Just in time for the cinematic release of ‘Shazam!’, DC Universe is bringing fans the classic 1970s ‘Shazam!’ live-action series which originally aired on CBS Saturday mornings.  The series premiered in 1974, shortly after DC Comics bought the rights to and revived the Golden Age Fawcett Comics character Captain Marvel.  DC Universe is offering all three seasons of ‘Shazam!’ which have been digitally remastered in HD for the first time ever.  It is also available to purchase via the Warner Archive DVD on-demand service.

Michael Gray starred as Billy Batson.  This Billy appeared to be college age, or at least whatever age one has to be to travel the country in a Winnebago with an older man and not raise a single eyebrow.  Les Tremayne portrayed Billy’s mentor… uh, Mentor.  When Mentor’s advice wasn’t enough, Billy could speak directly to The Elders that gave him his powers, Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury, who appeared in animation form.  Billy and Mentor found themselves embroiled in issues facing young people, like drugs, petty crime, disabilities, gender equality, and the generation gap.  The stories usually enforced ideals like open communication, forgiveness, self-confidence and staying in school.

When danger threatened, Billy would shout “Shazam!” and transform into the adult superhero Captain Marvel.  Jackson Bostwick played Captain Marvel in the first season, but was replaced by John Davey starting with the second episode of the second season.

‘Shazam!’ was produced by Filmation, who paired it with a female-fronted series, ‘Isis’ (alternately known as ‘The Secrets of Isis’), starring an original superhero created by Filmation.  Joanna Cameron played Isis and guest starred in three episodes of ‘Shazam!’, while John Davey guest-starred on three episodes of ‘Isis’.

In 1981, Filmation created a cartoon version of ‘Shazam!’ which aired as part of NBC’s ‘The Kids Super Power Hour with Shazam!’.

Though the series is certainly a product of its time, and due to its Saturday AM time slot, had low production values, many adults still fondly remember enjoying ‘Shazam!’ during a simpler time, when there were only three TV stations and kids programming was limited to one day of the week.

This show will surely be a sharp contrast with the new ‘Shazam!’ movie which cost a reported $80-$90 million to produce.  But it may still be fun to compare one generation’s ‘Shazam!’ with another’s.

Directed by David F. Sandberg, ‘Shazam!’ stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Cooper Andrews, Jovan Armand, Michelle Borth, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Ian Chen, D.J. Cotrona, Grace Fulton, Faithe Herman, Djimon Hounsou, Marta Milans, Natalia Safran and Mark Strong, and opens on April 5, 2019.

The 1970s ‘Shazam!’ will be available to stream on DC Universe starting on Tuesday, March 5.