Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The first season of "Car 54, Where Are You?," one of the funniest sitcoms of the 1960s, is finally out on DVD. In the 1950s, producer-writer-director Nat Hiken scored a huge hit on CBS with "The Phil Silvers Show," a.k.a. "Sgt. Bilko." Two years after "Bilko" left the airwaves in 1959, Hiken was back with "Car 54, Where Are You?," which aired on NBC from 1961 to '63. Hiken even co-wrote the snappy theme song. "Bilko" alum Joe E. Ross played Gunther Toody, a hapless Bronx policeman with a nagging wife, Lucille (Beatrice Pons). Fred Gwynne, also a "Bilko" veteran, was his quiet, girl-shy partner, Francis Muldoon. Their best friend was Officer Leo Schnauser (Al Lewis), who was married to the excitable Sylvia (Charlotte Rae). Gwynne and Lewis would reunite in 1964 for the CBS comedy series "The Munsters."