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Colorized "I Love Lucy" DVD set for Nov. 5, CBS Special airs Dec. 20

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Everyone was wondering about the non-colorized Christmas tree lights -- that is, why they turned white when they were plugged in...

 

When the artists colorize a black-and-white film, they have to have something on the original film to add the color to... In computer terms, they have to have some black-and-white/gray pixels on which to affix a color value... When the lights were turned off, they appeared as shades of gray in the original film. So the artists could make them red, blue, green, yellow, whatever... When they were plugged in, on the original film, all the gray tones were "blown out" and all you had was essentially a totally white image... So when it came to colorize them, there was nothing there to colorize!

 

What I enjoyed about the colorized show was noticing how much DETAIL I suddenly saw in the background.  This is a result both of the colorization process AND the fact that the picture is now in high-def... But I noticed a lot of little things, like the nick-nacks in the room, things hanging in the closets... In the Rome hotel room, Ricky's brief case is sitting over near the door...  When the shows are in standard def black-and-white, all of these things become muted, blurry "background" with no real disctinction... It was like seeing the room(s) for the first time!

 

Tjw

I also noticed in the Italy episode, when Ricky arrived looking for Lucy and he opened the closet door, one of Lucy's blue dress was colorized with the right color. Tells me they really tried to look at detail.

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I also noticed in the Italy episode, when Ricky arrived looking for Lucy and he opened the closet door, one of Lucy's blue dress was colorized with the right color. Tells me they really tried to look at detail.

 

I can not get over how beautiful the color was. And the entire thing looked so crisp and clear and smooth. I was looking up the whole coloring process and found a video of what, I assume, resembles the task of coloring shows and how tedious and how precise the entire process is. Makes you appreciate it a bit more, knowing the way its been handled. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O0gOvC-uvg

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Maybe Lucy disliked the Christmas show because it was a flashback show? Well just a guess. Would love to see more color shows on dvd like a best of dvd set. And a great idea to color the Lucy Show first season Christmas show. This new 2013 color I Love Lucy Christmas version is much better than the 1990 color version. Now the 1990 version is good but the new version is more color accurate and clear. Once again thanks to all involved in the Christmas Special and the color Christmas dvd. I am just amazed. Great work just great work. Thank you so much for such a high quality job.

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I still don't get why news outlets keep calling this a special. It was not, nor ever will be, a special. It was just another episode that didn't happen to make the syndication package. It has been available for years on video and is hardly "lost".

 

I'm also sick of reading about reporters calling both re-aired episodes "newly colorized". The X-Mas one may be new, but Italian Movie has been around for a few years now courtesy of Time Life. If they did their research a bit better maybe they'd report more accurately. At least let people know how long these things have been around.

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Ah, semantics... You remember Semantics -- that was when Elizabeth Montgomery twitched her nose and Darren hit the ceiling... No, no, I digress...

 

I think the word "special" can mean many things, including "atypical." For years, everyone, including Desilu, referred to the show as "a special episode" of I Love Lucy... Then, of course, when it was unearthed in 1989 and repeated on CBS, it aired as a Christmas Special, just as it did Friday night... So that's how/why everyone calls it that...

 

As for the "newly colorized," even though the "Italian" episode was colorized a couple of years ago, the color was "tweaked" for the 2013 broadcast...

 

I don't think any of the news stories meant to be misleading....

 

Tjw

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It takes a few weeks to do a half-hour episode, with a team of colorists working.  (I do not know how many artists were employed to colorized the Christmas show... ) No two projects/episodes are exactly alike, because a lot depends on the black-and-white material the colorists are starting with, so it is impossible to quote an exact number of manhours... It's also a very subjective art, because someone might think an color is perfect, and someone else wants it a little lighter or a little darker... All the tweaking can take a long time as well... With shows like "Bewitched" and "The Andy Griffith Show" -- or our own "The Lucy Show" -- the artists would have a leg-up in that there are multiple samples of those shows photographed in color, and one can work backward, matching hair colors, room decor, etc.  It's more difficult when one only has a few time-faded color photographs from which to work... 

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Ah, semantics... You remember Semantics -- that was when Elizabeth Montgomery twitched her nose and Darren hit the ceiling... No, no, I digress...

 

I think the word "special" can mean many things, including "atypical." For years, everyone, including Desilu, referred to the show as "a special episode" of I Love Lucy... Then, of course, when it was unearthed in 1989 and repeated on CBS, it aired as a Christmas Special, just as it did Friday night... So that's how/why everyone calls it that...

 

As for the "newly colorized," even though the "Italian" episode was colorized a couple of years ago, the color was "tweaked" for the 2013 broadcast...

 

I don't think any of the news stories meant to be misleading....

 

Tjw

 

Ah, yes, I figured it had something to do with that. I know nobody meant to be misleading, it's just the use of the word special (even on the Fox VHS release) has always seemed a bit off to me. Plus, isn't the official title "The Christmas Show"?

 

And I hadn't realized the Italian movie color was tweaked. Okay, so they weren't working off false info there. Scratch that! I'll have to check out the TimeLife release and see if I notice a difference between the two.

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It takes a few weeks to do a half-hour episode, with a team of colorists working.  (I do not know how many artists were employed to colorized the Christmas show... ) No two projects/episodes are exactly alike, because a lot depends on the black-and-white material the colorists are starting with, so it is impossible to quote an exact number of manhours... It's also a very subjective art, because someone might think an color is perfect, and someone else wants it a little lighter or a little darker... All the tweaking can take a long time as well... With shows like "Bewitched" and "The Andy Griffith Show" -- or our own "The Lucy Show" -- the artists would have a leg-up in that there are multiple samples of those shows photographed in color, and one can work backward, matching hair colors, room decor, etc.  It's more difficult when one only has a few time-faded color photographs from which to work... 

 

I find it very interesting watching the early episodes of "The Lucy Show" season 2, as we're seeing the set as it was designed to be photographed in black and white. I think the creative team was wise to redress the set just a few episodes in, as somebody surely realized they needed a more vibrant looking set that would really pop when rebroadcast in color for syndication.

 

But those first few shows that year do allow us a rare glimpse; seeing what a black in white show looked like in color. And the results aren't especially spectacular, since everything was chosen for how it photographed in B&W. I've actually turned off the color a few times (as Mr. Maietta suggested we do to be retro) and watched them in B&W, and I have to say it almost makes more sense to me seeing them that way.

 

Your comment about using color footage to match hair colors made me giggle; it recalled a joke I made a while back about some fictional company being "fired" from colorizing "I Love Lucy" for making Lucy a blonde due to an unfortunate oversight, haha.

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The talk about what constitutes a special reminds me of Jack Benny. When he had an hour special he said something like "All it is is two half hours put together!  And they call that a special. To me a special is when coffee is marked down...."

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The talk about what constitutes a special reminds me of Jack Benny. When he had an hour special he said something like "All it is is two half hours put together!  And they call that a special. To me a special is when coffee is marked down...."

 

:marionstrong:

 

Yes, the word special is one that gets thrown around a lot and isn't always appropriate. That also goes for the term "Special Edition" in regards to DVD sets. Disney is notorious for slapping that phrase on even the most mundane of releases.

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My favorite (not!) was when network TV on-air promo people started to abuse the word back in the late 1980s and 1990s... Every week they tried to find SOMETHING to hype, even when most of the programming was trype...

 

I remember one NBC promo telling us we just had to watch tomorrow night for "a very special episode of 'Blossom.'"

 

Duh... no!

 

T.

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Is the 80's then where we're got this term " very special episode"? Usually these were the teenage pregnancy, drugs, eating disorder, homelessness, etc... type of episodes.

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CBS has made it official:  the Christmas special will be repeated on Wednesday evening (Christmas night) 8-9PM...

 

T.

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CBS has made it official:  the Christmas special will be repeated on Wednesday evening (Christmas night) 8-9PM...

 

T.

 

Excellent! Congratulations to everyone involved!

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It takes a few weeks to do a half-hour episode, with a team of colorists working.  (I do not know how many artists were employed to colorized the Christmas show... ) No two projects/episodes are exactly alike, because a lot depends on the black-and-white material the colorists are starting with, so it is impossible to quote an exact number of manhours... It's also a very subjective art, because someone might think an color is perfect, and someone else wants it a little lighter or a little darker... All the tweaking can take a long time as well... With shows like "Bewitched" and "The Andy Griffith Show" -- or our own "The Lucy Show" -- the artists would have a leg-up in that there are multiple samples of those shows photographed in color, and one can work backward, matching hair colors, room decor, etc.  It's more difficult when one only has a few time-faded color photographs from which to work... 

Would be very interesting to see one of those shot-in color/shown in b-w episodes of The Lucy Show with the b/w version colorized and see how it compares with the actual color version.  I'm glad they eventually toned down Lucy and Viv's garish "ladies of the evening" shade of blue eye shadow.

Side note on season 2.  The fact that several episodes of the 2nd season were actually shot at the end of season  ( ala ILL) and were Mooney-less makes me wonder if "Dennis" hadn't officially been canceled when these were filmed so Gale wasn't officially available.

Always thought "Locked in Vault"  and "Safe Cracker", 2 of my favorites, combined into an hour ("The Lucy-Viv-Gale Comedy Hour") would have been a great season opener. Running the pre-"Vault"  Mooney-less episodes later wouldn't have disrupted continuity as there are other 2nd season shows without him :"Conducts Symphony" "College Reunion"....were there more?

Other than "Wingding" and "Meets the Berles", were there any more Mooney-less Lucy shows from the third season on?

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No Neil... The vault episodes were among the shows shot in May and saved for fall... I believe they were filmed 5/16 and 5/23... I think the studio/network/sponsor powers that were must have decided the Cleopatra show was very topical and funny -- and would give them an angle to promote, so they went with that as the season opener...

 

tjw

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Mooney-less episodes later wouldn't have disrupted continuity as there are other 2nd season shows without him :"Conducts Symphony" "College Reunion"....were there more?

Other than "Wingding" and "Meets the Berles", were there any more Mooney-less Lucy shows from the third season on?

Mooney is also not in Lucy and the Military Academy and Lucy Takes Up Golf in season two; Lucy Goes to Vegas and Lucy Makes a Pinch in season three; Lucy and Joan in season four; and Lucy and Carol Burnett, Part Two in season six.

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Mooney is also not in Lucy and the Military Academy and Lucy Takes Up Golf in season two; Lucy Goes to Vegas and Lucy Makes a Pinch in season three; Lucy and Joan in season four; and Lucy and Carol Burnett, Part Two in season six.

Hmm...not to slight GG whom I adored but given the "Big Names" guesting in most of those examples (Joan Crawford,CB etc.) perhaps there just wasn't much left for him to do even if he'd appeared! ;)

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Tom, how many color stills are there of the 1st season of TLS? I have seen one of Lucy and Viv in the kitchen, drunkenly decorating the wedding cake. The walls are yellow and the frosting is red. I thought they would've went with a muted color that would show up better on tape since it was shot in B&W. I also saw one of Lucy Buys a Sheep, in the photo gallery section on the dvd, where Lucy is trying to rock Clementine to sleep, wearing a purple nightgown. And theres a couple from the Antenna episode, as seen on the cover art and on the vintage/regular openings submenu. 

 

Are there any color stills from the boat episode or the butterfly one? 

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The ones you mention are the only ones that I have seen, too...

 

Well, those and the color shots on the comic covers -- but they are things like Lucy and Viv on the roof (putting up the antenna), etc.

 

Gotta believe there are others to be found, but color photography was not really "needed" so much back then. Newspapers and most magazines still were primarily black-and-white, except for magazine covers, and those were often posed pictures...

 

Tjw

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It takes a few weeks to do a half-hour episode, with a team of colorists working.  (I do not know how many artists were employed to colorized the Christmas show... ) No two projects/episodes are exactly alike, because a lot depends on the black-and-white material the colorists are starting with, so it is impossible to quote an exact number of manhours... It's also a very subjective art, because someone might think an color is perfect, and someone else wants it a little lighter or a little darker... All the tweaking can take a long time as well... With shows like "Bewitched" and "The Andy Griffith Show" -- or our own "The Lucy Show" -- the artists would have a leg-up in that there are multiple samples of those shows photographed in color, and one can work backward, matching hair colors, room decor, etc.  It's more difficult when one only has a few time-faded color photographs from which to work... 

I was just curious about the color process. First, I have to give the color department two thumbs up for making the colors look as good as it can get! They really tried to get it as accurate as possible. I loved the Scotland ep because of the accuracy of the dream sequence and Lucy's wardrobe during the fight scene was spot on. But how come the accuracy in the xmas ep was lacking a bit. There's color still (I assume everyone has seen it) of the xmas ep with Lucy/Ricky in color. Why was the curtains blue and not red (or whatever shade of red it was)? I'm sure Ricky's suit was brown? The xmas ep isn't exactly my fav ep color or b/w. I think I can understand why Lucy didn't want it in the syndication package. The dream sequences were very lame.

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Sadly, tonight's rebroadcast of the I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL was such a last-miute decision that many of the printed TV listings do not include it... Even this morning's list and grid in the LA Times still includes the regularly scheduled programs... So spread the word if you have access to a computer today...

 

And Merry Christmas to all... And a VERY Happy New Year!

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Sadly, tonight's rebroadcast of the I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL was such a last-miute decision that many of the printed TV listings do not include it... Even this morning's list and grid in the LA Times still includes the regularly scheduled programs... So spread the word if you have access to a computer today...

 

And Merry Christmas to all... And a VERY Happy New Year!

 

Merry Christmas, Tom! Thanks for all your hard work!

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