By far the least well-documented area of Phil's career concerns his radio appearances. In the early 1940's and 50's radio
shows were still a vitally important part of a performers career and Phil Silvers was no exception.
Television was still in its infancy - indeed ownership of a television set at this time was considered a luxury - but almost
every household in the US owned a radio set and radio was still the major (although not exclusive) provider of news, music
and entertainment to the masses. (Television would eventually usurp radio and challenge the movies by condensing
everything both mediums had to offer and bringing them into the living room of the common man).
Although Phil made many appearances on radio during the 1940's and 50's it is impossible to create a definitive record
of these appearances as documentation regarding these appearances is scarce.
Phil made his radio debut alongside Marjorie Rambeau, on June 19, 1941. Rambeau was a moderately successful actress
who began her career in the silent movie era. Bing Crosby, having worked with Phil on a USO tour, offered Phil a job as his
warm-up man for his Kraft Music Hall Show. One day Phil said "You think I'm so funny, so why am I not on your radio show?".
Soon after Phil made four appearances on Kraft Music Hall alongside his friend Bing Crosby.
"I was very nervous." said Phil. "I don't read well from a script. We were rehearsing and I'm not reading my lines too good.
I got worse and I'm waiting for my benefactor to say something. But from Mr.Crosby...not a word!"
"Five minutes before airtime - the show was live - and Bing said 'Can I see you a minute?'. I went into his dressing room
and he says 'Do you want a shot of whisky?'. I said I didn't drink. He says 'Okay' and that was that. No encouraging words
or anything. When we went on-air, all of a sudden my nerves were gone and I hit my stride."
In 1947 he had his own radio show, the prophetically titled The Phil Silvers Show. Although not a huge success it still helped
to bring him to the attention of the US audiences and ran for a total of five months.
During his later years, particularly in the late 1970's and early 1980's Phil gave dozens of radio interviews mostly concerning
his role as Sgt.Bilko. He usually conducted these interviews by telephone from his apartment in Los Angeles.
We present for you here a list of his documented radio appearances.....
The Rudy Vallee Program - June 16, 1941 - with Phil Silvers & Marjorie Rambeau
The Rudy Vallee Program - July 17, 1941 - with Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
Kraft Music Hall - September 9, 1943 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
Kraft Music Hall - October 7, 1943 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
The Dinah Shore Show - October 14, 1943 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
The Dinah Shore Show - October 21, 1943 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
Kraft Music Hall - December 16, 1943 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
Kraft Music Hall - February 24, 1944 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
Command Performance - December 1, 1946 - Judy Garland & Phil Silvers
The Phil Silvers Show (NBC) - February 9, 1946 - Phil Silvers & Frank Sinatra
The Phil Silvers Show (ABC) - June 25 to October 20, 1947 - Starring Phil Silvers
Command Performance - September 29, 1947 - Judy Garland & Phil Silvers
Songs By Sinatra - May 21, 1947 - Frank Sinatra with Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
The Swift Rise Of Eddie Albright - April 3, 1947 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
The Big Show - December 1, 1950 - Tallulah Bankhead & Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
BBC Radio - September 1957 - Phil Silvers (Guest Star)
We present for you here a selection of excerpts from Phil's radio appearances:
(Above) Phil's first appearance on Kraft Music Hall. Hosted (Above) Phil's second appearance on Kraft Music Hall. This
by Bing Crosby, this was first broadcast on September 9, show was broadcast on Spetember 30, 1943.
1943. Phil recreates his clarinet sketch which he used in his
stage and nightclub appearances.
(Above) This appearance on the Kraft Music Hall was first (Above) Phil's fourth appearance with Der Bingle! This was
broadcast on December 16, 1943 and features two of Phil's first broadcast on February 24, 1944.
trademark sketches - The Singing Lesson and Psychology!
(Above) Phil's first appearance on The Dinah Shore Radio (Above) Phil returns just one week later for another slot on
Show on October 14,1943. The Dinah Shore Radio Show, October 21, 1943.