December 28, 2009

THE NAME FOR THAT ISN'T INNOCENCE (via The Mother Judd)

Innocence Undone, Frame by Frame (NEIL GENZLINGER, 11/28/09, NY Times)

[T]hese beloved old shows — “F Troop,” “The Munsters” and the rest — started showing up on DVD, making it possible to watch them in super slow motion, even frame by frame. And the boy, now grown, has begun to realize that many of his foundational memories were just tricks of the eye. So hurray that home DVD sales appear to be on their way to another decline in 2009. It’s imperative that these things disappear from the marketplace before any more old television series are digitized. Some shows were never intended for the DVD microscope.

My road to disillusionment started with the opening collage of my favorite show of that era, “F Troop,” an ABC sitcom about a fort full of goof-offs and goofballs on the Indian-plagued frontier just after the Civil War. The show, which ran from 1965 to 1967, had a great theme song like many series in that period. (“Where Indian fights are colorful sights and nobody takes a lickin’; where paleface and redskin both turn chicken.”) Among the images that flashed by as the song played was a sequence in which charging Indians shoot arrows, and then the show’s main characters, Sergeant O’Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and Corporal Agarn (Larry Storch), are seen on the parapet, an arrow whizzing into each man’s hat.

Now, I wasn’t much dumber than any other young kid. (For the record, the year before “F Troop” came on the air I won first prize in my elementary school science fair with an illuminating look inside a huge bees’ nest I’d found.) But I always thought, when I saw that opening “F Troop” montage: “Golly” — I think that word was still in use then — “those guys are letting arrows be shot right at their heads. Gutsy!”

Alas, the loathsome DVD tells a different story.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 28, 2009 6:51 AM
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