This film is today mostly remembered because it has numerous references to the original Capt. Marvel comic books, a fan-club, and a non-existent Capt. Marvel radio show. We are talking about the 1940's version of Capt. Marvel, today erroneously called 'Shazam' by most people, who wore a red suit with a lightning bolt emblazoned on the chest.
Despite the fact that Capt. Marvel's publishers obviously contributed some of the plug-money for this film, the references to the Captain include nothing specific about the character, such as his super-strength, or ability to fly. Conspicuously absent are any mentions of Billy Batson, the 14-yr.-old boy who utters the magic word 'Shazam' in order to become the mighty Capt. Marvel.
Perhaps more conspicuously, when the script calls for the Capt. Marvel fan club to utilize a recognition code word, there is no a mention of either of Capt. Marvel's two trademark catch-phrases: 'Holy Moley!' or 'Shazam!' Instead, the rather awkward 'Niatpac Levram' (Captain Marvel spelled backwards) is used.
It is as if the script had been written generically, so that any hero's name could put be used to fill-in-the-blanks.
Or perhaps Superman's publishers had pressurized Columbia Pictures to minimize the film's promotional value. 'The Good Humor Man' was released on June 1, 1950, while Columbia released the first chapter of the serial 'Atom Man Vs. Superman' on July 20, roughly 6 weeks later. This second (and last) Superman chapter play was reportedly the highest grossing US serial of all time.
Superman's publishers, you see, had been working tirelessly to sue Capt. Marvel out of existence since 1941. The wanted a monopoly on superheroes, and sadly, in 1953, achieved their end.
In a strange twist of fate, the The Good Humor Man's villain turns out to be George Reeves. Reeves wasn't in either of the Superman movie serials, but in 1951 he would accept a job playing Superman in what has become the most durable superhero TV program ever, and achieving his own tragi-comic immortality.
Since the titular hero of this film is an early version of the man-boy archetype (forerunner of Seth Rogan), it's too bad the writers didn't bother to work in any references of Billy Batson's ability transform from kid to grown-up & back again. But it's characteristic of a film that is even less than uninspiring, and is in fact, barely watchable. Even the Fans of Capt. Marvel will find this a disappointment, since their hero is treated shabbily. Despite this, they will not miss the opportunity to record in on TCM, just as I could not.