April 29, 2019

JOHN SINGLETON DEAD AT 51




You can read the full story here.


While best-known for the films he’s worked on such as Boyz in the Hood, Shaft and Four Brothers, at the beginning of his career he was a production assistant for Pee-wee’s Playhouse. 



April 27, 2019

PRESENTING: THE VOICES OF THE AVENGERS

To commemorate the release of Avengers: Endgame, we present our latest infographic highlighting all those who voiced the Avengers on Saturday Mornings. We counted official cinematic Avengers only, but don't worry: we'll get to the other characters in due time.


COMMERCIAL BREAK: HONEYCOMB STARRING HULK

While watching on Saturday morning, you probably saw this:


CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR / AVENGERS CEREAL



Kellogg’s


           
Kicking off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the third Captain America film, Captain America: Civil War. Loosely based on the comic story of the same name, the film deals with the fallout from Avengers: Age of Ultron as governments decide to create legislature to regulate how and when the Avengers do their heroing. Captain America (Chris Evans) doesn’t feel they can be as effective while they wait for permission to act, while Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) believes it’s the only way to prevent further disasters. Add to the fact that Cap’s long-believed-deceased sidekick, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), was alive and well and seemingly bombed a political conference, and the Avengers became split down the middle in a conflict over whose ideals were right and how Bucky would be brought to justice. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo off a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Civil War opened on May 6, 2016 and pulled in over $1.1 billion at the box office.


Kellogg’s once again created a limited-edition cereal to tie into the promotion for the film. In fact, they made two different cereals for it. The first, Captain America: Civil War cereal, was actually a repackaged version of their Age of Ultron Cereal from the previous year. However, this time the marshmallow bits were changed to either red or blue with a white star shape in the middle. The most interesting part of this cereal, however, was its box. On one side was Cap, and on the other was Iron Man. When the two sides were put together, they lined up perfectly to create a split image of the two heroes. On the side panel showed the two about to clash over a bowl of their cereal.

 

Meanwhile, outside of North America, there came a cereal called simply Avengers Cereal. It came with “choc reactors” (after the arc reactor technology that powers Iron Man’s suit) and “crunchy shield” pieces. The reactors were a grouping of three chocolate-flavored rings while the shields were reminiscent of Krave Chocolate cereal pieces (and didn’t really represent Cap’s round shield). Once again, Iron Man and Cap were featured on either side of the box, with Hulk and Thor joining them on the side panel. However, this time around instead of using images of the film’s actors, the characters were drawn and shown in representations of their more recent comic costume designs.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON CEREAL


AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON CEREAL

Kellogg’s


           
In 2012, Marvel Studios accomplished what until that point seemed to be impossible: they produced a movie starring SEVERAL characters from different film franchises.


2012 saw the release of Marvel’s The Avengers; the culmination of the four-year journey since the release of 2008’s Iron Man. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, the film saw Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) united by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to battle the threat of Thor’s half-brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and his army of aliens known as the Chitauri. The ambitious film was a huge gamble as nothing like that had ever been done in cinema before, and it paid off. Avengers earned over $1.5 billion at the box office making it the highest-grossing movie of the year and cementing the tour de force that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Following several more solo hero movies, the second Avengers movie was released on May 1, 2015. Avengers: Age of Ultron followed the Avengers as they retrieved Loki’s scepter and Tony Stark and Bruce Banner discovered an artificial intelligence inhabiting the scepter’s gem. They decided to use it to complete Stark’s Ultron Global Defense Program, designed to protect the world from another invasion threat. However, Ultron (James Spader) gained independent sentience and decided the best way to protect the world was to eliminate all of humanity. Written and directed again by Whedon, the film ended up earning just a few million less than its predecessor but still earned a mostly positive reception.


Kellogg’s, opting not to miss the bandwagon again, decided to produce a limited-edition tie-in cereal for the film. Avengers: Age of Ultron Cereal has largely been compared to Lucky Charms as it had sweetened oat pieces with marshmallow bits. The bits were two-colored round pieces that were meant to replicate the main color schemes of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor. Each box came with a special code printed inside that could be put into an indicated website to unlock a free ticket to see the movie. The back of the box featured the instructions for the codes, as well as a hidden message that had to be deciphered using a symbol key. Interestingly enough, the box came labeled as “Hero Edition” for an unspecified reason. There has been no indication or witnesses to a “Villain Edition” having ever been released.

HULK CEREAL


HULK CEREAL

Post


           
Before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were a few independent attempts at adapting Marvel Comics properties to the big screen. One of the more divisive ones was Ang Lee’s Hulk.


Hulk centered on the origin of the character, with Dr. Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) becoming exposed to an overdose of gamma radiation during an experiment mishap that turned him into a giant, green, rage monster. The military, led by General Ross (Sam Elliott), relentlessly pursued Banner to put a stop to his alter-ego, as did his biological father (Nick Nolte) who wanted to use his son’s new powers for his own ends. The film opened on June 20, 2003 to mixed results. Lee chose to make his film more of a psychological drama with elements of a Greek tragedy and utilized a style reminiscent of comic book panels. While its ambition was praised, the bleak tone, pacing, lack of action and poor CGI were heavily criticized. Despite becoming a box office success with over $245 million, the next outing for the Hulk would come as the 2008 reboot, The Incredible Hulk.


As part of several food tie-in promotions for the film, Post released a limited-edition Hulk Cereal. The cereal was largely similar to Kellogg’s Corn Pops with added marshmallow bits in the shape of Hulk, a beaker, a brick and an explosion. The box featured Hulk clobbering the cereal while the back had stills from the film and Hulk trivia. 

April 20, 2019

THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN


THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN
(CW, Disney XD, March 8, 2008-November 18, 2009)

Culver Entertainment, Marvel Entertainment, Adelaide Productions, Sony Pictures Television




MAIN CAST:
Josh KeatonSpider-Man/Peter Parker
Benjamin DiskinVenom/Eddie Brock
Clancy BrownGeorge Stacy, Rhino/Alex O’Hirn, Ox (1st appearance)


            The Spectacular Spider-Man was the sixth Saturday morning cartoon (seventh, overall) based on Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man, and the second of three after Unlimited to share a title with one of Spidey’s many comic series (which, interestingly enough, was also his second comic series).

Promotional poster featuring Spidey, Electro, Sandman, Doc Ock, Kraven, Mysterio, Venom and Green Goblin's glider.


            Developed by Victor Cook and Greg Weisman, the series chose to focus on Peter Parker’s (Josh Keaton) high school years; something that hadn’t been done before (most shows typically began with or focused on his college years). Upon landing the series, Weisman purchased seven volumes of The Essential Spider-Man to boil down what creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko tried to accomplish. From the outset, it was decided that the series would follow the “5 C’s”: it would be Coherent, Cohesive, Contemporary, Classic and iConic (cheating with the hard “c” sound of the word). They would utilize the earliest issues of Amazing Spider-Man as their springboard while combining elements found in the later comics and even the Sam Raimi film trilogy (which was just wrapping up around that time).

Some of the civilian character models.

            As a result, the characters featured in the show were a mix from various periods in Spidey’s life and career. Amongst the regular characters from the comic’s high school days, there was his widowed Aunt May (Deborah Strang); her friend and neighbor, Anna Watson (Kath Soucie); gruff Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson (Daran Norris, reprising his role from the 2000 video game); Jonah’s son, astronaut John Jameson (also Norris); star football player and bully Flash Thompson (Joshua LeBar); Flash’s girlfriend, Liz Allan (reimagined as a Latina, voiced by Alanna Ubach); Jonah’s secretary, Betty Brant (Grey DeLisle); Bugle reporter Ned Leeds (renamed Ned Lee, voiced by Andrew Kishino); Bugle reporter Frederick Foswell (James Arnold Taylor), who adopted the alter-ego Patch to get information about the criminal underworld; and Bugle editor-in-chief Robbie Robertson (Phil LaMarr). Introduced from his college years was Peter’s friend and future wife Mary Jane Watson (Vanessa Marshall); his best friend, Harry Osborn (Taylor); Robbie’s son, Randy Robertson (LaMarr); police officer Jean DeWolff (Irene Bedard) and her partner, Sergeant Stan Carter (Thomas F. Wilson); Sha Shan Nguyen (Kelly Hu), Flash’s second girlfriend after Liz dumped him; and Glory Grant (Cree Summer), reimagined from Peter’s neighbor and Betty’s replacement to high school age.

Glory Grant berating her boyfriend, Kenny.

Among the newer creations was Flash’s best friend, Kenny Kong (Kishino), who was introduced in 2000’s Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (an updated reimagining of Spidey’s early years) and was Glory's boyfriend for a time;  Sally Avril (DeLisle), who had a sole appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Spidey’s first appearance) but was later expanded upon in the pages of Untold Tales of Spider-Man; and Officer Vin Gonzales and his partner, Alan O’Neil, who both first appeared in Spider-Man: Free Comic Book Day (2007) as part of the rebooted continuity stemming from the controversial “One More Day” storyline. They even introduced the Osborns’ butler, Bernard Houeman (Jeff Bennett), who was only seen in the Raimi films.

George and Gwen Stacy attend Thanksgiving at the Parkers'.

            One unique aspect of Spidey’s supporting cast was the inclusion of his college girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Chabert). Until this point, Gwen was only seen once in the final episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Gwen was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #31 (1965) and dated both Flash and Harry before ending up with Peter. However, none of the creators particularly cared for her character and found Mary Jane more interesting, so when Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas succeeded Lee as the series’ writer and editor, respectively, they decided to kill Gwen off at the suggestion of John Romita, Sr. She died in a conflict with Spidey’s arch-nemesis, the Green Goblin, in Amazing Spider-Man #121 (1973). Because of this, producers were hesitant to bring her into other media; particularly cartoons. Gwen, however, had her fans. Weisman had grown up reading the comics during the Gwen years and wanted the chance to have audiences fall in love with the character like he had. So, Gwen became Peter’s primarily love interest in Spectacular. With her came the second appearance of her father, police captain George Stacy (Clancy Brown), beaten to the punch the previous year by Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 (played by James Cromwell). Like in the comics, it was hinted that George had deduced that Peter was Spidey and often subtlety helped him by providing cover and alibis to allow Spidey to keep his identity a secret. As with his daughter, he was also killed in the comics by another Spidey arch-foe: Doctor Octopus.

The Sinister Six version 1.0: Rhino, Electro, Sandman, Doc Ock, Shocker and Vulture.

            The primary antagonist of the series began as the mysterious “Big Man”, an identity that was assumed by Frederick Foswell and later his children in the comics. This time, however, it belonged to the super strong albino Tombstone (Keith David the first time, Kevin Michael Richardson after). Much like the Kingpin in the comics (who wasn’t used as he’d become more of a Daredevil foe, despite beginning as Spidey’s, and wasn’t included in the rights), Big Man had a benevolent public persona while secret running the criminal underworld of the city. To accomplish his crimes, Big Man would often hire a cavalcade of super villains. Previously televised villains included the aforementioned Green Goblin (Alan Rachins as Norman Osborn, Steven Blum as the Goblin), a ruthless businessman who became involved with Big Man before setting sights on taking his place; the hard-headed Hammerhead (John Dimaggio), who served as Big Man’s public face and muscle; Vulture (Robert Englund), whose theft of his proprietary flight technology by Osborn turned him to crime; Silvermane (Miguel Ferrer), a rival crime lord who sets his own sights on running the underworld; Electro (Crispin Freeman), an electrician who was turned into an electrical being in a freak accident; Sandman (DiMaggio), a petty criminal turned into a being that could control sand through an experiment by Osborn; Rhino (Brown), Sandman’s one-time partner who was given super strength and invulnerability by Osborn; Dr. Octopus (Peter MacNicol, a fan of the comics and character), one of Oscorp’s most intelligent scientists who became fused to his mechanical arms in a lab accident (and went by his other alias of Master Planner in the second season); Chameleon (Blum), an international spy and master of disguise; Mysterio (Xander Berkeley), a special effects expert; Lizard (Dee Bradley Baker, reprising his role from the 2000 video game), a brilliant biologist whose desire to restore his missing arm transformed him into a humanoid lizard; Kraven the Hunter (Eric Vesbit), a skilled hunter later transformed into a beast by a variation of Lizard’s serum; Dr. Miles Warren (reimagined as East Indian, voiced by Brian George), a biochemistry professor who became fascinated by Lizard’s experiments; and Venom (Benjamin Diskin), whose parents had died along with Peter’s and he became jealous of Peter’s stable home life before joining with the alien symbiote Peter would come to reject. Appearing sans their alter-egos were Morris Bench (aka Hydro-Man, voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) and Hobie Brown, aka Prowler, who was interrupted every time he tried to speak in a running gag.

Molten Man's on fire!

            Newly introduced was Molten Man (Eric Lopez), changed from Liz’s half-brother to full brother who had a crush on Mary Jane. He was transformed by the Goblin by being given nanite armor that made his skin impenetrable and hot, and could only be turned off by the Goblin. There was also the Tinkerer (Thom Adcox-Hernandez), who developed and provided many of the villains’ technology. Roderick Kingsley (Courtney B. Vance), a businessman obsessed with committing crimes and would eventually become the Hobgoblin, also appeared.

Cats and spiders always mix.

            In keeping with the 5 Cs, Weisman took some liberties with the source material by examining characters’ core essences and making changes and combinations when necessary. For instance, cat-burglar Walter Hardy (James Remar) was combined with the burglar who would kill Uncle Ben (Ed Asner, who voiced Jonah in The Animated Series) and provide Spidey with his motivation. That would also cause Spidey to cross paths with his equally larcenous daughter, Black Cat (Tricia Helfer). Deciding Shocker was just a “costume without an identity”, the character was combined with Montana (Bennett), a member of the Enforcers. Fellow Enforcer Fancy Dan (LaMarr) was reimagined as a diminutive African-American acrobat who also went by the name “Ricochet”, rather than a typical gangster. Silver Sable (Nikki Cox) was changed from a mercenary to the daughter of Silvermane who helped run his organization and once had a relationship with Hammerhead. Although John Jameson would end up with a cosmic gem that transformed him into Man-Wolf, the series decided to have him exposed to alien spores that temporarily gave him powers (and mental instability), letting him become Captain Jupiter.



            The Spectacular Spider-Man debuted on March 8, 2008 as part of the Kids’ WB programming block on The CW; which became TheCW4K!ds after the block was sold to 4Kids Entertainment. As Sony Pictures owned the Spider-Man television rights at the time, the show was produced by their direct-to-video label, Culver Entertainment, and their animation studio, Adelaide Productions. Sean Galloway was the lead character designer and utilized a simplified style in order to ensure Spidey could move as fluidly as he did in Raimi’s films. Animation duties were handled by Dong Woo Animation, Hanho Heung-Up Co., Ltd., and MCI Animation, Inc. The series was written by Weisman with Kevin Hopps, Matt Wayne, Andrew Robinson, Randy Jandt, and Nicole Dubuc. Cook directed the series’ opening titles, which were accompanied by a theme from The Tender Box. Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis handled the rest of the series’ music. The show’s logo was based on the one that graced the Spectacular comic for two issues in 1996 to signify the end of the controversial “Clone Saga” storyline.

Green Goblin shows Hammerhead who's in charge.

            The series proved a hit with audiences and critics, and was renewed for a second season. Weisman and Cook had to pull double duty working on the second season while finishing up the first due to the timing of the announcement. A third season was contingent upon the ratings of the second season and DVD sales. Unfortunately, the show was moved to Disney XD where it didn’t perform as well and the DVD sales didn’t meet expectations. Also, during that time, Disney was in the process of acquiring Marvel (which would be completed by December, 2009) and was looking to bring all of Marvel’s properties under one roof. In exchange for maintaining the film rights, Sony relinquished the TV rights back to Disney. The series was cancelled after just two seasons, failing to reach the 65 Weisman hoped for. Disney opted to introduce their own show in the form of Ultimate Spider-Man (which also aired on Disney XD beginning in 2012).

The Lizard strikes!

Had the series continued, Weisman planned to introduce Ghost Rider, Hobgoblin, Hydro-Man, Scorpion, Mr. Negative and Carnage (whose alter-ego had appeared in an episode), and introduce Harry’s mother Emily with the hopes of having her voiced by Marina Sirtis (who worked on Wiesman’s Gargoyles). There was also a plan to release direct-to-video movies set between the seasons and following the show’s conclusion, which would have followed Peter to college and his eventual marriage to Mary Jane.



            Hasbro produced a line of action figures based on the show between 2008 and 2009; featuring various versions of Spidey and his core foes, playsets and vehicles. In 2010, Burger King included four toys based on the show in their Kids’ Meals. Because each episode story arc was initially designed to be combined together to form a single stand-alone story, the first DVD release by Sony Home Entertainment was Attack of the Lizard in 2008. It combined the first three episodes together with some additional footage. However, that plan was abandoned for each additional release and Volumes 2-8 contained the episodes as they were broadcast. Attack of the Lizard was re-released as Volume 1 in 2009. In the United Kingdom, only the first four volumes were made available. In 2009, The Complete First Season was released and the full show was eventually made available on various streaming services. In 2013, Saban Brands acquired the broadcast rights to the show and returned it to The CW as part of their Vortexx programming block until it was discontinued the following year. To coincide with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014, the entire series was released to Blu-ray for the first time and then to DVD in 2016. 




EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Survival of the Fittest” (3/8/08) – School is around the corning and the Enforcers decide to make Spidey’s life difficult.

“Interactions” (3/8/08) – Spidey has to deal with Electro’s constant search for a cure for his condition while Peter Parker has to tutor Liz Allan.

“Natural Selection” (3/15/08) – Peter learns a lot about difficult choices when Dr. Connors transforms himself into the Lizard.

“Market Forces” (3/22/08) – As Peter concentrates on helping Aunt May pay the bills, Montana becomes the Shocker in order to take out Spidey.

“Competition” (3/29/08) – Football tryouts have to wait as convict Flint Marko becomes the Sandman in order to kill Spidey.

“The Invisible Hand” (4/12/08) – Rhino’s attack leads Spidey to confront Big Man once and for all, and is offered an opportunity he can’t possibly pass up—can he?

“Catalysts” (4/26/08) – Mary Jane threatens to invert Midtown’s social structure while Green Goblin sets his sights on taking over as Big Man from Tombstone.

“Reaction” (5/3/08) – Spidey has to keep Dr. Octopus from stealing an experimental battery pack that will power his arms indefinitely.

“The Uncertainty Principle” (5/10/08) – John Jameson struggles to land his damaged shuttle while Spidey deals with Goblin’s hostile takeover of the New York underworld.

“Persona” (5/17/08) – Spidey gains a new costume and a new partner when he teams-up with Black Cat to prove himself innocent of crimes Chameleon has framed him for.

“Group Therapy” (5/31/08) – Electro and Doc Ock break Vulture, Sandman, Rhino and Shocker out of prison in order to team-up against Spidey.

“Intervention” (6/7/08) – Peter realizes that his alien symbiote is affecting his mind and struggles to remain in control.

“Nature vs. Nurture” (6/14/08) – Aunt May is released from the hospital just in time for a newly-transformed Venom to come looking for trouble.

Season 2:
“Blueprints” (6/22/09) – Peter wants to discuss his kiss with Gwen, but Mysterio has other plans courtesy of the Master Planner.

“Destructive Testing” (6/22/09) – Kraven comes to New York to hunt Spidey while Peter deals with the fact that two girls like him.

“Reinforcement” (6/29/09) – The Sinister Six reforms with Mysterio and Kraven to renew their attempts to destroy Spidey.

“Shear Strength” (7/6/09) – Spidey plans to take the fight to Master Planner’s door and prevent his plans for world conquest.

“First Steps” (7/13/09) – Peter actually ends up invited to Flash’s birthday party while Sandman, Harry and Venom make return appearances.

“Growing Pains” (7/20/09) – While Venom frames Spidey for crimes, Jonah convinces his newly-empowered son to become a hero and capture Spidey.

“Identity Crisis” (7/27/09) – Venom threatens to expose Spidey’s secret identity.

“Accomplices” (10/7/09) – Silver Sable, Hammerhead and Doc Ock battle for control of the New York underworld, leaving Spidey caught in the middle with unlikely allies.

“Probable Cause” (10/14/09) – Peter is stuck in a police ride-along with Sally Avril as the new Enforcers make their move.

“Gangland” (10/21/09) – Valentine’s day has to wait as Spidey fights to stop a gang war when Silvermane attempts to take control.

“Subtext” (11/4/09) – Goblin turns Liz’s brother Mark into the Molten Man and blackmails him into doing his bidding.

“Opening Night” (11/18/09) – Volunteering to test the prison security system ends up putting A third season Spidey in the middle of a lethal Goblin deathtrap.

“Final Curtain” (11/18/09) – Peter finally chooses Gwen over Liz and Spidey discovers the Goblin’s identity.

April 15, 2019

GEORGIA ENGEL DEAD AT 70



You can read the full story here.


Mostly an on-screen actor, she did provide her voice for two episodes of Disney's Hercules series as Evelyn, Cassandra's mother.


April 13, 2019

SMF PRESENTS: SHAZAM!

Here's our latest infographic showing all the current depictions of the Fawcett/DC Comics character Shazam (aka Captain Marvel) and his alter ego, newsboy Billy Batson. Click the image to see the full size.



SHAZAM! (1981)


SHAZAM! (1981)
(NBC, September 12-November 28, 1981)

Filmation Associates




MAIN CAST:
Burr MiddletonCaptain Marvel/Billy Batson
Barry GordonCaptain Marvel Jr./Freddy Freeman
Norm Prescott - Narrator


            Five years after their original live-action Shazam! series, Filmation made a second attempt at the DC Comics-licensed superhero; however, this time they returned to more familiar territory by producing an animated series.

Mary, Billy and Freddy (top) say their magic words and transform into superheroes (bottom).


            The animated Shazam! was a lot closer to the source material than the live-action one. Billy Batson (Burr Middleton) was a TV reporter (for WIZZ instead of WHIZ) who was imbued with the powers of the ancient wizard Shazam (Alan Oppenheimer) to continue on his quest of battling evil. By saying the wizard’s name, Billy was changed into Captain Marvel (also Middleton), who possessed the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. Sharing in his adventures was Billy’s twin sister, Mary (Dawn Jeffory), who could transform into Mary Marvel with the grace of Selena, the strength of Hippolyta (not to be confused with Wonder Woman’s mother), the skill of Ariadne, the fleetness of Zephyrus, the beauty of Aurora, and the wisdom of Minerva, and disabled newspaper boy Freddy Freeman (Barry Gordon), who could become Captain Marvel Jr. (since he shared Captain Marvel’s powers, he used the hero’s name as his transformation word instead of “Shazam”). They lived in Fawcett City in the Marvel Mansion along with their Uncle Dudley (Oppenhimer, impersonating W.C. Fields), who sometimes tried to help out as the powerless Uncle Marvel.  Also featured was the Marvels’ recurring friend, Tawky Tawny: a humanoid tiger who tried his best to be part of human society.

Ibac and the Hiss-Men.

            The series made extensive use of the Marvel Family rogues gallery. The most well-known amongst these were mad scientist Dr. Sivana; the genius alien worm Mr. Mind (both Oppenheimer); and Captain Marvel’s corrupted ancient predecessor Black Adam (Lou Scheimer). Other Marvel foes included were Night Owl (Scheimer), a daring thief whose oversized eyes gave him excellent night vision; Aunt Minerva (Jeffory), a sweet-looking old lady who was actually a criminal mastermind with designs on finding a new husband; Ibac (Scheimer), a muscular brute empowered by the strength of the four most evil men in history (Ivan the Terrible, Cesare Borgia, Attila the Hun and Caligula) who, in the cartoon, led an army of humanoid crocodile Hiss-Men; Dr. Allirog (Oppenheimer), an intelligent gorilla; and Mr. Atom, an artificially-intelligent nuclear-powered robot.



            Shazam! premiered on NBC on September 12, 1981 as part of The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam. It was paired up with Filmation’s original creation Hero High, which was originally intended to feature superhero versions of Archie Comics characters before Filmation lost the license. Although Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel would appear in a couple of Hero High episodes, the Hero High cast was only featured in the 12th and final episode of Shazam!, which was written by Hero High writer Tom Ruegger. Otherwise, Shazam! was primarily written by Dennis O’Flaherty and Paul Dini, with a story and script by Fred Ladd. The series’ music was composed by Ray Ellis (as Yvette Blais) and producer Norm Prescott (as Jeff Michael). Prescott also served as the show’s narrator. Kevin Frank, Tim Gula, Mel Keefer and Janice Stocks served as the show’s character designers.

Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind often working together for evil!

            Only half as many Shazam! episodes were made in comparison to Hero High, resulting in the Shazam! feature being rerun alongside remaining new episodes of Hero High. And while Hero High saw release on DVD in 2007, Shazam! has yet to see a release beyond a series of VHS collections by Family Home Entertainment beginning in 1990. The following year, DC Comics would end its licensing agreement with CBS Publications, the then-current rights holder, and buy the characters outright.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“Who’s Who at the Zoo?” (9/12/81) – Dr. Allirog allows himself to be taken in by the city zoo in order to enact his vengeance against the Marvel family.

“The Incredible Sinking City” (9/19/81) – Tired of being ignored, Mr. Mind recruits an all-worm army to cause chaos and destruction in order to be named king of the world.

“Best Seller” (9/26/81) – Ibac uses the Marvels’ cousin Freckles to entrap the Marvel Family in the past and turn them into part of his Hiss-Men army.

“Flight 601 Has Vanished” (10/3/81) – The Marvels and Dr. Sivana end up flung into an alternate dimension where they end up the playthings of a giant girl.

“Black Adam’s Return” (10/10/81) – Black Adam returns to resurrect Princess Jemia, but in failing that he takes Mary as a consolation prize.

“A Menacing Family Affair” (10/17/81) – Dr. Sivana and his family are given an amulet that gives them powers on par with the Marvel Family.

“Uncle Dudley’s Wedding Day” (10/24/81) – Aunt Minerva kidnaps Uncle Dudley to make him her husband.

“A Little Something Extra” (10/31/81) – A disguised Black Adam sends Freddy on a wild goose chase when he throws him a fake newspaper with the headline “Captain Marvel Vanishes!”

“The Airport Caper!” (11/7/81) – When Tawny fails to save animals abducted by Night Owl, it’s up to the Marvel Family to save them all.

“Mr. Atom, the Smasher” (11/14/81) – After they stop his robot army, Mr. Atom captures the Marvels with a powerful electromagnet.

“The Circus Plot” (11/21/81) – Mr. Tawny auditions for the circus while Mr. Mind concocts a worm-constructed grid that can harness the sun’s power into a powerful beam.

“Star Master and the Solar Mirror” (11/28/81) – When Star Master captures Mary and Freddy, Captain Marvel has to go to Hero High to recruit some help in stopping him.