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Comeback for Capt. Midnight

October 20, 1987

Get out your secret decoder rings, folks. Captain Midnight is about to return.

For those who have forgotten--or who are too young to remember--Captain Midnight is a fictitious superhero. When he wasn't fighting Ivan Shark and protecting the world from other evil-doers, Captain Midnight sold Ovaltine with all the gusto that Cal Worthington sells cars.

Now, just months after Oliver North denied during the Iran-Contra hearings that he used secret codes that were "from Captain Midnight," that hero of radio and television returns after a 30-year absence.

But you don't need a secret decoder ring to figure out why. Quite simply, Ovaltine sales--which flattened over the years--fell sharply a few years ago when the drink's malt taste was replaced with a sugary sweetener and the glass bottle was replaced with a cardboard canister.

Now, in a $1-million-plus ad campaign, Ovaltine will temporarily bring back not only Captain Midnight, but also the old taste and glass bottle. "If this really gels," said Jim Tierney, product manager for Ovaltine, "we'll have to give consideration to a permanent change." And, as for bringing back the secret decoder rings, he said, "Maybe somewhere down the road."

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