F TROOP: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
Where Indian fights are
F TROOP is one of those goofy good series that I remember watching regularly, during my childhood, when it was airing regularly in syndication. While the series never earned a special place in my heart like GILLIGANíS ISLAND or THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, I always thought of F TROOP as fun show that was always good for a few laughs. Thanks to a nifty DVD release, Iíve had the opportunity to see F TROOP for the first time in decades. While F TROOP is not be as consistently funny as my childhood memories, I still found myself chuckling regularly at the slapstick humor and general silliness of this sitcom that plays cowboys and Indians strictly for laughs.
Set in the post Civil War era, the basic premise of F TROOP finds accident prone accidental hero Capt. Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry) being placed in command of Fort Courage, which borders on Indian Territory. Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) is the real brains of Fort Courage, a wheeler dealer (and saloon keeper), who is in business with the cowardly Hekawi Indian tribe, which only seem to go on the warpath, whenever itís in the best interest of O'Rourke Enterprises. Cpl. Randolph Agarn (Larry Storch) is O'Rourkeís not too bright, right hand man, who generally comes out a little worse for wear, whenever one of O'Rourkeís schemes go wrong. Wrangler Jane Angelica Thrift (Melody Patterson) is the tomboyish local beauty and owner of the general store, who has a thing for Capt. Parmenter. Chief Wild Eagle (Frank DeKova) is the somewhat pliable leader of Hekawi Indian tribe, who generally gets to deliver some of the shows best goofy jokes. The cast of F TROOP also includes Don Diamond, James Hampton, Bob Steele and Joe Brooks.
F TROOP: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a six disc set that features all thirty four episodes that were aired in the showís freshman year. The thirty four featured episodes are as follows: Scourge Of The West, Don't Look Now, One Of Our Cannon Is Missing, The Phantom Major, Corporal Agarn's Farewell To The Troops, The Return Of Bald Eagle, Dirge For The Scourge, The Girl From Philadelphia, Old Ironpants, Me Heap Big Injun, She's Only A Build In An Girdled Cage, A Gift From The Chief, Honest Injun, O'Rourke Vs. O'Reilly, The 86 Proof Spring, Here Comes The Tribe, Iron Horse Go Home, Our Hero, What's His Name?, Wrongo Starr And The Lady In Black, El Diablo, Go For Broke, The New I.G., Spy, Counterspy, Counter Counterspy, The Courtship Of Wrangler Jane, Play, Gypsy, Play, Reunion For O'Rourke, Captain Parmenter, One Man Army, Don't Ever Speak To Me Again, Too Many Cooks Spoil The Troop, Indian Fever, Johnny Eagle Eye, A Fort's Best Friend Is Not A Mother, Lieutenant O'Rourke, Front And Center, The Day The Indians Won and Will The Real Captain Try To Stand Up?.
Warner Home Video has made all thirty four episodes that comprise F TROOP: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. It should be noted that season one of F TROOP was filmed in black and white, while the second and final season of the show was produced in color. These black and white season one episodes look quite good, even better than I remember. The image is crisp and offers a good level of detail. Backs are deep, whites are clean and the picture produces a nicely varied grayscale. The film elements appear very clean, with mild bits of debris being the worst of it. Grain tends to be quite noticeable, but isnít bothersome. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed.
The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are perfectly fine. Most of the age related background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the track with a respectable sonic quality. Dialogue is always totally understandable, plus the music has adequate fidelity. No other language tracks or subtitles are present, although French and Spanish subtitles are provided for the episodes. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, no extras have been provided.
While not always politically correct by todayís standards, F TROOP is a harmless 1960ís era sitcom that remains goofy good fun. Warnerís DVD release looks and sounds quite good for a vintage series, so fans will certainly want to add F TROOP: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON to their collections. Hopefully, the color episodes will be soon to follow.
reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.