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I saw this show during it's regular run. I thought it was
It's so easy now to pick on things that are not politically correct.
If people can't see the characters for what they were, caricatures, then obviously you have NO sense of humour. If you can't laugh at yourself, why bother at all?
It's so easy to apply today's standards to people from a different time. It would be more appropriate for us to understand that different time. I suppose we should criticize the way blacks were treated in movies made in the 1920s, 30s 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and so on. America's perceptions, values and morals were different then. If you can't understand that, I would suggest you don't watch any movie or TV show made before 1995.
F-Troop was totally fictional. And it WAS, for it's time, very funny. I liked it then, I like it now. But I guess we just can't have a show that shows EVERYONE as inept. I mean we have a white officer who's clumsy, and most likely would have never qualified to be a private, let alone an officer. There's the Sgt. who's always scheming to make a buck. And the Indians, cowardly, perhaps, but they also have their own shining moments too. You have to watch the entire series to see all the different things that go on. The Indians are not the only ones made fun of in this COMEDY. More often than not Chief Wild Eagle got the better of his white partner in what ever deal they were cooking up.
I somehow doubt that it would succeed today. Most of it's humour would go over the heads of many people today who would instead focus on the "demeaning" way the Indians are treated. More's the shame we forgot how to laugh at ourselves.
There was a time, perhaps when our better sensibilities knew it, when we
to laugh at all races, religions and socio-ethnicities without being
"racist". It was
a gentler, more naive time indeed, and the airwaves broadcast TV aimed at
the silly side
of life. "Gilligan's Island", "The Beverly Hillbillies", "I Dream of
Junction", "It's About Time" and of course, "F-Troop".
There is a common thread in all of these shows: Simple, honest people are ennobled. Officious, pompous people are made fun of. Everyone is fodder for fun - no-one is above being poked at.
Ken Berry as William Parmenter is amazing in his comic timing (Mayberry RFD was a big step down for me). Melody Patterson is absolutely delicious jail-bait as "Calamity" Jane, and of course Frank DeKova and Don Diamond as Chief Wild Eagle and Crazy Cat, and Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch, as Sgt. O'Rourke and Corporal Agarn, respectively, are mirror-images of avarice and opportunity.
The relationships of these last 4 characters were the most typical of TV, but smartly turned on it's head: Agarn and Crazy Cat, full of ideas and energy, scheming and snatching at everything that moved, in their climb to "success". Sgt. O'Rourke and Chief Wild Eagle, as the "Establishment", wisely knowing when to take opportunities, but at the same time wringing their hands about their underlings almost as to say "What is it with the kids these days"?
This was wonderful social satire loaded with sight-gags, something for young and old. Unfortunately we Americans seem to have lost the knack for subtle comedy, as we now linger under the thumb of blistering insults and mechanical obviousness. I don't know if we get it ourselves these days - perhaps that is why people look at the show and react first without giving the show any thought.
I don't mean to discount the valid views of other, more PC posters, but they're missing the point. TV and film are just time capsules...you can no more examine history through something like "F-Troop" than experience the future through something like "2001". Ultimately, they're both the '60s.
What you can do is understand the period and sensibilities of that time, and remember one major lesson - something we were learning then but have perhaps since forgotten: That we are all the same under the skin. And at best, we should be taken very, very lightly.
Although it only ran for two seasons, "F Troop" was a consistently
western spoof that should have stayed on much longer. It didn't just stick
to satirizing westerns--the show managed to throw in vampires (Vincent
showed up in one episode), James Bond-ish secret agents (Pat Harrington as
"Agent B. Wise"), rock bands (Agarn leaves the army to manage a group
The Bedbugs) and just about anything else they could think of. The show was
crammed with memorable characters: Ken Berry's well intentioned but
Capt. Parmenter, Forrest Tucker's scheming capitalist Sgt. O'Rourke, Larry
Storch's loyal but not particularly bright Cpl. Agarn, Joe Brooks'
sight-impaired lookout Cpl. Vanderbilt. The real find, though, was Frank
DeKova as Chief Wild Eagle. DeKova parlayed his sinister, menacing
appearance into a career of playing cold-hearted killers and various
psychos. As conniving Chief Wild Eagle, though, he showed a flair for comed
that was wholly unexpected. Although he went over the top sometimes, he was
consistently fun to watch, and you really looked forward to his
There were some truly funny running gags (Parmenter's "Please Jane, not in
front of the men" whenever Jane tried to put the moves on him; directions
Fort Courage that always went, "Make a left at the rock that looks like a
bear, then a right at the bear that looks like a rock"), but the one that
everyone remembers is when O'Rourke would say to Agan, "I don't know why
everybody says you're so dumb", and then ten minutes later, in the middle
another scene, Agarn would turn to O'Rourke and say, "Who says I'm dumb?" A
truly funny show that should have lasted longer than it
P.S. There's a blooper reel in circulation that has about 10 minutes of "F Troop" outtakes on it. If you ever come across it, snap it up. It's even funnier (and far dirtier!) than the stuff that made it into the show.
I watched this in re-runs throughout the '70s. The "Old West" setting is
just that - a setting. The real laughs are how they put in 20th-century
gags ranging from old showbiz groaners to mid-'60s topical events like the
Playbrave Club and a rock group called - wait for it - "The Bedbugs"
ask where they got the electric guitars.)
The show ran on ABC for only 2 years, one in b/w, one in color; even so, it's still better than 90% of what's been aired as "comedy" since then. I wish somebody would put it out on video.
F Troop was without a doubt a victim of it's own genius and thus in my mind ranks as the SINGLE greatest example of a television show that was way ahead of it's time. Perhaps, too far ahead. As correctly pointed out in previous comments, the show ran for two seasons on ABC from 1965 to 1967. One season in black and white, the other in color. 66 episodes were produced and every one of them was a comedic masterpiece. Despite poor ratings and eventual cancellation, the show went on to become extremely popular in syndicated reruns and develope a large cult following. So what happened? Here is my opinion. At the time F Troop made it's debut, Television was still in it's infancy and America was use to either the "family" sitcoms such as "Donna Reed", "Beaver", "Ozzie and Harriet", etc... Or, the "idiot" sitcoms such as "Gilligan", "Bewitched" or "Jeannie". The nation was not ready for, nor did the understand the "Satire" comedy. Two came out in 1965. One worked, the other didn't. "Get Smart" was a satire of the secret agent phenomenon which was sweeping the country. America could relate to that because of "James Bond" and the cold war so "Get Smart" was a success. Plus you had the great talents of Don Adams and a superb show to boot! But a satire on the American west? The nation didn't get it or take to it thus "Troops" fate was sealed. Despite the fact that the show is brilliant, the chracters are funny and endearing and the writing was superb and ahead of it's time, America just didn't get it. Only when times changed in the 70's and 80's and the show was in syndication did America start getting the humor and understanding what satire really meant. "F-Troop" paved the way for satires like "Police Squad" and "The Naked Gun". To this day the humor is fresh and funny and even relevant. I have seen episodee hundreds of times and still laugh and still find things I didn't notice before. And hats off to Televisions most underrated physical comic, Ken Berry. I urge anyone to find this show on video and enjoy it for the classic and genius that it is.
F-Troop is the kind of classic comedy show that should have been on for many years. It makes you want to kick the people that canceled it. I read that fans at the time wrote in letters to keep it alive,but unfortunately the foolish television executives canceled this fine show after only two seasons. Season one(B&W)went for 34 episodes and season two(color)of F-Troop went for 31 episodes for a total of 65 thirty minute episodes,and classic comedy episodes they are. Ken Berry(Captain Parmenter)used his dance training to fine effect in the many comedy stunts that he did. He also appeared in the Andy Griffith show and also had his own show after F-Troop finished. Ken then went and did a lot of Disney tele-movies and TV shows like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island,but F-Troop was his best show by far. I hope that this series gets to DVD as I will be first in line to by the two box sets.
My favorite episode of this show, which ran way too short of its potential was the episode where Agarn managed The Bedbugs (which were actually an L.A. band called The Factory which included Lowell George and Ritchie Hayward, later of Little Feat) and then in order to convince Agarn back into the service, F.Troop had its own band, The Termites, that had some of F.Troop in hilarious wigs, compete with the Bedbugs for the Playbrave Club circuit, and at the end of the show, The Termites do "Mr. Tambourine Man! What a riot! There are other episodes just as hilarious, too many to mention. I also think Gilligan's Island got screwed, mainly because Bill Paley wanted Gunsmoke (a true TV dinosaur already at that time) to continue, but Gilligan's Island was in its time slot that year. What a shame that two great shows got canceled way before their time.
Without a doubt the funniest thing to come out of America. It also sums
up the time when it was made and I can't see anything similar ever
being made again.
As children we watched it but now as I watch it again and again I realize that I never got the jokes the first few times through anyway.
e.g. Agarn needs to see the medicine man at the Indian camp to find out whether he's a kleptomaniac so the medicine man gives him some deer skins to look at that have berry blots on them (i.e. a Rorschach test) and asks him what he sees. In explanation the medicine man say that this test was invented by a great Indian medicine man called Roaring Chicken. For short they call it the RoarChick Test!! Now that is clever AND funny.
Many other similarly clever jokes. Great scenes of pathos with lots of sentimentality before the days of the studio audience which nowadays bursts into sickening applause over that sort of thing. Catch it if you've never seen it... or watch it again if you have. It's still funny.
I truly loved this show. Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch were a great comic team and they had a great chemistry together and Ken Berry was great at slapstick and this show was truly a showcase for that talent. It also could be seen as a parody of capitalism, especially in the case of the Hekawwe's. Wild Eagle had to have been one of the great con men in the history of television.
I wish that Warner Brothers would come to their senses and see that there are many of us who would buy the complete series of F-Troop once on DVD...I hope they realize that there IS a market for the show to this day! The company of Warner Brothers should respect the will of all us true admirers of this show which (to myself and many others) has got to be one of the best written comedies of all time...It definitely is up there with shows such as "I Love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners"...As I recall all the times as a young boy that I would sit and watch the hilarious antics of the members of F-troop and the Heckowee tribe, (excuse me if I misspelled the name), I start to laugh deep inside once again...I really do , Sincerely hope that Warner Brothers release this series before we all get to old and start dying off - Please Release The F-Troop Series On DVD As Soon As Possible - Thank You!
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