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Shazam Captain Marvel TV Series


Shazam! is 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 stars as young Billy Batson and Les Tremayne as his guardian "Mentor", 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.


Differences from source material

The television version of Shazam! departs notably from the comic book and radio versions of the character. The eponymous wizard Shazam does not appear in the series; teenage Billy instead speaks directly to the elders that empowered him (who appeared as animated characters: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury) via a communication device. (In subsequent DC Comics, this was retconned into the stories as "The Eterni-Phone" aboard "The W.H.I.Z. Van." Instead of being based in any one particular city, Billy (Michael Gray) and his traveling companion Mentor (Les Tremayne) traveled through 1970s California in an RV, furnished to Filmation by the Open Road Company, interacting with people in various towns they stop in each week. Whenever a potentially dangerous situation arose, Billy would become Captain Marvel and save the day. In an era before cell phones, Mentor would make phone calls from the RV on a type of mobile phone, asking a "mobile operator" to dial the number. (Subsequent DC Comics equated and identified Mentor with "Uncle" Dudley, an established character in the source material.)

There were no such super-villains as Dr. Sivana, Captain Marvel's and Billy's greatest enemy in the source material, and violence was downplayed. Billy, as both himself and as Captain Marvel, would help people out of difficult situations of their own making. As in many Filmation shows and cartoons, moral messages were contained within each episode, crystallized at the end of each episode by Billy learning a new moral lesson from either Mentor or his empowering elders.

As in other media, when he spoke the magic word "Shazam!", Billy is struck by a magic lightning bolt and is transformed via animation and special effects into the World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel. 
Shazam Episode Guide



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