"F Troop" and Internet Cred
If it's on the Internet, it MUST be true, right? Errrr, no. Case in point, a rumor that erupted on a sultry August day about a television situation comedy that first aired 50 years ago.
"F Troop", as many baby boomers and/or retro TV fans may recall, is a zany sitcom set in a US army fort in the Wild West after the end of the Civil War. Two key characters, and great favorites of fans, are Cpl. Randolph Agarn, played by Larry Storch; and Wrangler Jane, portrayed by Melody Patterson.
Sites like Facebook's "Classic TV" were electrified by reports that Larry Storch had passed away. It seems plausible, as the actor/comedian; although said to be still active, was 92 years old, after all.
But wait; later that day, reports began filtering that Melody Patterson died, at 66 years old- and obviously quite a bit younger than Storch. Ironically, before "F Troop" premiered, Patterson lied about her age in order to get the part. She was 16, but said she was 17, soon to turn 18.
Meanwhile, others said that reports of the death of either or both were "greatly exaggerated", to quote Mark Twain; most citing lack of credible sources.
The upshot: Larry Storch is alive and well but Melody Patterson died in a nursing home after multiple organ failure. In fact, the announcement was made on Storch's Facebook page, "It's with a heavy heart that we can let you know our beloved Wrangler Jane, Melody Patterson passed away today. Our hearts are sad today. RIP Sweet Melody. We love you."
We'll probably never know whether this was a rumor that morphed, or one that some crank got their kicks over starting. But we do know to some things presented as fact on the 'Net should be taken with a grain of salt.