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F Troop

Title Card - F TROOP

ABC Network
1965 - 1967
30 Minutes

Military comedy about a misfit group of cavalry soldiers stationed at Fort Courage, a remote outpost in the Kansas/Missouri Territory in the days following the Civil War.

Private Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry), a bumbling city dude from Philadelphia accidentally lead a charge of Union soldiers that defeated a sneak attack of Confederate forces. Wilton was on his way to fetch his commanding officer's laundry when pollen in the air made him sneeze and a nearby Union soldiers believed he shouted "Charge!"

For recognition of his valor, the army promoted Wilton to Captain    (now known as the "Scourge of the West/Appomatox"), pinned a medal on chest and assigned him to command F-Troop.

Wilton replaced "Cannonball" Bill McCormack, who retired as commander of Fort Courage that was named for Colonel Sam Courage (Cliff Arquette).

Ken Berry as Captain Wilton Parmenter - F TROOP

Wilton's family included :

  • Jeanette Nolan as Mrs. Parmenter who lived back East and came to visit her son, on occasion.
  • Patty Regan as Daphne Parmenter, Wilton's sister
  • Allyn Joslyn as Colonel Jupiter Parmenter, Wilton's uncle. Captain Thor X. Parmenter was another military relative.

Fort Courage - F TROOP

The troopers under Wilton's command included:

  • Forrest Tucker as  Sergeant Morgan O'Rourke, a boisterous Irish, 25-year-veteran soldier who runs O'Rourke Enterprises, an illegal operation secretly based at the barracks. He sells trinkets, souvenirs and watered-down whiskey made by the local Hekawis Indian tribes. Part of O'Rourke's subterfuge with the Captain was making him believe that the peaceful Hekawis Indians were ferocious. O'Rourke also runs the local saloon, the only waterhole within 109 miles from the fort. For a while, a beautiful woman (Lee Meriwether) opened a rival saloon in town. The sergeant's father is Morgan O'Rourke, Sr. (Forrest Tucker in a dual role). Pete's (Benny Baker) the bartender at O'Rourke's saloon.

Corporal Agarn and Sergeant O'Rourke - F TROOP
Corporal Agarn and Sergeant O'Rourke

  • Larry Storch as Corporal Randolph Agarn, O'Rourke's dim-witted assistant who pulls off his hat and protests when O'Rourke says, "I don't know why people call you stupid." From time to time, the fort is visited by some of Agarn's strange relatives, including his Russian cousin Dimitri Agarnoff, his Mexican cousin El Diablo, and his French cousin Lucky Pierre. Agarn's horse is named Barney.
  • Bob  Steele as Trooper Duffy, one of the oldest soldiers in F Troop. He claims to be a survivor of the Alamo and often tells stories about his time there, "There I was with Davy Crockett..."
  • James Hampton as Trooper Hannibal Shirley Dobbs, the fort's amiable bugler.  He can't blow a proper tune, but he keeps trying. Mama Dobbs (Nydia Westman) is Hannibal's mother. 
  • Joe Brooks as Private Vanderbilt, a nearly blind trooper who is assigned lookout duties on the fort's tower.
  • John Mitchum as Private Hoffenmuller, a German trooper who speaks Cherokee, Sioux, Apache, and Hekawis, but not  lick of English.
  • Ivan Bell as Private Duddleson, a sleepy, obese soldier.
  • Henry Gibson as Private Wrongo Starr, a jinxed soldier who visited the fort for a short time.

Melody Patterson as Wrangler Jane - F TROOP
Wrangler Jane

Jane Angelica Swift, aka "Wrangler Jane" (Melody Patterson) was the attractive, blond cowgirl who ran the general store and post office on the post. Good with horses and a gun, the outgoing Jane wanted to marry Wilton but the shy and reserved Wilton was often embarrassed at her advances. He's often heard saying "Jane, please not in front of the men." Jane's horse is named Pecos. Henry Turkel (George Gobel) is Jane's cousin..

Chief Wild Eagle and Crazy Cat - F TROOP
Chief Wild Eagle and Crazy Cat

Not far from the fort lived the Hekawis Indian tribe. Their Chief, Wild Eagle (Frank De Kova) described his people as peaceful and once said "Hekawis not hate nobody. We invent peace pipe." But, occasionally, to keep the illusion that they were wild, the Chief  ordered an attack Fort Courage, usually at the request of Sergeant O'Rourke.

The nearby Shugs Indians were however, very hostile and sometimes both the Hekawis Indians and men of F Troop had to contend with them.

Other Hekawis Indians and relatives included:

  • Don Diamond as Crazy Cat, Wild Eagle's ambitious second-in-command who anxiously awaits  the day he can lead the tribe.
  • Mike Mazurki as Geronimo, Wild Eagle's cousin.
  • Don Rickles as Bald Eagle, Wild Eagle's son.
  • Laurie Sibbald as Silver Doe, Wild Eagle's daughter.
  • Cathy Lewis as Whispering Dove, Wild Eagle's sister.
  • Paul Peterson as Johnny Eagle Eye, Wild Eagle's nephew.
  • Edward Everett Horton as Roaring Chicken, the medicine man. Pat O'Malley also appeared as a Medicine Man.
  • Milton Berle as Wise Owl, a crooked Indian detective.
  • Phil Harris as Flaming Arrow, a 147-year-old Indian whose  determined to take back Indian land from the "White Eyes."
  • Ben Frommer as Smokey Bear.
  • Marilyn Fisk as Kissing Squaw.
  • Lew Wills, Jr. as Beware of Dog.

Logo - F TROOP

Listen to Theme Song

Theme Song Lyrics
(by William Lava & Irving Taylor)

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 he’d command F-Troop.

Where Indian fights are colorful sights
And nobody takes a lickin’
Where pale face and redskin both turn chicken.

When killing 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


Obituaries: Forrest Tucker: 10/25/1986; Frank DeKova: 10/15/1981; Bob Steele: 12/21/1988; Ivan Bell: 04/04/1977; John Mitchum: 11/29/2001; Edward Everett Horton: 09/29/1970; Benny Baker: 09/20/1994.

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