Aired: CBS, 1955-1959
In a New York Times article in 1996, when the movie version of Sgt. Bilko was to be released, David Everitt, author of the book King of the Half Hour: Nat Hiken and the Golden Age of TV Comedy, paid homage to one of early TV's great overlooked comedy writer figures, dating back to Fred Allen on radio. "An informal 1956 poll of comedy writers published in Time Magazine named Nat Hiken as the finest writer in TV today,'" Everitt pointed out, "a striking tribute considering the fact that television comedy staffs at the time included such future luminaries as Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and Woody Allen." Hiken's collaboration with the hilarious comedy king Silvers produced the character of Ernie Bilko, an Army sergeant embroiling himself and his men in various schemes, often in the pursuit of fast cash (the series was called You'll Never Get Rich when it debuted).