F TROOP: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
When drilling and fighting
get them down,
While I was growing up, F TROOP was one of the regular staples of television syndication running for many years on one local station. In retrospect, the series longevity syndication is really surprising, when one takes into account that F TROOP was only on television for a total of two seasons. Watching the series again on DVD, I remember all the goofy, slapstick enhanced, broad humor of the show that appealed to me so much as a kid. Sure, in the annals of great television comedy, F TROOP isn’t likely to be at the top of any must see lists, with the series only claim to fame being actor Larry Storch’s Emmy nomination. However, F TROOP offers one a good time and a glimpse at the simpler, inoffensive comedies of yesteryear, which kept mainstream America, entertained during the 1960s.
Set in the post Civil War era, the basic premise of F TROOP finds accident prone accidental hero Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry) being placed in command of Fort Courage, which borders on Indian Territory. Sargent 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 it’s in the best interest of O'Rourke Enterprises. Corporal Randolph Agarn (Larry Storch) is O'Rourke’s not too bright, right hand man, who generally comes out a little worse for wear, whenever one of O'Rourke’s schemes goes wrong. Wrangler Jane Angelica Thrift (Melody Patterson) is the tomboyish local beauty and owner of the general store, who has a thing for Wilton. 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 (and not always politically correct) jokes. The cast of F TROOP also includes Don Diamond, James Hampton, Bob Steele and Joe Brooks.
F TROOP: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a six disc set that features all thirty one episodes that were aired in the show’s second and final year on the air. The thirty one featured episodes are as follows: The Singing Mountie, How To Be F Troop Without Really Trying, Bye, Bye, Balloon, Reach For The Sky, Pardner, The Great Troop Robbery, The West Goes Ghost, Yellow Bird, The Ballot Of Corporal Agarn, Did Your Father Come From Ireland?, For Whom The Bugle Tolls, Miss Parmenter, La Dolce Courage, Wilton The Kid, The Return Of Wrongo Starr, Survival Of The Fittest, Bring On The Dancing Girls, The Loco Brothers, From Karate With Love, The Sergeant And The Kid, Where Are You Doing After The Massacre?, A Horse Of Another Color, V Is For Vampire, That's Show Biz, The Day They Shot Agarn, Only One Russian Is Coming! Only One Russian Is Coming!, Guns, Guns, Who's Got The Guns?, Marriage, Fort Courage Style, Carpetbagging, Anyone?, The Majority Of Wilton, Our Brave In F Troop and Is This Fort Really Necessary?.
Warner Home Video has made all thirty-one episodes that comprise F TROOP: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The episodes look really nice, but they aren’t going to set anyone’s world on fire. Everything appears reasonably sharp and well defined, certainly better that what I remember from childhood. Colors can be rather vibrant, which is how I remember the season two color episodes to be. Some shots are less vibrant than others, but nothing appears out of sorts. Blacks and whites are accurate, while the sitcom lighting limits the contrast range and flattens out the image. The film elements have some grain, as well as minor specks and other signs of age. Digital compression artifacts are pretty well contained.
All of the episodes that constitute F TROOP: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON feature Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Considering the show is over forty-years-old, the audio quality is more than respectable. Most of the age related background hiss and other audible defects have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the tracks with a fairly pleasant sound quality. Fidelity is fine, although the sound effects and laugh track do have the unmistakable sound of postproduction. While the music isn’t full bodied, it does hold its own on most fronts. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks or subtitles are present.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as the sole supplement- Fall In With F Troop, a nearly half hour program that offers a fond look back at the series.
Maybe not the best sitcom out there, F TROOP still remains fun. Warner’s DVDs are better than syndication, which should tickle fans.
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