Paul Lynde and Larry Stortch were secret weapons of sorts. One trait of modern civilization is that society is extremely fickle as to who attains fame, keeps it, is merely remembered or as is most common - virtually forgotten. These two guys fell through the cracks somewhere between Nixon and Reagan. "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" is a karaoke staple, they make a movie out of Speed Racer - but Paul Lynde or Larry Stortch, "POOF"... Is there no justice?
F Troop practically shares their fate. If you get to see this episode you'll wonder why. Wild Eagle, Crazy Cat... that's funny stuff, perhaps bigoted by today's sensibilities. Yet Larry Stortch's portrayal of Corporal Randolph Agarn (and his various look-a-like relatives) was a work of art. Perfect comic timing and a great tightrope routine. The character was shiftless yet extremely loyal and basically a coward yet reliable to come through in the end. Stortch conveyed all these shades without blinking an eye. Paul Lynde seemed to be everywhere in the 60's - ads, talk shows, guest appearances on TV, cameos in movies, off and on from '66 to '81 he was a mainstay on the Hollywood squares, often in the center square - and almost without fail, elicited a laugh. You'd think he'd be considered a cult hero today, considering his unapologetic fruitiness and obvious embracing of his homosexuality. He was a unique - oner. He always was himself, whatever his role... and no one faulted him for it.
Here he played a spastic Canadian Mountie on the trail of an illusive criminal, The Burglar of Banff (pronounced Banff-ff-ff on the show, practically calling for a spit inducing lisp). Nearly every actor had a shot at repeating the villain's name, yet no one matched Lynde or Stortch for getting the most out of it. As a matter of fact Stortch would have two separate deliveries, as Agarn and as his cousin, Lucky Pierre. Lucky's pronouncement "Just beware of ze Burglar of Banff-ff-ff." could be heard repeated just about anywhere in America even a month after the episode aired.
Funny, silly, innocent stuff... Just who was the burglar? I won't tell. Now I can just picture Lynde's singing, "Romp, romp, romp around..."