|original opening credit for "Bilko"|
|Phil Silvers, Nat Hiken|
|My tribute to kiken, originally published in the NY Observer in 2005. (Click to enlarge)|
|Nat Hiken and his Bilko writers sweep the Emmy awards in 1958|
The weekly plots (many would be written by Hiken discoveries such as the young Neil Simon) revolved around the world of Bilko's Machiavellian money-making schemes. The regular group inhabiting the motley motor pool (company B, 3rd platoon) was always ethnically diverse--a Hiken trademark. and a rarity in the white-bread world of late 50's TV.
|The members of the motley motor pool at leisure.|
|"Mondo Doberman" Originally appeared in The Village Voice. Click to enlarge.|
| Duane Doberman, late 50's DC Comic book Hero|
|The Bilko Game|
|Phil Silvers conferring with Nat Hiken on the Bilko set|
|Phil Silvers visits the set of Car 54, nat Hiken on the right|
|Nat Hiken posed with his two stars, Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne|
|Fred Gwynne, Nat Hiken, Ruth Masters|
|Car 54 counted among it's fans, Literary Great William Faulkner.|
|"Toody-Mania" swept the USA in the early sixties|
|Fred Gwynne & Joe E. Ross. Perfect Chemistry.|
|Joe E. Ross, Molly Picon, Fred Gwynne|
|Al Lewis as Officer Leo Schnauser and Paul Reed as Captain Block|
|Sylvia & Leo Schnauzer|
The show was a hilarious masterpiece. It ran for only two seasons yet has become a beloved cult favorite, fondly remembered for it's hilariously clever, funny, insane and ultimately warm-hearted plots, dialog, acting, and for a glimpse at the lost Bronx of the early sixties. It's by far my favorite TV show.
|Joe E. Ross (Gunther Toody) with one of his beloved hookers|
|Car 54 Puppets and Unbreakable Record|
|the two Car 54 stars between takes in the Bronx|
Nat Hiken died in Dec, 1968 at he age of 54. Once the most celebrated creator of television comedy and winner of eight Emmy awards, today he's largely forgotten. Which is why it's now time to rejoice...
OOH! OOH! To celebrate the 50th anniversary of it's debut, Season One of "Car 54, Where Are You?" has finally arrived on DVD! 30 beautifully restored episodes mastered from the original 35 mm film, from Shanachie Entertainment. Order today! Season two is now also available, featuring back cover art by yours truly:
On a related note, May 11th, 2011 would have been Phil Silvers 100th birthday. Happy Birthday Sarge!
|Maurice Gosfield as El Mucacho|