Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

Republic Pictures produced many quality movie serials in the 1930s and 1940s.  One of their finer offerings was Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941), a twelve chapter serial based on the popular comic book super hero.  Captain Marvel is known as Shazam today.

 Billy Batson, played by Frank Coghlan, Jr., accompanies the Malcolm Expedition to Siam.  While searching an ancient temple, a wizard grants Batson the power to become the super hero Captain Marvel by uttering the word, “Shazam!”  The wizard grants Billy this power because he refused to desecrate the temple.

tom-tyler-captain-marvel

Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel in Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

The Malcolm Expedition finds the Golden Scorpion, a powerful weapon.  The five members each take one of the lenses from the Golden Scorpion to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

The villainous Black Scorpion begins tracking down each member of the expedition in an attempt to gain control of all five lenses and the Golden Scorpion itself.  Billy Batson must frequently change into Captain Marvel to stop the Black Scorpion.

Republic Pictures needed an athletic performer for the Captain Marvel role.  The studio cast weight lifter and athlete Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel.

Tyler worked as a miner, merchant seaman, lumberjack and prizefighter before taking up weight lifting at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in the early 1920s.  Film producers quickly took notice of the tall and athletic Tyler resulting in steady film work until right before his death in 1954.

Adventures of Captain Marvel consist of 1 30-minute episode (Chapter 1) and 11 20-minutes episodes.  You can find it for free on YouTube.  Let me know what you think of the serial.

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