F Troop

1965 | United States

A broadly played slapstick comedy, F Troop was set in the post-Civil War era at a Union camp known as Fort Courage (somewhere west of the Missouri River). 

Ken Berry starred as Captain Wilton Parmenter, who became commanding officer of the troop when he somehow led a charge in the wrong direction and beat the enemy Confederate troops. But the man who really ran F Troop was Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke (played by character actor Forrest Tucker) and his assistant, Corporal Randolph Agorn (Larry Storch). What Parmenter did not know is that O'Rourke worked out a secret (and profitable) deal with the nearby Hekawi Indian tribe, which made souvenirs. Parmenter's problems were compounded by the beautiful sharpshooter Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson), who was very interested in marrying the Captain (who had no interest in matrimony with Jane). 

Plenty of guest stars came through Fort Courage, including Phil Harris, Paul Lynde, Edward Everett Horton (as an Indian named Roaring Chicken) and a pre Laugh-In Henry Gibson as a cursed trooper named Wrongo Starr. With its physical comedy and one-liners, F Troop appealed to kids and young adults. It premiered in gorgeous black and white in the fall of 1965, and did OK when paired with another military comedy, McHale's Navy. But when F Troop returned for a second season (in colour), the show was moved to another night and lost in the ratings to NBC's frontier drama Daniel Boone

F Troop has seldom been seen since it left the network schedule in August 1967. But for those of a certain age who grew up with US television in the late 1960's, the "F" in F Troop stood for "fun."

Published on December 10th, 2018. Review: Mike Spadoni.

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