The live-action comic book adaptation is born in Adventures of Captain Marvel, widely considered to be among the best serials ever made.
We open with the Malcolm Expedition, accompanied by young reporter Billy Batson (Frank Coghlan Jr.), on an archaeological dig in Siam. Their objective is to find an ancient artifact - the Golden Scorpion. When its lenses are arranged in particular ways, the scorpion can either turn base elements into gold, or create a super-powerful death ray. A cave-in during the expedition leads Billy to uncover the secret hiding place of the wizard Shazam (Nigel de Brulier), who uses the powers of the gods of old to protect people from the scorpion's power. Shazam instructs Billy to say his name in order to be granted those same powers, transforming him into Captain Marvel (Tom Tyler) and allowing him to save the archaeologists. The expedition returns to the United States, and the lenses are divided among the scientists who made up the expedition. However, a mysterious hooded criminal calling himself The Scorpion wants the lenses for himself, and is killing off the scientists to get them. It falls to Captain Marvel to unmask The Scorpion before more lives are lost and the Golden Scorpion's power falls into the villain's hands.