Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The other day I was opening a new jar of Ovaltine and found myself carefully preserving the inner seal. This of course was the Ovaltine equivalent of a box-top: you collected intact inner seals to send in for premiums like the Secret Squadron patch or the Secret Decoder, along with your 25 cents in coin. In the 1950s, that is.

(And yes, I’m drinking Ovaltine again—after spending outrageous amounts on various protein drink mixes, I make my own now, with some soy protein powder, banana and Ovaltine. Malt or Chocolate Malt, and sometimes both. It’s cheaper and tastes better, thank you very much.)

Ovaltine was the sponsor for Captain Midnight, an admittedly borderline candidate for Saturday Morning Sci-Fi, since he wasn’t a space hero of the future but a contemporary jet pilot (his plane was the Silver Dart.) Still, there were stories involving rockets and space stations and even a new moon, and he used a lot of exotic devices (invented by his resident scientist, Tut.)

Reading up on the series, there was a lot I didn’t remember. I didn’t realize the series of adventures starring Richard Webb was on for such a short time (a year and a half of production got them enough episodes to play for several years.) I didn’t remember it was so popular that it was moved from Saturday morning to prime time for awhile. And I am embarrassed to see what the plots were like—one story after another of Captain Midnight dealing with Cold War enemies and spies.

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