What television show you loved as a kid did not quite live up to the memory when you saw it one night on TV Land?
I have had this experience – especially some of the old Sid and Marty Krofft shows from Saturday morning. What could possibly go wrong with Ruth Buzzi and Jim Nabors as robots piloting a flying saucer? (Yes, I’m that old).
When I was about seven, one show really captured my imagination and provided source material for hours and hours of play with my friends and me. The story involved another boy who stumbled across a secret and was given the power of six immortals – Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury. The show was SHAZAM! I not only watched the show, but had the comic books as well.
Fast forward nearly 40 years and I heard the studio released the show on DVD.
I ordered the series on DVD in 2014 hoping to share a little of my childhood with my son. The package arrived and it only took a moment to look at the jacket art to know this show would probably not age well.
With some trepidation, I put in the first disc, called in my son, and pressed play.
What shocked me was how much he engaged with the show. Yes, he chuckled at some of the “special effects” and did not always understand the cultural references from the early 1970s when the show was filmed, but the stories went deeper.
Today’s superhero movies have amazing special effects, compelling super villains, A-list actors, and reams of source material to draw stories from.
But my son seemed to connect with SHAZAM! because the hero, Captain Marvel, did not fight super villains, but instead interacted with everyday people (mostly kids and teens) facing everyday issues like peer pressure, bullying, not fitting in, and the occasional car thief.
The show addressed issues and questions my son had either asked or could imagine himself asking. The show sparked conversation about why people do bad things and how to make better choices.
We do not have the same conversations after today’s superhero blockbusters – we talk about the big battle scenes or the funny lines.
But following those 25 minute episodes of SHAZAM!, we had some good talks about making good choices, how we treat friends and family, and the consequences of telling what seems like a small, white lie.
I hear DC Comics will make a movie adaptation to be released in 2019 starring The Rock as the super villain (of sorts), Black Adam. Whether or not the movie ever happens, I expect the green screen effects will blow us all away, but I wonder if the story will connect with those important questions our kids ask about everyday life.
What show from your childhood have you shared with your kids? What was the reaction? What source material do you use to assist you in teaching your kids moral tales (Aesop’s Fables and the like)?