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Captain Midnight (1954 - 1956)
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Eadie
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir Robert Arthur Gilmor was a mid-1800s English landscape architect.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Recently I've had to adjust my thinking concerning the picture quality of shows which I'm willing to watch, because quite a few of the episodes of Captain Midnight are 3rd and 4th generation copies of VHS tapes made several decades ago! Shocked

The picture quality is horrible for these episodes, and frankly they're difficult to watch. But the stories are so good that I've suffered through the first few episodes with truly bad pictures on my newly acquire box set . . . and I've discovered something interesting!

Despite having a big sound system in my living room which features an old Marantz quadraphonic receiver I acquired several decades ago (as well as four large speakers located around the room), I usually wear headphones while watching TV so I can play the audio as loud as I want to without bothering my townhome neighbors. And besides, that way I get the full stereo effect! Very Happy




But here's the secret to watching the Captain Midnight episodes which have really bad pictures.

Don't look at the TV any more than you have to! Shocked

The headphones deliver the reasonably good audio and make it easy to follow the story, and I only glance over at the TV every few seconds to see what's happening. Between glances, I'm gazing at the laptop in front of me while posting things here on All Sci-Fi! Very Happy






The effect of all this is that I manage to enjoy the stories without having to endure the bad picture quality the entire time. It's actually a lot like listening to one of the old radio shows like the one Captain Midnight presented to America for several years! Smile

But of course, I still keep hoping that high-quality versions of all the episodes from this great series will someday be offered to science fiction fans everywhere.
Very Happy
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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Aug 23, 2021 4:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bud Brewster
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Joined: 14 Dec 2013
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Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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IMDB has a trivia item for this series I was very impressed by. Very Happy
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~ Captain Midnight's plane was the Douglas "Skyrocket," a dual-powered experimental aircraft having both a jet engine and a four-barrel rocket engine.

Note from me: Wow, I'm impressed!

But the series never talked about the Silver Dart having these characteristics — which is a shame. I think the series should have stated that it had these characteristics, as well as being atomic powered . . . just to impress the fans. Wink

As for the DVDs I'm currently enjoying, I'm up to disc 3, and I'm glad to report that the picture quality of most episodes is better than the worst of the bunch I've encountered while watching episodes 1 through 21, The Mark of Death.

By the way, whenever I encounter an episode with a wash-out picture, I just switch my TV over to one of the settings I don't normally use and fiddle with the brightness and contrast until the image looks better. Very Happy

However, the sound quality of the episodes varies as much as the picture quality. Ironically, some of the better-looking episodes are not the better sounding episodes! Sad

Fortunately my TV audio is channeled through the sound system on my entertainment center, which includes a TEAC equalizer I can use to boost the treble and the base while reducing the mid-range — which is usually the problem with the ones with bad audio.



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By the way, the eBay seller who provided my DVDs states in his eBay ad that he will "replace defective DVDs."

Today I sent him a message which described a problem I had with disc 2, which froze briefly during two episodes. I even offered to mail the defective disc back to him so he wouldn't suspect that I was trying to get a free disc! Very Happy

I'll let you guys know if the eBay seller honors his claim so you can decide whether or not to order this great box set from him. He has 100% positive feedback that's composed of 375 positive ratings, with 0 negative-or-neutral responses! Very Happy

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT/JET JACKSON (1954) 37 Episodes (New)

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Eadie
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here she is at White Sands Proving Grounds:



There was even a model kit which I have, unassembled:



Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_D-558-2_Skyrocket

NOT to be confused with the Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_D-558-1_Skystreak an earlier craft.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Another enhancement they should have made to the Silver Dart was to give it the capability of a VTL aircraft.

Yes, I know . . . they hadn't been invented yet. Guys, this is about science fiction, not science history! Rolling Eyes

If Captain Midnight had been able to land and take-off from any small, level area — the way helicopters could — it would have thrilled the young fans! Very Happy

Imagine scenes in which Captain Midnight and his sidekick were shown striding towards the characters they'd come to see, with the Silver Dart resting in the area behind them after they'd made a dramatic VTL landing!

VTL aircraft look magnificent when the land and take off — which is why the scenes in True Lies are so great!

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Folks, I continue to be impressed by this wonderful series! Very Happy

It's not only a great science fiction show, it's also very admirable for the way it strives to inspire kids to be loyal to Captain Midnight's noble organization and to follow his motto.

Justice through strength and courage!

The episode below features a prime example of this, a story in which Captain Midnight travels to India to rescue a devoted advocate of world peace (inspired by Ghandi, I'm sure) when he's kidnapped by terrorists.

Captain Midnight tells his sidekick that India has over a thousand members of the Secret Squadron. Shortly after this, he encounters one of them — a young Indian boy who joins Captain Midnight and aids him in his efforts to rescue the kidnapped leader of the world peace movement.

This episodes is a perfect example of why I love this series. It presented American kids in the 1950s with the noble idea that they could become an active member in a world-wide organization — and that they might actually be contacted by Captain Midnight at any moment to help him battle the forces of evil! Cool

Stories that presented this wonderful idea happened frequently in the series. We often saw montage scenes of various Secret Squadron members from all over America, people of all ages who pulled out their pocket communicators and listened to important requests for help from SQ-1 — Captain Midnight himself!

This series — perhaps more than any other in the 1950s — encouraged my firm belief when I was very young that mankind was noble and brave.

I think this inspirational series deserves to be fully restored and presented on high quality DVDs and Blu-rays.


_____ Captain Midnight S1E21 The Mark Of Death


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Today I resumed watching my eBay-acquired DVDs of Captain Midnight. While doing so I wondered just how many episodes I didn't have, and which episodes were the missing ones.

IMDB says there were 39 episodes total, and my box set includes 37. The two that are missing are —

The Runaway Suitcase A suitcase filled with cash mysteriously disappears.

Sabotage Under the Sea - An experimental missile lands in the ocean, and Captain Midnight goes to the seafloor in search of it.

I didn't find out any more about these episodes than what I've stated above, and there seems to be no source anywhere which has them. I guess these two episodes are truly "lost". Sad

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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The creator of the DVDs I've been enjoying so much did something that has really enhanced my enjoyment of the episodes which were converted to the Jet Jackson versions!

He actually replaces the opening intro with the Captain Midnight version, and then he cuts back to the episode with the dialog that has "Jet Jackson" dubbed in.

And at the end of each "Jet Jackson" episodes the DVD creator spliced in the Captain Midnight closing which includes the narrator saying, "Brought to you by Ovaline!" — with the jars floating down on cartoon parachutes after the Silver Dart comes into frame and then climbs up out of sight!

I am SO impressed with the time and effort which the producer of these DVDs has taken to make them as good as possible. Very Happy
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And here's more good news!

I found a site which has a one-page article from Motor Trend Magazine about Captain Midnight's car. The car was a 1942 Oldsmobile 76 similar to the one below, which was customized by George Shilala.






The article and the images below are from a site called Fotki.com.

The Captain Midnight producers should have placed Captain Midnight's logo on the side and used the car in the series more frequently than they did. I also wish they'd added a chrome hood ornament of the Silver Dart, too. Cool

Something similar to this.






The fans would have loved it, especially when Capt. Midnight would say —

"It looks like it might rain, Ikky. We better put the top up."






The retractable hardtop in the trunk was something offered on the Ford Skyliner when it came out in 1957!

~ Click on the image below and zoom in a larger version of the article to read it.











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Bud Brewster
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Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

The episode called Peril from the Artic S1E26 involves a device which creates a electromagnetic pulse which shuts down all machinery! Shocked

Foreign agents in Alaska (which is a stone's throw from Russia, ironically enough) test their new device on the Alaskan-based units of the American military who are conducting Arctic maneuvers — causing all their tanks and aircraft to become inoperable! Sad

It's up to Captain Midnight and his sidekick to stop these villains from carrying their revolutionary new technology back to mother Russian and using it to render America's military completely defenseless . . . as well as our entire mechanized society! Shocked

The story is well written, the action in exciting, and the science is years ahead of it's time. Here's another highly recommended episodes!


________________ S1E26 Peril From The Arctic


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

The episode called The Frozen Men is a favorite of mine. Very Happy

The premise involves a concept which combines both science and science fiction in exciting ways.

The "science fiction" aspect suggests that "sub-zero conditions" can cause the creation of a new metal with remarkable properties — such as a density and weight which makes a tiny ball of the metal weigh hundreds of pounds! Shocked

Since super-cold temperatures do in fact condense matter, this idea is very logical. Very Happy

The basic story premise is that the new metal is similar to the matter inside a neutron star — matter which is so dense that a cubic inch weighs so much that . . . well . . . I simply can't find a website which answers my question about how much it weights! Shocked

Apparently it weights a hellavu lot. Rolling Eyes


__________ Captain Midnight S2E03 Frozen Men


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Today I learned that Richard Webb eventually purchased the rights to the Captain Midnight name and was planning to produce a new version of the series with the original characters and a few new ones.

A site called Martin Grams Blog has an article about the old series which includes the following info.



In addition to these interesting facts, there's the wonderful interview below from 1990, in which Richard Webb talks about the books he's already published and his newly completed 400+ page manuscript, which his agent was negotiating the sale of at that time.

It was a reference book dedicated to the character of Captain Midnight throughout fiction, including comics, radio programs, and his own beloved series.

I was delighted to see that in the 1990 interview, Mr. Webb appeared handsome and happy. But it saddens me to think that his years-long battle with a respiratory illness caused him to take his own life in 1993.

As far as I've been able to tell, his reference book was never published. Sad


CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT TV SHOW / SERIES - RICHARD WEBB INTERVIEW - 1990


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I posted about this episode earlier, but I watched it again today and decided to boast about it a bit more. Very Happy

When it comes to presenting an imaginative and action-packed story, this one is a prime example! Cool

Foreign spies kidnap a brilliant scientists, inject him with sodium pentathol (the "truth serum"), and then hide him in a WWII bomber which is about to be used as a target for a new ballistic missile. Only Captain Midnight can save him!

How does he do it? If I told you, I don't think you'd believe it. But trust me when I say that it's the most amazing rescue of all time!


____ Captain Midnight S1E02 The Electronic Killer


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

The video below starts with a commercial — but it's a commercial like nothing which kids today have ever seen on television! Shocked

Captain Midnight addresses the audience directly as he tells the children of America that when they grow up they will become the leaders and vital personnel of our society.

And this lofty concept is then illustrated with short but dramatic scenes filmed with young people dressed in various costumes, each doing and important job — such as a boy guarding our coastline as a Navel Seaman, another boy parachuting into enemy territory as a member of the Air Force, and a young girl passing out medical supplies as a nurse who is aiding injured citizens!

Guys, this isn't just an ad for Ovaltine. It's a powerful motivational message for America's youth which inspires them to become ambitious and productive citizens!

Captain Midnight was a program that spoke to the hearts and minds of the young generation who put a man on the Moon, ten years later!

The episode itself is perhaps the best example of how Captain Midnight serves his local community — and in return they come to his aid when he himself is in mortal danger! Shocked

The scene in which his sidekick, Ikky, puts out a general alarm to all local Secret Squadron members to help find their missing leader is terrific! The montage shot of various members around the city listening intently to the message being broadcast through there own "pocket communicators" demonstrates the remarkable range in both age and gender of these loyal supporters! Very Happy

It's a perfect example of how noble and inspirational this series was back in the 1950s. Watch the video below and revisit the Golden Age of Science Fiction in a way that no other series or classic movie can make possible! Cool


______ Captain Midnight S1E05 Death Below Zero


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