And in the 1940s-1950s one of the biggest pop cult phenomenons was Captain Midnight!
Books, Comics, Movies, Radio, TV...He was EVERYWHERE!
Created for radio in 1938, the patriotic aviator ran the Secret Squadron, what we today would call a "black ops" team, supported by the government but functioning outside of legal rules in dealing with spies, saboteurs, and (after the war) criminals!
Trivia note: the Secret Squadron originally used the code "SS" on their messages, decoders, and uniform patches, but changed it to "SQ" after World War II began to avoid reference to the notorious Nazi SS stormtroopers!
Cap replaced Little Orphan Annie as the flagship show for Ovaltine, carrying on the tradition of issuing mail-in collectible premiums in return for Ovaltine labels and jar seals, taking it to far greater levels than any other radio series in history! (The phrase "Captain Midnight Decoder" became synonymous with mail-in premiums.)
The show ran Monday thru Friday in 15-minute segments, with storylines running for several months at a time, ending each episode with a coded message which required a Captain Midnight Decoder to translate.
A series of Big Little Books, a newspaper comic strip, and two different comic book series quickly followed, as well as a 15-chapter movie serial.
You can read a couple of stories from the 1940s comic book HERE.
The radio show ended with a bang in 1949, as Cap's archenemy Ivan Shark (an evil aviator) was killed in the final episode! Talk about "closure"!
Ovaltine revived Cap (but not Ivan Shark) in 1954 as a weekly tv series with a heavier science fiction emphasis.
Midnight was now a civilian adventurer operating out of a mountaintop base in the SouthWest US, battling criminals and the occasional Communist spy.
Though it only ran for 39 episodes, the show reran continuously until the mid 1960s.
Trivia note: the syndicated version was retitled Jet Jackson: Flying Commando because Ovaltine owned the "Captain Midnight" trademark and didn't sponsor the reruns!
One actor redubbed "Jet Jackson" over everybody (men, women, children) when they said "Captain Midnight", producing some rather surreal moments in the syndicated reruns!
Ovaltine continued to use "Captain Midnight" on advertising and occasional tie-in premiums until the late 1990s, when they finally abandoned the trademark.
He's now part of our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics group with six different vintage designs including five classic covers and his stylish logo!
As a unique Xmas gift for collectors of pop culture kitch, you can't go wrong with one of our klassy and kool kollectibles as a stocking stuffer!
Our FREE Early Christmas Present to you: downloadable mp3s of the Captain Midnight radio show!
BONUS FREE Early Christmas Present: downloadable episode of the Captain Midnight tv show, complete with commercials!
EXTRA FREE BONUS Early Christmas Present: Another downloadable episode of the Captain Midnight TV show, complete with commercials!
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(which would make a great present with one of our Captain Midnight collectibles!)