The program first aired in 1938, and through the early years (under the sponsorship of the Skelly Oil Company) Captain Midnight and his friends belonged to an organization known as the Captain Midnight Flight Patrol. Late in 1940, a new sponsor (Ovaltine) got over and at this point the Flight Patrol was superseded by an organization known as the Secret Squadron. As the story plot unfolded, Captain Midnight was asked by the U.S.
Government to mind up this special new firm whose objective it was to aid federal government bodies in fighting injustice throughout the world. Within the trick Squadron, Captain Midnight was designated as SS-1. Captain Midnight’s superior officer at the government headquarters was Major Steel, and his chief Squadron assistants were mechanic Ichabod Mudd (SS-4), and young friends Chuck Ramsay (SS-2) and Joyce Ryan (SS-3).
The chief villain of the whole radio series was Ivan Shark, mastermind of the world-wide crime syndicate. Though Ivan Shark was the central antagonist, his unprincipled assistant Fang and his evil little girl similarly, Fury, were heard from often. There have been other international bad apples also, one of whom was Barracuda, a sinister figure of Oriental ancestry. Through the war years, the villains regularly took on an Axis makeup, which period saw Captain Midnight and his friends constantly rush from experience to adventure in a never-ending effort to help make the world secure once more. In 1942, Columbia Pictures licensed the character of Captain Midnight for a cliffhanger chapter serial, featuring most of the characters described.
In 1954, Captain Midnight was launched to television as a continuing group of 39 episodes produced under an agreement with Screen Gems, Inc.Character actor Richard Webb performed the title role. Variety analyzed: “For the little shaver with his adventurous soul, and there should be an incredible number of them abroad in the land, this is super.
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Budget for budget, none of them of the kid better shows are performed. These 39 episodes, under sponsorship of The Ovaltine Products Division, ran for four years through syndication nationally. Screen Gems then ran them nationally under their own title as Jet Jackson, Flying Commando, for quite some time. Ovaltine possessed the name “Captain Midnight” so Screen Gems dubbed what “Jet Jackson” in the soundtrack to avoid trademark issues.
In 1968, Jet Jackson was the true number one television series in Australia. In 1956, a National Poll indicated the general public rating of then current heroes: Mickey Mantle, President Eisenhower… and Captain Midnight. You can no doubt find a number of Captain Midnight collectibles on the vendor furniture this weekend: the 1940 American Flag Loyalty Badge, the 1941 Detect-O-Scope, the 1942 Mystic Eye Detector Ring, the 1945 Magni-Magic Code-O-Graph, and more.
Over fifty collectibles were produced and distributed over fifteen years, not keeping track of printed promotional materials. Script cover for unaired TV pilot. Sixty years following conclusion of the television series, a rare discovery was made. It appears that in October 1974, Richard Webb obtained from the Ovaltine Company of Illinois the rights to Captain Midnight, to produce a new television series.
Authored by Richard Webb himself, an up to date space age version was scripted with all the current, familiar locale and character types, like the Secret Squadron Headquarters and laboratories in a remote portion of the Mojave Desert. In the pilot script, Captain Midnight and his crew investigate a effective method of sabotage at a geothermal site highly, discovering who the criminal is and his motives.
Hoping to thwart the discovery of valuable diamond jewelry under the bottom, the villain used a long-handled sledge hammer to sabotage the drilling, with hopes the business would finish off and go home… leaving the diamonds in the back of for excavation. Until recently this script was not known to exist. Webb, also a successfully-published author of Great Ghosts of the West (1971) and These Came Back (1974), wrote a novel titled Captain Midnight, contracted for publication with Hawthorn Books. The book was never released.