Happy birthday to Zachary Levi, the actor who played the technically still unnamed hero of the film Shazam! (Unless Captain Sparklefingers counts.)
Technically he’s Captain Marvel, but DC has more or less given up on the name. If you google “Captain Marvel” it turns up the Carol Danvers version now. Tough times for a hero who was once upon a time more popular than Superman.
Captain Marvel/Shazam! debuted way back in 1939 on the pages of Whiz Comics. He was created by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. By uttering the words “SHAZAM!” (an acronym for Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Hercules), young Billy Batson is transformed into a superhero.
His appearance was based on Fred MacMurray, famously from Double Indemnity and a host of Disney films like The Absent-Minded Professor. I’m sad that they never pulled an Ultimate Nick Fury and cast him in a film thanks to his exact real life duplicate. I guess back then superheroes were just good for cheap serials. MacMurray would have been too big of an actual star.
Zachary Levi would take on the role in the far off year of 2019, which brought the character to the modern day. This means that The Superhero Formerly Known as Captain Marvel acts even more like a kid in an adult’s body. He’s flossing, pounding down the sugary treats… um… wearing a hat backwards and skateboarding? I’m going to have to watch the movie again.