Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shazam! - The Complete Series!


I don't know why it's taken me so long to finally get around to ordering a copy of this dvd from the Warner Archives, but after a full year or more of dithering I've finally added Shazam!. This delightful show was an absolute frolic when it hit television screens in 1974. Produced by Filmation, the story was full of charm and with its tiny budget produced a fairly entertaining superhero adventure geared for the youth of the day. Sadly my copy doesn't feature the exquisite Jerry Ordway image above, but has the assembled actors seen below.


Regardless the shows inside are fast-paced and for the most-part light-hearted fables for the young-at-heart.A typical show begins with Billy Batson (Michael Grey) getting a message from "The Elders" (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury) which then almost immediately leads him and his older confidant actually named "Mentor" (Les Tremayne) to some danger. They roll up in their RV and before long Captain Marvel (played first by Jackson Bostwick and later by John Davey) is called upon with the classic magic word to save lives and the day in general. It's a solid premise which lasted two full seasons on Saturday mornings.

The show makes do with some vintage George Reeves Superman TV flying special effects and a memorable gimmick which puts the actor playing the Big Red Cheese out in the wind -- impressive. I've already watched a few episodes, and this will make a great addition to the shelves right next to the other Shazam live-action opus, the totally awesome 1941 Republic Pictures flick starring Tom Tyler and Frak Coghlan,  The Adventures of Captain Marvel.


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4 comments:

  1. Does John Davey, the second Filmation Cap, appear on the back of the DVD case?
    BTW, there were reports that "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."
    Are yours pressed (engraved) or burned?

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    1. I'm guessing pressed, they don't seem like the other disks I've gotten from Warner. But that's just a guess really. The package is spare, but doesn't quite have the bare bones feel of others I've gotten.

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  2. The serial features the greatest villian screw-up in history.
    Captured by the Scorpion (who knows Billy is Captain Marvel, but doesn't know how he transforms), Batson, tied and gagged, is ordered to tell the sneering villain how he changes.
    "Ungag him...but don't untie his hands."
    Once un-gagged, Batson says, "I won't just TELL you, I'll SHOW you! SHAZAM!"
    The Scorpion would've been better off asking Billy to write it down...

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    1. This was one of the first serials I saw, so I was not really as impressed as I should have been. After having seen many others over the years, the narrative clarity of Captain Marvel really impresses me now. The story stays on point and few if any of the chapters feel like throwaways. And all the baddie candidates are sufficiently physically similar that I was guessing the whole way through.

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