1940 Captain Midnight “Transition Document” to the “Secret Squadron”

December 9th, 2010 by Larry Zdeb
Captain Midnight transition document

1940 Captain Midnight transition document

A 1940 certificate exists which seems to be a “transition” document from the “Skelly Flight Patrol” to the Ovaltine “Secret Squadron.” This would logically be the last Skelly Captain Midnight premium and the precursor of the first Ovaltine sponsored premiums! This might also be a prototype of a proposed premium.

It is printed on 8.5 x 11″ unfolded yellow paper with black text and a light black background of a clock at midnight. Most Skelly premiums were obtained by a visit to the gas station & presenting your Flight Patrol Membership Card. Most were not mailed, so it is correct for this not to be folded.

It welcomes the recipient into the 1940 Flight Patrol & mentions that “all of Europe is in flames.” It goes on to mention “your name has been listed in Captain Midnight’s flight log” & also mentions the “club medallion.” It is then hand signed by “CAPT. MIDNIGHT” with a hand drawn airplane with vapor trail under the signature. This “airplane with vapor trail” motif was used on the letterhead of the Captain Midnight “Treasure Hunt” contest stationery (which WAS mailed) from the Skelly Oil Company in 1939.

Detail: Captain Midnight transition document

1940 Captain Midnight transition document detail

The transition information is the bottom paragraph under the signature. In a space provided there is a membership number, ss76178 (as typed in lower case). Then a final paragraph of “Rumors abound at club headquarters that government authorities are presently at work creating a new “super secret” organization which will combine elements of the Flight Patrol with certain official intelligence efforts. If this exciting development should take place, all Flight Patrol members will become immediately eligible to join the front ranks of the new group.”

The text is written in a professional manner, it reads like a Captain Midnight script!

This certificate is likely the last Skelly premium. The old tape along the top & bottom edges suggests this was once on the wall of a Flight Patrol member.

A well known local paper expert examined this document, (the first thing he did was smell it). His opinion is that the paper is circa 1940! Additionally, this piece was found with other vintage Captain Midnight items.

Three other unsigned certificates surfaced in 2012. These are printed on white paper which has been folded in thirds for an envelope. One of those certificates is missing the lower third.

This is a true rarity you heard of first on “Radio Premium Exchange.”

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