The Bilko Affair
What began as an a joke--to change the Medford city council's meeting day so the council could watch The Phil Silvers Show, a story disseminated nationally--turned into a story so boring it was even ignored by all the valley newspapers.
RESOLUTION: The following Resolution, introduced by the Council as a whole, was presented and read:
"That the Honorable Earl Miller, Mayor of Medford, be authorized and directed to forthwith present a letter and petition on behalf of this common council to the president of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., maker of Camel cigarettes, and the president of The Amana Company, maker of Amana freezers, requesting that the television presentation, sponsored by the above companies and known as the "Phil Silvers Show," starring one Sergeant Bilko, be scheduled for a time other than on Tuesday nights for the reason that it conflicts with regularly scheduled meetings of the common council of the City of Medford, to the great inconvenience of the nine members thereof."
It was moved by Jones and seconded by Robinson that the proposed Resolution be put upon its passage: Motion carried and so ordered.
Medford City Council minutes, meeting of Tuesday, December 20, 1955
Common Council Casts Vote for Silvers' Sergeant Bilko,
and That Could Be Confusing
By DICK KLEINER
We have before us a copy of an official document from Medford, Ore., which bids fair to set a nasty precedent. It reads:
"Be it hereby resolved by the common council of the city of Medford, Ore.:
"That the Hon. Earl Miller, Mayor of Medford, be authorized and directed to forthwith present a letter and petition on behalf of this common council to (and here it lists some sponsors), requesting that the television presentation, sponsored by the above companies and known as the "Phil Silvers Show," starring one Sergeant Bilko, be scheduled for a time other than on Tuesday nights for the reason that it conflicts with regularly scheduled meetings of the common council of the city of Medford, to the great inconvenience of the nine members thereof."
This resolution, passed by the council and legally attested and approved by the Medford officials, was duly sent to the sponsors. There is no word yet as to the disposition of this matter.
But just suppose the sponsors--Camels and Amana--switch Silvers to, say, Friday night. And suppose the common council of Podunk, which meets Fridays, protests. And they switch Silvers again and some other council protests. And then the same business starts with other shows.
Why, before we know it, we're liable to have no TV and a mess of unhappy common councilmen.
Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York, January 27, 1956, page 10
The city councilmen of Medford, Ore., have sent a petition to the "Phil Silvers Show," asking that it be switched to another night because, in Medford, it conflicts with the council meetings.
As Dick Kleiner points out, this could get complicated. Supposing the Binghamton City Council ask that "Studio One" be shifted from Monday night (the local boys meet on Monday nights) so they could see it on Tuesday nights. Then the Medford councilmen, who also like "Studio One," couldn't see it because THEY were meeting.
This thing could get out of hand, with the networks right in the middle of a city hall fight.
"As We See It," Sunday Press, Binghamton, New York, January 22, 1956, page C5
Remember the City Council of Medford, Ore., which requested that the "Phil Silvers Show" (CBS-TV) change its Tuesday evening spot because it conflicts with council meetings? Well, the council has just received a brand-new TV set for its council members. That's right, courtesy of CBS.
"Viewing and Listening," The Oneonta Star, New York, January 20, 1956, page 7
RETURN TELEVISION SET: It was suggested by President of the Council John Snider that the Mayor return the Television set recently presented to the City Council by Station KBES-TV and that the Mayor inform the station that their gracious presentation was appreciated, but that the Council were unable to enjoy this set because of busy schedules.
Medford City Council minutes, meeting of February 7, 1956
ORDINANCE: Council Bill No. 6735 being an Ordinance providing for the time and place of Council meetings, the manner and time of convening special meetings and general procedure for Council meetings, and repealing Ordinance No. 3436 was presented and read: It was moved by Jones and seconded by Hall that the Ordinance be put upon its passage: Upon roll call Dunlevy, Myers, Van Sickle, Jones, Hansen, Bradford, Robinson and Hall voted "aye"; Motion carried and Ordinance No. 6670 was declared duly passed.
Medford City Council minutes, meeting of April 16, 1957, page 185
Council Schedules Thursday Meetings, Policies Changed
The Medford city council will hold its meetings the first and third Thursday of each month rather than on Tuesdays, the council announced last night. The change will become effective starting in May.
The change was part of an ordinance adopted by the council providing for a revised set of council rules of procedures.
Mayor John Snider said the council will meet Thursdays to give council members more time to consider items on the agenda. The agenda is usually prepared for councilmen early in the week.
City Attorney E. R. Bashaw said the new ordinance supplies corrections that were omitted by the previous ordinance.
The new ordinance stipulates that five or more attending councilmen will constitute a quorum at meetings. The ordinance also clarifies procedures by which the council can adopt an ordinance.
According to the ordinance the council will be restricted at meetings to consider only those items that appear on the agenda. The ordinance provides that the council can suspend the rule in an emergency by a two-thirds vote.
Bashaw said a significant provision in the ordinance is one prohibiting the council from concluding action on a proposal of the same meeting at which it is introduced.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 17, 1957, page 1
Last revised December 3, 2010