Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
MOTOR POOL MEMORIES
The movie Sgt. Bilko did not exactly follow hard on the heels of the TV show that inspired it. The Phil Silvers Show went off the air in 1959, and in the interim most of the principals passed away. Of the key cast members, only Mickey Freeman, who played Private Zimmerman, and Allan Melvin, aka Corporal Henshaw, are still living. We caught up with the Kansas City-born Melvin, who at 73 continues to do voice-overs for commercials, in the Brentwood, Calif., home he shares with Amalia, his wife of 52 years.
How did you get the job on Bilko?
I was in Stalag 17 on Broadway when Phil Silvers saw me and asked me to be on the show. Phil had this wonderful background in burlesque. And he had this physical thing. He would crank himself up. We'd bust into a scene like we were shot from guns.
Were you asked to be in the film?
They offered me the father of the bride or something. It had one line. I said I didn't care to do that. The script didn't seem that funny.
Have you seen it yet?
I haven't. I'll wait for the video.
You were also on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and All in the Family, among others. Do you still get recognized?
I'm a household face. They say, "Hey, Henshaw," or "Hey, Sam the Butcher from The Brady Bunch." Now there's a cult thing. I've enjoyed the stuff I've done, but the one you're getting paid for, that's what you enjoy most.