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In 1986, a Florida satellite television tech named John R. MacDougall successfully intercepted HBO broadcasting for nearly five minutes with a message of protest regarding their rates. For this event, he referred to himself as "Captain Midnight", inspired by this film (which he'd seen a short time earlier). MacDougall was subsequently prosecuted by the FCC, and slapped with a fine of US$5000 and one year of probation. See more »
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I just watched this for the first time in over 25 years, and "Captain Midnight" is still a blast. According to the film's final credits, this film was actually made in 1977 (not '79 as the IMDb states) and is a pretty cool 70's teen movie/time capsule.
"Captain Midnight" is actually Ziggy, who is a self-described "failure" but loves the fame he gets as the Captain. But he's not a loser in the typical Hollywood teen movie sense - even as plain 'ol Ziggy, he is still a very popular guy, even with the chicks. His buddy, electronics genius Gargen, is unsuccessful with the females, and even in one scene reveals to Ziggy that he has never has been with a girl. Ziggy, in a rare showing of caring for his friend, cancels his date for the night to hang with his buddy after that revelation.
Gargen is also the focus of much humor, as much of the time he is making very funny faces, making odd noises as he gets nervous, and even gets stuck under a car because of his girth.
There are many flaws in the film - the rise of "Captain Midnight" seems to happen overnight, and the feds can't catch him, despite that they know he is in a van and Ziggy's van rides around town transmitting in the daylight with two huge antennas on the van's roof. Many kids also seem to know he is Captain Midnight as well; while the Captain initially only collected donations and song requests through a small network of friends, he later joined them picking up donations and requests from people himself, making the rounds right in his van! So with so many people knowing his identity, it seems odd that at the end of the flick, none of the kids around seem to know who he is still.
Also forgotten about was that Captain Midnight's telephone number was said on the air by Gargen (and used by people to call Ziggy at home), before they actually started any official broadcasting.
The actor playing Ziggy/Captain Midnight is really on the bland side, but if you look at the film's credits you will see that this was a family affair. But if you don't expect much, he isn't so bad. He actually seems just like a regular kid who somehow got into a movie, which is what it actually looks like since his family produced the film! There's lot of great music too, especially some classic tracks by Ted Nugent. KISS was enormous in 1977, to not hear a mention of them seems odd. The party at Magic Mountain at the ending of the film is a little odd, as about 50-60 teenagers try to play the role of what is quoted as "5000" kids waiting for Captain Midnight.
All in all this is a fun little forgotten film, it won't blow your mind with the talent or production values, but it is a decent fun example of minor film-making in the 70's.
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