From left to right: Agarn, O'Rourke, Wrangler Jane and Capt. Parmenter.
"The end of the Civil War was near when quite accidentally a hero who sneezed abruptly seized retreat and reversed it to victory.
His Medal of Honor pleased and thrilled his proud little family group. While pinning it on, some blood was spilled, and so it was planned that he command F Troop.
Where Indian fights are colorful sights, and nobody takes a lickin'. Where paleface and redskin both turn chicken.
When drilling and fighting get them down, they know their morale can't droop as long as they all relax in town before they resume with a bang and a boom. F Troop!"
F Troop was an American television sitcom that aired on ABC from 1965 to 1967. It centered on the men and officers of Fort Courage, a fictional U.S. Army outpost in Kansas. The commanding officer is Capt. Wilton Parmenter, a good-hearted but accident-prone leader who fell into his rank after inadvertently instigating the final charge at the Battle of Appomattox. Due to his ineptitude, his superiors gave him command of Fort Courage, a dumping ground for the Army's useless soldiers.Much of the show's humor came from the schemes of Parmenter's non-commissioned officers, Sergeant O'Rourke and Corporal Agarn. They often conspired with the local Indian tribe, the Hekawis, as they operated their illicit business, O'Rourke Enterprises. Parmenter also had to fend off the marriage-minded plans of his girlfriend "Wrangler" Jane, a local shopkeeper/postmaster. The Hekawis watched their goings-on with bemusement, though they often got roped into their shenanigans.Definitely not to be confused with the zombie Super Soldiers from Project Superpowers.
This work provides examples of:
Accidental Aiming Skills: Parmenter is notorious for his inability to hit a target. Instead, he wins gunfights by accidentally making ludicrously complicated trick shots, followed by his men pretending they were deliberate. He ends up with a reputation as a sharpshooter as a result.
Action Girl: Wrangler Jane. She's the best shot in Fort Courage by a mile, can ride a horse like no one's business, and participates in quite a few of F Troop's more hazardous adventures.
Actually Not a Vampire: Vincent Price makes an appearance as a spooky immigrant in "V For Vampire". Everyone thinks he's a vampire, except of course Captain Parmenter. His reason? "They're not mentioned in the army manual." Of course, he's not a vampire.
All-Knowing Singing Narrator: One appears in "The Day They Shot Agarn", introducing each act. Lampshaded at the end, when Agarn demands to know who keeps doing all the singing, and the narrator walks out of the fort while still singing and strumming his guitar.
Armed Farces: Although the setting is the old west, it does focus on army life. One of the writers has also gone on record as saying the show was made to relate to more modern soldiers.
Attractive Bent-Gender: Agarn, dressed as an "Indian maid", to coax the Loco Brothers out of their cave. Made funnier by the fact that Wrangler Jane, an actual woman, had failed in an earlier bid to do the same. Made famous to a new generation by being the clip shown on Freakazoid!.
It helped that Agarn learned the Indian Love Dance at a Hekawi party.
Balloon Belly: Agarn acquires one at the end of "Survival of the Fittest".
Blind Mistake: Happens regularly with Private Vanderbilt, thanks to his 20/900 vision. He once allowed two Indians wearing feather head-dresses to enter the fort unchallenged, and later explained "I thought they were turkeys." As a Running Gag, it's usually played the other way.
Blind Without 'Em: Private Vanderbilt, the fort lookout. Subverted in that his vision is horrible even when he is wearing his glasses.
Captain Ersatz: B. Wise from "Spy, Counter, Counterspy" is essentially Maxwell Smart from Get Smart in an Old West setting. They even borrow a couple of his Catch Phrases. Justified as it would be unlikely for Smart to have time-travel capabilities. And also averted, as Wise proves to be a traitor.
Trooper Duffy (Bob Steele) is an elderly cavalryman who claims to be the sole survivor of the Alamo, and regularly recounts his exploits there. Steele was previously a 1930s and '40s Western movie star, and had once been in a movie about meeting Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
Sergeant O'Rourke is played by Forrest Tucker, who once portrayed a similar "O'Rourke" Cavalry Sergeant on Gunsmoke. In real life, he also served as a member of the United States Army Cavalry under George S. Patton.
Doorstop Baby: Chief Wild Eagle leaves Captain Parmenter one according to Hekawi tradition after he accidentally saves the chief's life in "A Gift From the Chief".
Double Vision: Used no less than five times on the show. Because Larry Storch was good with accents, he played three of Agarn's "long lost" cousins, one from Mexico, one who was French-Canadian, and one from Russia, in three separate episodes. Forrest Tucker and Ken Berry also got one episode each where they had to play opposite themselves.
Dreadful Musician: Private Dobbs, an inept bugler who regularly mangles standard tunes like "Reveille", "Assembly" and "Retreat".
Embarrassing Middle Name: Dobbs' full name is Hannibal "Shirley" Dobbs. Agarn takes the opportunity to giggle when this is brought up.
Ensign Newbie: Captain Parmenter, put in charge of Fort Courage right after being promoted to captain. Bonus points since he earned his promotion by accident rather than military prowess.
Evil Twin: Kid Vicious, the outlaw who happens to resemble Captain Parmenter who shows up in "Wilton the Kid".
In The Pilot, the intro was done in a 'newsreel' style right at the start, where they gave the intro story without the lyrics. Makes more sense also if it's mentioned that Parmenter's family were all high-ranking military types. Captain (Wilton) Parmenter was the lowest ranker in the family, at least until then.
Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: For the second season, the show switched from black and white to color, and the opening title sequence was redone as a result. Inexplicably, the original Expository Theme Tune was replaced with a lyrics-free instrumental version.
Friendly Enemy: Ostensibly, Fort Courage's mission is to "keep the peace" against the Hekawi Indians. In reality, the Hekawis are pacifists and the two factions tend to leave each other alone (except for the Hekawi's business deals with O'Rourke).
Haunted House: Featured in the episode "V For Vampire," which guest-starred Vincent Price, complete with secret passages and a mysterious "self-playing" organ. Everything gets a rational explanation in the end.
Hollywood Natives: Played with by the Hekawis, who were a combination of stereotypical Hollywood Native Americans and Borsch Belt comedians. Inverted with Stand-Up Bull, an Indian comedian, who while he doesn't really speak Broken English, he does misuse certain nouns:
Stand-Up Bull: Seriously tribe, take my brother, him not lazy, him too light for heavy work, and him too heavy for light work! (Imitates a trumpet flourish)
Chief: Stand-Up Bull? No smoke-signal us, we smoke-signal you.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: O'Rourke, whose long army experience assists the green Captain Parmenter a great deal. Not to mention O'Rourke's side businesses...
Ice-Cream Koan: Chief Wild Eagle has an old Indian saying for every occasion, though their applicability varies wildly. Lampshaded on occasion when he admits he doesn't know what a saying is supposed to mean.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Most of the men at Fort Courage graduated from there. This is made clear in an episode where Agarn was brought before a firing squad in "The Day They Shot Agarn" and all the soldiers instead shot the water tower he was standing next to.
Injun Country: Averted due to Rule of Funny. The Hekawi tribe was portrayed as a harmless group of schemers who are solely interested in making business deals with white settlers. Much of the characterization of the tribe is actually based around Yiddish comedy, and the show even teases the myth that they're the lost 13th tribe of Israel.
Literal Ass Kicking: O'Rourke does a little of this to Agarn in "Wrongo Starr and the Lady in Black."
Maintain The Lie: A recurring plot in the series, usually when the Hekawis have to feign being savage indians for a visitor to Fort Courage. One episode even required Agarn teaching the Hekawis how to do a war dance...
Meaningful Name: The full name for Wrangler Jane, who runs the town's general store, is Jane Angelica Thrift.
Military Moonshiner: Sergeant O'Rourke, who technically gets around it by paying the Hekawis to make his whiskey for him. He does provide the raw materials and parts to repair the still, and distributes the finished product at the local saloon, which he secretly owns.
The Pratfall: Captain Parmenter demonstrated the technique frequently.
Punch Clock Villain: Literally, with the Hekawis. They have no time for villainy when they're busy making souvenirs for O'Rourke to sell (at a 50% cut) and distilling whisky for the town saloon.
Punny Name: This is how the Hekawi tribe got their name:
Chief Wild Eagle: Many moons ago tribe move west because Pilgrims ruin neighborhood. Tribe travel west, over country and mountains and wild streams, 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?
(Which is based on an old, much less TV-friendly version of the same joke involving the Fukawi Indians.)
According to the Other Wiki, the tribe was originally dubbed "the Fugawi Indians" — until an eagle-eyed censor spotted the line "Where the Fugawi?" in the script.
Rain Dance: This(or stranger) may happen whenever Wild Eagle dances for any reason.
Rambling Old Man Monologue: Often attempted by Private Duffy, when he gets going on his tales of the Alamo. He's usually interrupted.
Reassignment Backfire: While Fort Courage is never the best of the best, Parmenter at least manages to do a semi-competent job of keeping things running with help from O'Rourke and Agarn.
Recurring Extra: Trooper Duddleson, who made 27 appearances and rarely said a word.
Runaway Fiancé: Miko, in the episode "From Karate With Love", flees Japan when her father tries to force her to marry a man she doesn't love.
Agarn makes a clever suggestion to O'Rourke, who compliments him by saying, "Agarn, I don't know why they say you're so dumb!" A few minutes later, Agarn suddenly asks, "Who says I'm dumb?!"
Another one occurs whenever the fort's cannon misfires. Agarn kicks it in frustration, whereupon one of its wheels comes off. It then sends a cannonball into the lookout tower, knocking it over and sending Private Vanderbilt crashing to the ground.
The loose floor board in front of Capt Parmeter's office
Vanderbilt's lookout reports especially his tendency to call the fort to arms to repel "Indians" whenever he sees a flock of turkeys.
Ruptured Appendix: In "Miss Parmenter," Chief Wild Eagle contracted appendicitis. Helping with his surgery inspires Parmenter's aimless (and equally clumsy) sister to go into nursing.
Samurai: Played by Mako in "From Karate With Love". He's sent to catch Miko and return her to her arranged marriage; instead, he falls in Love at First Sight.
Shot at Dawn: Corporal Agarn is sentenced to be executed by firing squad after losing a prisoner in "The Day They Shot Agarn."
Spot the Imposter: Bandit Kid Vicious has tied and gagged his good twin, Captain Parmenter, preventing him from shouting about the switch. However, as the sheriff prepares to take Parmenter away, he trips on the rug in a very familiar fashion. Sergeant O'Rourke has the gag removed, allowing Parmenter to prove his true identity by correctly identifying Agarn's first name, Dobbs as the company bugler, and Wrangler Jane as his girlfriend.
Status Quo Is God: After O'Rourke is promoted to lieutenant in one episode, Agarn, Dobbs, and Hoffenmueller are promoted to sergeant, corporal, and bugler, respectively. When O'Rourke gets himself demoted back to sergeant by the end, he demotes Agarn, who demotes Dobbs, who takes his bugle back from Hoffenmueller. And the whole thing is lampshaded by Captain Parmenter, who declares he's happy that Fort Courage is back to normal.
When listing the troopers, many background ones were named after famous pairs: i.e. Lewis and Clark, Gilbert and Sullivan, Stanley and Livingston, and so on.
Many of the Parmenter clan, who had names like Hercules, Thor, Achilles...and Wilton.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Parmenter, in the episode "Old Ironpants", who models himself after General Custer after a short bout at the army training academy. He was back to his normal self by the end, thank goodness.
Truth in Television: "The Day They Shot Agarn" was based on an actual rule that appeared in post-Civil War army manuals; if a soldier lost a prisoner in transport, he was expected to carry out the prisoner's sentence.