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Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a teenage boy named Billy Batson is given the power to become an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, with a single magic word: "Shazam!"

Writers:

Ronald Davidson (original screenplay), Norman S. Hall (original screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Tyler ... Captain Marvel
Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Billy Batson
William 'Billy' Benedict ... Whitey Murphy (as William Benedict)
Louise Currie ... Betty Wallace
Robert Strange ... John Malcolm
Harry Worth ... Prof. Luther Bentley
Bryant Washburn ... Henry Carlyle [Ch. 1-3]
John Davidson ... Tal Chotali
George Pembroke George Pembroke ... Dr. Stephen Lang [Ch. 1-9]
George Lynn ... Prof. Dwight Fisher [Ch. 1-6] (as Peter George Lynn)
Reed Hadley ... Rahman Bar [Ch. 1, 11-12]
Jack Mulhall ... James Howell [Ch. 1]
Kenne Duncan ... Barnett - Chief Henchman [Ch. 2-10] (as Kenneth Duncan)
Nigel De Brulier ... Shazam [Ch. 1]
John Bagni John Bagni ... Cowan - Henchman [Ch. 2-10]
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Storyline

On a scientific expedition to Siam young Billy Batson is given the ability to change himself into the super-powered Captain Marvel by the wizard Shazam, who tells him his powers will last only as long as the Golden Scorpion idol is threatened. Finding the idol, the scientists realize it could be the most powerful weapon in the world and remove the lenses that energize it, distributing them among themselves so that no one would be able to use the idol by himself. Back in the US, Billy Batson, as Captain Marvel, wages a battle against an evil, hooded figure, the Scorpion, who hopes to accumulate all five lenses, thereby gaining control of the super-powerful weapon. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE SUPER-STRONGMAN! Defying a power-crazed fiend who threatens to enslave the world with an army of blood-crazed demons! (original print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Captain Marvel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$145,588 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Batson becomes Captain Marvel by speaking the name of the wizard Shazam: S = The Wisdom of Solomon; H = The Strength of Hercules; A = The Stamina of Atlas; Z = The Power of Zeus; A = The Courage of Achilles; M = The Speed of Mercury. See more »

Goofs

Chapter 10: How did the Scorpion get THE SCORPION ashore when all of the luggage was lost on the sinking ship. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[sound of a huge gong omninously echoes down the valley]
Billy Batson: What's that, Mr. Howell?
Howell [Ch. 1]: I don't know, Billy - let's find out. What do you make of that cymbal, Malcolm?
John Malcolm: I don't know, Howell. Does it mean anything to you, Tal Chotali?
Tal Chotali: The men of the hills are gathering. The cymbal says that the white men are to be driven from the Valley of Tombs.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Scorpion as Himself See more »

Connections

Edited into Trader Tom of the China Seas (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

This serial IS all it's cracked up to be
3 October 2000 | by Barney BatSee all my reviews

This serial has a reputation, that of being the greatest serial ever made, that is a greatly deserved one. The plot is complex, but not muddled, the actors are extremely competent, and the characters(this is very rare in serials)take on a life of their own. Most serial fans are familar with the plot, and besides, it is posted right here on the internet, so I will go on to the cast. Tom Tyler, probably more familar to film buffs as Luke Plummer in John Ford's classic STAGECOACH, looks the part of Captain Marvel to perfection. He has relatively few dialog scenes in the serial, however, and to some people this is an added bonus, as his extremely gravelly voice is not to everyone's taste Young Frank Coghlan Jr. is remarkably good as Billy Batson, and deserves additional acclaim as Republic's only juvenile serial hero. The incomparable William Benedict provides unobtrusive comedy relief, as he was to do the following year in NYOKA AND THE TIGERMEN. Benedict is my all-time favorite serial sidekick, even though he only did these two. Louise Currie, who was also to make a return date three years later in THE MASKED MARVEL, is a very likable heroine, and as for the Scorpion, he has got to be the best villain in serials, thanks largely to Gerald Mohr's voice. His closet competitors are probably Dr. Satan(Eduardo Cianelli), Captain Mephisto(Roy Barcroft) from MANHUNT OF MYSTERY ISLAND) and Jim Belmont(George J. Lewis) from FEDERAL OPERATOR 99. Kenne Duncan gives a good performance as Barnett, the Scorpion's chief henchman, and Reed Hadley also stand out as Rahman Bar, the Scorpion's Siamese cohort. The supporting cast includes silent serial great Jack Mulhall, and, as suspects for being the Scorpion, Harry Worth, Robert Strange, George Pembroke, Bryant Washburn, Peter George Lynn, and the wonderful scene-stealer John Davidson as the superstious Siamese, Tah Chotali. The special effects are positively astonishing, and hold up a lot better than modern high-tech effects do. After watching the serial, you simply have to conclude that Captain Marvel CAN fly. This certainly deserves its reputation as the greatest serial ever made. SHAZAM!


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