barker

He is the second in command at Fort Baxter & Camp Fremont. After the notorious Harry Speakup escapade he was briefly demoted to Lieutenant. He feigned madness to outwit even the great Ernie Bilko in the show entitled The Rest Cure.

See episodes: The Court Martial, The Rest Cure

Played by Nick Saunders

Nick, was actually born in Russia in 1913, his real name is Nikita Soussanin. Also, his father was a top actor over in Russia. As well as being a skilled actor he was also a gifted translator of Russian drama, working for many years alongside his collaborator, Frank Dwyer.

Lieutenant Anderson

He is a very fresh-faced officer. He is clean cut and well spoken.

See episodes: The Horse, The Bivouac, The Twitch, The Court-Martial

Played by Jim Perry

His career was threefold, as an actor, reporter and playwright. He was editor of entertainment for The States-Item for over sixteen years. His had a daily column called Perryscope, where he covered television, theatre, films and the showbiz nightlife scene. James Alton Perry died in 2006, at the age of 80, of Parkinson's disease.

Sergeant Francis Grover

Chief Communications Officer on camp. 

Best friends with Sergeant Rupert Ritzik. One of the worst poker players on the base, slightly better than Ritzik. Has a fascination with horror films, comic books and he loves the funnyman Buddy Bickford. Fancies himself as an Irish tenor. Bilko gets him to install a phone in his room in exchange for a third share in an empty store. He is forced to wear a necklace made of chicken bones and cover himself in grease in a voodoo ritual.

See episodes: Bilko’s Black Magic, Bilko in Outer Space, Bilko and the Flying Saucers, Empty Store

Played by Jimmy Little

Jimmy, like many others from the Bilko cast, went on to appear in Car 54, Where Are You? Where he played Sergeant Jim McBride.

Sergeant Joan Hogan

The Colonel's Secretary. 

She was the girlfriend of Ernie Bilko for over three years. Originally, Joan is from Sumter, South Carolina. Originally, Joan is from Sumter, South Carolina. Before coming to Fort Baxter, Joan was at Camp Collins where she was taught the Bilko Shuffle by Emily Gribble. Emily was an old acquaintance of Ernie Bilko, who now resides in Las Vegas, earning her keep as a top card dealer.

See episodes: Bilko's Engagement, Dinner at Sowici’s, Joan’s Big Romance, WAC

Played by Elisabeth Fraser

Her full name was actually, Elisabeth Fraser Jonker. Elisabeths first work in theatre was as an unpaid scenery painter. Elisabeth Fraser, actress of the stage, screen and television, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1920. Miss Fraser attended school in Haiti, France and New York, graduating from Washington Irving High School. As a result of her various travels she learned to speak several languages. She also spent a number of summers in Vermont performing in summer stock companies. Elisabeth made her New York debut in 1940 in a production of Robert E. Sherwood's play There Shall Be No Night, produced by the Playwright's Company and the Theatre Guild and starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. She played the character of Kaatri Alquist, opposite Montgomery Clift. In the midst of the national tour of the production. Elisabeth went to Hollywood and completed a successful screen test. She made her screen debut in 1941 playing the character of Eileen Spence in One Foot in Heaven, which also starred Frederic March. In 1943 she appeared in the Broadway production, Winged Victory

For the next forty years she worked continuously on the stage, screen and television. Her best known appearance was of course as Sergeant Joan Hogan on the CBS television series The Phil Silvers Show, from 1955-1958. She also made guest appearances in numerous other television shows including The Monkees, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Rawhide, Perry Mason and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Her stage and screen appearances include Winged Victory, The Tunnel of Love, The Best Man, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Commandos Strike at Dawn, Death of a Salesman, The Glass Bottom Boat, Seconds, The Way West, The Graduate and Nine to Five.

  1. Winged Victory
    Winged Victory
  2. Joanie!
    Joanie!
  3. Beautiful!
    Beautiful!
  4. Gorgeous!
    Gorgeous!
Sergeant Mike Kennedy

Military Policeman.

Played by George Kennedy.

George made his showbiz debut, aged just two, when he joined the cast of the touring Bringing up Father troup. He joined the US Army during World War II and went on to spend another sixteen years in the force. During his time in the army they loaned 'Captain' George to the show for military advice. After this ‘bit-part’ George caught the acting bug and went on to become a top actor in his own right. He appeared in some of the greatest movies ever made, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Dirty Dozen, The Boston Strangler and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. His greatest screen performance as ‘Dragline’ in Cool Hand Luke (1967) won him an Oscar.

Sergeant Andrew Pendleton

A Quartermaster at Fort Baxter. 

One of Bilkos' rivals. He buys a third of an empty store from Ernie.

See episode: Empty Store

Played by Ned Glass

Ned was born in Poland on April Fools day, 1906. Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, was his next-door neighbour for some years. Indeed Moe, managed to get Ned some small parts in three ‘Stooges’ movies Nutty but Nice, Three Little Sew and Sew and Hokus Pokus. His first wife, actress kitty McHugh committed suicide in 1954. After making the show A Mess Sergeant Can't Win, Ned Glass returned to California, by all accounts he was extremely homesick

Sergeant Rupert Ritzik

Company Cook at both Fort Baxter and Camp Fremont. 

He was born at 323 Acorn Street, Peoria, Illinois. Rupert was inducted into the United States Army at Fort McArthur. He has been married to Emma for 15 years. He's scared of her - especially after a night of gambling with Bilko. Described by Bilko as: The Picasso of the pots and pans. One of the worst poker players on the base. Although, he once thought he’d come across a way of winning at Roulette with a formula he’d made up. Has a fascination with horror films, TV westerns, comic books and he loves the funnyman Buddy Bickford. He nearly got into the movies as Count Ritzik of Transylvania. His wife leaves him after he spends their fifteenth wedding anniversary playing poker with Bilko.

Catchphrases: 'Ooh! Ooh!' and 'I knew it'

See episodes: Bilko’s Black Magic, A Mess Sergeant Can't Win

Played by Joe E. Ross


Joey was playing to obscure burlesque houses and nightclubs before Nat Hiken signed him up for the part of Sergeant Rupert Ritzik on the Bilko show.  As a member of Sergeant Bilko's slap-happy platoon of military misfits, Ross soon became a comedy fave of TV watchers.

At the end of 1959, Joe E. Ross (Rupert Ritzik) had just finished his opening comedy act at the Black Orchid night spot....there he was impatiently drumming his fingers up and down the white tablecloth, watching the rest of the floor show.......An intrepid reporter ventured up to Joe E. and asked him if he was glad that the hugely successful Bilko television series had finished.

"Everybody is," he snarled,  "Phil Silvers most of all.  It was a good show and we all enjoyed doing it, but you get kind of tired of the same routine after four and a half years. I was only with the series for three years, of course, and I didn't appear in every show, so I had it a lot easier than Phil. But I know how he felt. I never acted before I signed for the Bilko show. I was born in New York, on the east side, and started working 25 years ago as a singing waiter, this is how I started in show business. People do not believe now that I'm a night club comic; they think I just do television --- but it's the other way around. I'm more at home on these little stages than with a live audience.  I've always given these little routines and worked in with a song or two and people liked it.  Now when I come, they expect me to be Ritzik. 'Be Ritzik!!,' they yell, or 'Where's Emma?'  Emma, that's my horrible wife on the Bilko show. I never would have got onto TV if it hadn't been for Nat Hiken.  He's the guy who originated the Bilko show. You know the story about Hiken and Silvers locking themselves up in a warehouse and shouting ideas at each other until they came up with the army sergeant-con man format. Hiken is like that --- he built Milton Berle and Martha Raye --- he also invented the Doberman character for Maurice Gosfield on the Bilko show. He sees things in people that nobody else sees. The original mess sergeant in the Bilko show (Harry Clark) died in 1956.  At that time I was doing my act at a club in Miami Beach.  Hiken and Silvers happened to catch the show one night and Nat stood up in the middle of my act and said, 'There's my mess sergeant.'  We talked afterward and I wasn't too hot on doing TV, but I figured I had nothing to lose."

At this point Joey lifted his heavy frame back in his lofty chair and sent a signal, throught the smoke-riddled room, for the waiter. He ordered himself a black coffee and began to drink it  just like a fine wine connoisseur.

"Not as good as that old army brew," he sniggered.

"I wasn't really a mess sergeant in the army, I was in the motor pool. I served from 1943 to 1945 and I was never made PFC --- I was a buck private all the way.  Then I joined the Bilko show; I get one laugh and they make me a master sergeant."

Even though he was happy that the Bilko show had finally had Taps blown, Joe E. admits that the television comedy had done him a lot of good.  It got him roles in the movies, Hear Me Good (with Hal March) and Maracaibo (with Cornel Wilde).

"I play a stupid con man in Hear Me Good and a stupid oil man in Maracaibo.  Of course, Sergeant Ritzik never won any prizes himself for being an intellectual.  I'd just as soon play a stupid character, though, if I can get laughs."

Joey is on his way back to New York this month to shoot the pilot for his next TV project.  This new show is being written by his old friend Nat Hiken and Joey believes it will be hilarious.

"Anything that Hiken does is funny,"  he states. "I'm going to be either a comic cop or a stupid private eye. They have to get the okay for a stupid cop from the New York police department.  I'm going to keep the name Ritzik and my good old wife, Emma, will be in it too, I think."

Joey isn't really married. He was a few years ago, but got a divorce on grounds of "geography," he said.  "I couldn't stand to live in California and she was an actress and refused to leave Hollywood, so we decided to go separate ways."

He now lives by himself in a New York apartment hotel and spends a lot of his spare time dreaming up new routines to make people laugh ........... he even keeps his body in trim by using the gymnasium that occupies the floor below his apartment.

Asked what he would do if the new television show doesn't sell, Joey said it wouldn't worry him at all.  "I don't look forward to all the work that a weekly series involves," he said. "I think it will go because CBS is making the pilot and they'll push it themselves. If it doesn't sell, well, I'm 47 and too old to start learning how to worry now."


Joey should have had no need to worry about his forthcoming new project. Given his track record, it was obvious that Nat Hiken would come up with the goods....and did he ever deliver with the new comedy Car 54 Where Are You? The show became a huge success.  It ran ran on NBC from 1961 to 1963.  The series followed the adventures of NYPD officers Gunther Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) in the fictional 53rd precinct in the Bronx, assigned to Patrol Car 54. Toody was short, stocky, nosy, not very bright, and lived with his loud, domineering wife Lucille. Muldoon, an Irish American, was very tall, quiet, and more intelligent. He was a shy bachelor who lived with his mother and two younger sisters.

In 1962, The brilliantly incomparable, Nat Hiken won an Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Emmy Award for his work on the series.


After the cancellation of that show Joey made special TV appearances and performed in nightclubs.  In 1969, he appeared at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, here are some of the jokes he told.


I'll never forget my first job. It was a place in New Jersey called Chez Paree. That's French for Shapiro.............I don't know what to say it was a rough place, but every thirty minutes there would be an intermission so they could carry out the wounded.

I spent so many years playing a policeman on Car 54  that I started to believe my part.  Every time I'd pass a fruit stand I'd grab an apple, a pear, a banana.  One time I flipped altogether and stopped a car for speeding.

A few years ago I got married for the second time. I can't tell you too much about my first wife. Our divorce came up so quickly our lawyers were fighting custody of the wedding cake.

My wife kept nagging me to lose weight so I decided to consult a dietician. He put me on a diet of one hard-boiled egg a day. "Are you crazy?"  I demanded.  "Do you think I'm going to wait all day for one egg?  I can't do it.  I'll get nervous.  I'll get restless. I won't get any rest."  "You'll get plenty of rest," He told me,  "Because you'll be fainting a lot."


I recently took a friend's advice and bought annuities. But I made the mistake of neglecting to read the clauses in small type. Now I've discovered that to be eligible for compensation I have to be run down by a herd of wild buffalo in Times Square. Then I collect $3 a week. If I lose an arm, the insurance company helps me look for it. And they really take marvellous care of my wife. The pay all her maternity costs --- after the age of 87.

My wife feels that just because I appear on TV I shouldn't be seen taking out the garbage.  When I asked her how she expected me to get the garbage out of the house, she came up with a terrific scheme.  Every two days she wraps our garbage in gift paper. I take it down to the post office and mail it off to the Department of Sanitation.

My wife's bouffant hairdo is getting more and more ridiculous.  When I married her she was four feet eight;  now she's six two.  The other day she came home with a hair style that was so high the hairdresser was still inside working on it. A friend of mine was drunk every night for 15 years.  One 3am he staggered through the front door and was met by his enraged wife.  Taking him by the arm,  she literally dragged him to a nearby distillery. Pushing him inside, she pointed to the workers busily bottling and casing the liquor.  "See that, George?"  she shouted.  "See how hard they're working?  You can't keep up with them."  "Maybe not,"  her husband slurred.  "But I sure got 'em working nights."


'Ooh! Ooh!' Joey used that same catchphrase in the animated cartoons, Help... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!  (Here he was the voice of Wonderland Zoo officer, Lionel J. Botch) and Hong Kong Phooey (Sergeant Flint). His last series was It's About Time (1966), in which he played a caveman named Gronk  who, out of his element in modern times, was short-lived. Joe E. died, whilst performing in front of an audience of senior citizens, in Los Angeles, California. The year was 1982 and he was just 68 years old.
  1. Car 54!
    Car 54!
  2. With Car 54 co-star Fred Gwynne
    With Car 54 co-star Fred Gwynne
Sergeant Stanley Sowici​

Company ‘B’ Cook. 

He is married to Agnes with one son known only as Junior. How he describes himself: 'I am mess sergeant of Company B. Responsible for the nutritive welfare and health of over 1400 men at Fort Baxter.' A Politically Correct way of saying he is the Company Cook!! Bilko describes him, thus: ‘Mess Sergeant Sowici, the Army’s answer to Betty Crocker.’ He got bit, in his own kitchen, by the chimp known as Private Harry Speakup (Aka Zippo the chimpanzee). Stanley provided valuable evidence at that chimps’ court-martial. Bilko, when cornered with the threat of engagement to his sweetheart Joan, takes her around to Stanley's house to show her what married life entails. The trouble is the normally arguing Sowicis suddenly transform into the perfect couple!! Together with Pendleton and Grover they each bought a third share of an empty store off Bilko – Sowici even went down on his knees to get his share.

See episodes: Empty Store, The Eating Contest, AWOL

Played by Harry Clark 

In 1948, Harry starred in the original, New York Broadway, production of Kiss me Kate. He was one of the two gangsters in the show. He even sang, with co-gangster Jack Diamond, ‘Brush up Your Shakespeare’ in every performance of the show. Sadly, Harry Clark died, playing four-wall Handball, after the first season was filmed. He was only 46 years old.

WAC Billie

Administration.  She is an aide to the colonel.

See episodes: The Bilko Boycott, The Court-Martial

Played by Billie Allan

Billie’s real full name is Wilhelmina Louise Allen. In the years 1999 and 2000, she served as a voting member on the Tony Awards nominating board. She was married the late composer, Luther Henderson.

WAC Edna

Administration. She is an aide to the colonel.

See episodes: The Bilko Boycott, Bilko's Sharpshooter

Played by Barbara Berrie

Barbara’s real name is Barbara Ann Berman. As well as having a distinguished television and film portfolio, she has appeared in stage productions from 1955 until after 2004.

WAC Mildred

She is an assistant to Major Allenby. 

Formerly Mildred The Barracuda at Sam Adamapplelis’ Paradise Bar and Grill (Aka The Snake Pit) -  She "chews gum like a cow on a filet of cud" - Mildred has helped Ernie out in a variety of scams. Her best friend is Sophie Bissell.

See episodes: The Bilko Boycott, WAC

Played by Jane Dulo

Jane, a fantastic character actress, has appeared in some great comedies over many years. Including: Welcome Back, Kotter, Diff’rent Strokes, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, The Dick Van Dyke Show, McHale’s Navy and All in the Family.


Tom the Chaplain

Religious interest on camp.

He seems to be the only person on the post who doesn’t let Bilko outfox him.


John Gibson (The Chaplain) Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor

This article is the work of the excellent website  www.digitaldeliftp.com  - please visit their pages for more great facts and trivia.


(189?-1971) Birthplace: California

Bilko Chaplain, John Gibson was one of the most well-liked performers in Radio. With a self-reported ten-thousand radioappearances over a 32-year career one would well imagine that someone liked him very much, indeed. We whole-heartedly agree.

Beginning with silent pictures, John Gibson was in on the ground floor of every modern technological medium. He was the voice of 'Sleepy', one of the Seven Dwarves in the original Walt Disney Snow White animated feature. Indeed, he not only voiced the animated character, he acted it--his facial features were actually filmed and replayed by the animators as they drew his frames.

He inaugurated his Radio career with 1932's Globe Headlines. He recalled his first memorable experience in Radio as the first coast-to-coast network broadcast from the RCA Studios in California, to the NBC/RCA studios in New York. Although performing in hundreds of juvenile action/adventure roles, he's most affectionately remembered for his long-running role as Ethelbert, the world-weary, nostalgically philosophical bartender at The Blue Note. The Blue Note was the fictional watering hole that usually began and ended most adventures of the various Casey, Crime Photographer programs over an eleven-year span.

Having begun his Radio career on the West Coast, he soon made the pilgrimage to New York City, lured by the extraordinary volume of programs orginating there. From the moment he landed in New York City, he never stopped running. He recalled doing as many as twelve episodes a day at as many as seven different studios within walking distance of each other. An early Union member, he described having to run back and forth around Manhattan to keep up with all of his assignments --and their Union requirements.

Although he loved performing in Radio Comedy, he was most often cast in straight dramatic roles and action/adventure serials. But his great good humor and natural comedic timing made him a natural talent for virtually every genre. With leading and recurring roles in Don Winslow In The Navy, Terry and The Pirates, Adventures of The Red Feather Man, The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen, The Adventures of Dick Cole, and Dick Tracy, John Gibson quickly gained an extensive and loyal following of young--and older--Radio fans alike.

Gibson performed both on Radio and in Film with Clark Gable, a Hollywood actor that greatly impressed Gibson with his humility and natural shyness. But after his long-running success in Radio, Gibson saw the Golden Age of Radio in decline well before many of his peers. He began his Television career in 1945, and by 1951 he was already reprising his Ethelbert role in Radio's Crime Photographer in the CBS Television version--directed by no less than Sidney Lumet! But Lumet's direction wasn't enough to save it, nor was the entry of Darren McGavin into the role of Casey after the first two months. TV's Crime Photographer jumped the shark and Jan Miner and John Gibson jumped back into the last year of its radio incarnation.


​John Gibson enjoyed an extensive Television career spanning twenty-two years,  completing his Television career in advertising while in his 60s.
  1. 1961: As an Ad-man in 'Car 54'
    1961: As an Ad-man in 'Car 54'
  2. With the great, Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, in 'The Honeymooners'
    With the great, Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, in 'The Honeymooners'
  3. Sleepy!
    Sleepy!
  4. 1962: As a pastor on 'Car 54'
    1962: As a pastor on 'Car 54'
  5. 1970: With WTIC's, Dick Bertel and Eddie Corcoran
    1970: With WTIC's, Dick Bertel and Eddie Corcoran
See episodes: Bilko and the Chaplain, The Eating Contest, New Recruits​​​​

Played by John Gibson

He teamed up with Nat Hiken on the radio too. Appearing regularly on The Milton Berle Show/The Texaco Star Theater (1947-49) and playing the part of Zinzer in The Magnificent Montague (1950-51). John also made appearances in another 1950’s American television comedy show. That programme was, The Honeymooners when he played the part of Frank MacGillicuddy.

Mrs Nell Hall

The wife of the colonel. She has a soft spot for Ernie Bilko due to his endless flattery towards her. 

See episodes: The Big Scandal, Radio Station B.I.L.K.O.

Played by Hope Sansbury

In 1966, Hope was reunited with Harvey Lembeck (Corporal Barbella), when they both appeared in The Penguin Goes Straight – an episode from the long running Batman TV show.

Mrs Emma Ritzik

The long suffering wife of company cook, Rupert. She hates anything Bilko gets up to with her husband, especially poker. She has a tendency to scream very loudly when upset.

See episodes: A Mess Sergeant Can't Win, Ritzik Goes Civilian, Weekend Colonel

Played by Beatrice Pons

In 1962, she joined the cast of Car 54 Where are You? In this comedy show, she played Lucille Toody, the wife of patrol officer Gunther, who just happened to be played by her husband in the Bilko shows, Joe E. Ross.   FULL BIOGRAPHY