Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Shazam: "Goodbye, Packy" (October 4, 1975)

In “Goodbye, Packy,” Billy Batson (Michael Gray) learns from the Elders that soon he will have an opportunity to “be a real hero,” and help someone who has “tampered with nature.”  The wise Elders also inform him that “nature never breaks its own rules.”

Billy comes to understand the meaning of these words when he and Mentor help a girl, Kathy Rose (Shannon Terhone) contend with her beloved -- but dangerous -- pet wolf, Packy.

Kathy is reluctant to let her beloved pet return to the wild, but Packy can no longer safely live as a pet, either.

In the 1970s, Filmation was the king of tear-jerker Saturday morning shows about children losing beloved pets. 

In “Yesteryear,” D.C. Fontana’s brilliant contribution to Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973), for instance, a young Spock had to contend with the death of his pet sehalt (a giant teddy bear/saber-toothed tiger).

Shazam’s “Goodbye, Packy” doesn’t (fortunately) feature the death of a beloved pet, but it does concern a girl having to say farewell to her pet wolf, who is no longer safe in domestic situations.  Packy is at home neither in the wild, nor at home, and so must be rehabilitated before being released into a nearby forest.

The idea here is teaching children to put the welfare of the pet ahead of their own desires. Packy deserves a happy life, and though Kathy wants that for him, she also doesn't want to lose him.

Naturally, Kathy runs away with Packy rather than surrender him. Through a series of accidents, the duo end up trapped on a hot air balloon in-flight. This plight, of course, requires Captain Marvel to come to the rescue.

In the end, rather unconvincingly, Kathy gets over Packy when her father brings her home a puppy.  

Next week: “Speak No Evil.”

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