US tv series (1954-1956; vt Jet Jackson, Flying Commando). Screen Gems/CBS. Produced George Bilson. Pilot episode directed D Ross Lederman, written Dana Slade. 25 minutes per episode. Black and white.
Richard Webb played Captain Midnight (or Jet Jackson, depending on where the series was shown) in this early children's television series; Sid Melton played his bumbling assistant, Ikky; Olan Soule played his scientist friend Tut. Midnight was a super-scientific crime-fighter who each week would zoom in his sleek jetplane from his mountaintop HQ to combat a new evil. The first episode concerned the theft of a powerful radioactive element by foreign agents; they are spotted by a member of Midnight's network of juvenile helpers, the Secret Squadron, and he tracks them down using a Geiger counter. The scripts were poor even by the juvenile standards of the mid-1950s, and Captain Midnight was visually ludicrous. Storylines often featured atomic weapons and radioactivity, this being very much a product of the Cold-War period. Captain Midnight is not to be confused with the 15-episode 1942 Columbia film serial (based on a 1939-1940 Radio serial) of the same name; this too had sf elements. [JB]
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