DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » F Troop - The Complete First Season
F Troop - The Complete First Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // June 6, 2006
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Stuart Galbraith IV | posted June 19, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
Despite the presence of many fine, ingratiating character comedians and, by television standards, handsome production values, F Troop (1965-67) is an astoundingly vapid sitcom, a broad variation on Sgt. Bilko moved to a remote U.S. Cavalry Fort soon after the Civil War. The series has everything going for it except in the writing, which is derivative (to put it kindly) and not at all funny. The incessant laugh track works up quite a sweat, however, finding practically every line gut-bustingly, pants-peeingly hilarious.

After accidentally leading a charge to victory - his sneeze is mistaken for the order to "Charge!" - bumbling Lieutenant Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry), heretofore in charge of the officer's laundry, is awarded command of Fort Courage. There, crafty Sgt. O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and henchman Cpl. Agarn (Larry Storch) have a good thing going selling bootlegged whiskey and enjoy a thriving business relationship with the resolutely peaceful Hekawi Indians, from whom they buy Native American trinkets and sell 'em to gullible tourists.

The series revolves around O'Rourke and Agarn's efforts to keep their black market scheme (O'Rourke Enterprises) going, despite the expected complications (visiting officers making inspections, crooks trying to muscle in, renegade Indians stirring things up, etc.) in stories that often find the pair masquerading as Indians, the Hekawis pretending to be their more violent enemies, the Shugs, etc.

Added to the mix is the Annie Oakley-like Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson), who falls in love with Parmenter despite his total obliviousness toward her and his complete ineptitude as C.O.

F Troop coulda shoulda been a whole lot funnier than this. Tucker had mostly been a dramatic actor, often playing villains, but in F Troop displayed a fine comic sensibility and his big ol' bear, salt of the earth presence matched well with Storch's frenetic, sweaty Agarn. Audiences came to think of them almost as a comedy team, rather like Bob Denver and Alan Hale, Jr. on Gilligan's Island, and they reteamed several times after this, most memorably on the cult Saturday morning kids' show, The Ghost Busters (1975), a better show. For that matter even Dusty's Trail (1973), the weird 1973 sitcom that teamed Tucker with Bob Denver in an F-Troop-like Western setting grafted onto the Gilligan's Island template, right down to the last cocoanut, had a higher laugh count.

Though Tucker and Storch may have been well-cast, they still needed material to work with, but all the writers ever seemed to come up with on F Troop are stale jokes pilfered from old Vaudeville routines ("A brilliant idea!....That's what we need a brilliant idea."). Some fans consider the show's politically-incorrect satirizing of Native Americans ahead-of-its-time subversiveness, but this kind of thing had turned up in feature film comedies and (especially) in theatrical cartoon shorts for years.

Besides its fondly-remembered theme song, F Troop boasts good production values. Back in the mid-1960s, toy forts were all the rage and this full-scale fantasy outpost in part explains what hooked so many young viewers when the show was new. The fort was built on the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, adjacent to one of its two Western streets, and is used well, though the use of stock footage of some fort out in the middle of a lonely desert matches not at all. (What happened to the town?)

Frank DeKova practically steals the show as pragmatic Indian Chief Wild Eagle, and many fine character actors hammed it up guest-starring as various Hekawi and Shugs, including Edward Everett Horton (in a recurring role as Medicine Man Roaring Chicken), Henry Brandon (so much for Scar), Don Rickles, J. Pat O'Malley, Mike Mazurki, Jamie Farr, and Victor Jory. Also in the series, in an unfortunately minor role, is the great B-Western cowboy star Bob Steele.

Video & Audio

No complaints about Warner's full-frame presentation. The 34 episodes, all 918 minutes, are uncut and not time-compressed, are generously spread over six discs, though there are no Extra Features. The black and white series (among the last to air in primetime; its second and final year was in color) looks almost brand new. Optional French and Spanish subtitles are included.

Parting Thoughts

This is a series you'd think couldn't miss, or that even if it wasn't so hot, watching the obvious fun that the actors are having would be passed along to the audience, but that's just not the case. As the trades used to say, this one's for "undiscriminating audiences only."

Stuart Galbraith IV talks about Invasion of Astro-Monster in an audio commentary track that's just one part of Classic Media's upcoming Godzilla Classic Collector's Edition. Visit Stuart's Cine Blogarama here.

Popular Reviews
1. Barry Lyndon
2. Rawhead Rex
3. My Neighbor Totoro (GKIDS Release)
4. The Ghoul
5. The Beguiled
6. Junior Bonner
7. Children Of The Corn
8. Dreamgirls: Director's Extended Edition
9. Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look: The Definitive Collection
10. Spirited Away


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2017 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use