Friday, December 18, 2015


I belong to a Facebook group which celebrates the classic sitcom 'Make Room For Daddy' and I was reminded recently of one reason I loved that show so much - Sid Melton's work as Charlie Halper.  (I've always had a soft spot for the comic sidekick.)  He's even eligible for the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame since he played Charlie in 'Make Room For Daddy', 'Make Room For Grand-Daddy', 'The Joey Bishop Show' and even in a Post Cereal commercial!

I would say that Charlie was Melton's most famous role in Toobworld, but I could also see the argument for Alf Munroe on 'Green Acres'.  And he had a slew of one-shot and recurring roles in a variety of sitcoms - 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', 'Petticoat Junction', 'The Munsters', 'That Girl', and 'I Dream Of Jeannie'.  (He did dramas as well like 'Mod Squad' and several characters for 'Dragnet'.)  For the recurring roles he was Friendly Freddie in 'Gomer Pyle USMC', Harry in 'Bachelor Father', Hal Miller in 'Oh, Susanna!', and Salvadore Petrillo in flashbacks of 'The Golden Girls'.  He also played Harry Cooper on 'It's Always Jan' and it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that this Harry was the same Harry for 'Bachelor Father', but more research is needed.

But there is one regular character he played, for 27 episodes in fact, who seems to have been mostly forgotten save for the die-hard fans of classic television:

Ichabod "Ikky" Mudd*
'Captain Midnight'
["Bow ties are cool."]

Captain Midnight was a character who was a multiversal, living out his adventures in the Radioverse, the Cineverse, and in the world of comic books, as well as in Toobworld.  And in Toobworld, he was a multi-dimensional due to copyright entanglements outside of the Box.

Here's the Television segment from the Wikipedia entry for 'Captain Midnight':

The 'Captain Midnight' TV series, produced by Screen Gems and starring Richard Webb, began September 9, 1954, on CBS, continuing for 39 episodes until January 21, 1956. In the television program, 'Captain Midnight' (now a veteran of the Korean War) heads the Secret Squadron as a private organization, in contrast to the radio show. As with the Fawcett comic, the only other character of the radio show held over was Ichabod Mudd (played by Sid Melton), who was used for comic relief. Another regular character was Dr. Aristotle "Tut" Jones, Midnight's resident scientist, played by character actor Olan Soule. (Soule was the only actor to perform in both the radio program and the television program. In the radio program, he played Agent Kelly, SS-11.)

The aircraft featured in the series is the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, named the Silver Dart, and was based on using both models and occasionally stock footage. The series filmed at the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi Valley, California. When the TV series went into syndication in 1958, Ovaltine was no longer the sponsor. However, The Wander Company owned the rights to the character's name "Captain Midnight," forcing a title change by Screen Gems from 'Captain Midnight' to 'Jet Jackson, Flying Commando', and all references in the episodes to 'Captain Midnight' were re-dubbed (rather poorly) "Jet Jackson."

For Toobworld, the splainin is simple.  'Jet Jackson, Flying Commando' was the same story playing out in an alternate TV dimension.  But in that alternate dimension - and I see no reason why it couldn't be the Evil Toobworld dimension - Captain Midnight must have lost his parents at an early age and was instead raised by a family named Jackson.  Over the years, perhaps due to his skills as a pilot during the Korean Conflict, he gained the nickname "Jet".  Otherwise, everything else about his life as the head of the Secret Squadron remained the same.  

Seeing as how that all took place in the Evil Toobworld, eventually Jet Jackson and his pal Ikky would have been killed off by some agent of darkness or another....

Meanwhile, back in the main Toobworld.....

I'm not going to bother trying to come up with left-field theories of relateeveety to connect Ichabod Mudd to any of the other Sid Melton characters as family members.  However, I will offer this splainin which could serve as inspiration to any fanficcers out there who might be interested in writing about this formerly minor character:

The Secret Squadron probably had a large support team, including researchers and computer experts.  And they probably discovered that Ikky had a lot of look-alikes all across the United States.  (It may have started when they saw the obituary for Salvadore Petrillo (apparently in the early 1950s?)  Discovering more look-alikes, the Secret Squadron research team "borrowed" their personal information to create new identities for Ikky to use in undercover missions that were not seen by the Trueniverse audience.

So have at it, if you are so inclined.  Haven't YOU always wanted to write that 'Captain Midnight' - 'Green Acres' crossover?

My thanks to fellow Iddiot Eliott Wagner for inadvertently inspiring this post.


* "That's 'Mudd' with two D's." - Ichabod Mudd

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