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Effect of Color on the Appeal of "Lucy"


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This is something I've always wondered:

 

Would I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, &/or the first season of The Lucy Show be more or less enjoyable for you as a viewer if the shows had been filmed in color?

 

And would you prefer to purchase a colorized version of any of the titles above if they were offered (as was the case with the first few seasons of Bewitched)?

 

Lucille Ball's early series, such as I Love Lucy, but especially The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, may have had a better chance at being filmed/taped in color if the shows had been produced by NBC, rather than CBS, who was late to the all-color lineup party.

Desi Arnaz was very interested in filming the first episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in color, but later abandoned the idea due to cost of color film, cameras, and enhanced lighting (which may have been up to double the cost of a typical black-and-white episode).

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Personally I prefer the original B&W but would get the colour version too if I could.

 

I also think it would be more sellable internationally as TV channels seem to prefer sticking to B&W especially in the UK. For instance the B&W Bewitcheds werent shown in the UK until the recent colourised episodes became available and yes I got both versions on DVD even though I had to have the B&W DVDs imported as they were only available in the UK colourised on DVD

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This is something I've always wondered:

 

Would I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, &/or the first season of The Lucy Show be more or less enjoyable for you as a viewer if the shows had been filmed in color?

 

And would you prefer to purchase a colorized version of any of the titles above if they were offered (as was the case with the first few seasons of Bewitched)?

 

Lucille Ball's early series, such as I Love Lucy, but especially The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, may have had a better chance at being filmed/taped in color if the shows had been produced by NBC, rather than CBS, who was late to the all-color lineup party.

Desi Arnaz was very interested in filming the first episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in color, but later abandoned the idea due to cost of color film, cameras, and enhanced lighting (which may have been up to double the cost of a typical black-and-white episode).

I find subjects such as these very interesting, for one reason, we're looking at it SIXTY years on, in retrospect as things were so different back then. It was still a new medium. Shoot, they (Lucy & Desi) had to pony up to be able to film the show in the first place, they certainly weren't going to cough up even more for color.

 

Of course, back then there were only 3 networks and NBC, being owner of RCA, was considered "competition" to CBS and their thinking probably was why should we "help" give them color product to help sell their sets when 1) we don't have an RCA of our own and 2) we want them to watch CBS, not encourage them to switch to NBC!

 

By the time the hour-longs came along, of course things were even more competitive as TV had become a viable, competitive and profitable medium. I'd never thought much about it until not very long ago I saw several color stills from the set of LDCH -- I think it's a rehearsal of the Danny Thomas episode -- which got me to thinking that indeed, it would have been quite wonderful had these shows been filmed in color, for several reasons: They were touted as "specials" at the time, it would have made them even more so with the addition of color; we could have had a nice "time capsule" to see what Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel looked like in that beautiful country home (set), at the waning point of the end of an era; I bet if they weren't B&W, they'd have been shown even more as it seems the more time marches on, kids and cable outlets frown upon watching/showing anything that isn't in color.

 

Those selfish reasons aside, I don't feel adding color really makes much difference to the actual enjoyment of the programs one way or another; actually, for me personally, I find the colorized versions of early season(s) of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie frankly distracting, if not annoying, particularly if you're enjoying a marathon of them and are distracted when you notice that Sam's exact same dress in episode 5 is blue and then it's purple in episode 11 but you know it's the exact same thing, so why'd they colorize it differently? I find that annoying, sloppy and careless, showing that whomever did that was only in it for a paycheck -- which is one of the many reasons I'm grateful knowing that true, life-long Lucy fans are involved in producing the current TLS and HL DVDs -- mistakes are made, but they do the best they can for the love of it with what they've got. :D

 

Besides, the addition of color doesn't make the content any funnier or more poignant or anything else. I grew up watching them all on an old vertical, "blondie" TV set -- not unlike the one featured in "Lucy and the Courtroom" -- for years and didn't know any better until a young teenager, so I consider it "gravy" on an already tasty buffet! ;)

 

As the most recent Lucy Show DVDs show, Lucy herself is even more gorgeous in color. But that doesn't make her any funnier, more lovable or more appealing. As I suspect they will, however, don't be surprised if ILL's next incarnation is either on BluRay, colorized episodes, or both, as CBS is going to milk the cash cow dry every way to Sunday.

I'm just surprised they haven't shown up yet on iTunes! lucythrill.JPG

 

 

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I find subjects such as these very interesting, for one reason, we're looking at it SIXTY years on, in retrospect as things were so different back then. It was still a new medium. Shoot, they (Lucy & Desi) had to pony up to be able to film the show in the first place, they certainly weren't going to cough up even more for color.

 

Of course, back then there were only 3 networks and NBC, being owner of RCA, was considered "competition" to CBS and their thinking probably was why should we "help" give them color product to help sell their sets when 1) we don't have an RCA of our own and 2) we want them to watch CBS, not encourage them to switch to NBC!

 

By the time the hour-longs came along, of course things were even more competitive as TV had become a viable, competitive and profitable medium. I'd never thought much about it until not very long ago I saw several color stills from the set of LDCH -- I think it's a rehearsal of the Danny Thomas episode -- which got me to thinking that indeed, it would have been quite wonderful had these shows been filmed in color, for several reasons: They were touted as "specials" at the time, it would have made them even more so with the addition of color; we could have had a nice "time capsule" to see what Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel looked like in that beautiful country home (set), at the waning point of the end of an era; I bet if they weren't B&W, they'd have been shown even more as it seems the more time marches on, kids and cable outlets frown upon watching/showing anything that isn't in color.

 

Those selfish reasons aside, I don't feel adding color really makes much difference to the actual enjoyment of the programs one way or another; actually, for me personally, I find the colorized versions of early season(s) of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie frankly distracting, if not annoying, particularly if you're enjoying a marathon of them and are distracted when you notice that Sam's exact same dress in episode 5 is blue and then it's purple in episode 11 but you know it's the exact same thing, so why'd they colorize it differently? I find that annoying, sloppy and careless, showing that whomever did that was only in it for a paycheck -- which is one of the many reasons I'm grateful knowing that true, life-long Lucy fans are involved in producing the current TLS and HL DVDs -- mistakes are made, but they do the best they can for the love of it with what they've got. :D

 

Besides, the addition of color doesn't make the content any funnier or more poignant or anything else. I grew up watching them all on an old vertical, "blondie" TV set -- not unlike the one featured in "Lucy and the Courtroom" -- for years and didn't know any better until a young teenager, so I consider it "gravy" on an already tasty buffet! ;)

 

As the most recent Lucy Show DVDs show, Lucy herself is even more gorgeous in color. But that doesn't make her any funnier, more lovable or more appealing. As I suspect they will, however, don't be surprised if ILL's next incarnation is either on BluRay, colorized episodes, or both, as CBS is going to milk the cash cow dry every way to Sunday.

I'm just surprised they haven't shown up yet on iTunes! lucythrill.JPG

All true BUT i only mention that to us die hard fans who have been watching the same eps the same way for fifty years, it would be nice to see them in color for a nice change. I too watched them first on that set from the courtroom and i wonder if the kids watching these today realize those facial expressions that seem so exaggerated today were done as many people were watching them on snowy unclear small sets, a relative even had one of those four inch screens, the long bread seemed to be only 12 inches long on that set, LOL!

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While I would love to have seen the Ricardos and Mertzs in color, I think had the show been filmed in color it would look heavily dated today and might take away from a bit of the magic.

 

Also, does anyone know why I Love Lucy isn't on iTunes yet? Frankly I'm surprised, CBS could sell me the entire series for a third time if they'd put it on there, lol.

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While I would love to have seen the Ricardos and Mertzs in color, I think had the show been filmed in color it would look heavily dated today and might take away from a bit of the magic.

 

Also, does anyone know why I Love Lucy isn't on iTunes yet? Frankly I'm surprised, CBS could sell me the entire series for a third time if they'd put it on there, lol.

Sorry, i just dun't get it, if it was in color it would look DATED??? And it doesn't look DATED in black and white?

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I must say that watching a "Best of" special of The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (1956–1963), an NBC variety series that was shot live on color videotape reminded me of this subject of Lucy in color. The nearly 50-60-year-old color tapes of that show look extraordinary today. The color tape technology at the time was considered to be of poor quality (certain hues are more saturated than others), but just like films shot in technicolor - which were sometimes inaccurate/wildly over-saturated in terms of color capture, and I still find those early color TV episodes fascinating to watch.

 

Here are a couple of late '50s clips from the show:

 

(Dinah Shore & Pearl Bailey Sing "Mack The Knife")

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGAnPZ73ZUQ

(Dinah Shore & Peggy Lee Sing "I Got Rhythm")

 

 

 

The production stills on the set of I Love Lucy make me yearn for more color stills from the set. View this cover of Time from July, 1952 to see what I mean: http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19520526,00.html When I watch Forever, Darling and especially The Long, Long Trailer, I sometimes think of them as color episodes of I Love Lucy.

 

There was a rumor a few years ago that Ted Turner actually colorized the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episodes and aired them on his TBS station way back when the technology was very primitive (to say the least) in the late '70s or '80s. At the time, Turner was obsessed with colorization and seemed to colorize everything but the moon. Colorization technology has come a long way since the '80s, but honestly, I still don't think it's quite as good as it may someday become; there's still a lot of room for improvement.

 

Does anyone believe that Lucy in a colorized form would make the shows more appealing to younger generations of fans as black-and-white programming is becoming more and more obscure on U.S. television?

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I think I would prefer to have watched them in color, because I love the added detail that color brings to the viewing experience. There have been times I have admired dresses that were worn by Lucy & others on the series, & I would wonder what color they were. In the Hollywood fashion show episode, the dresses were beautiful even in black & white, and would have been spectacular in color.

 

If a colorized version became available I would purchase it but wonder if the colors added were randomly chosen (probably so, since I doubt there are complete records on this to work from).

 

I think color versions of I Love Lucy would appeal to younger viewers today, but maybe not The Lucy Show or Here's Lucy, for several reasons. In my opinion, ILL is the funniest of the three. For teens & under, I would really dislike them thinking that the 60's attitude of women needing men to handle their money for them is acceptable. Ditto that they should be treated like children in this area. Or that they should allow any Mooney types to scream at or belittle them.

 

For twentysomethings, I think they might watch ILL but not the other two for the reasons stated above.

 

Yes, I know ILL does a lot of this too, but it is also a love story, women-against-men/husbands against wives storylines, & it just seems ... quaint? Just somehow more acceptable because it is so much older & there is more "funny" than screaming. Plus, Lucy Ricardo was very good at scheming to do things the way she wanted to -- a strong willed woman in many ways.

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Does anyone believe that Lucy in a colorized form would make the shows more appealing to younger generations of fans as black-and-white programming is becoming more and more obscure on U.S. television?

 

Absolutely, I've known loads of kids that wont watch B&W stuff but will watch the old colour programmes. Also as I mentioned before many channels seem to not want to broadcast B&W these days but will show old colour things and therefore B&W shows are slowly becoming forgotten. You ask many people under 30's about Lucy and they;ve never heard of her.

 

Re: the colour stuff looking dated I know when i watch some of the movies from the 30's that dared to go colour, the colour just looks not right....

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Absolutely, I've known loads of kids that wont watch B&W stuff but will watch the old colour programmes. Also as I mentioned before many channels seem to not want to broadcast B&W these days but will show old colour things and therefore B&W shows are slowly becoming forgotten. You ask many people under 30's about Lucy and they;ve never heard of her.

 

Re: the colour stuff looking dated I know when i watch some of the movies from the 30's that dared to go colour, the colour just looks not right....

Classic movies in black and white are the same as classic early television shows filmed the same way, quality is quality regardless of color, but color does add a little something and as i keep saying we know these shows by heart and it would be nice to see something different after all these viewings over a half century.

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For me, I cant imagine ILL being in colour. I like it the way it was meant to be, black and white. But in saying that, if we could see it in REAL colour than that would be wonderful. As much as I loved the scottish episode in colour, I cant picture the WHOLE show being colourized. Just wouldnt be natural. The colourized Bewitched episodes for me were purely average.

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I know I've mentioned it a few times but I remember at the 2001 convention when they showed the Brown Derby scene of LA At Last colourised it was awesome!

EXACTLY, the advances made in colorization would put the whole series into the hands of the new young fans who want everything in color anyway.

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For me, I cant imagine ILL being in colour. I like it the way it was meant to be, black and white. But in saying that, if we could see it in REAL colour than that would be wonderful. As much as I loved the scottish episode in colour, I cant picture the WHOLE show being colourized. Just wouldnt be natural. The colourized Bewitched episodes for me were purely average.

But it would be much better than it was for Bewitched as that was done so long ago with old methods, just imagine seeing Lucy Ricardo's BLUE eyes and RED hair for a change.

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I know I've mentioned it a few times but I remember at the 2001 convention when they showed the Brown Derby scene of LA At Last colourised it was awesome!

I remember it looked pretty cool too, but I wonder it that's because we saw it on a big screen?? I know I'll get brickbats for this but I don't think the colorized "Scotland" episode looks as amazing as some do, in part perhaps because it's not a big favorite in the first place. huh.gif

 

Also, those Bewitched and IDOJ colorized episodes were done for the DVD releases, which wasn't all that long ago and despite being done long after the LA at Last test scene we saw at that convention, weren't done half as well. ohmy.gif

 

Sorry, this is just my opinion, but until someone comes along that actually is involved to colorize these classics who's actually allowed to do it with plenty of time, money/budget AND true artistry, someone who cares enough to match repeat items such as the same dress, etc., from episode to episode, someone who's a true diehard fan as well as an artist in this process to ensure they're done with as much care and accuracy as possible, I wish they'd just leave them alone.

 

I'm fine with the archived black & white original versions on DVD that we're fortunate to have.tongue.gif

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I think I too am in a minority as I was quite impressed with the colourisation job on Bewitched. Admitidly I dont pay that much attention to the outfit from episode to episode so dont notice when theyve got it wrong. But being colourised definately brought a whole new life to the B&W Bewitched's and Jeannies as they air them in both the UK and Aus where (cant speak for Aus) but the B&W episodes never aired in the UK In my memory/life time

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You're left to imagine colors when its in B&W, if it was in color you'd see all those 50s pastels (ick!)...

Ok, go watch the colorized Scotland ep and come back to me about the pastels and such . . . i get to see WEEDS again this Wednesday, cannot wait as i keep seeing the commercial for their new season and it's killing me.

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Ok, go watch the colorized Scotland ep and come back to me about the pastels and such . . . i get to see WEEDS again this Wednesday, cannot wait as i keep seeing the commercial for their new season and it's killing me.

 

Ah, see, the colorization of that episode only leaves me wanting the show to be colorized even less than before. We'll have to agree to disagree. :professor:

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Well, you guys did it again, another great fun topic to occupy my time! YOU guys remember the beginning of the CBS video tape release of ILL? Where they had colorized clips to Desi singing the theme song?? Also on the dvd release of season one of ILL, if you select "play all".. the colorized clip song plays but the other seasons don't have the colorized clip song on them (mine don't anyway i think).. I think the HOUR long shows would be wonderfull in color since some of them "drag" at times and color would certainly add to the experience... as far as colorizing the HALF hour shows... some would be great to see in color!.. Most of the Hollywood episodes would just "sparkle" in color.. Wouldn't it be fun to watch a BW I Love Lucy..and at the big comedy scene have the picture change to color.. (like in THE WOMEN.. where the movie is BW and the fashion show is in COLOR).. a Tropicana number in color.. or Vitameatavegamin in color.. or the Charm School entrance in color (Please Fred.. I'll open the doah.. Open it.. I was gonna LOCK it!) Well.. I think that would be neat.. I know it probably wouldn't be cost effective since Desi used to say.. "she's just as funny in black and white".

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Ah, see, the colorization of that episode only leaves me wanting the show to be colorized even less than before. We'll have to agree to disagree. :professor:

You mean to say you did not think it was the most beautiful colorful and different ILL ep you ever saw in your life????? I used to hate that particular show till i saw it all beautifully colorized with colors so gorgeous and bright it made me yearn for th rest of the series the exact same way.

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Well, you guys did it again, another great fun topic to occupy my time! YOU guys remember the beginning of the CBS video tape release of ILL? Where they had colorized clips to Desi singing the theme song?? Also on the dvd release of season one of ILL, if you select "play all".. the colorized clip song plays but the other seasons don't have the colorized clip song on them (mine don't anyway i think).. I think the HOUR long shows would be wonderfull in color since some of them "drag" at times and color would certainly add to the experience... as far as colorizing the HALF hour shows... some would be great to see in color!.. Most of the Hollywood episodes would just "sparkle" in color.. Wouldn't it be fun to watch a BW I Love Lucy..and at the big comedy scene have the picture change to color.. (like in THE WOMEN.. where the movie is BW and the fashion show is in COLOR).. a Tropicana number in color.. or Vitameatavegamin in color.. or the Charm School entrance in color (Please Fred.. I'll open the doah.. Open it.. I was gonna LOCK it!) Well.. I think that would be neat.. I know it probably wouldn't be cost effective since Desi used to say.. "she's just as funny in black and white".

Ok, you make a terrific POINT, the opening on certain dvd releases with the clips of them in color but their surroundings in back and white still is just great to watch, also on Babalu Music, Weird All shows us colored sections among the various clips and this gives you an idea of how terrific it would all look in color. When the Christmas episode, another dud, was colorized, it made it so much more enjoyable, but i hated the fact that they left the flashbacks in black and white. The morons even released it as a special dvd WITHOUT those black and white clips, how stupid was that? No, i think having some color among the black and white shows would be too jarring, i want them all in color and from beginning to end too.

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Well, you guys did it again, another great fun topic to occupy my time! YOU guys remember the beginning of the CBS video tape release of ILL? Where they had colorized clips to Desi singing the theme song?? Also on the dvd release of season one of ILL, if you select "play all".. the colorized clip song plays but the other seasons don't have the colorized clip song on them (mine don't anyway i think).. I think the HOUR long shows would be wonderfull in color since some of them "drag" at times and color would certainly add to the experience... as far as colorizing the HALF hour shows... some would be great to see in color!.. Most of the Hollywood episodes would just "sparkle" in color.. Wouldn't it be fun to watch a BW I Love Lucy..and at the big comedy scene have the picture change to color.. (like in THE WOMEN.. where the movie is BW and the fashion show is in COLOR).. a Tropicana number in color.. or Vitameatavegamin in color.. or the Charm School entrance in color (Please Fred.. I'll open the doah.. Open it.. I was gonna LOCK it!) Well.. I think that would be neat.. I know it probably wouldn't be cost effective since Desi used to say.. "she's just as funny in black and white".

 

 

I totally agree! I think adding SUPERB prestine color, even with the cost, would CERTAINLY be worth it. The way the

"Lucy Goes to Scotland" episode was handled was nearly perfect.

The most wonderful thing was someone walking in the room with it showing and saying "Hey, this is Lucy's color shows huh?..oh no wait, this is I Love Lucy in color!!"

The quality was top notch! I never had the feeling of seeing a colorized episode, it was so vibrant and so exact that I relaxed and enjoyed the show and never thought about the color, besides the fact that watching it felt genuine and real.

Sure it's taking a classic and altering it, but having the original black and white prints, why not have a little fun with a best of set with a colorization thats OUT OF THIS WORLD.

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