Captain Marvel

The alter ego of teenager Billy Batson (Michael Gray) on the fantasy adventure SHAZAM!/CBS/1974-77.


“Chosen from among all others by the immortal elders, Billy Batson and his mentor travel the highways and byways of the land on a never-ending mission to right wrongs, to develop understanding and to seek justice for all. In times of dire need young Billy has been granted the power to summon awesome forces at the utterance of a single word, SHAZAM! A word that transforms him in a flash to the mightiest of mortal beings, Captain Marvel.” – Narrator

Billy Batson derived his powers from the letters that made up the acronym SHAZAM:

  • S (Wisdom of Solomon)
  • H (Strength of Hercules)
  • A (Stamina of Atlas)
  • Z (Power of Zeus)
  • A (Courage of Achilles)
  • M (Speed of Mercury)

Actors John Davey (1974-76) and Jackson Bostwick (1976-77) played the role of Captain Marvel on the TV series.

Note: The red costumed Captain Marvel debuted in Whiz Comics No.2, February, 1940. The character was created by Ed Herren.

The visual concept of Captain Marvel was inspired by illustrator Charles Clarence Beck who used film star Fred MacMurray as the model for Captain Thunder (the original working title of Captain Marvel) giving him the same wavy hair, cleft chin and bone structure.

The Captain’s costume design was the outgrowth of an illustration Beck had previously drawn for The Student Prince operetta. Keeping the military style buttons, boots and cape and creatively adding a lightning bolt on the costume’s chest area, Captain Marvel was born.

In the Captain Marvel comics the evil villain IBAC (a.k.a. “Stinky Printwhistle”) derived his powers from the initials for I (Ivan the Terrible); B (Borgia the Poisoner); A (Attila the Hun); and C (Caligula, the Emperor).

Captain Marvel’s other nemesis, the evil Dr. Sivana – The World’s Wickedest Scientist  from the planet Venus – called Captain Marvel “The Big Red Cheese.”

Sivana’s full name was Thaddeus Budog Sivana whose name was derived from the Eastern Indian words “Siva” and “Nirvana.” The balding gnome-like Doctor wore horned-rimmed glasses and a white pharmacist jacket.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Superhero

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