Remembering Yogi Berra on 'The Phil Silvers Show'
The Yankee legend posed as a southerner alongside Dick Van Dyke in a classic 1957 Bilko episode.
Few Americans, except for perhaps Mark Twain, have logged as many memorable quotes into our everyday language as Yogi Berra. Yet Mark Twain hardly led Yankees in RBIs for seven straight seasons, or garnered MVP of the MLB votes for 15 consecutive seasons. Truly, Yogi Berra was a rare individual. Yesterday the legend died at age 90. The Hall of Fame catcher, heartful leader and master of the paradoxical bon mot will be better eulogized elsewhere. We're here to offer our little bit of rememberance by reminded you of Berra's rare sitcom appearance.
His brief acting stint came in the third season of The Phil Silvers Show, in the episode "Hillbilly Whiz." Sgt. Bilko, up to one of his regular schemes, is torn up that his Company B baseball team was drubbed by the WACs. So he seeks the help of a talented ringer to help win the next game. Dick Van Dyke plays the "hillbilly whiz," a baseball phenom who honed his talents throwing rocks at squirrels. The hillbilly is such a whiz that Bilko tries to sell his contract to the New York Yankees. One problem: This southern boy hardly trusts a team dubbed "the Yankees."
Enter a handful of 1950s Yankees, dressed as southern gentlemen, pretending to be from south of the Mason-Dixon. Shortstop Gil "Beauregard" McDougal, pitcher Whitey "Stonewall" Ford, Phil "Calhoun" Rizzuto and Yogi "Ashley" Berra dress in bow ties and put on southern accents.
Berra gets most of the lines, naturally, none better than his final: "Arrivederci, y'all!"