Shazam! (TV series)

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See DC Comics


Shazam! was a half-hour live-action television program produced by Filmation (the animation studio's first such program), based upon DC Comics' superhero Captain Marvel. The show ran from 1974 to 1977 on CBS; from 1975 to 1977 it was known as The Shazam!/Isis Hour, and included The Secrets of Isis, about an Ancient Egyptian superheroine resurrected in the body of a schoolteacher, as the second half of the hour. Shazam! was brought back for reruns in 1980. Actor Michael Gray starred as young Billy Batson, while Captain Marvel was played first by Jackson Bostwick, and later by John Davey. (Actress Joanna Cameron appeared as Isis, and her alter-ego Andrea Thomas, on three episodes of Shazam!, and Davey likewise appeared as Captain Marvel in three episodes of Isis)

The television version of Shazam! was notably different from its source material. The wizard Shazam did not appear in the series; teenage Billy spoke directly to the elders that empowered him (all of whom were animated characters rather than actors): Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Instead of remaining in his hometown, Billy and his guardian "Mentor" (a doppelanger of sorts for the comics' Uncle Marvel, and played by Les Tremayne) were nomads, traveling around the country in a recreational vehicle. (Media promotion of the time explained that Batson had taken a leave of absence from his radio announcer's job, a circumstance that was also obliquely referenced in bits of dialogue from the series.)

The most fundamental element of the Shazam! mythos remained the same: when he spoke the magic word "Shazam!", Billy would be struck by a magic lightning bolt (via animation) and transformed into the World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel.

Shazam! proved to be a popular program of its day, and for a time the comic book was altered to match the format of the series. Michael Gray found himself typecast after the series ended production, and had trouble finding acting work, leaving the profession until the late 1990s.

The rights to the series rest with DC's parent company Warner Bros. As of June 2007, the series has not been released on home video in any country, save for one episode that was released on a bonus DVD included with the release of the third season of Wonder Woman in 2005 in North America (the episodes of Secrets of Isis in which Captain Marvel appeared were released to DVD in North America in 2007, however). A small handful of episodes appeared on TV Land infrequently throughout the 2000s, originally appearing on the "Ultimate Fan Hour" and most recently in early 2004 as part of the "TV Land Kitschen" lineup.

Entertainment Rights (who owns much of the Filmation catalog) has the "Worldwide Free TV" rights to the series according to its website (meaning it has the rights to the license the series for broadcast on television). However, it is not clear whether it refers to this series, or the animated Shazam! segments from The Kid Superpower Hour with Shazam! series from 1981.


Contents

Episode guide

Season one (1974-75)

  1. "The Phatriders"
  2. "The Brothers"
  3. "Thou Shalt Not Kill"
  4. "The Lure of the Lost"
  5. "The Road Back"
  6. "The Athlete"
  7. "The Treasure"
  8. "The Boy Who Said 'No'"
  9. "The Doom Buggy"
  10. "The Brain"
  11. "Little Boy Lost"
  12. "The Delinquent"
  13. "The Braggart"
  14. "The Past Is Not Forever"
  15. "The Gang's All Here"

Season two (1975-76)

  1. "On Winning"
  2. "Debbie"John Davey replaces Jackson Bostwick
  3. "Fool's Gold"(last episode w/Jackson Bostwick)
  4. "Double Trouble"
  5. "Goodbye, Packy"
  6. "Speak No Evil"
  7. "The Odd Couple"

Season three (1976-77)

  1. "The Contest"
  2. "Bitter Herbs"
  3. "Ripcord"
  4. "Finders Keepers"
  5. "The Sound of a Different Drummer"

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