1 9 5 4 – 1 9 5 6 (USA)
39 x 30 minute episodes
“On a mountaintop high above a large city stands the headquarters of a man devoted to the cause of freedom and justice, a war hero who has never stopped fighting against his country’s enemies, a private citizen who is dedicating his life to the struggle against evil men everywhere – Captain Midnight!”
Captain Midnight is perhaps one of the best-remembered US children’s action-adventure television shows from the 1950s.
First heard as a popular radio serial in the 1940s (with Ed Prentiss in the title role), Captain Midnight made its television debut in 1954 with Richard Webb starring as the crime-fighting pilot who flew exciting missions for his Secret Squadron in his plane, the Sky King.
Captain Midnight – whose real name was Jim Albright – had been a brave and daring flying ace during World War I, according to the radio show, who returned to his home base precisely at midnight after flying a particularly dangerous mission, which is how he got his name.
Other regular characters in the series were the Captain’s somewhat dim-witted co-pilot and assistant, Ichabod Mudd (nicknamed ‘Ikky’) and an eccentric scientist who worked for the Secret Squadron, Aristotle Jones (called ‘Tut’).
The series’ sponsor Ovaltine made a mint by offering viewers a decoder badge and membership to the Secret Squadron if they mailed in a waxed paper disk from a jar of their product.
Richard Webb appeared in character in commercials giving home viewer members a special numerical message they could translate into a phrase by using their badges, and other members of the “Secret Squadron Hall of Fame” – like athletes Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch and Duke Snider – pitched Ovaltine as well.
When re-runs of the series went into syndication, Ovaltine (which owned all the rights to the name “Captain Midnight”) refused to allow the name to be used, so the series was renamed Jet Jackson, Flying Commando.
All references to Captain Midnight were deleted, and the name “Jet Jackson” was dubbed onto the original episodes, which confused and upset many loyal listeners and viewers of the series.
Richard Webb tried unsuccessfully to revive the series in the 1970s and 1980s.
Captain Midnight (Jet Jackson)
Ichabod ‘Ikky’ Mudd
Aristotle ‘Tut’ Jones