F Troop (TV Series 1965–1967) Poster

(1965–1967)

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Shtick, shtick, shtick
eye330 April 1999
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" (don't 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.
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This wonderful comedy show should have been on longer.
nlstock19 November 2004
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.
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An Underrated Classic
Sargebri1 March 2003
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.
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"Who says I'm dumb?"
BrianG30 January 2000
Although it only ran for two seasons, "F Troop" was a consistently hilarious 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 Price 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 called The Bedbugs) and just about anything else they could think of. The show was crammed with memorable characters: Ken Berry's well intentioned but bumbling 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 y that was wholly unexpected. Although he went over the top sometimes, he was consistently fun to watch, and you really looked forward to his appearances. 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 to 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 of 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 did.

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.
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Silly, funny family entertainment
jtrascap15 August 2003
There was a time, perhaps when our better sensibilities knew it, when we were allowed to laugh at all races, religions and socio-ethnicities without being labeled "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 Jeannie", "Petticoat 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.
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A TV Classic Way Ahead Of It's Time!
modrock6221 May 2000
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.
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The best comedy ever to come out of America
robert-1712 November 2004
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.
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NOT Politically Correct
alowe-127 April 2004
I saw this show during it's regular run. I thought it was hilarious.

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.
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Great show - too short of a run
pozy18 October 2002
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.
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Release F-Troop Series On DVD
moondreamer230 June 2005
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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Where Paleface and Redskin Both Turn Chicken!
theowinthrop11 February 2006
F-TROOP was basically a 19th Century "backdate" of YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH, the show starring Phil Silvers as Sgt. Ernie Bilko - master mechanic and master con-man. But F-TROOP would eventually prove to be better than this. It was (and remains) the most successful satire/spoof of westerns (except possibly MAVERICK or BEST OF THE WEST) ever on television.

Set in the years immediately after the American Civil War, it describes how Wilton Parmenter, who was promoted for accidental heroism at the close of the war, was assigned to command the men of F-Troop in Fort Courage out west. He is a kindly, rather clumsy person. He is lucky that the actual man running the fort is the master sergeant Morgan O'Rourke (Forest Tucker). Assisted by the less than bright Corporal Randolph Agarn (Larry Storch) O'Rourke runs O'Rourke Enterprises, which sells various items (many of them trinkets) made by the local Hakawi Indian tribe (led by Chief Wild Eagle (Frank DeCova). The Fort has other figures in it: Trooper/Bugler Dobbs (James Hampton), Trooper Duffy (Bob Steele - the old cowboy movie star), Trooper Vanderbilt (Joe Brooks), and Trooper / translator Hoffenmuller (John Mitchum - Robert Mitchum's brother). We are sometimes told that other troopers have names like Lewis, Clark, Gilbert, Sullivan, Rogers, Hammerstein, etc. All these men are misfits. Vanderbilt (the Fort's look-out) is terribly nearsighted (and his tower keeps being accidentally toppled by friendly cannon fire). Duffy is listed as dead in action - with reason: he keeps talking of his experience of fighting shoulder to shoulder with Davy Crockett at the Alamo, which nobody survived. Hoffenmuller is a gifted linguist, speaking twenty Indian languages fluently. Unfortunately, he doesn't speak English, but German.

Parmenter is concerned about his command, and curious about what is going on (although O'Rourke keeps him firmly in the dark). But he is also occupied with Wrangler Jane Swift (Melody Patterson), a "Calamity Jane" clone who is pretty and immediately smitten by Wilton - much to his embarrassment before the men.

As for the Hakawis Wild Eagle keeps finding his position threatened by his heir. The heir (who turns out to be a gourmet cook in one episode) is usually outmaneuvered by the Chief. In the first episodes there was also an elderly medicine man, Roaring Chicken, played by Edward Everett Horton, but the role was not continued in the second half of the first season, nor in the entire second season. Pity, because Horton's medicine man was interesting. In one episode he prepared chicken soup as a medication.

As one can see the show had a wonderful goofiness in it. Parmenter turns into a martinet when he studies a course in leadership given by General Custer. Agarn is wined and dined by two rival candidates for Mayor of his town in New Jersey, because he can cast the deciding vote (he ends up voting for an old vaudevillian, who becomes known as the "Dancing Mayor" - at the time actor/dancer George Murphy had just been elected U.S. Senator from California). George Gobel, playing Wrangler Jane's cousin who is an inventor, demonstrates a folding table to Parmenter. He proudly says it can be put into a closet. "What's the use of having a table in a closet?", a confused Parmenter asks an equally flummoxed Gobel.

It is revived on occasion, and is well worth watching when it is shown. It was always consistently amusing.
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10/10
One of the all-time great military comedies.
lobby-u15 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
*WARNING! THIS COMMENT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!* F-Troop has to rank right up there with McHALE'S NAVY and M*A*S*H* as one of the all-time great military comedies. Ken Berry was great as Captain Wilton Parmenter, Fort Courage's bumbling idiot of a commander, though his intentions were good. Whenever Parmenter would get into a sticky situation with visiting brass, it was always Sgt. O'Rourke and Cpl. Agarn (Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch) who saved the day and made their Captain look good. Tucker and Storch were a great comedy team. James Hampton (who would go on to play Burt Reynolds' sidekick in THE LONGEST YARD and Michael J. Fox's father in TEEN WOLF) was hilarious as Trooper Hannibal Dobbs, the company Bugler who couldn't play a note. The addition of Dobbs to F Troop is a somewhat curious one because since Dobbs was a Southerner and the Civil War had just ended, Hannibal Dobbs would have, in reality, been ineligible for service in the United States Army. Ineligible or not, Dobbs was still hilarious and I even liked his back and forth banter with Agarn ("I'm Warning you, Dobbs!") If I were Captain Parmenter, I would have finished, "Jane. How many times have I told you? Not in front of the men." with "Why don't we go into my bedroom?" (Note: during the Second Season, Melody Patterson was, in fact, of legal age.) I also liked the entrepreneurial Hekawis, Wild Eagle and Crazy Cat. They weren't your typical Indians. They were opportunistic Capitalists with good heads for business - almost as good heads as O'Rourke and Agarn. My favorite episode has got to be "Our Brave in F Troop". The one where Chief Wild Eagle has a toothache and he has to visit the Army Dentist. Unfortunately, there are a number of delays in getting the Chief's tooth pulled. Most of them were courtesy of General Sam Courage (after whom Fort Courage is named), who keeps promoting him through the ranks. He ends up with the rank of Major before his "disappearance" is conveniently arranged by O'Rourke and Agarn with a little assistance from the befuddled General Courage.
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8/10
"Where Indian Fights Are Colorful Sights And Nobody Takes A Licking"
bkoganbing9 June 2008
Though it only lasted for 65 episodes F Troop has become a TV comedy legend. The cavalry here is certainly not the cavalry that John Ford idealized in his westerns.

Real command of these misfits belongs to Forrest Tucker as Sergeant O'Rourke. Tucker has his finger in many of the town businesses, he's the silent owner of the saloon, the general store and has even got his own peace treaty with the Hekawi Indians. Under Chief Wild Eagle, played by Frank DeKova they're more interested in selling souvenirs to the tourists than going on the warpath.

But such peace presents problems and occasionally things have to be stirred up even if only for show to justify keeping Fort Courage open. And you need a commanding officer who you can bamboozle.

The opening episode provided such an officer, Captain Wilton Parmenter an apple that fell far from his military family tree. Ken Berry as Captain Parmenter proves to be the perfect dunce for Tucker's crafty schemes. Tucker is aided and abetted by Larry Storch as Corporal Agarn who got to do a lot of borscht belt shtick in his role. And if the shenanigans of Tucker and Storch weren't enough to keep him occupied, there was Wrangler Jane, a Calamity Jane ripoff played by Melody Patterson. She's the front woman for Tucker's businesses, but she actually falls for Parmenter and saves him from harm on more than one occasion.

F Troop lasted only two seasons, but it has an enduring following today. Some of the gags here may have inspired Burt Kennedy in some of his comic westerns. It's a TV Classic.
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A Shameless Gag Show
eu-5130 June 2007
Yes, it was a shameless gag show, but I mean that in a good way. They made constant use the of one-liners, running gags, and slapstick falls, and they always kept it coming. F Troop is much like my image of Vaudeville. The period, the setting? Almost immaterial. That was only so they would have an excuse to wear costumes.

One of my favorite gags was the smoke signal. Either Wild Eagle or Crazy Cat would stand in a pensive posture and give dictation to the braves who were behind him, waving a blanket over a fire. Meanwhile, O'Rourke would be squinting into the sky, reading the smoke billows. It would always read like a business letter, beginning with a formal salutation and including phrases like "regarding:" or "as per your earlier communication."
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Totally un PC and funny as hell
grghull12 February 2006
Strangely enough, I didn't appreciate this show when it first aired --- I was too young to get it! I caught up with it later on in early morning reruns (forget which channel) and from then on never missed an episode. This is brilliant vaudeville humor transplanted to the "old west", played for all it's worth by a great cast. Running gags ("Who says I'm dumb??), silly song references (Agarn bemoaning current morals: "In olden days a glimpsed of stocking was looked upon as something shocking..." etc), awful puns (the Roar Chick test) --- what's not to love, it's like the old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby road movies! I doubt it'll ever come back to regular TV but apparently it's available now on DVD so maybe I'll have to dust off the checkbook.....
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One of the funniest, covered a huge range of human follies.
stephenm0124 May 2004
I saw this series in England as a child, and I loved it! It counts for me as one of the funniest shows from that time (60's). I loved the way the Indians always got "one over" on the stupid scheming white men, no matter how complex the scheme. I also loved the idea that any bad feelings between the two sides could be shed with a good Pow Wow and a party!!!

The range of human follies depicted in the series was huge, and really that is the source of the best humour. I look back on it now and think it was always done in good taste, without the grosser elements that have crept into modern comedy, i.e. bad language, blatant depictions of, or references to, the grosser bodily functions etc.

Funnily enough through the shared medium of TV I believe that I and my friends, all English, and the US audience can claim a shared experience of much of our cultures, and this meant that the humour worked well in both countries. Certainly we were all mad about the series and talked about it a lot. So the writers managed to encompass more than one culture, and provide for howls of laughter without being grossly offensive within those cultures.

I wish that our crass, cynical and overly-Politically-Correct western culture were still open enough to enjoy it for what it was - light entertainment providing a half hour of good belly laughs at our own silly selves.
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10/10
Just Great!
davewh117 July 2006
I bought the first season after buying a six episode sampler. F Troop was one of my favourites when it first aired in the mid sixties. The first season ( 34 episodes ) are in black and white but it really doesn't matter because they've done an excellent job of restoring the shows. There are a number of interesting guest stars - among my favourites are a couple of brief appearances by Jamie Farr ( Klinger from Mash ). John Mitchum ( Robert's brother ) as the nearly blind private in the watch tower. Melody Patterson as the captain's love interest is great playing a Calamity Jane type role. I haven't even mentioned Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch who work so well together and Ken Barry as " the old man " - the captain. Here's hoping they release the second season very soon - it's in colour and has tons of great special guest stars. Paul Lynde as " The Singing Mountie " alone would be well worth the cost. This one's a keeper - bet you'll watch it many times - it really is funny!
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Hilarious!!!
cuffdaddy15 August 2003
One of the funniest t.v. shows ever! Hilarious lines and characters and if I was Capt Parmenter, Wrangler Jane would be out of those buck skins in no time. I think the pilot show was the funniest with Agarn teaching the indians how to do a war dance. Too many funny lines to write about in that show.
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Favorite Episode
billstar11 July 2002
Who could forget Larry Storch portraying his cousin - the infamous Burglar of Banff-f-f! Great stuff that still wears well after all this time. As the other reviewer stated "F-Troop" was schtick, but it was so well done. Another favorite scene was Chief Wild Eagle's explanation for how the tribe got its name. Still puts a smile on my face.
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Too hip for its time...
terry245420015 October 2005
The first year of this series should go down in history as one of the 10 funniest shows of all time. It was running during the Viet Nam war, so a lot of satirical stuff is in there.

F Troop illustrates the American caste system.. Captain Parmenter is a WASP schlemiel who thinks he's running everything. Agarn and O'Rourke are the Irishmen who actually DO run everything. And the there are the Indians, who are really the Lost Tribe of Israel (Jews), who actually OWN everything and make sinister deals with the Irish in order to live long and prosper.

This is a VERY hip show. Paul Lynde as The Singing Mountie alone is worth the price of admission.....
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8/10
Still funny
kb2uoe2 December 2006
Yes, I was a kid when the show was on. And yes, I got a "special dispensation" to watch it every Wednesday night (it was on after my bedtime). I loved it! My favorite character was Chief Screaming Eagle. My brother and I both used to call out the Heckawi's war cry, "We're the Heckawi!" Of course, one of my uncles taught us the other version, the one that began with an "F" but we still liked the original.

I now have a 7 year old, and would love to have him watch some of the old shows that I grew up with, like Captain Nice (underrated and really a blast), F Troop, and the local hits, like Wonderama and the Sandy Becker Show.
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Finally !!! F Troop rides again
lochswan9 November 2005
Finally the powers to be have managed to listen to us, the greater unwashed masses and start putting F Troop on DVD. I just received the first DVD and loved it. I only wish they would put out a box set, maybe season 1 and season 2. The show has lost none of it's spark. My two sons are watching it and killing themselves laughing. It was a shame that the show didn't get the ratings it deserved when it aired in the 60's. I recall watching it later on as a young boy and it was always watched at 6.00pm just before dinner was served.

My oldest one wanted to know if we could find out where the conventions are that some of the cast do signings at.

Now granted, it's not for everyone, but the show is just a heap of fun and what's more it's good clean fun.
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funny series
bear-6326 July 2001
F troop was one of my favorites,i dont think you would not laugh at least once or more times.I am hoping that they will bring it out on dvd.I think the younger kids would like it.F troop is and will always be a better comedy show.
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One of the best sit-coms ever
randy-1598 December 2000
'F Troop' is an undiscovered gem, forgotten by most people. If you get the chance to see this series, watch it for the great gags. Many of the jokes were extremely topical, and have not aged gracefully, but taken as part of a period piece they are still funny. There were a lot of great sight gags, as well. Captain Parmenter walking through the fort, oblivious to everything around him, walking over chairs and along the edge of a water trough with the grace of a dancer... This is classic stuff. The guard tower doing a pratfall of its own EVERY SINGLE TIME the cannon is fired... Again, classic. The verbal byplay was worthy of Abbott and Costello, with two separate pairings contributing to the comedy, namely O'Rourke/Agarn and Wild Eagle/Crazy Cat. The Addams Family made a successful transition from small screen to large, and I think that 'F Troop' would be even more successful.
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