Saturday, December 10, 2016
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Shazam: "Double Trouble" (September 25, 1975)
In “Double Trouble,” a thief dressed as Captain Marvel (Jon Davey) robs a gas station. In truth, the impostor is wearing a Captain Marvel costume and mask. Before long, a local law enforcement official, Sheriff Martin (Ross Elliott), has issued a warrant for the superhero’s arrest.
Meanwhile, the Elders inform Billy Batson (Michael Gray) that “all laws should be respected. Even those which seem unfair.” The young man is also told to “practice” what he preaches.
Realizing the meaning of these phrases, Billy transforms into Captain Marvel and turns himself in, spending the night in the county jail as a prisoner.
With Captain Marvel incarcerated, Mentor (Les Tremayne) and the sheriff’s son, Kelly (Jimmy McNichol) go in search of the criminal impersonators. Kelly finds the cast-off costume and mask, but it is too late: the criminals are gone.
After the robbers tangle with the sheriff, he releases Captain Marvel to save the day.
There’s actually something akin to a criminal plot in this episode of Filmation’s live-action Shazam! (1974-1976). In “Double Trouble,” Captain Marvel is targeted as a criminal, but it’s all a mistake owing to a thief wearing Captain Marvel mask and costume.
After a warrant is issued, Billy decides he must obey the law, even though it means he won’t be able to clear Captain Marvel’s name. Instead, that task is left up to Mentor.
It’s a fun episode, seeing Captain Marvel behind bars, and then, later, bending those same bars. It’s also fun to see Captain Marvel, apparently, robbing a gas station.
Actually, Davey really makes the role his own this week. Captain Marvel is on-screen more frequently than he is in many episodes, and he even has more dialogue here, too. Davey does a good job portraying the character, essentially a paragon of virtue. But there's something also very human about this iteration of the character.
The ending sequence of “Double Trouble” is also exciting, as Captain Marvel lands from the air into the back of a small truck in motion to stop the thieves.
Next week: “Goodbye, Packy.”