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Colorization: a possible solution to unreleased B/W shows?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Charles Ellis, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    With Legend Films' recent success with the colorizations of It's A Wonderful Life and the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Goes To Scotland", I wonder vif the new advances in the process could be used in vintage B/W shows that have yet to be out on DVD or shows that have shows in both color & B/W.

    Sony released the B/W seasons of both Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie in both color and monochrome versions. Since Legend has been working with Fox on some of their films, I sent an e-mail to Barry Sandrew of Legend Films about possibly colorizing the first two seasons of Peyton Place (the Mia Farrow years) for a DVD release, and this was his immediate response:

    Charles,

    You’re preaching to the choir. Would love to do those episodes. It’s totally Fox’s call.

    Barry

    So Legend Films is more than willing to do colorization of vintage TV programs, but once again the stumbling block is the owner of the original material. If Fox gave the go-ahead to Legend for shows from its vault like Adventures in Paradise or even the first season of Lost In Space, it could be quite the sales bonanza.

    Imagine if Legend were able to get hold of The Donna Reed Show, Burns & Allen (ironically one episode WAS filmed in color) or The Patty Duke Show, these vintage shows could capture new fans.

    For purists, it may sound like sacrilege, but right now the studios aren't doing much to release classic B/W programming from the 50s and 60s, with few exceptions like Paramount with The Untouchables and Gunsmoke. A carefully researched colorization could be the answer to getting thse shows out!
     
  2. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I respectfully disagree.

    Colorization of B&W material is a guarantee I WON'T buy it.

    It is an insult to the intelligence of film buffs everywhere to suggest that the film/show can't stand on its own merits. Warner, Fox, and some other studios have released a ton of classic films in recent years in their original glorious B&W and had great success doing so. Why should classic TV be any different?
     
  3. Mary_P

    Mary_P Second Unit

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    I would not knowingly buy colorized product. I agree with Steve: there's nothing wrong with B&W.
     
  4. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately, it is a different market. You certainly don't see the majority of classic B/W films that have come out on DVD colorized, and the great B/W films come out with more frequency than B/W TV shows.

    The TV market, at least in the eyes of those who run the TV divisions of the home video studios, is more youth-oriented and are more prejudiced towards stuff made after 1980, which is a rather narrow-minded viewpoint. There are many of us who would love to see the B/W shows we grew up with released, but in the eyes of the studios most older shows, especially the monochrome ones, won't sell. I am merely proposing a way in which we can finally see these classics on DVD.
     
  5. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    I would not buy any of these colorized and I imagine all the people that never heard of these will not be swayed by colorization. It is more than black and white, it is the fact that it is older and the way they are written and shot are different than what modern audiences are use to and they never had any exposure to it on tv in the first place. I do believe new people can like older programming, I do and I was born in 78 but there is no extra exposure. Colorization will not help these shows, it will only hurt it with fans of the material and turn off the curious unexposed.
     
  6. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I'm with Steve as far as my personal feelings go. I am adamantly opposed to colorization for the same reason Steve is. It's an insult that I simply will not tolerate.

    Unfortunately I do tend to agree with Charles on the issue of how the execs at the major studios view vintage TVonDVD. There's no doubt a studio like Sony is allergic to their b&w catalog and feel the need to colorize at every turn possible. It's sickening to me personally, but I do think Charles' hits the nail on the head as far as the problem goes. The TV divisions in most of these studios really don't have much faith in b&w tv, with Paramount being the one lone exception right now. And even in their case, we've got this split season thing becoming more popular with the older shows. Although that may be a ploy to milk us for more money. I don't know their reasoning behind such a decision.

    And that brings me to Tory's post. Well said! The "big picture" problem with vintage tv in general is that the younger audience (which clearly constitutes the vast majority of dvd buyers) has had no exposure to these shows and consequently couldn't care less about them. They have been raised on a different type of television all together. Shows are shot differently (where the camera can't focus on one thing for more than a second or two). Shows are written differently (more sex, more profanity, more everything - except decency) and this is what young people want. This leaves out most anything done in the 50's and 60's. And colorizing isn't going to help the situation, IMHO. It's a losing battle all the way around, I'm sad to say.

    Gary "feeling very much like a dinosaur even though I'm only 42" O.
     
  7. Pete Battista

    Pete Battista Screenwriter

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    I have to agree with the majority that it sounds like a bad idea to me. I personally wouldn't knowing buy anything that was colorized. I really don't feel that it is the black and white image that push some people away... but the style in which the shows was made back then... and what was seen back then compared to now. I personally think that when someone says they won't watch black and white shows isn't actually because it is in black and white... just that they know what they show will be like style-wise... and that is what they don't want.

    So in my eyes this sounds like something that not only wouldn't help bring new fans to the show... but would also push the old fans away.
     
  8. Scott-S

    Scott-S Premium
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    I happen to like colorized films. It is the only way I would watch some movies. For some reason I can't "get into" a movie in BW. I always feel like I am watching a movie. I am able to forget I am watching a movie when it is in color for the most part.

    As long as the original B&W is preserved and given the same treatments, I don't get why people care there is a color version on the same disc. I can see the problem if only the color version was available, but as long as the viewer has a choice I say go for it. The more versions, the more potential viewers.

    you can always turn your color down on your TV and watch everything in B&W... LOL

    My last comment is that the whole sentiment about how the films or TV shows were filmed in B&W so that is how it was meant to be seen is bunk. With a few exceptions, I am sure that if they had color available to them at the same costs, these "classic" shows/movies would have been done in color. B&W was not really a choice made for artistic reasons by the director, it was either simply too expensive or color was not yet available to do it in color.

    The notiion of wanting to only view a movie in B&W is like saying you should never watch a movie on TV because it was "meant" to be seen on a large screen and projected at 24 fps.

    B&W has its place. But life is in color.
     
  9. seanOhara

    seanOhara Supporting Actor

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    Color became standard around 15 years before 1980, so if shows from the '70s don't sell it's not like a colorized show from the '50s will do any better.
     
  10. redbird

    redbird Agent

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    If colorization brings more black and white shows to DVD then I'm in favor of it. I don't like colorization but some of those older shows really need to get to DVD. I'd buy such DVD's and just turn off the color on my TV-I do that everytime I watch the second season of "Bewitched" anyway.[​IMG]
     
    LouA and Everett Stallings like this.
  11. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    I'm not a fan of colorizing B&W, but the thing to look at is that the Color versions of Bewitched S1 & S2 both just DOMINATED the B&W skus in sales.

    I mean just killed them.
     
  12. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    The Black and White volumes were harder to find. All I could see were the colorized ones at Wal-Mart.
     
  13. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    I'm only talking videoscan numbers - so WalMart isn't included in that.

    But even without WalMart, the color versions sold really, really well - especially for an older show.
     
  14. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    The fact that the colorized sets outsold the b&w ones doesn't surprise me in the least. It disgusts me, but it doesn't surprise me.

    Gary "that just demonstrates our point all the more that most of the younger crowd can't appreciate b&w shows in general" O.
     
  15. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Screenwriter

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    I have to agree as well. Watching a television series as it was originally intended, in black and white, if that's how it was produced, is the only way to watch the series in.

    For me, I would never purchase a television series if it was converted from black and white to color. I hate colorizations as I've never watched one that I was satisfied with. It just takes away from the original feeling that one experiences with those classic shows.

    The only people that claim they want color are those folks who never knew what it was to grow up watching these shows as they were originally intended. That's why I could only buy the Bewitched Seasons 1-2 in black and white. It's blasphemy to think of watching the first two seasons in color.

    With black and white television programs, you get more contrast and feeling than you can with colorization. By colorizing these shows, you take away from that feeling of noir.
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    If you hadn't given them a choice, there would have been no comparison to make. I looked everywhere for the Black-and-White Bewitched seasons anywhere and had to buy them at FYE at retail cost.

    Do not give the consumer a choice. No colorization. Do they make B&W versions of color material available? Should we also crop these shows to 16x9? Make fake stereo remixes? Add CGI special effects (whoops, too late, they did it to Star Trek already)?

    This is a cultural dark age as far as I'm concerned. It's bad enough that the studios are willing to reward such philistinism. How long before they have to colorize Citizen freakin' Kane?
     
  17. Scott-S

    Scott-S Premium
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    LOL That is the funniest quote I have seen in a long time.

    These DVDs are not meant to by a historical record. They are meant to be purchased by consumers. If they have shown to prefer colorized, then it makes sense that that is what they sell. It is a business, not a historical archiving.

    I love Pizza. I hate fungus (mushrooms) on pizza. I don't think every pizza joint should stop making mushrooms available to those who like them.
     
  18. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Supporting Actor

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    That's not actually true. There were many directors who chose not to shoot in Technicolor because the colors, particularly in the 3-strip age, were too bright and did not suit the natures of the dramatic stories they were trying to tell. As the years went on and cinematographers learned to better control the color pallette, more dramatic filmmakers were willing to film in color.

    Eventually studios forbade directors from using B&W and now you almost never see a whole movie shot in B&W. You do, however, see a lot of directors and cinematographers draining the majority of the color from their movies, trying to get a monochromatic feel. Lots of directors out there would jump at the chance to make a movie in B&W.
     
  19. Scott-S

    Scott-S Premium
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    I do agree that B&W is best in some places. Like the opening of Wizard of Oz. But it is there for a reason. I am not suggesting that they colorize that. [​IMG]

    I still think that "Bewitched" was only in B&W for cost reasons, not due to artistic choice. So colorizing it can only help in my view.

    Getting back to the original issue, I think that if the DVDs would only sell enough if they were colorized, then they should do it. Especially if the other option is to not be released at all. Isn't it better to have a colorized version than no version at all ever be sold?
     
  20. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Supporting Actor

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    No.
     

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