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F Troop

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Country of origin
United States


Theme song
F Troop Theme Song

F Troop wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners184630p184630

First episode date
14 September 1965

Created by
Seaman Jacobs, Ed James, Jim Barnett

Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Ken Berry, Melody Patterson, Frank de Kova, James Hampton, Bob Steele, Joe Brooks

Theme music composer
William LavaIrving Taylor

William Lava, Frank Comstock

American Broadcasting Company


F troop 1965 1967 opening and closing theme

F Troop is a satirical American television sitcom about U.S. soldiers and American Indians in the Wild West during the 1860s that originally aired for two seasons on ABC. It debuted in the United States on September 14, 1965 and concluded its run on April 6, 1967 with a total of 65 episodes. The first season of 34 episodes was broadcast in black-and-white, the second season in color.


F Troop The Thinking Man39s 39F Troop39

The series relied heavily on character-based humor; verbal and visual gags, slapstick, physical comedy and burlesque comedy make up the prime ingredients of F Troop. The series played fast and loose with historical events and persons, and often parodied them for comical effect. There were some indirect references made to the culture of the 1960s such as a "Playbrave Club" (a parody of a Playboy Club) and two rock and roll bands (one which performs songs written in the 1960s).

F Troop F Troop Cast and Characters TVGuidecom

F troop abc tv series promo with forrest tucker and larry storch

Setting and story

F Troop F Troop Wikipedia

F Troop is set at Fort Courage — a fictional United States Army outpost in the Old West—from just at the end of the American Civil War in 1865 to at least 1867. There is a town of the same name adjacent to the fort. Fort Courage was named for the fictitious General Sam Courage (portrayed by Cliff Arquette) who gained fame elsewhere as the character Charlie Weaver. The fort itself is in the stockade style typically found in most American westerns.

F Troop F Troop Wikipedia

The commanding officer is the gallant although laughably clumsy Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry), descended from a long line of distinguished military officers. He is awarded the Medal of Honor after accidentally instigating the final Civil War charge at the Battle of Appomattox. Only a private in the Quartermaster Corps, he is ordered to fetch the commanding officer's laundry (the inference is that it is General Grant's laundry). As Parmenter rides away to get the laundry he repeatedly sneezes. A group of Union soldiers mistake his sneezing for an order to charge, turning the tide of the battle and "earning" Parmenter the nickname "The Scourge of Appomattox." He also is awarded the Purple Heart after he is accidentally pricked in the chest by his commanding officer while receiving his first medal, making him known as "the only soldier in history to get a medal for getting a medal." His superiors, wishing to reward his action, promote him to captain and give him command of remote Fort Courage, a dumping ground for the Army's "least useful" soldiers and misfits (the Secretary of War (William Woodson) notes "Why, the Army sent them out there hoping they'd all desert"). Of the three commanding officers at Fort Courage before Captain Parmenter, two deserted and one suffered a nervous breakdown.

F Troop F Troop a Titles amp Air Dates Guide

Much of the humor of the series derives from the scheming of Captain Parmenter's somewhat crooked but amiable non-commissioned officers, Sergeant Morgan O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and Corporal Randolph Agarn (Larry Storch). They, in league with the local (fictitious) American Indian tribe, the Hekawis—led by Chief Wild Eagle (Frank de Kova), are forever seeking to expand and conceal their shady business deals covertly and collectively referred to as "O'Rourke Enterprises". Initially, rations and pay were drawn for 30 men at Fort Courage, even though only 17 are actually accounted for (the other 13, according to O'Rourke, are Indian scouts who only come to the fort at night and leave before dawn). The pay of the fictitious scouts is apparently used to help finance the dealings of O'Rourke Enterprises. Although O'Rourke and Agarn try to take full advantage of Captain Parmenter's innocence and naïveté, they are also very fond of and fiercely protective of him, and woe be to anyone attempting to harm him. Parmenter also struggles to exert his authority outside the ranks. Very bashful, he tries to escape the matrimonial plans of his girlfriend, shopkeeper–postmistress Jane Angelica Thrift, known locally as "Wrangler Jane" (Melody Patterson) -- who although only 16 at the time used a forged birth certificate that gave her age was 18, allowing her to be cast in the role -- [4] though he becomes a bit more affectionate toward her during the second season.

In the episode "Captain Parmenter, One Man Army," it is revealed that all of the soldiers (troopers) of "F Troop" have been at Fort Courage for at least 20 months. Therefore, they spent at least part of the Civil War at Fort Courage. They are so incompetent that when they are formed into a firing squad in the episode titled "The Day They Shot Agarn" all of their shots miss Agarn despite the fact they are standing only a few yards from him. The most common running gag through both seasons of the series (shown in every first season opening except for the pilot episode) involves the fort's lookout tower. Every time the cannon is fired in salute the lit fuse burns out. Corporal Agarn or Private Dobbs then steps up and kicks the cannon's right wheel, collapsing the cannon and causing it to fire off target. The cannon ball strikes a support leg of the lookout tower, bringing it crashing to the ground along with the trooper in it. In the opening credits, this coincides with the line in the lyrics, "Before they resume with a bang and a boom." In one episode, an arrow brings the tower crashing down and in another Parmenter brings down the tower with a lasso. In another episode, musical instruments being played loudly cause the tower to collapse. The fort water tower is also a frequent victim of this sort of gag.

Another running gag involves dialogue between Sergeant O'Rourke and Agarn. In many episodes O'Rourke says to Agarn, "I don't know why everyone says you're so dumb." After several lines of dialogue later, and occasionally after a commercial break, Agarn finally replies, "Who says I'm dumb?"

Theme music

The dubious efficiency of "F Troop" is clarified in the show's opening theme. The words of the song (by Irving Taylor) were used only in the first season's opening credits (except for the pilot episode), along with comical F Troop battle scenes intercut with stock Hollywood Western footage. The second season's opening credits used only the instrumental ending part, over still cartoon scenes and caricatures of the main cast.

F Troop officers & enlisted men

  • Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry) – The so-called "Scourge of the West." As military governor of the territory and commander of Fort Courage, he is credited with keeping the peace (which is in fact really kept by O'Rourke's secret treaty with the Hekawi tribe –- though other tribes seem to fear his reputation. Chief Wild Eagle knows him by a different title: "The Great White Pigeon." When the need to keep up appearances arises, the troopers and the Hekawis stage mock battles to fool Parmenter and outsiders. Parmenter is successful at "keeping the peace." He just doesn't know why. He is well-meaning and sweet natured, although essentially clueless and a bit gullible. He also invariably is kind and encouraging to his men, and always bravely leads them into action, albeit ineptly. A stickler for regulation and proper military conduct, he checks the Army Manual for even the oddest situations such as. "If a soldier is captured by horse." A perpetual klutz, Parmenter forever is jabbing himself, pinching his fingers in or on something, banging into, tripping over or knocking things over. He cannot dismount a horse properly and frequently becomes entangled with his ceremonial sword. Parmeneter, originally is from Philadelphia, comes from a "proud family" with a "great military tradition." Among his ancestors his first cousin Major Achilles Parmenter, second cousin Lt. Colonel Hercules Parmenter, uncle Colonel Jupiter Parmenter (Rod McGaughy), his father General Thor Parmenter and his great-grandfather Major Hannibal Parmenter -- who was with Gen. George Washington at Valley Forge. By contrast, Corporal Agarn's great-grandfather was a deserter. Jeanette Nolan played Parmenter's visiting mother (no first name given) in "A Fort's Best Friend is Not a Mother". When his sister Daphne Parmenter (Patty Regan) visits the fort her eyes are on Private Dobbs. O'Rourke frequently calls Captain Parmenter "the Old Man" in the sense that he is their leader though Parmenter usually is surprised at being called that because he is fairly young. In "The Majority of Wilton" (near the end of the series), he turns down a promotion to major because it would mean being reassigned to a new command and leaving "F Troop."
  • Sergeant Morgan Sylvester O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) – The Sgt. Bilko of his day (as Agarn said to O'Rourke: "When it comes to shifty, sneaky, double dealing ... you're the tops"). Originally from Steubenville, Ohio, he has been in the Army at least twenty-five years and it took him either 10 years to become a sergeant or has been a sergeant for 22 years as of his 25th anniversary. His brother's name is Morton O'Rourke. O'Rourke's business dealings involve illegally running the local town saloon and an exclusive-rights treaty with the local Indian tribe (the Hekawi) to sell their "authentic" souvenirs to tourists and for the commercial market through the shady, undercover O'Rourke Enterprises operation. He also tries to find ways to fleece the men out of their pay through different schemes such as finding the men mail-order brides. Though most of his business schemes usually fail, he apparently is the only competent soldier in F Troop. It is mentioned that O'Rourke is a veteran of the Mexican–American War, but nothing is said about the Civil War. In "The Sergeant and the Kid", the tall and rugged O'Rourke shows his romantic side by taking an interest in the widow Molly Walker played by (Pippa Scott) and her son Joey played by (Peter Robbins). In "Don't Look Now, But One of Our Cannons is Missing," O'Rourke claims he saved Agarn's life twice -- once from drowning and once when a rattlesnake bit him. {Ironically Forrest Tucker had actually served in the US Cavalry prior to World War II and played a similar "O'Rourke" cavalry sergeant on Gunsmoke}. Tucker's wife at the time, Mary Fisk, appeared in the series twice. She played Squirrel Girl in "Lieutenant O'Rourke, Front and Center" (which involves O'Rourke being promoted to lieutenant) and Kissing Squaw in "What Are You Doing After the Massacre?".
  • Corporal Randolph Agarn (Larry Storch) – Randolph Agarn is O'Rourke's somewhat dimwitted sidekick and business partner in the shady O'Rourke Enterprises (his name is a play on both Randolph Scott and John Agar who were cowboy stars). The character Agarn, originally from Passaic, New Jersey, took six years after enlistment to become a lowly corporal. At the time of the series, Agarn has been in the cavalry for 10 years, and has been posted to Fort Courage for the last four, apparently spending the Civil War years at Fort Courage. He has impersonated Generals George Washington and Ulysses Grant. However, in dual roles, Storch played numerous lookalike relatives of Agarn, including his French-Canadian cousin Lucky Pierre, his Russian cousin Dmitri Agarnoff and his Mexican bandito cousin Pancho Agarnado, known as "El Diablo." (In the same episode he also played Granny Agarn, Uncle Gaylord Agarn of Tallahassee and Pancho's sister Carmen Agarnado). Confrontational and often overly-emotional in every respect, Agarn frequently collapses in tears with the phrases "Oh, Cap'n!" or "Oh, Sarge!" (depending on whose chest he buries his head in). To get the men to attention, he barks out his trademark loud and exaggerated (but unintelligible) "Aaaaa-aaahh" command. Whenever he becomes frustrated by something one of the troopers does wrong (which is often), short-tempered Agarn hits him with his hat which, unlike everyone else's, is white. A hypochondriac, Agarn thinks he's contracted the illnesses he reads or hears about or others around him have (including a horse). One running gag during the second season involves Agarn's delayed reactions, which usually ran: Agarn would make a suggestion; O'Rourke would respond: "Agarn, I don't know why everyone says you're so dumb!" At the beginning of the next scene (which could be several hours or days after the original comment), Agarn, suddenly indignant, demands: "Who says I'm dumb?" Agarn was briefly promoted to Sergeant in the episode "Lieutenant O'Rourke, Front and Center". Larry Storch was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding performance by an actor in a leading role in a comedy series" in 1967.
  • Bugler Private Hannibal Shirley Dobbs (James Hampton) – F Troop's inept bugler, originally from New Orleans, who can only play "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie" with regularity. Standard U.S. Army tunes like "Reveille", "Assembly" and "Retreat" are only occasionally played competently. One episode had him playing a song, which Wrangler Jane says is a lovely rendition of "Old Kentucky Home", only for him to say he'd been trying to play "Reveille". A southern "mama's boy", he is also Captain Parmenter's personal assistant, as well as serving in the fort's cannon crew—usually with disastrous results. Private Dobbs is a personal thorn in Agarn's side, with his regular taunts resulting in Agarn's frequent retort, "I'm warning you, Dobbs!", or threatening him with a court-martial. Dobbs learned how to use a lasso on his mama's alligator farm. Dobbs was briefly promoted to Corporal in the episode "Lieutenant O'Rourke, Front and Center".
  • Trooper Vanderbilt (Joe Brooks) – The fort's lookout who seems all but blind even with glasses (20/900 in each eye, according to Agarn) and answers questions from the lookout tower about what he sees with incongruous responses such as, "No, thank you Agarn. I just had my coffee." He once allowed two Indians wearing feather head-dresses to enter the fort unchallenged. Asked why, he replied, "I thought they were turkeys." Yet in another episode he mistakes a group of turkeys for attacking Indians. In one episode he shoots his pistol in a crowded barracks—and manages to miss everyone. Vanderbilt was a bustle inspector in a dress factory before joining the Army. In the running gag that brings the lookout tower crashing to the ground, it is the heavyset Vanderbilt who comes down with it.
  • Trooper Duffy (Bob Steele) – An aged old time cavalryman with a limp, the result of his "old Alamo injury" acting up again. Duffy claims to be the lone survivor of the siege of the Alamo in 1836 and loves to recount his exploits alongside Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, "shoulder to shoulder and backs to the wall" (Steele was a 1930s and '40s Western movie and serial star; this running gag Alamo reference was an in-joke gag on Steele who 40 years before F Troop appeared in a 1926 movie about Davy Crockett at the Alamo). However, no one ever seems to take his claim seriously and he may be engaged in telling tall tales. Parmenter discovered that Duffy is listed as dead in his service record (as Sergeant O’Rourke noted to Captain Parmenter, Duffy’s service record might need some updating).
  • Townspeople

  • "Wrangler" Jane Angelica Thrift (Melody Patterson) – Captain Wilton Parmenter's beautiful but tomboyish, feisty, romantically aggressive girlfriend, dressed in buckskins and a cowgirl hat. She owns Wrangler Jane's Trading Post and runs the U.S. post office in town. She is a telegrapher and the best sharpshooter in the territory. Whenever the fort is attacked she fights alongside everyone else usually shooting more Indians than everyone else. She is determined to marry the ever romantically elusive and naïve Parmenter and is often obliged to rescue him from his various predicaments. When she kisses the very bashful Parmenter he usually says "Please Jane, not in front of the men". In "The Sergeant and the Kid" she replied back "But there're no men here" to which he replied "Well then, not in front of me". As part of this running gag, in the same episode after Jane mistakenly kisses Agarn, he says "Please Jane, not in front of the Captain." While Parmenter is reticent about showing any overt interest in Jane he does become quite jealous if another man shows any interest in her. However, in "Marriage, Fort Courage Style" (one of the last episodes in the series), Parmenter finally shows a direct interest in Jane. He sets a date three months hence as the beginning of their engagement to be married (Parmenter explains the reason he has hesitated to marry Jane is that the Parmenters as military men are rather hard on their wives). The character had her own theme music; a banjo piece usually played on the soundtrack to cue her entrances, or initial appearance in each episode. For more on Melody Patterson see Creation and Production.
  • The Hekawi tribe

    The Hekawi appear to be a very small tribe consisting of only one small village. They live an indeterminate distance from Fort Courage, though the directions to their camp are described as: "Make right turn at big rock that look like bear, then make left turn at big bear that look like rock". In "Reunion for O'Rourke", Chief Wild Eagle explains how the tribe got its name: "Many moons ago, tribe leave Massachusetts because Pilgrims ruin neighborhood! Tribe travel west, over stream, over river, over mountain, over mountain, over river, over stream! Then come big day... tribe fall over cliff. That when Hekawi get name. Medicine man say to my ancestor, "I think we lost. Where the heck are we?". "Where the heck are we?" became "We're the Hekawi" (the original name for the tribe in the series, 'Fugawi', was changed after the censors discovered the sentence "Where the Fugawi?").

    The Hekawis are 50/50 partners in everything they do with O'Rourke Enterprises. They make most of the company's products, usually in the form of Indian souvenirs (on a commercial scale) and whiskey for the town saloon. They are a peace-loving tribe, (mainly due to cowardice) and self described as "the tribe that invented the peace pipe", "lovers, not fighters" and "proud descendents of cowards". Profit minded, the Hekawis look to be paid when O’Rourke needs them to do something like orchestrate a fake attack on the fort and will haggle over the price and how many braves would be in the attack (when O'Rourke balks at the price, the Chief reminds him that the Apache will gladly make a real attack on the fort for free). But because it had been such a long time since they had been on the "warpath" when the series started Agarn has to teach the Hekawis how to do a war dance, a clip of which was shown in the first season opening credits. Anytime the tribe wants to contact the fort they use smoke signals which only O'Rourke can read. In one episode (and referred to in another), the Hekawis have a "Playbrave Club" (a parody of Playboy Club) complete with go-go dancing and 1960s style music.

    As a sly jest based on the myth that Native Americans are the 13th tribe of Israel, many of the Hekawi Indians were played by veteran Yiddish comedians using classic Yiddish shtick. The regular Indian characters (none of whom were played by Native American actors) include:

  • Chief Wild Eagle (Frank de Kova) – The shrewd, cranky but essentially good-natured leader of the Hekawi tribe, and business partner in the shady O'Rourke Enterprises schemes (in "Reunion for O'Rourke" Wild Eagle says he has been chief for 17 years). In spite of his gruff appearance Wild Eagle said: "Don't let name Wild Eagle fool you. I had changed it from Yellow Chicken". Like all the Indian characters portrayed in F Troop, he speaks with a mock American Indian accent in a semi broken English dialect stereotypical of American westerns (see first paragraph of The Hekawi Tribe and Tribal Members for examples). Often O'Rourke, Agarn, Parmenter, and Jane come to him for advice when they have a problem and Wild Eagle has a wise old Indian saying for every occasion (such as "Wise old Indian say you cannot make a fur coat out of a goose feather"), which he often admits even he does not know the meaning of or how it applies to the situation at hand. On differing occasions, he says he is the son of Crazy Horse, the brother-in-law of Sitting Bull, and the cousin of Geronimo. De Kova's contribution to the series was deemed so important that, beginning in the second season, he is listed in the opening credits.
  • Crazy Cat (Don Diamond) – Chief Wild Eagle's goofy assistant and heir apparent. He often speculates on when he will become chief, but is subsequently rebuked by Chief Wild Eagle. Appearing sporadically in the early first season episodes, he became a regularly featured character later in the first season, as Roaring Chicken and "Medicine Man" were phased out of the series. "Craze" (as O'Rourke and Agarn sometimes call him) does become "acting chief" in the episode titled, "Our Brave in F Troop" (when O'Rourke and Agarn have to somehow sneak Wild Eagle into Fort Courage to see the Army dentist so he can get his tooth pulled). Crazy Cat humorously comments on the situation, "When Wild Eagle away, Crazy Cat play."
  • Recurring characters

    In order of number of appearances:

  • Happy Bear/Smokey Bear (Ben Frommer) – An overweight, usually silent Hekawi brave in black braids and a Fire Ranger's hat (a parody of Smokey Bear of "Only you can prevent forest fires" fame). In the first season Frommer appears (usually uncredited) as Happy Bear, sometimes as Smokey Bear, once as Papa Bear and also Red Arrow and a few times without a name. In the second season he appears solely as Smokey Bear. Overall, Frommer appeared in 52 episodes in rather minor mainly non-speaking roles.
  • Trooper Duddleson (Ivan Bell) – A sleepy, slovenly, obese soldier who is hit on the head repeatedly by Agarn for having his body in line but not his belly, or sleeping when he's supposed to be at attention. He is sometimes upbraided by Agarn for having gravy stains on his shirt. Duddleson typically wears a printed piece of cloth instead of the standard yellow neckerchief. According to his service record Duddleson was a female impersonator with a carnival in civilian life. He appears in 45 episodes, but in a minor, often non-speaking capacity.role.
  • Trooper Hoffenmueller (John Mitchum) – A trooper who can either (a) only speak in his native German or (b) speaks English with a German accent, depending upon the episode. According to his service record Hoffenmueller can speak Cherokee, Sioux, Apache, and Hekawi. "We can use you as an interpreter ... just as soon as you learn to speak English" —Capt. Parmenter. He appears in 11 episodes, but in a minor role. John Mitchum's much more famous brother is tough guy actor Robert Mitchum.
  • Stagecoach Driver (Rudy Doucette) – He briefly appears in 7 episodes including one as Slim.
  • Roaring Chicken (Edward Everett Horton) – An ancient Hekawi medicine man and son of Sitting Duck. He appears in only 6 episodes in the first season. And he "invented" the RoarChick test (a parody of the Rorschach test). Longtime veteran actor Horton parodied the role on the 1960s Batman TV series as "Chief Screaming Chicken". Horton was also the narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales, a popular segment of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon series.
  • Pete (Benny Baker) – The bartender at the saloon, appears in 5 episodes.
  • Charlie – The town drunk (veteran stuntman Harvey Parry and Frank McHugh). Fort Courage got Charlie from Dodge City. As Capt. Parmenter says: "We were lucky to get him – Dodge had a spare" and "We're all proud of you Charlie; you're the fastest drunk in the West". The role was created especially for Parry to show off his skills (he was in his sixties by then, but appears in only 3 episodes). In "Will the Real Captain Try to Stand Up", Charlie (Frank McHugh) temporarily pretends to be the captain of F Troop while Charlie's daughter, Cindy Charles (Linda Foster), is visiting because she thinks he actually is the captain of F Troop rather than the town drunk.
  • Major Duncan (James Gregory) – Captain Parmenter's superior from Territory Headquarters, who usually "brings a saddlebag full of trouble," according to O'Rourke. According to the episode "Too Many Cooks Soil the Troop", Major Duncan had taken F Troop's quartermaster, clerk, blacksmith and cook and transferred them to his own fort. Gregory appeared twice as Major Duncan and once as the land baron Big Jim Parker who bought the town and the land the fort sits on.
  • Secretary of War (William Woodson) – He appears in 3 episodes.
  • Trooper Leonard "Wrongo" Starr (Henry Gibson) – A jinxed soldier (the name is a play on Beatles drummer Ringo Starr). He appears in "Wrongo Starr and the Lady in Black" and in "The Return of Wrongo Starr." Alternative explanations are given for the origin of the jinx.
  • Medicine Man (J. Pat O'Malley) – An unnamed Hekawi "doctor" who prescribes various tribal dances to treat diverse ailments. He appears in 2 episodes.
  • Guest stars

    In the order of their appearance on the show (for the most part)

    Many established actors and comedians appeared as guest stars in the series including Bernard Fox (as the master of disguise, British Major Bently Royce), Don Rickles (as the crazy renegade Indian Bald Eagle, son of Chief Wild Eagle), Jack Elam as the outlaw gunfighter Sam Urp), John Dehner (as conman Prof. Cornelius Clyde), Lee Meriwether (as Lily O'Reilly who is out to take over the town saloon), Jamie Farr (as Geronimo's friend and standup comic Standup Bull), George Gobel (as Wrangler Jane's cousin Henry Terkel, whose inventions parody the telephone, radio and steam automobile), Pat Harrington Jr. (as secret agent "B. Wise" – an imitation of Don Adams's character on Get Smart), Zsa Zsa Gabor (as the Gypsy Marika), Willard Waterman (as former Capt. Bill "Cannonball" McCormick, F Troop's first commanding officer), Paul Petersen (as Wild Eagle's nephew and Sitting Bull's sharpshooting son Johnny Eagle Eye), Paul Lynde (as the phony singing Canadian Mountie Sgt. Ramsden), Harvey Korman (as the wacky Prussian Col. Heindreich von Zeppel), Milton Berle (as Wise Owl), Julie Newmar (as the long lost Indian daughter Yellow Bird), Jacques Aubuchon (as Gideon D. Jeffries her real father), Jay Novello (as Emilio Barberini), Sterling Holloway (as nearsighted Sheriff Pat Lawton), Mako (as a Samurai warrior), Phil Harris (as the 147-year old warmongering chief, Flaming Arrow), Vincent Price (as the spooky Count Sfoza), and Cliff Arquette (aka Charley Weaver – as Gen. Sam Courage).

    Other notable and well known character actors who appeared in the series are (usually only once or twice): Henry Brandon (as a chief of the vicious, but fictitious, Shug Indian tribe), Jay Sheffield (as Lt. Jefferson Hawkes), Alan Hewitt (as Col. Malcolm), Don "Red" Barry (as Col. Donnely), Willis Bouchey (as Col. Herman Saunders), Forrest Lewis (as Doc. Emmett), Vic Tayback and Robert G. Anderson (as the notorious Colton Brothers), Linda Marshall (as Parmenter's old girlfriend from Philadelphia), Laurie Sibbald (as Flying Sparrow and Silver Dove), John Stephenson (as General Custer), Nydia Westman (as Dobb's mother), Patrice Wymore (as Laura Lee and Peggy Gray), Parley Baer (as Col. Watkins), MaKee K. Blaisdell (as War Cloud), Jackie Joseph (as Agarn's old girlfriend Betty Lou MacDonald), Mike Mazurki (as a very big Geronimo), Tony Martinez (as Felipe), Del Moore (as Dapper Dan Fulbright), Andrew Duggan (as the Indian-hating Major Chester Winster, inventor of the Chestwinster 76 rifle – a parody of the famous Winchester 73 rifle), Abbe Lane (as the beautiful counterspy Lorelei Duval), Jackie Loughery (as the Gypsy Tanya), Marjorie Bennett (as Ella Vorhees), Eve McVeagh (as Wilma McGee, O'Rourks's old girlfriend from Steubenville, Ohio and now a widow woman from Brooklyn, NY), Ben Gage (as Mike O'Hanlon), Richard Reeves (as Jim Sweeney, O'Rourke's old friend), Victor Jory (as Apache Chief Mean Buffalo), James Griffith (as sharpshooting Sgt. Crawford), Cathy Lewis (as Whispering Breeze, mother of Johnny Eagle Eye, wife of Sitting Bull and sister to Wild Eagle), Les Brown, Jr (as Lt. Mark Harrison), George Barrows (as Pecos), Paul Sorensen (as Tombstone), Mary Young (as the Widow O'Brien), Charles Lane (as Mr. S. A. MacGuire), Don Beddoe (as the Hermit), Lew Parker (as George C. Bragan), Tol Avery (as Derby Dan McGurney), Tommy Farrell (as Jenks), Richard X. Slattery (as Col. William Bartlett), Joby Baker (as Mario Maracucci), Letícia Román (as Gina Barberini), I. Stanford Jolley (as Col. Ferguson), George Furth (as Capt. Jonathan W. Blair), Pepper Curtis (as Lily), Peter Leeds (as Mr Larson), Victor French (as the deserter Cpl. Matt Delaney), Fred Clark (as Major Hewitt), Arch Johnson as Col. Adams), Mary Wickes (as marriage broker Samantha Oglesby), Joyce Jameson (as Sally Tyler), and Charles Drake (as Major Terence McConnell). Lowell George, later the leader of the rock group Little Feat, appeared with his earlier band The Factory on an episode as a group called the Bedbugs. William Conrad was the uncredited voice announcer in the first episode "Scourge of the West".

    Recurring gags

    The malfunctioning cannon: Every time the cannon fuse is lit, it seems to sputter out, requiring a trooper to kick one of its wheels which collapses, setting off the cannon. The canonball inevitably knocks down the look-out tower, but occasionally crashes through Wrangler Jane's shop window or creates havoc elsewhere in Fort Courage..

    Corporal Agarn's hat: Whenever Agarn feels a need to discipline the troopers, he hits them over the head with his hat.

    The rotten bugler: Encouraged by a patient and well-meaning Capt. Parmenter, the company bugler, Private Dobbs, is a talentless tin ear whose attempts at playing the bugle drive O'Rourke and Agarn to distraction.

    "Please, Janie, not in front of the men!": what Capt. Parmenter says whenever Wrangler Jane throws her arms around his neck and starts kissing him. Sometimes, when the men aren't around, he changes the object of his concern to something nearby...for instance, the horses.

    The old man: Whenever anyone refers to Capt. Parmenter as "the old man" he always comes back with, "What old man?" to which one of the troopers [usually O'Rourke] replies, "Why, you sir. You're the old man", to which Parmenter nearly always comments, "Oh yes, I keep forgetting that I'm the old man". In at least one episode, the tables were turned when Parmenter asked the men to "do it for the old man" and in a twist, O'Rourke asked, "What old man?" and it was the Captain who replied, "Well, I"m the old man", to which O'Rourke came back with, "Oh yes, I keep forgetting..."

    "I'm warning you, Dobbs!": When the company bugler says anything to annoy Corporal Agarn, the hat comes off as Agarn yells out this threat. Occasionally, Agarn "warns" other troopers as well, but usually his ire is reserved for Private Dobbs.

    Captain Parmenter's clumsiness: Poor Capt. Parmenter is forever stabbing himself with his quill pen, stepping into buckets, falling over the hitching posts, getting his saber caught on things and just generally being a klutz. In real life the actor portraying Capt. Parmenter, Ken Berry, is an accomplished dancer whose trademark is graceful athleticism, so the gag is accentuated by the knowledge that Berry is probably the most agile man on the show.

    Season one (black and white, 1965–1966)

    1. Scourge of the West (Pilot episode)
    2. Don't Look Now, One of Our Cannon Is Missing
    3. The Phantom Major
    4. Corporal Agarn's Farewell to the Troops
    5. The Return of Bald Eagle
    6. Dirge for the Scourge
    7. The Girl from Philadelphia
    8. Old Ironpants
    9. Me Heap Big Injun
    10. She's Only a Build in a Girdled Cage
    11. A Gift from the Chief
    12. Honest Injun
    13. O'Rourke vs. O'Reilly
    14. The 86 Proof Spring
    15. Here Comes the Tribe
    16. Iron Horse Go Home
    17. Our Hero, What's His Name?
    18. Wrongo Starr and the Lady in Black
    19. El Diablo
    20. Go for Broke
    21. The New I. G.
    22. Spy, Counterspy, Counter Counterspy
    23. The Courtship of Wrangler Jane
    24. Play, Gypsy, Play
    25. Reunion for O'Rourke
    26. Captain Parmenter, One Man Army
    27. Don't Ever Speak to Me Again
    28. Too Many Cooks Spoil the Troop
    29. Indian Fever
    30. Johnny Eagle Eye
    31. A Fort's Best Friend is Not a Mother
    32. Lieutenant O'Rourke, Front and Center
    33. The Day the Indians Won
    34. Will the Real Captain Try to Stand Up?

    Season two (color, 1966–1967)

    1. The Singing Mountie
    2. How to Be F Troop Without Really Trying
    3. Bye, Bye, Balloon
    4. Reach for the Sky, Pardner
    5. The Great Troop Robbery
    6. The West Goes Ghost
    7. Yellow Bird
    8. The Ballot of Corporal Agarn
    9. Did Your Father Come from Ireland?
    10. For Whom the Bugle Tolls
    11. Miss Parmenter
    12. La Dolce Courage
    13. Wilton the Kid
    14. The Return of Wrongo Starr
    15. Survival of the Fittest
    16. Bring on the Dancing Girls
    17. The Loco Brothers
    18. From Karate with Love
    19. The Sergeant and the Kid
    20. What Are You Doing After the Massacre?
    21. A Horse of Another Color
    22. V is for Vampire
    23. That's Show Biz
    24. The Day They Shot Agarn
    25. Only One Russian Is Coming! Only One Russian Is Coming!
    26. Guns, Guns, Who's Got the Guns?
    27. Marriage, Fort Courage Style
    28. Carpetbagging, Anyone?
    29. The Majority of Wilton
    30. Our Brave in F Troop
    31. Is This Fort Really Necessary?

    Historical inaccuracies

    The series is a broad, lighthearted military farce which usually played fast and loose with historical events and persons. However, though the series was meant to be comical rather than historically accurate, writers Austin and Irma Kalish, interviewed for the 2007 DVD release of the series, revealed that some scripts had their origins in actual events or authentic 19th century Army protocol. One episode, titled "The Sergeant and the Kid", tells the story of 10-year-old Joey Walker (Peter Robbins), who tried to join F Troop. This episode is loosely based on the true story of John Lincoln Clem, a 10-year-old from Newark, Ohio who tried to enlist in the United States Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. Clem would end up serving in the Army for 54 years, and be promoted to major general upon his retirement in 1916. Likewise, "The Day They Shot Agarn" had its roots in historically accurate regulations obtained from a period cavalry manual, according to Austin Kalish.

    The series often deliberately parodied history such as with calling the Winchester 73 rifle the Chestwinster 76 rifle and having Chief Wild Eagle related to Crazy Horse, Geronimo and Sitting Bull (many of the Indian names are parodies as well such as Standup Bull). The series also heavily relied on stereotypes still common and, for the most part, still considered acceptable in the 1960s, but usually for comical effect rather than anything even inadvertently demeaning, such as the semi-fictitious Indian greeting of "how" (derived from the Lakota greeting hau) or referring to Native Americans/Indians as "Redskins" – which is now considered demeaning. In some ways, the series mocked the stereotypes seen in American western movies and TV shows.

  • The official surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant after the Battle of Appomattox Court House in Virginia on April 9, 1865 did not, in fact, end the Civil War. The war did not come to a final end until June 23, 1865, so it is possible that when Captain Parmenter arrived at Fort Courage, the Civil War may have still been ongoing. However, during the episode "Don't Look Now, One of Our Cannon is Missing", Agarn (impersonating Ulysses S. Grant) mentions having lunch with President Lincoln, setting the date of the episode before Lincoln's death. Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, less than one week after the Battle of Appomattox Court House, but an earlier reference in the episode to a battle with the (fictitious) Shug Tribe sets the time Parmenter has been at Fort Courage at a minimum of several months, which makes reconciling the dates in the first few episodes impossible.
  • Many online sources presume that Fort Courage is set in Kansas and several references are made about Captain Parmenter being the "military governor of the territory". However, Kansas was made a state in 1861 and therefore was not a territory but a state during the time frame of the show. The location of the fort is never stated in the series, however, so the Kansas location may be erroneous.
  • O'Rourke is celebrating his 25th anniversary in the service during the episode "Reunion for O'Rourke" and mentions to Agarn that he "joined up for the Mexican War". Since the Mexican-American War started in 1846 and ended in 1848, the episode, depending on when during the war O'Rourke "joined up", would need to be set 6 to 8 years after the Civil War, rather than shortly thereafter.
  • The episode "Old Ironpants" briefly features General George Armstrong Custer (John Stephenson). Given the time period (1865 to 1867) in which F Troop is set, Custer may no longer have been a general. His commission as a general of volunteers expired on January 31, 1866 and was reduced in rank to captain in the regular Army. A short time later he was made a lieutenant colonel, but given the brevet rank of major general (either way, at least as a courtesy, he could be addressed as "General"). In addition, as Custer departs, Parmenter wishes him luck at his "new assignment at Little Bighorn" (see below).
  • Little Bighorn is mentioned from time to time throughout the run of the series. However, the Battle of Little Bighorn would not take place until 1876.
  • Although he is awarded the Medal of Honor, Captain Parmenter is incorrectly shown receiving what appears to be the Silver Star, an award that was not created until 1918 (as the Citation Star) and as the Silver Star until 1932. However, the Medal of Honor does feature a star and was first awarded during the American Civil War. Captain Parmenter also receives a Purple Heart, which did not exist until 1932 and was retroactively awarded to persons serving on or after April 5, 1917.
  • The episode "Marriage, Fort Courage Style" shows Agarn in a dream sequence watching stereopticon slides of "a new game this fellow named Doubleday invented called baseball". When his dream wife pesters him to do the chores, he retorts by saying, "Not now, I'm watching the game!" It's been proven that Abner Doubleday never invented baseball, never claimed to, and may never have even seen a professional game.
  • In the episode "How to be F Troop Without Really Trying" Lt. Mark Harrison (Les Brown, Jr.) quotes a line from the song "Jeepers Creepers" to Wrangler Jane. "Jeepers Creepers" wasn't composed by Johnny Mercer until 1938.
  • The episode "The Singing Mountie" features Paul Lynde as the phony "Singing Mountie" Sgt. Ramsden and Don Kent as the real Sgt. Ramsden of the Canadian Mounties. The series is set in the 1865 to 1867 time period, but the formative organization that would eventually become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (originally called the "North-West Mounted Police" and where the title Canadian Mounties comes from) was not founded until 1873.
  • The episode "Go for Broke" guest starred George Gobel as Henry Terkel who invents a working telephone, a working radio and a not-so-workable steam driven "horseless carriage". The time period for the show is 1865-1867 and, although there were some working on the idea at the time, the first working telephone wasn't invented until 1876 (by Alexander Graham Bell). While important discoveries about what would become radio were being made as early as 1873, the first working radio wasn't invented until the 1890s. However, many attempts were made throughout the 1800s to invent a steam powered self-propelled carriage (hence horseless) so the series is accurate in depicting a failed attempt in the 1860s. A working model wasn't built until 1873 (by Amédée Bollée). See steam car.
  • In the episode "That's Show Biz", Agarn temporarily leaves the army to manage a new music group called "The Bed Bugs" who look and play music similar to The Beatles, and the rest of gang perform the songs "Mr. Tambourine Man" (which was written by Bob Dylan in 1964) and "Lemon Tree" (which was a folk song written by Will Holt in the 1960s and recorded by such popular singing artists as Peter, Paul and Mary and Trini Lopez).
  • The uniforms, weapons, salutes and calling a cavalry company "troop" are incorrect for the period.
  • In the episode "Spy, Counterspy, Counter Counterspy", a reference is made to a cocktail known as a French 75. The cocktail, named after a French cannon introduced in 1897, was not created until 1915.
  • In "The Courtship of Wrangler Jane", Chief Wild Eagle mentions Yellowstone Park. The area that became Yellowstone National Park wasn't made into a park until 1872 and would not have been referred to as park before its inception in 1871.
  • By all reliable accounts, it's impossible for Duffy to have been wounded at the Alamo in 1836 as no white adult males fighting for Texas are known to have survived the battle. And of course it's purposely silly that Duffy would be listed in his service record as dead and yet continue to be listed as an active member of the Army and draw pay (however, no doubt many service records had many mistakes, some of which were never properly corrected). In 1836, Texas was not yet part of the United States and only became an independent nation after the battle. So, Duffy would have been listed as a member of the Army of the Republic of Texas. Of course, it's possible that Duffy may only be indulging in spinning some "tall tales" and none of the characters in the series ever seem to take his claim seriously.
  • Creation and production

  • Although the show's opening credits claim F Troop was created by Richard Bluel, a final arbitration by the Writers Guild of America eventually gave Seaman Jacobs, Ed James, and Jim Barnett credit.
  • Episode writers included Arthur Julian (who, alone, wrote 29 of the 65 episodes; he also appeared as an undertaker in his "Survival of the Fittest" script), Stan Dreben (Green Acres), Seaman Jacobs, Howard Merrill (The Dick Van Dyke Show), Ed James, Austin and Irma Kalish, and the highly successful comedy writing duo of Tom Adair and James B. Allardice, who collaborated on some of the most successful American TV sitcoms of the 1960s, including The Munsters; My Three Sons; Gomer Pyle, USMC and Hogan's Heroes.
  • The series was directed by Charles Rondeau and Leslie Goodwins, among many others, and produced by William T. Orr and Hy Averback. I. Stanford Jolley, Forrest Tucker's former father-in-law, appeared as Colonel Ferguson in the 1966 episode "Survival of the Fittest". The entire series was shot on the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, California.
  • The plot engine of O'Rourke and Agarn's money making schemes echoed that of an American television series of the late 1950s, The Phil Silvers Show, which had featured swindling by the wily Sergeant Bilko, also based at a "peacetime" Army base — albeit in the mid-20th century although with the twist of involving local pre-industrial aboriginals with US military men in money making schemes. It also echoes some of the money making schemes found in the American television series McHale's Navy which was written by some of the same writers from the Bilko show.
  • Melody Patterson lied about her age to get the part of Wrangler Jane. She was 15 at the time of her audition, but turned 16 by the time filming started. As a result, the romance between Jane and Parmenter was kept very low key during the first season. By the time production of the second season started, Patterson had turned 17 and Parmenter's affections were made stronger and Jane was made more sexually aggressive (Patterson was 10 days short of turning 18 when the last episode was aired).
  • The show's ratings were still healthy after the second year (ranked #40 out of 113 shows for the 1966-67 season, with a 31.3 share), but according to Tucker, Warner Bros.' new owners, Seven Arts, discontinued production because they thought it was wasteful for so much of the Warner Ranch to be taken up by a single half-hour TV show. Producer William Orr says the studio was also unhappy with the added costs of producing the show in color during its second season.
  • Syndication

    Although only two seasons were produced, F Troop enjoyed a healthy second life in syndication. The show was a particular favorite on Nick at Nite in the 1990s, running from 1991 to 1995 despite an archive of only 65 episodes. Reruns began airing on TV Land from 1997 to 2000, GoodLife TV Network on 2004 and on Me-TV on September 2, 2013.

    Reruns premiered on the ITV network in the United Kingdom on October 29, 1968, and were screened repeatedly until July 16, 1974. The series was also broadcast nationally in Australia on ABC-TV, in Ireland on Telefís Éireann and in Italy during the 80s as a "filler" show during summer months (when ratings usually dropped due to large numbers of people going on holidays).

    Video releases

    Near the close of the VCR era, thirty of the series' sixty five episodes were digitally remastered and released in 1998 on ten VHS tapes by Columbia House.

    On September 27, 2005, Warner Home Video released the first F Troop DVD compilation as part of its "Television Favorites" series. The six-episode DVD included three black-and-white episodes and three color episodes.

    After witnessing robust sales from the "Television Favorites" sampler, Warner Home Video launched "F Troop: The Complete First Season," incorporating all 34 episodes in black and white. Subsequently, "The Complete Second Season" of "F Troop" was made available on DVD on May 29, 2007. This edition is enriched with interviews featuring cast members, writers, and production staff from the original "F Troop" series, offering a glimpse behind the scenes. However, the half-hour special only included an interview with Ken Berry, one of the series' principal actors. Additionally, the DVD contained audio excerpts from an interview with Joe Brooks, who played "Private Vanderbilt."


    F Troop Wikipedia

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