Shazam! (TV series)

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Shazam! (TV series).jpg
Also known as The Shazam!/Isis Hour
Starring Michael Gray
Les Tremayne
Jackson Bostwick (Season 1 and first two episodes of season 2)
John Davey (Seasons 2 and 3)
Voices of Lou Scheimer (various Elders, other voice-overs)
Norm Prescott (Solomon)
Adam West (Hercules, one episode only)
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 28 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Norm Prescott
Lou Scheimer
Dick Rosenbloom
Production company(s) Filmation
DC Comics
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution (Series rights, as corporate sibling to DC Entertainment's parent company)
DreamWorks Animation (broadcast rights, as successor-in-interest to Filmation)
Original channel CBS
Original run September 7, 1974 (1974-09-07) – October 16, 1976 (1976-10-16)
Related shows The Secrets of Isis

Shazam! is a half-hour live-action television program produced by Filmation (the studio's first such program), based upon DC Comics' superhero Captain Marvel.[1]

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 from January 5 through August 30, 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. Garrett Craig became the third and final actor to play Captain Marvel on television, in Legends of the Superheroes, two specials that aired on January 18 and 25, 1979.

Differences from source material[edit]

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."[citation needed]) 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,[citation needed] interacting with people in various towns they stop in. 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 would be struck by a magic lightning bolt and would be transformed via animation and special effects into Captain Marvel, the World's Mightiest Mortal.

Current rights ownership[edit]

The rights to the series rest with DC's parent company Warner Bros., while the television broadcast license is held by DreamWorks Animation, the successor-in-interest to Filmation.

Home video releases[edit]

By July 2009, the series had not been released on home video, except for one episode that was released on a limited edition bonus DVD. Episode one, "The Joy Riders", was released as Warner Bros. Television Commemorative DVD Volume 8: Shazam, as part of a DVD series designed to promote 50 years of Warner Bros. Television, and to promote other TV shows that were not yet released on DVD. It was 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).

On July 11, 2012, it was announced that Warner Bros. would release Shazam!—the Complete Live Action Series on DVD on September 18, 2012 via its Warner Archive Collection.[2] The DVD release date was later pushed back to October 23, 2012.[3] This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, available exclusively in the US and only through Warner's online store, as well as through its CreateSpace service.[4] Although billed as manufacture-on-demand, initial quantities of this title are to be available on pressed media (instead of DVD-R) while quantities last, according to inside sources at Warner Bros.

Broadcast history[edit]

A handful of episodes appeared on TV Land infrequently throughout the 2000s, originally appearing on the "Ultimate Fan Hour" in early 2004 as part of the "TV Land Kitschen" lineup.



External links[edit]