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Top Banana (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 22 February 1954 (USA)
A filmed version of Phil Silvers' hit Broadway show about a television comic who tried to regain his ratings on TV.


Alfred E. Green, Albert Zugsmith (uncredited)


Gene Towne




Complete credited cast:
Phil Silvers ... Jerry Biffle
Rose Marie ... Betty Dillon
Danny Scholl Danny Scholl ... Cliff Lane
Judy Lynn Judy Lynn ... Sally Peters
Jack Albertson ... Vic Davis
Bradford Hatton ... Mr. Parker
Johnny Coy Johnny Coy ... Tommy Phelps
Dick Dana Dick Dana ... Danny
Joey Faye Joey Faye ... Pinky
Johnny Trama Johnny Trama ... Little Man
Herbie Faye ... Moe
Gloria Smith Gloria Smith ... Featured Dancer
Walter Darewahl Walter Darewahl ... Walter (as Walter Dare Wahl)
George Marcy ... Featured Dancer (as George Marci)
Flash Hogan Flash Hogan ... Singing Dog (as 'Flash' Hogan the Singing Dog)


A filmed version of Phil Silvers' hit Broadway show about a television comic who tried to regain his ratings on TV.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


For the First Time in Movie History...A Big Hit Musical Comedy Filmed Exactly As It Appeared on the New York Stage!! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Rose Marie said that the producer cut all her musical numbers from the film because she turned down his sexual advances. See more »


Jerry Biffle: Any girl who'd go with a tenor will do anything.
See more »


Referenced in Wait for Your Laugh (2017) See more »


You're O.K. for TV
Music and Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
See more »

User Reviews

Chopped bananas can still be good
15 March 2002 | by tonypapaleoSee all my reviews

As a record of a type of Broadway entertainment we see very little of nowadays, plus a documentation of classic Vaudeville material presented by the people who actually performed it, this movie should be a little gem.

Should be, but it ain't. The version foisted on us by MGM/UA Home Video is a total travesty and completely unrepresentative of the original film. "Top Banana" as released in 1953, had at least 2 more musical numbers, a number of Vaudeville acts (hello, Hogan the Talking Dog), and 3-D sequences(!).

There's got to be a complete print of this film out there for us to appreciate the genius of Phil Silvers. The version of this movie put out on VHS is an abomination.

To understand why, you have to realize the what was going on at the time of the creation of "Top Banana:" This was a low-budget exploitation flick capitalizing on Phil Silvers' surge in popularity on TV following his winning a Tony award for the original Broadway version of Top Banana. 1950's Hollywood, in it's paranoid fear of television, loves another chance to sneer at cheesy variety programs that seem to be recycling Vaudeville material ad nauseum.

OK, it looks like virtually no money is spent on production values: they apparently transported the play, sets, costumes, and all to an L.A. theater and set up a couple of cameras. Sound recording of dialogue is done with little or no technical enhancement, unless we are hearing playback of songs. And yes, the director apparently never heard of a closeup, let alone anything but straight-ahead shots of the cast moving right to left across the screen.

But look at what it purports to be: Basically a filmed record of a Broadway musical comedy. Jeez, PBS does it and everyone thinks it's brilliant. Somebody at the studio apparently tried to dress it up by inserting shots of a live audience..."Hey, I get it, Mabel! We are watching a PLAY!"

But within the little universe of the movie, it makes no sense, since the audience does not make one peep during the most of the show. Actually with the butchered print, it's hard to follow what was going on. The long takes where Silvers and cast perform straight-ahead old-time comedy are interesting, and make you wish the whole movie was intact.

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Release Date:

22 February 1954 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Roadshow Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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