Shazam! was a half-hour live-action television program produced by Filmation, 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 Secret of Isis, about an Ancient Egyptian superheroine resurrected in the body of a schoolteacher, as the second half of the hour. Actor Michael Gray starred as young Billy Batson
, 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.) Today it is considered to be one of the prime examples of camp.
The television version of Shazam! was notably different from its source material. The wizard Shazam did not appear in the series; teenage Billy spoke directly to the elders that empowered him: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Instead of remaining in his hometown, Billy and his guardian "Mentor" (a doppelanger of sorts for the comics' Uncle Marvel, and played by Les Tremayne) were nomads, traveling around the country in a recreational vehicle. (Media promotion of the time explained that Batson had taken a leave of absence from his radio announcer's job.)
The most fundamental element of the Shazam! mythos remained the same: when he spoke the magic word "Shazam!", Billy would be struck by a magic lightning bolt and transformed into the World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel.
Shazam! proved to be a popular program of its day, and for a time the comic book was altered to match the format of the series. Michael Gray found himself typecast after the series ended production, and had trouble finding acting work, leaving the profession until the late 1990s.
As of July 2006, the series has not been released in North America in any home video format, save for one episode that was released on a bonus DVD included with the release of the third season of Wonder Woman in 2005. Selected episodes appeared on TV Land early in 2004.