Friday, November 19, 2010

Petition Sony for Three Stooges Collection Vol. 9

Now, just because this blog is titled "Shazamaholic", and so far all my posts have been about the potential upcoming Captain Marvel movie, that doesn't mean I will keep this a one-topic blog... especially since it, unfortunately, looks like the Captain Marvel movie is getting less and less likely of happening in the immediate future.

So, let us turn our attention to The Three Stooges. If you are a fan, you are aware Sony has just finished an 8 volume DVD series featuring all the Stooges' Columbia short films.

But there is one more volume Sony should release, and it's up to us fans to convince them to do it.

Petition Sony for a Volume 9 of THE 3 STOOGES COLLECTION that would include the four Columbia feature films featuring Curly:

THE CAPTAIN HATES THE SEA (1934)
START CHEERING (1938)
TIME OUT FOR RHYTHM (1941)
ROCKIN’ IN THE ROCKIES (1945)

and all of Shemp’s solo Columbia shorts:
NOT GUILTY ENOUGH (1938)
HOME ON THE RAGE (1938)
THE GLOVE SLINGERS (1939)
MONEY SQUAWKS (1940)
BOOBS IN THE WOODS (1940)
PLEASED TO MITT YOU (1939)
FARMER FOR THE DAY (1943)
PICK A PECK OF PLUMBERS (1944)
OPEN SEASONS FOR SAPS (1944)
OFF AGAIN ON AGAIN (1945)
WHERE THE PEST BEGINS (1945)
A HIT WITH A MISS (1945)
MR NOISY (1946)
JIGGERS MY WIFE (1946)
SOCIETY MUGGS (1946)
BRIDE AND GLOOM (1947)

Ask Sony to release Volume 9 by writing them at
Sony Home Entertainment
10202 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City CA 90232-3195

or by email at
corporate@threestooges.com
and
consumer@SPHECustomerSupport.sony.com

Monday, November 8, 2010

William Goldman SHAZAM script review

Recently, I was able to get a hold of the infamous William Goldman Captain Marvel screenplay. Having read it, let me tell you, all the "insiders" who have said this is the greatest superhero script ever written.... sorry.... they lied.

This is not the greatest superhero script ever written... it's certainly not the greatest Captain Marvel story ever written. I would consider it "slightly below average". But that's not to say it doesn't have its moments. There are a few scenes that are actually close to brilliant. But over all, the script does not have the tone or flavor of Captain Marvel's rather off-the-wall world. It is also missing many of the well loved characters from the comics. And the main reason this script was most likely rejected: no Black Adam. In many ways, this script is too similar in tone and narrative as Superman The Movie. But let me break it down for you.

The script opens with one of its better scenes. A prison warden and several guards are racing through a long series of tunnels to an extremely isolated cell. When they get there, they find the prisoner in that cell dead, covered in the cockroaches he kept as pets. That prisoner is Dr Sivana. The warden has a hunch Sivana is faking being dead. He attempts to strangle the corpse, only to be pulled back by the guards. He orders tests on the corpse to make sure he really is dead.

Then we get our first view of Billy Batson. This is not the Billy of the comics. This Billy is 11 years old, and has lived his entire life at the Gates Orphanage, a very nice place in New York (yeah, no Fawcett City here), run by a billionaire, Agustus Gates, who himself grew up an orphan. We meet Billy as a he is being interviewed by prospective parents. Billy purposely blows the interview by swearing, burping and making fart noises. We find out why he doesn't want to get adopted. Jenny Richee, a 15 year old tomboy/knockout who is Billy's best friend and unrequited crush. They've been together their whole lives (it was a 5 year old Jenny who found the abandoned infant Billy on the Orphanage's front steps during a terrible blizzard), and they don't want to be separated. Now why Goldman didn't use the name Cissie Sommerly is anybody's guess. Later in the script, Jenny also sabotages an interview by doing an overtly sexual Lolita bit aimed at the husband, and making the wife jealous and insecure.

So, then Gates takes the kids on a field trip to a museum. At one point Billy stumbles down some steps, hits his head on a brick wall and is knocked out. He wakes up to find a mysterious stranger summoning him into a subway terminal. The origin sequence sticks fairly close to the comics, except we are cheated out of seeing Billy transform into Captain Marvel for the first time. When Billy says the magic word, there is the storm clouds, thunder and lightning, but then the scene cuts to Billy back on the spot where he was knocked out, where he wakes up again. Was it all a dream?

Then it's back to the prison, as all the tests conclude Sivana is dead. Then it's back to Billy and Jenny, as he has told her everything that happened, and he isn't sure if he should say the word or not. Jenny makes fun of him, thinking he's made the whole thing up. Billy says the word, and finally we see him transform into Captain Marvel. And this is where I turned against this script, because CAPTAIN MARVEL STILL TALKS WITH BILLY BATSON'S VOICE!!!!! Goldman gets really descriptive with the sexual attraction Jenny has for Captain Marvel, as he tries to come up with a more mature sounding voice. They do some goofy testing of Captain Marvel's powers, and then the scene shifts back to the prison where Sivana's children, Beautia and Magnificus, claim their father's body. Then we go to Jenny's bedroom where the two kids are on Google researching the elders. Billy changes to Marvel, and there's that sexual attraction again, as Marvel wants to take Jenny for a fly. Jenny, unsure, refuses, so Marvel tests his powers of flight himself with some rather Greatest American Hero type results.

Then it's to the Sivana house, where Beautia restores life to her father, and then Sivana, who blatantly favors Magnificus, makes him a super steroid protein drink that gives him super strength.

Then there is a long, rather dull sequence where Billy and Jenny are at a comic book store, doing more "research", when Billy changes to Captain Marvel (with an OVERCOAT covering his costume, no less) to make some fast money by playing Speed Chess with some Chess hustlers (no, really, I'm serious...it's in the script), and then Marvel plays baseball with some college kids. At this point the script is at the halfway mark, and there still isn't any action sequences. There's a scene where Marvel and Jenny attempt to apprehend a trio of punks, but it all goes wrong. Then we get a long scene that establishes Sivana's character as a brilliant, yet warped, scientist/criminal.

From there we go to a "Can You Read My Mind" type moment as Marvel and Jenny are flying through the clouds, when Marvel accidentally says "Shazam" and transforms back to Billy. Now both kids are falling to their deaths. Billy cannot catch his breath and say the word. Jenny is headed toward jagged rocks below. She knows she is going to die. Then she hears a roar of thunder and sees a flash of lightning. But Marvel is too far away. He speeds down to Jenny, but he knows he won't make it in time. We see Jenny, in what can be the last moment of her life, as her skin begins to be pierced by the rocks. Blood begins to flow out. But then we see a space between her and the rocks, and that space begins to grow larger. Then we see CAPTAIN MARVEL USING SUPER BREATH TO DRAW JENNY BACK INTO THE AIR. Yeah, you read right. In this script Marvel has super-breath. Except for the super breath, this is actually a good scene.

Billy is so shaken up by this, he goes back to the Wizard to return the powers. The Wizard reveals Billy doesn't yet have all of the powers, as Zeus and Solomon will come to him when he really needs them.

Then there is a cute scene right out of the comics where Billy is taking a test, and he doesn't know the answers, so he WHISPERS "Shazam", and a ghost-like Captain Marvel appears to give Billy the answers. After that, Gates and a couple other billionaires are kidnapped by Sivana. Marvel rescues them, and we finally get a real action sequence, as Magnificus and Marvel have an all out fight...and get this, Magnificus beats the crap out of Marvel, because he's STRONGER THAN CAPTAIN MARVEL!! Marvel needs Zeus, so Zeus comes to him, Marvel gets more power, and defeats Magnificus by flying him several miles into the air, and dropping him, where Mag breaks every bone in his body. Beautia gets really hot for Marvel, and Sivana figures out Marvel must be a child and reveals it was the Wizard Shazam who has, in previous years, thwarted Sivana's crimes. Having Beautia take a photo of Marvel and using a computer to make him look younger, they figure out he's really Billy Batson.

Sivana and Beautia then pose as a couple who adopt Jenny. Gates and Billy realize something is wrong when Jenny never calls from her new home. Sivana uses a potion on himself that gives him the ability to erase people's minds, turning them brain dead. He does that to Jenny. Marvel races to save Jenny, but Sivana has her locked away in a tiny cell at the end of a tiny tunnel. Marvel changes to Billy to get to her, Sivana knocks Billy out. When Billy awakes, he finds Sivana used a potion to remove Billy's ability to speak. Jenny is brain dead, Billy cannot speak, and Sivana goes to a Jets game to erase the minds of all the people there.

Beautia helps Billy get his voice back (in a scene very similar to Miss Tesmacher helping Superman get rid of the kryptonite chained around his neck). As Sivana returns from wiping out the minds of half the city, he finds Captain Marvel, who challenges Sivana to a duel of wits (why ruin the movie with another action sequence?). They will race to find an antidote to Jenny's condition. If Marvel wins, Sivana will go back to jail. If Sivana wins, Marvel will give up his powers. Now Marvel needs Solomon, who comes to him. As written, I can't tell if Marvel can now figure out the antidote, or if he has the power to read minds, and gets the antidote from Sivana's thoughts. In any case, Marvel wins, saves Jenny, restores the minds to the people at the Jets game (using another bizarre power that comes from his lightning emblem on his costume), Sivana goes to jail, the Wizard knows he can now leave Billy, and the granite rock crushes him, and Beautia gets a job as a teacher at the orphanage. The end.

All in all...I'm glad this script was rejected. Besides the lack of action and lack of the uniqueness of Captain Marvel's world, one of the script's biggest problems is that although Goldman does a good job of keeping Billy/Captain Marvel the focus of the script, its quite obvious he seems to be more interested in the character of Jenny.

Now if I can only get a hold of the rejected John August script!!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

History of the Shazam movie thus far

In Fall of 2002, Michael Uslan acquired the film rights to Captain Marvel and brought the project to New Line Cinema. Oscar winner William Goldman was hired to write the script. Many industry insiders who read the script, including Sandy Collora, said it was the greatest superhero script ever written. "The William Goldman script I was given for Shazam was excellent. I really felt that movie literally jumping off the pages at me. It hit all the right notes and was exceptionally well written. It had kind of a Norman Rockwell innocence to it. Very Americana. Very Spielbergian. I would have loved to have done that film as a post World War II, period piece… Late 40’s or early 50’s," said Collora in an interview to Geektyrant.

Furthermore, to Superhero Hype, Collora elaborated, "It’s pretty rare when a script captures my imagination and inspires me so much, that I have to read it twice, or even rarer still, THREE times. Shazam! by William Goldman is just such a script, but it’s something more… A lot more. Captain Marvel is one of my favorite superheroes. I’ve always been drawn to him because Billy Batson was like every fifteen-year-old boy I knew… he was like me. The only difference is Billy Batson was given the power of being the mightiest hero in the world, something every young boy hopes to be in one way or another. But, as so eloquently put in another of my favorite comic book movies; 'With great power, comes great responsibility.' After the reality of being Captain Marvel has manifested itself in his psyche, Billy is faced with a dilemma that is played out impeccably in this script. Goldman has truly captured the spirit of Billy Batson’s plight, both as Captain Marvel, and as a fifteen-year-old boy trying to figure out his place in the world. Like it’s tremendously successful predecessors Superman and Spider-Man, Goldman has stoked this script's furnace with what most comic book films lack… HEART. I FEEL this film… I SEE this film… every moment, every frame… every ounce of trepidation and frustration Billy feels, every detail of Captain Marvel’s costume, every magnificent beam of magic hour light that bathes his muscular frame with the girl in his arms as he majestically floats skyward."

However, New Line CEO Robert Shaye still saw fit to reject the script, due to the fact Black Adam was not in it (UPDATE: I have since read the Goldman script, and found it to be not up to Collora's raves).

By December 2003, the team of Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow were assigned to write the script. The draft they turned in reportedly was a parody of various superhero movies using the Shazam characters, as well as using the Billy Batson character to parody The Little Rascals, Leave It To Beaver, Home Alone, and My Bodyguard. This script was also rejected.

Some time later, Bryan Goluboff was tapped to take a turn at the script. Little is known about his draft. It may never have been competed.

In April 2006, Peter Segal was hired to direct the movie. He contacted John August to write the script. This pairing initially gave Captain Marvel fans some doubts, as Segal was known for directing Adam Sandler comedies, and Naked Gun 33 1/3, although at the time of his signing, he was developing an action-comedy remake of Get Smart. August stated he hated old stuff, referring to the Fawcett comics Captain Marvel fans hold dear. Instead he seemed intent on basing his script on current DC material, which the fans loathe. This is also in opposition to Uslan who said the film would use the Fawcett comics as source material. Worrying fans even more are the constant references to the Tom Hanks's movie Big both men made. In 2008, Warner Brothers absorbed New Line Cinema, moving the project there. It was also officially given the title Billy Batson And The Legend Of Shazam. On 5 January 2009, John August announced on his blog Warner Brothers has killed his script for various reasons, most notably it was an action-comedy, as Warners now wants all superhero movies to be like The Dark Knight (UPDATE: I have since read the August script, and found it to be less than stellar).

On 13 January 2009, Michael Uslan proclaimed through MTV the project is still alive and not to believe everything August has said. Uslan has assured fans the movie is not dead and will get made....eventually. My guess is the powers that be rejected August's script, and harboring sour grapes, he spread the word the whole project was killed. The rumors the studio wants Captain Marvel to be as dark as The Dark Knight may also be an embellishment from August.

In August 2009, Variety made the announcement Billy Batson & The Legend Of Shazam is still on....Peter Segal is still directing, with him and Michael Ewing producing....and the script will be written by: Bill Birch and Geoff Johns.

Birch is a veteran TV actor who has worked on Grey's Anatomy and The Unit. As a writer, he is working on the film One Finger Salute with director Peter Segal. I wonder if Birch will write a role for himself in the movie.

Johns is a comic book writer who is well known to Captain Marvel fans. Considering Johns' love for Black Adam, expect that character to be a major force in the movie. If Dwayne Johnson is still on board to play him, the momentum could become very similar to Jim Carrey's Riddler or Johnny Depp's Captain Jack.

I am curious to know if Dr Sivana and Beautia will be in the new script, as Warner execs demanded Sivana be deleted from John August's draft for being "too similar to Lex Luthor". In my opinion, a Captain Marvel movie without Sivana (and Beautia) just would not be right.

August's draft reported to also include Freddy Freeman, Mary Bromfield (Batson), and Mr Tawny. Will they be in the new script as well? And I certainly hope Johns and Birch will include Uncle Dudley, and who better to play him than Micky Dolenz.

Bill Birch gave an interview to CineFOOLS in November 2009 and spoke about the Captain Marvel movie.

On landing the gig:

"During that time [working on "One Finger Salute"] a great collaborative relationship was born [between Peter Segal and Bill Birch]. He asked me to give him and his producing partner, Michael Ewing, a take on Captain Marvel and that eventually led to me getting Shazam. FYI, Pete's a freakin' stud too.

Pete's been involved with Shazam since 2006 so it's been a long and winding road for him. I don't know the details of how he originally got involved but I can say he's very excited with the way this new version is shaping up. And Adam Sandler as Marvel? It would definitely be a bold casting choice. Maybe Rob Schneider as Black Adam? I can see the poster now! OK, that was a bad joke. Pete's never mentioned Sandler."


On writing the script with Geoff Johns:

"Okay, first of all let me say that Geoff Johns is also a freakin' stud. He's young, smart, creative and has this crazy encyclopedic knowledge of everything DC. He's so cool I almost hate him a little bit. Thankfully I've been able to put that hate aside and I've enjoyed every minute we've spent working together while breaking the new Marvel/Shazam story. Geoff and I are in the thick of it, creating a kickass update that still honors the lore that's been created in over 50 years of Marvel storylines.

I've read some of the previous versions
[of the rejected scripts] and we're starting fresh."

On being a Captain Marvel fan:

"I have four older brothers growing up and we always had comics around the house. While Superman was probably the one we read most we did having a few Shazams around. I remember being fascinated with the idea that a kid could just say "Shazam!" and become a superhero. It's the ultimate in wish fulfillment and obviously that will be a theme in the script. I was also a religious watcher of the 70's TV show. You couldn't beat Shazam! followed by Isis could you? They just don't make TV like that anymore. (Actually after watching some Shazam! clips on You Tube I'm glad they don't. It's pretty bad but as a kid I remember it being awesome.)"

On the tone of the script and casting:

"The way the story is shaking out, Geoff and I see this not as "dark" as Dark Knight but definitely as cool. It'll probably end up with a PG-13 rating.

Tonally I think it's important to successfully find the balance of comedy and danger in the story. That’s a major aspect I’m focusing on. Frankly hitting the right tone is what’s going to either get this made or keep it in development hell.

My rule of thumb is that no actor is committed to do a movie until the first day of shooting is over with. (And sometimes even then the cast can still change) I know that Pete Segal and Dwayne Johnson have a relationship that was solidified when Pete directed Get Smart. As far as him being committed? I'm sure it'll all depend on the script. That being the case I don't write with anyone in mind. If the characters are solid it will attract good talent and then there will always be a rewrite to address the talent's concerns. Usually at that point in the process is when you start writing for that specific actor. More than likely the role of Billy Batson will be an unknown, but the role of Capt Marvel? I always thought Ryan Reynolds would have been interesting but now that he’s Green Lantern that’s not an option. Honestly I don’t think too much about it since I have very little say in the casting decisions."


Nothing more was heard after that, but in January 2010, it was reported Columbia/Sony has removed Sam Raimi from Spider-Man 4, and will instead reboot the series with a new cast and crew.

Personally, I think this is bad for the Spider-Man film series, but the bright spot in all of this, is Sam Raimi is free to pursue other projects. I hope one of them is the SHAZAM! movie.

Spider-Man 2, in my opinion, had the perfect balance of action-adventure, drama-pathos, fun, and humor, that would be ideal for a film of the World's Mightiest Mortal. I think Raimi would be the perfect director for a SHAZAM movie, and let's face it....current director Pete Segal is in a little over his head with this property. He's been on it for 4 years and still isn't even close to having a filmable script. And Raimi...he must be fond of the Big Red Cheese, because he put references in all three Spidey movies (Peter/Spidey yells "Shazam" in 1 and 3, and in 2, Raimi used "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" on the soundtrack, a song from Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, which was written by William Goldman, who was at that time, writing the SHAZAM script). It's like Raimi was subliminally screaming "I wanna direct SHAZAM!"

Then, in August 2010, according to this LA Times article, there are discussions to cancel the long in development SHAZAM feature film, and instead do a prime time network TV series focused on Captain Marvel.

The article says it is too early to say definitely where a Shazam franchise is headed, but it does mention talk about adding an Achilles' heel to Captain Marvel: that he can only be powered up for about an hour at a time. Remember the old "Ultra-Man" TV show, how if his warning light went out, "Ultra-Man would never rise again"? Kind of like that.

I really want to see a major motion picture, filmed in IMAX of the Big Red Cheese, but I could also see the advantage of going with an episodic television series instead. The obvious advantage is the actor playing Billy Batson (as well as the other kids, like Mary Batson and Freddy Freeman) will not seem to age as fast doing a TV series, versus movies that may have gaps of a year or two between filming.

In my opinion, the best concept would be to revive the old cliffhanger serial format using the 1941 Captain Marvel serial as a blueprint. There's around 20 episodes in a TV season, so each season of the Shazam TV series would be, in effect, a 20 chapter cliffhanger serial, complete with cliffhanger endings on each episode with the next episode resolving them. Unlike the serials of the 1940's, the TV scripts would have more layers, and be more complex, and there would be much more character development. Of course, more characters from the comics would be used as well. The serial format would dictate the show be much bigger and action packed than the typical action-adventure show, and it would be open for many plot twists and swerves that more conventional shows don't have.

I'm sure a new Shazam TV series would probably be the most expensive TV series ever due to special effects, if it is done correctly, at least. And I would hope they give the show its own unique look, based upon the comics produced by Otto Binder and C.C Beck.

And in November 2010, a new video interview of executive producer Mike Uslan was posted on Newsarama, and he briefly talks about the Shazam movie, negating the earlier report that discussions had begun to do a TV series instead. He says there is "progress... progress. And we have wonderful, wonderful people working on this film, Pete Segal our director and Michael Ewing our producer, the folks at Warners, the folks at DC, everybody is just been great, and bit by bit we want to get it right and progress has been made."

Uslan added "I knew the guys behind it, I knew C.C. Beck, and communicated with him starting when I was in 7th grade, an ongoing correspondence. Otto Binder who was the main writer of Captain Marvel in the 40s kind of mentored me as a kid into the world of comic books and the comic book business...I do feel a sense of responsibility to these guys who I knew so well and were so kind to me."

Apparently unknown to Uslan, a contradicting report from IGN has been released saying "the long-gestating comic book adaptation Shazam! is said to be pretty much dead at the moment."

These guys really need to meet up and get their stories straight.

UPDATE: On December 23, 2013, Peter Segal, in an interview, implied the Shazam movie was officially a dead project.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The future of Captain Marvel

Asked about the future of Captain Marvel at DC, Geoff Johns at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con replied, "Speaking on behalf of DC Entertainment, Captain Marvel is a big character for us. If you wanted to ask specifics about Captain Marvel, Billy Batson and the Marvel Family in comics, you’d have to ask Dan [Didio] and Jim [Lee]. Obviously, I know there is a lot of passion for Captain Marvel but just know, outside the comic books, he’s a character that we talk a lot about in Burbank. He’s a very important character. His whole mythology is terrific. I think Billy, Mary and Freddy and everybody have so much potential. It’s like Harry Potter and superheroes. It just a fantastic superhero universe and one that I think really needs to be further explored as do a lot of other people. I would expect Shazam to become an increasing presence, among many others."

So I get the impression that if Captain Marvel has a future as a viable character, it may not be in comic books, but rather in other media, such as film, animation, video games, perhaps even prose novels. And it looks like the key demographic of that would be kids and teens, similar to the Harry Potter and Twilight target audience.

Johns later confirmed this at a panel forum when he admitted there are a lot of discussions about Shazam outside of comics, and when asked about the Shazam movie, he replied, "I can't talk about that."

At a forum featuring Michael Uslan and Chip Kidd to discuss Kidd's upcoming book, Shazam! The Golden Age Of The World's Mightiest Mortal, a book he says will be similar to his Batman Collected, Uslan, when asked about the status of the movie, gave a sly response, "Stay tuned".

Also announced was that Captain Marvel will be a semi-regular on the new Cartoon Network series Young Justice, and he will be voiced by Rob Lowe. Young Justice will also be getting a Johnny DC comic book series. There will also be an animated DVD titled DC Showcase that will feature a 22 minute short titled Superman/Shazam: The Return Of Black Adam. Jerry O'Connell will once again be the voice of Captain Marvel, Arnold Vosloo will be the voice of Black Adam, and James Garner will be the voice of Shazam. Release date November 9.

Also to be released on DVD on October 19, is the official Warner Brothers edition of the 1979 Legends Of The Superheroes TV specials, which featured Garrett Craig as Captain Marvel, and the first live action appearances of Dr Sivana (played by Howard Morris) and Aunt Minerva (played by Ruth Buzzi). It also features the reunion of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin.

Expected to be published next summer is Grant Morrison's Multiversity, which will be a collection of one-shots set on different earths, that will act as possible spring boards for new on-going series. The Earth-5 Captain Marvel will have his one-shot titled Thunderworld. Morrison explains about Thunderworld, "it’s just a classic Shazam book but it’s done in a way almost like a PIXAR movie or the way we did “All Star Superman.” It captures the spirit of those characters without being nostalgic or out of date. Each of them has got a real different feel to it. And that adds to it." The artwork will be by Cameron Stewart. Thunderworld could be Captain Marvel's best chance at getting a new on-going series outside of the Johnny DC line. At another panel forum, Gail Simone expressed interest in writing a Captain Marvel on-going series.

Micky Dolenz for Uncle Dudley

Micky in Adam-12
I have been a fan of the Monkees my whole life, with Micky and Mike my favorites. I always felt all four guys were, in a way, shortchanged in their careers by being typecast as Monkees. There's the infamous story of how Micky was almost cast as Fonzie on Happy Days on the strength of his performance as a biker on an episode of Adam-12, but his stereotyping as a drummer may have caused Garry Marshall to "go in another direction" by way of Henry Winkler.

I always felt Robin Williams made his career by doing a second-rate Micky Dolenz imitation. Just look at Micky's performance in the Monkees episode "Monkees Watch Their Feet", and compare it to any Mork & Mindy episode. There are too many similarities for it to be a coincidence IMO. (I have always wondered what if Micky were cast as Popeye instead of Williams in the live action 1980 movie. Would the movie have been a bigger hit, and would Micky be a major movie star today?)

I remember in the 1990s, there was some buzz about Micky being considered to play the Riddler in Batman Forever. Again, nothing came of it, as the role went to Jim Carrey.

But now there is a chance once again, for this very talented entertainer to get a featured role in a multi-million dollar event movie. Peter Segal's upcoming Warner Brothers film, BILLY BATSON AND THE LEGEND OF SHAZAM, based upon the classic Fawcett comics superhero Captain Marvel.

Now, many sharp Monkees fans will recall the TV series had several references to Captain Marvel, most notably in "Case of the Missing Monkee" where Peter says "Shazam" in front of a mirror. The lightning bolt breaks it , and Peter comments, "that's another seven years bad luck for Captain Marvel". In "Monkees at the Movies", when the producer is looking at 8 x 10 photos, one is called Freddy Freeman. Coincidentally, Captain Marvel is also reference in the Beatles song "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill", and according to legend, Elvis Presley was a Captain Marvel fan.

Could this be Dudley?
Micky would be perfect for the role of Uncle Dudley. Dudley is a sort of comedic hustler with a heart of gold. In the comics, Dudley stumbles upon the secret that Billy Batson can transform into Captain Marvel. He quickly develops a scam, pretending to be Billy's long-lost uncle, and sets up a fake charity called Shazam, Inc., where he intends to pocket all the money. However, Dudley is just too impressed with Billy's heroic nature, and decides to keep Shazam, Inc. legit, and even becomes orphan Billy's guardian. Later in the series, Dudley would wear a Marvel costume and help fight crime as Uncle Marvel, even though he has no super powers, but proceeded to fake them.

With his great comedic skills and charisma, Micky would surely make it a breakout role, and be a highlight of the film. Us fans can and must do our part to help make this happen. We all must contact Peter Segal c/o Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank CA 91522, and politely and respectfully ask Mr Segal to consider casting Micky as Dudley. It would help to keep the letters short and to the point, but don't be afraid to offer up some reasons or anecdotes of why Micky would be perfect for this role. It would also be good to contact the film's producers, Michael Uslan, Chris Godsick, and Michael Ewing, c/o Warner Brothers, as well.


Shazam manifesto and casting suggestions.


I want the upcoming SHAZAM movie made correctly. I unquestionably do not want it to be a campy comedy, but to be sure, the definitive Captain Marvel movie must have a lot of humor and fun. But it also must be balanced out with drama and pathos and action-adventure. Needless to say, it should have breath taking special effects, and be filmed in IMAX. I would like to see the film use tilted camera angles, much like celebrated film maker Orson Welles pioneered, to give it a unique look. The final shooting script should not be based on the current DC comics, with its pale, inferior version of Captain Marvel. It is the Fawcett Captain Marvel of the 1940s and 50s which should be the source material for the film (as producer Michael Uslan once promised). When Otto Binder and C.C. Beck hit thier stride, they produced some of the greatest superhero adventures of all time, certainly superior to DC's recent attempts at Shazam.
Peter Segal, slated to direct the film, had once said in interviews his take would be like "Big" with superpowers. References to "Big" are all wrong, because Captain Marvel is NOT a 12 year old with a super powered adult body. Some experts have suggested Billy and Cap may be the same person, but at different points of thier time line. Either way, Cap should not act like a 12 year old. He has the wisdom of Solomon, which should make him more mature and less headstrong than Billy. Under no circumstances do I want to see a scene where Captain Marvel learns how to be a superhero by reading Superman comic books. Such a scene would instantly damn this movie to hell.
As in the Fawcett comics, Billy should be the star of the movie. Its his adventures we follow. Yet there still must be a lot of screen time and action sequences for Captain Marvel.  I speculate the creators of Captain Marvel had the Old Testament book of Tobit in mind as a muse. In it, the mighty archangel Saint Raphael takes the form of a teen, Azariah, while among mortals. I suggest all Captain Marvel fans read this book. If you don't have a Bible with the deuterocanonical books, here is a link for Tobit .
Mary and Freddy should be supporting characters the film, but they should not get thier powers until the sequels.

The film makers need to get Alex Ross to be the movie's creative consultant. He is the only one at DC who really "gets" the Big Red Cheese. The film should use Ross' version of Captain Marvel's uniform, but it should not be skintight spandex or muscle enhancing rubber. The model of Tom Tyler's costume from the serial should be used, where the top is more of a jacket, and the pants, while snug, are not actual tights.
Perhaps the most infamous Captain Marvel fan was/is Elvis Presley. The definitive Captain Marvel movie must have an Elvis soundtrack. "If I Can Dream" would be a perfect theme song. Many of his underappreciated 60s tracks would fit the film perfectly, like "Long Legged Girl" for Beautia, "What A Wonderful Life" for Billy, "That's Someone You'll Never Forget" for Billy's crush on Beautia, "Kiss Me Quick" for Beautia's longing for Captain Marvel, etc. As for the instrumental musical score, Michael Nesmith ("Elephant Parts" and "Time Rider") should compose it. Brian Setzer would be a good second choice (or maybe Nesmith and Setzer could collaborate on the score). Perhaps Duane Eddy's hit instrumental "Shazam" could be incorporated into the score.

Here is my casting suggestions wish list:
Captain Marvel - preferably an unknown culled from daytime soaps or the stage. A good choice was Brandon Molale, but Warner Brothers has dragged thier feet so long, he is getting too old for the part. The actor playing Captain Marvel should be between 25 and 30 years old.
Shazam - Omar Sharif or possibly Michael Keaton.
Dr Sivana - Joe Pesci or Ben Kingsley or possibly Martin Short.
Beautia - Katheryn Winnick, Dianna Agron, or Bridgit Mendler.
Black Adam - Oded Fehr  (I know Dwayne Johnson is a fan favorite, but I prefer if no wrestlers or reality stars were cast).
Uncle Dudley - his royal majesty Micky Dolenz (this is my #1 casting pick!).
Sterling Morris - Jon Voight, Dan Aykroyd, or Martin Mull.
Joan Jameson - Maggie Lawson, Marnette Patterson or Sarah Chalke.
Nick Bromfield - Tom Selleck.
Nora Bromfield - Catherine Hicks, Melissa Sue Anderson, or Bonnie Hunt.
Nanny Primm - Carol Burnett or Cloris Leachman.
Whitey Murphy - Jason Dolley or Sterling Knight.
Mr Tawny - Jim Belushi.
Freddy's Grandpa - Alan Alda.
Ebenezer Batson - Bob Newhart, Tim Conway, or possibly Don Rickles.
As for the pivitol roles of Billy Batson, Freddy Freeman, and Mary Bromfield (Batson), as well as Cissy Sommerly, since the characters are around 12 years old, and since filming is still a few years away, it is impossible to speculate who would be good choices (although I will say Kay Panabaker would make a great Mary. Also, Ryan Whitney Newman is someone to watch. She may be perfect for the role in another year). All I can suggest is when casting begins, look for four 12 year olds who are talented and resemble C.C. Beck's drawings.
If you agree with me, voice your support to Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank CA 91522, and DC Comics, 1700 Broadway, New York NY 10019.