The Saga of Captain Midnight: ‘No Regrets’ About Jamming HBO 25 Years Ago (Video)

CaptainMidnightPaul McNamara writes in Network World’s BuzzBlog:

John MacDougall, then 25, was the lonely pamphleteer of lore, only instead of paper and ink he was armed with a 30-foot transmission dish, an electronic keyboard, and a burning objection to HBO’s decision in 1986 to begin scrambling its satellite signal and charging viewers $12.95 a month.

That move and price had offended MacDougall’s sense of fair play — and all but halted the sales being generated by his fledgling satellite dish business in Ocala, Fla. So at 12:32 a.m. on Sunday, April 27, he transformed himself into Captain Midnight by commandeering HBO’s satellite transmission signal – interrupting a showing of The Falcon and the Snowman — and putting in its place the above protest message that aired for four-and-a-half minutes.

The stunt touched off a nationwide manhunt by law enforcement to unmask Captain Midnight and a media circus that has MacDougall’s head spinning to this day. He would be caught, plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and receive a wrist slap of probation and a $5,000 fine.

Read More: Network World’s BuzzBlog

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  • justagirl

    even i could have got him off easier than that.

  • justagirl

    even i could have got him off easier than that.

  • Mamagriff50

    With all this sh*t about the royal wedding, we sure could use “Captain Midnight” now……………………….PLEASE?!

  • Mamagriff50

    With all this sh*t about the royal wedding, we sure could use “Captain Midnight” now……………………….PLEASE?!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EAPUJHWIYQJWKN7HUCSCVHKVTQ David Meadows

    This is the true history of how anonymous got started.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EAPUJHWIYQJWKN7HUCSCVHKVTQ David Meadows

    This is the true history of how anonymous got started.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fantoccini* Gort

    Also of note: The Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom_broadcast_signal_intrusion

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fantoccini* Gort

    Also of note: The Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom_broadcast_signal_intrusion

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely Delightful

  • MoralDrift

    Absolutely Delightful

  • Markov Cheney

    White Collar Boxing… Good to see the news was reporting on the hard hitters, even back in 1986

  • Markov Cheney

    White Collar Boxing… Good to see the news was reporting on the hard hitters, even back in 1986

  • RedHerring

    Try damming HBO’s signal in ’86 or now … Can’t do that, huh, Thanks for sticking your head up your ass.

  • RedHerring

    And I did mean damning and not jamming, you are a person without a creative impulse.

  • Markov Cheney

    Haha.. apparently you didn’t watch the entire video or you didn’t read my statement fully. Thanks for sticking *your* head up your arse.