Comics On TV: ‘Shazam!’

by Ryan Rigley

Lots of rumors were tossed around last week regarding “Captain Marvel” and Katee Sackhoff. In an interview with Crave Online, Sackhoff had this to say about the possibility of working with Marvel Studios: “I personally have not spoken to Marvel and have no plans to do a movie in the immediate future. Of course I would love to do the role. I think that it’s in my wheelhouse and I would enjoy it. I’d be stupid to turn down a Marvel movie but as far as I know, Ms. Marvel isn’t even in the next movie.”

Clearly, the rumors of Sackhoff actually playing Captain Marvel were blown way out of proportion. Regardless, it’s still pretty great news to hear that the “Riddick” actress not only knows who Captain Marvel is but would also love to portray her on the big screen. Speaking of Captain Marvel, an entirely different Captain Marvel from an entirely different comic book publisher has, in fact, already appeared in his own TV series. You can learn more about it past the jump!

Series Statistics
Network: CBS
Broadcast Date: 1974 – 1976
Seasons: 3
Episodes: 28

Based on the DC comics superhero Captain Marvel, “Shazam!” is the first live action TV series to ever be produced by Filmation, a well-known animation studio. Starring Michael Gray as Billy Batson, the series follows a young boy who is transformed into a powerful superhero after an encounter with the gods Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Speaking the word “Shazam,” Billy is able to transform at will into Captain Marvel, the World’s Mightiest Mortal, via magic lightning bolt.

Traveling across the country with his old Mentor, Billy learns a new, valuable lesson in each week’s episode as he’s put up against a variety of dangerous situations and circumstances that require him transforming into Captain Marvel. The series was a moderate success, lasting three seasons throughout the course of two years. And if you’re curious as to just how both Marvel and DC ended up with characters named Captain Marvel, here’s an explanation. Check out the super 70’s “Shazam!” intro below!

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Notable Episodes

The Brain
When a new kid, nicknamed “The Brain,” moves into town, his love of books cause the rest of the neighborhood children to want nothing to do with him. However, his book smarts come in handy when he and a local boy named Greg are in danger and the Brain uses Morse Code to summon Captain Marvel.

The Braggart
A boy named Alan gets caught in a lie after claiming to have beat up the biggest guy in town with his karate skills. With the rest of the neighborhood kids doubting Alan’s every word, Alan must now prove himself to them by sneaking into the rhino exhibit at the zoo. Also in this episode, Captain Marvel wrestles a lion!

Fool’s Gold
When a group of young boys start harassing an old prospector, the mine that they boys have been playing in finally collapses—trapping the prospector inside. Luckily, Captain Marvel is able to punch straight through the rocks and in the end the boys and the prospector become best friends.

The Odd Couple
A pilot named Dan refuses Captain Marvel’s help when his airplane runs out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Eventually, Dan learns that everyone needs help once in a while when Captain Marvel is forced to call for help from Ancient Egyptian superheroine Isis in order to put out a dangerous forest fire.

The Sound of a Different Drummer
Curtis, a man who would rather play his violin than baseball, is teased for his passion so much so that he resolves to run away. Accidentally wandering onto a government missile testing range, Captain Marvel must come to Curtis’s rescue before the violinist is blown apart.

Still not convinced that “Shazam!” is worth a watch? Well then, check out this clip of Billy Batson transforming into Captain Marvel in order to save his friend Norm from a grizzly bear.

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This is Comics On TV, the column that celebrates the classic comic book TV series that blazed the trail for modern day hits like “Arrow,” “The Walking Dead” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” If you have any favorite episodes of this week’s series, let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!