An Excursus on Shazam

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When I was a kid, one of my favorite Saturday morning programs was Shazam. For no particular reason, I was thinking about it the other day. Here, in all its glory, is the opening bit to it:

So what you have here is:

(a) an adolescent kid who…….
(b) hangs out morning, noon, and night with this kind of creepy old guy………
(c) and confers from time to time with badly-animated legends from Greek, Roman, and Jewish mythology…….
(d) and summons up these conversations by rubbing his hand over a plastic hemisphere adorned with Christmas lights…….
(e) which itself is housed in a recreational vehicle which transports the aforementioned adolescent and old guy……….
(f) whose mission is to right wrongs (YEAH!), seek justice for all (AWESOME!) and develop understanding (WTF?)
(g) and in times of “dire need” Billy can shout out “Shazam!” (after carefully checking to make sure no one is around to discover his secret) at which time he will be transformed into a bad actor with big white teeth who looks ready to do a commercial for Colgate

Of course, nearly forty years later, the whole thing seems terribly cheesy. Even as a kid, I cringed at the final bit of the show, which was Captain Marvel standing there in his tights and hastily-made cape, explaining the moral of that week’s show.

As if the intro wasn’t enough, if you want to drink in some more of the awesome special effects that I got to enjoy in my youth, I present to you the following clip. How they managed this visual magic, we still haven’t figured out……….