Vincent Price on F-TROOP: “V is for Vampire”

This is a tale of terror the likes of which you have never seen recounted for the Terror TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association.  proceed at your own risk.

 

F-Troop (1965-1967)

Episode: “V is for Vampire”

Director: Hollingsworth Morse

Original Airdate: February 2, 1967

Cast: Forrest Tucker as Sgt. O’Rourke, Larry Storch as Corporal Agarn, Ken Berry as Capt. Parmeter, Melody Patterson as Wrangler Jane, Frank DeKova as Chief Wild Eagle, James Hampton as Dobbs, Don Diamond as Crazy Kat.

 

Premise: Count Sforza and his crow, “brother” arrive in Fort Courage in a hearse.  Sforza has pale skin, wears a tux and a cape and greets everyone with a “Good evening” regardless of the time of day.  It’s no surprise then that the band of misfits at the old Western fort suspect Sforza may be a vampire.

When Wrangler Jane goes missing after she visits the abandoned mansion Sforza has moved into to help him decorate, Captain Parmenter, O’Rourke and Agarn go to the mansion to look for her.  While there they hear strange noises, go through secret/trap doors and encounter a sleeping Count.  In the end, however, the trio find out Sforza is not who/what they think he is.  You’ll have to find out the truth for yourself.

Special guest star Vincent Price plays Count Sforza.

V

“V is for Vampire” is an episode from the second season of F-Troop, the irreverent, often non-politically correct sitcom about the misadventures in an US Army outpost in the Wild West that ran from 1965 to 1967.  “V is for Vampire” can be seen as one of those “jump the shark” episodes given there is no believability to the premise of a vampire going to the crazy Western town depicted on the show.  It’s absolute silliness – and I love it.  Few would watch F-Troop – or many of the comedies from the 1960s for anything but a silly laugh anyway.  Audiences then didn’t demand accuracy and believability.  They wanted to be entertained.  And to ensure they were, many shows would feature special holiday episodes regardless of plot plausibility.  Or, as in the case of “V is for Vampire,” just toss in a halloween-themed show in February.  You just gotta love it – no rules other than let’s have fun.  And, by the way, F-Troop is never plausible and thank goodness for that!

Vincent Price is perfectly cast as Count Sforza in this classic episode and it’s evident he had a blast depicting what has come to be the quintessential vampire character.  In this case it’s an exagerated version of Lugosi’s Dracula with a bunch of cheese thrown in for good measure.  In other words, he hams it up!

If you want pure fun and a chance to see Price and the rest of the F-Troop gang having a ball then be sure to take a look at this episode.  If you’re wondering why this silly laughfest is submitted to a blogging event with the word “terror” in it, know that Agarn spends most of the episode terrorized.  Other than that what you get is standard F-Troop fare plus a vampire motif that pushes the limits of fun – a black crow, a haunted house and a vampire.  What more do you want?

A frightened and suspicious Agarn is petrified of Count Sforza
A frightened and suspicious Agarn is petrified of Count Sforza
Sforza casts a vampire look at Jane
Sforza casts a vampire look at Jane
vamp
O’Rourke and Agarn get a scare from Sforza

The complete F-Troop cast and crew list is available here.  And if you want to read a general overview of the show go here.

Be sure to visit the Classic TV Blog Association and the other entries in the Terror TV Blogathon.  Lots of spooky stuff awaits!  Bwahahahahahaha

terror-tv

5 thoughts

  1. Wow. MEMORIES! I hadn’t thought of this episode in so looooong. Funny, though – It’s tricky explaining this show to some younger people, but I usually show the intro (that theme song is priceless), followed by a Go Go Gophers intro/episode for a bit of context. Most get it. Thanks for posting, as now I’m 8 years old watching reruns after school! Well, in my head… 😀

  2. This was one of my favorite F TROOP episodes, mostly because Vincent Price has such a good time in it. However, it also showcases Larry Storch’s comedic skills. Honestly, the man could have been a much bigger TV star post-F TROOP with the right writers behind him (though he still had a long-lasting television career). I absolutely adore the pics you included with your post–especially the one with Vincent behind and between Forrest and Larry. This was a fine entry in the Terror TV Blogathon.

  3. Vincent Price hamming it up? I don’t know where you get those crazy ideas, A.B.

    My grandmother was a big F Troop fan (she adored Forrest Tucker) so that’s probably when I was first exposed to it; I love the show for the exact reason you state in your piece: it’s just the epitome of goofiness, and doesn’t aspire to anything loftier than burlesquing the Old West in the most anachronistic way possible.

    I love this episode for Vincent Price (I’ll watch anything he’s in), but what I really enjoy is waxing nostalgic for that time when “scare comedy” was a time-honored tradition (like in those old Columbia two-reel comedies with Hugh Herbert, the Three Stooges, etc.). Thanks for a nice memory and I may have to revisit this one (don’t stare at me — I have the entire series on DVD).

  4. Yeah–60s comedies aren’t about watching reality. They are pure escapism. Good point! I HAVE to see this episode. Those photos of Larry Storch with Vincent Price sell it, for sure. Thanks for the reminder about this episode 🙂

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