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Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 28 March 1941 (USA)
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 »
Reviews
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN CARTOONLAND BECOMES THE STRONGEST MAN ON THE SCREEN! All others pale in the light of this human fortress who finds no barrier too great in his amazing fight for justice. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast member under the Scorpion's hood, momentarily visible and identifiable when he is accidentally unmasked in one episode, is not the same actor who is eventually unmasked as the actual Scorpion in the final episode. See more »

Goofs

Chapter eight: The odometer in Billy's car in several shots does not move. 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

Version of Shazam! (2019) See more »

User Reviews

Focused
19 July 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

Its hard for me to know just how these things were made up. Even the worst of them is a cool adventure. I like the earlier ones better. They are more adventurous, generally and therefore more influential. And there's no mistake that some of those early ones were very big influences.

This is late in the genre for me, but it surely the apogee of a certain type of serial. The idea of having two different actors play the two identities, the mystical Arabian context, the almost perfect cliffhangers...

The sexual content is lower than usual for these things.

One thing that's striking is how inventive the production is in how it is conceived. The trick in these things is explaining the superpowers and then showing them. Superman was cursed by being a comicbook character first, so his superpowers even today don't translate well to the screen. And his origin and the explanation of his powers was bit tortured.

This is the exact opposite; The explanation of powers is succinct and even makes a sort of sense. The powers themselves are cleverly designed around the limits of the camera.

If you are going to watch any of these old serials for fun and you don't have any particular fetish, this may be the best you will find.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of Captain Marvel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$135,553 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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