Saturday, July 11, 2009

1974's Shazam TV Show

(Click on images to view full-size.)

(Note: This is a post I already made some time ago on another of my blogs, "Held Over!" but since creating this one it seemed to fit here better. So, I'm reposting it here in case you missed it over there, and just to put it where it belonged.)

The scan above is from TV Guide around 1974, while the "Shazam" Saturday morning series was in early production. (Sorry about the faded Scotch tape in the middle.) Jackson Bostwick, the first (and my favorite) Captain Marvel on the show, is shown doing the flying stunts. If it seemed that the Big Red Cheese was flying roughly 10 feet above the highway most of the time, this truck-based flying rig explains why. They could have taken a cue from the effects done in the 1940's Captain Marvel serial, which were far superior to anything else done at the time and were the best seen in movies or TV for over three decades later, including this show.

The article above I clipped from "The Star" tabloid about the same time. I really liked the show and seldom missed it Saturday mornings. I still get a chill watching it when he changes into Captain Marvel! The musical buildup, the animated effects of the transformation, and the subsequent leap into the air, were all done very well. They handled the drama and power of the change better than any other medium has, including his appearance on the Justice League episode "Clash." Sure, this Cap was more involved in lifting fallen trees and stopping runaway cars than fighting super-villains, but for a kid's show it was well done and exciting, and I have great nostalgic memories of it. I hope how soon the first season is released on DVD! As it is, I have my episodes taped off of TV Land latenight showings from a few years back.

Below, an article from a local TV guide supplement published in the Macon Telegraph (GA) on Oct. 6, 1974.

And what teen boy could NOT have a crush on Isis as portrayed by JoAnna Cameron? The article above came from a local TV guide newspaper supplement that I clipped while living in Ft. Lauderdale FL in 1975 when she joined the lineup with her own show.

Let's hope that the still-in-development Shazam movie gets made soon, and that it fulfills the possibilities of the character. It could really rock! And wouldn't it be nice if they gave Jackson a cameo role in it also? And the second actor to fill the red tights, John Davey, did a good job, but you always like best the actor you saw first in a role.


  1. I loved the flying stunts in the serial. I think I read that they used a weighted dummy, slid him down a wire. In the scene where he flew up to a building's rooftop they dropped him down, and reversed the film. Either way, it looked great (I think that Commander Cody/Rocket Man) used the same technique.)

  2. Anon,

    True, that dummy on a wire method made for pretty effective flying if you didn't know the gag! Once you know it, you spot it every time, but it still worked. But the shots that impressed me the most were the studio flying shots with him suspended by wires against a rear-projection. That worked so well, it's too bad they didn't do the same for the Superman serial that came soon after. They used animated cartoons for the flying! :)

  3. I wish theyd get Jackson Bostwick to play Mentor in the new movie. ISIS is in the works also by Kelsey Grammars company. Yvonne from NBCs CHUCK would be perfect !!!

  4. I didn't know there was any new movement on the CM movie. Have you heard anything recently? I hope they do make one. ANd you are right, Jackson does need to be in it somewhere.