Vought F4U Corsair, courtesy of Wiki

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Quite some time ago, perhaps a year or more, Ol’ Robbo tossed the teevee series “Black Sheep Squadron” (1976-78) into his Netflix queue.  My request immediately went to the “Oh, we can’t find that right now” bin, and I reckoned I’d never actually ever see it.

Whelp, surprise surprise, “BSS” suddenly rose to the surface this week, so instead of watching the All Star Game last evening, about which I cared little or nothing per my post below, I instead checked out the, er, pilot episode.

I loved this show when I was a kid (I was 16 when it first aired) and was curious to see if it still had any of the old appeal now that I am so much older and (debatably) wiser.

Well, I think it does based on what I’ve seen so far.  For one thing, I enjoyed hearing the theme musick again, ( I remembered it perfectly even after forty years or so.  This is not a brag, just a thing with me.) For another, I again enjoyed Robert Conrad as the no-nonsense tough-guy Pappy Boyington character. (Show of hands for those who remember Conrad’s later I-dare-you-to-knock-this-battery-off-my-shoulder commercials.) I was further delighted to discover that John Larroquette was one of the squadron regulars. (Back in the day, how was I or anyone else to know who he was?) And while the dynamics and tensions among the flyboys, and between the squadron and the brass, were pretty predictable, even formulaic, the writing seems pretty good, too.

Also, in the past few years Ol’ Robbo has read Pappy Boyington’s autobiography on which the series is based, and I now see (as I couldn’t have back then) how the writers evidently have tried to incorporate his style and tone (which, frankly, are quite rough) into the screenplay.  I appreciate that effort.

But for me, the real enjoyment now is still what it was back then: Watching a bunch of Vought F4U Corsairs being put through their paces.  What a handsome aircraft!  That extra-long cowling and those gull wings just radiate power and force.  I’d argue that the P-51 Mustang was probably the best all-around American fighter plane of WWII, but I still put the Corsair in a class by itself.

Even though I tossed the whole series into my queue, I’m non-committal about sitting through all of it.  But I’ll at least check out the next few episodes that I have in hand, and I’m very glad I was able to circle back and confirm one of the good memories of my misspent yoot.