Phil Silvers On Air



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)


Phil Silvers Kraft Music Hall - Aired on 30/09/1943 Phil guests on this radio show with old pal Bing Crosby. 

Phil Silvers Kraft Music Hall - Phil guests again with Bing Crosby in this 1944 broadcast.