Anyone out there interested in sharing their thoughts on the Captain Midnight (Jet Jackson) TV series of the 50's. It struck a real chord with me. I have managed to buy 28 of the 39 eps that were filmed (on VHS some of very quality) but they are just great and take me back to simpler, less complicated times ...Crimson Collector (3/5/03 6:04 am)
While Captain Midnight on television was sponsored by Ovaltine, the people who owned CM, it never reached the kind of audience that the radio version had generated. The voice of Ed Prentiss on radio had defined the character and seeing another actor in the role never matched that for me. Ovaltine did extend its premium offers on the show, but they were mainly plastic and only the decoder badge they offered seems to generate the big bucks today on Ebay auctions. The laboratory and HQ of CM in this show were recycled sets from a former Columbia serial as Screen Gems was the TV subsidiary of Columbia at the time. When Ovaltine withdrew their sponsorship, the title of the show was changed to Jet Jackson in syndication as Ovaltine owned the copyright on the name Captain Midnight.
Of the Captain Midnight radio shows, only the earliest ones that were sponsored by Skelly Oil seem to be the most available in the Parada Treasure episodes, long before Prentiss joined the show and Ovaltine took over.
If I could get those WWII episodes with Prentiss when CM was constantly battling Ivan Shark, I would be a happy collector. Unfortunately, only a handful of those seem to remain.
I still have my Captain Midnight Ovaltine shake-up mug and in August I will turn sixty, so I guess it still has an impact on me as well.Crimson Collector (3/5/03 8:23 am)
Ovaltine started their decoder offers with their little Orphan Annie Radio show that preceeded their move to Captain Midnight. She had six brass decoder badges and then Captain Midnight started and had seven more of them over the years. Each year, that nasty Ivan Shark would come into possession of one of the decoders and the Secret Squadron would just come up with a new one to foil him. Over time I have managed to acquire all the Annie and Midnight decoders and as many of the Annie/Midnight cups and mugs as I can. Annie had far more shake up mugs than Captain Midnight did.
Captain Midnight had two shake-up mugs... one was an embossed one and the other had a decal. A mug with a plastic handle was also issued with the same decal on it.
Other premiums ranged from paper items to rings etc. See my article on the premiums.
Every once in a while I read something referring to a decoder "ring." I was never aware of any decoder ring and it seems like the people making this reference are uninformed and only weakly attempting to make a connection to the past of old time radio. Decoders were always badges or so it seemed to me. Am I wrong about this or were there decoder "rings."
In any event, Captain Midnight's decoder badge was an absolute must for me and I could not rest until it arrived. Each night, I would faithfully sit there and copy down the coded message and, then, dial in the letters on the decoder. Even at the age of 8 and 9, it never seemed like much of a message, but that never stopped me.
What a memory!
Stan, I believe you are correct in saying that there was not a decoder ring. Ovaltine recently came out with a decoder ring as a fun promotion, but, as far as the good ole days of radio, etc., are concerned, there were various decoders but no rings.SQ4 (3/5/03 9:28 pm)
Here in Australia the series was shown in syndication so that we didn't even see the Ovaltine advertisements and "Captain Midnight" was crudely dubbed into "Jet Jackson". But having purchased videos containing the original advertisements and the decoder badge segments, I can see that it must have been a real buzz, so Stan I concur with your thoughts. What a great show - Justice through Strength & CourageCrimson Collector (3/6/03 4:59 am) Reply So Called Decoder Rings
Somewhere along the line, the phrase decoder-ring must have sounded good to someone and they printed it and they myth got started. Captain Midnight's Secret Squadron never had a decoder ring... they were all badges with the exception of the blue and red plastic whistle decoder they came up with in 1947. Today the company that owns Ovaltine has let their property of Captain Midnight lapse out of copyright and he is just floating out there without a home.
Ovaltine did offer a decoder ring a couple years back, but it had no connection to Captain Midnight. The offer must have been a success as they extended its deadline due to customer interest.
I have forgotten what the de-coder badge cost in 1948 when I ordered mine. Maybe two labels from Ovaltine and stamps, not much by todays standards but at the time it seemed like a lot to a nine-year Captain Midnight fan. I was devastated when the package came a few weeks later and the badge had been smashed to pieces in the mail. Apparently something had been dropped on it. For whatever reason i never got another one. SmileyCrimson Collector (3/6/03 6:19 am)
Sorry about the smashed decoder, but a note to the supplier would have gotten you a replacement right away. They never questioned such requests. Not that it helps you now. I recall a lot of things were had for just the inner seal or label and sometimes you had to enclose a dime.
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