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Is the b&w era of TV on DVD slowly coming to an end?


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#1361 of 2830 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted February 15 2013 - 06:58 PM

Hank was another show which shot a black and white pilot and then went color for the series. I believe Please Don't Eat The Daisies was the same thing.

#1362 of 2830 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted February 16 2013 - 02:37 AM

Hank was another show which shot a black and white pilot and then went color for the series. I believe Please Don't Eat The Daisies was the same thing.
So were the pilots for the short-lived Tammy and Ok Crackerby on abc.

#1363 of 2830 OFFLINE   BobO'Link

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Posted February 16 2013 - 02:54 AM

The 1965-1966 season (when both Get Smart and Hogan's Heroes premiered) was the transitional one. The season before that, there were just a few color series. The following season, all three networks went full color (apart from some news stuff). But I imagine that in the 1965 pilot season, there were some back-and-forth decisions being made about which series warranted color.
There were. If I did my math correctly there were 13 new B/W series, 24 new color series, 36 returning shows in color, and 23 returning/news/game shows in B/W. Quite a few of the returning B/W series that season were "studio bound" (game shows, newscasts, etc.) or series in their last season. I've wondered how many of those B/W series in their last season knew it would be the last season going in or decided at the end of the season a switch to color would be too expensive and just ended. A couple which could have benefitted from color that inagural year are The Wild Wild West, and I Dream of Jeannie. Another that started B/W that year but switched to color the next is F Troop. I believe those three are the only series which premiered in B/W during the '65-'66 season which survived to become color in the '66-'67 season. Considering that NBC was a *major* player in the push towards color it's surprising that first season of I Dream of Jeannie was in B/W. IDOJ and Convoy were the only 2 B/W series on the NBC schedule that season. CBS had 15 while ABC had 19 (with 21 actual B/W slots as Peyton Place aired 3 times a week). Surprisingly it would be the 1966-67 season when Bewitched would go color. Considering the ratings it pulled in the first year (#2/31.0 in the Neilsens') you would have thought this would have been an automatic color order in the '65-'66 season. Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea went color that year while his new series, Lost in Space, started as B/W. I find it a bit odd that both had a more serious tone during that B/W season and once color arrived so did the camp factor. While I like both series and all seasons of them I much prefer the more serious first seasons of both and often wonder if the tone of each would have stayed more true to their first seasons had they continued in B/W. It would be a couple of years before I'd see *any* of those in color at home. We got our first color TV in 1967 (a HeathKit model my dad and I assembled).

#1364 of 2830 OFFLINE   BobO'Link

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Posted February 16 2013 - 03:15 AM

^Get Smart was in color from S1.
1st season was in black and white. Starting with season 2 it was in color.
1st season was in black and white. Starting with season 2 it was in color.
Just the pilot episode was black and white. The rest of season one was shot in color.
Just the pilot episode was black and white. The rest of season one was shot in color.
Hogan's Heroes was the same way. Kind of odd.
I'm sure it was simply to not waste that episode. While the general trend was towards color production (especially so if you were selling to RCA/NBC) it was also more expensive. If you were marketing to CBS or ABC (Get Smart was originally pitched to ABC) you do your pilot in B/W thinking that's what the network will want but at the last minute the network wants color so you switch to color stock for the series. Having already shot that pilot that you expected to air as the first episode of the series you do not reshoot (too expensive and the network will not finance the reshoot) so you just air it as is. After all, most people were still watching in B/W so it wouldn't be too bad or even noticible by the majority of viewers. It was the early 70s before color sets began to outsell B/W sets and 50% of the viewing public had a color set.

#1365 of 2830 OFFLINE   FanCollector

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Posted February 16 2013 - 03:35 AM

Thanks for the stats, Bob. They provide an interesting perspective on that transitional year. One series that seems to have undergone the soul-searching you suggest was Perry Mason. A tenth season was a possibility and they filmed one episode in color toward the end of the 1965-66 season as a test. Ultimately, the series ended that year anyway, but that episode is like a little glimpse of an alternate future for the show. I Dream of Jeannie was, apparently, not a favored child of the network. They had very little confidence in it at the beginning and would not offer a very high license fee. I don't think they expected it to last. Excellent point about Bewitched. I guess it shows how reluctant ABC was to go color. At least they knew enough not to do the first season of Batman in black and white! I do wonder in particular about The Addams Family and The Munsters. They were borderline shows going into the 1966-67 season and if they hadn't required a fortune in redesigned sets and make-up for color, perhaps they could have lasted longer.

#1366 of 2830 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted February 16 2013 - 03:41 AM

It was interesting that "Ozzie and Harriet" went to color in the 65-66 season but "The Donna Reed Show" which followed it did not. Both shows finished out their final season that year by moving to Saturday night.

#1367 of 2830 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted February 16 2013 - 05:10 AM

Flipper's first season was in color.

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#1368 of 2830 OFFLINE   jperez

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Posted February 16 2013 - 05:10 AM

Although it was filmed in England, Danger Man, the Patrick McGoohan spy series, experienced a similar evolution, although for a different reason. After filming the first two seasons in black and white, two color episodes were filmed or what was supposed to be the third season -I think also in 1965-66- before McGoohan aborted the whole thing. Eventually, the two color episodes were released as a feature film- Koroshi- and McGoohan was given the go ahed to film his epochal The Prisoner... in color.

#1369 of 2830 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted February 16 2013 - 05:34 AM

Craig Stevens' British series "Man of the World" was different. The pilot was shot in color but the series was shot in black and white.

#1370 of 2830 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted February 16 2013 - 08:51 AM

I remember reading an interview in TV Guide with either Elizabeth Montgomery or Barbara Eden about their shows being in B&W and one of them (I think it was Elizabeth) said that doing the special effects in color added greatly to the cost of the series, but that the show would be going to color the following season.

#1371 of 2830 OFFLINE   Joe Lugoff

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Posted February 16 2013 - 10:15 AM

Also in 1966, ABC was willing to renew "The Patty Duke Show" for a fourth season, but (according to Duke) United Artists wasn't willing to spend the money to film the show in color.

#1372 of 2830 OFFLINE   Professor Echo

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Posted February 16 2013 - 10:16 AM

The combination of Pop Art and BATMAN killed all hope of any series staying in black and white or, for some, like the Irwin Allen shows mentioned, maintaining their once serious overtones. As disappointing as it is for the Allens, I was personally devastated most by the third season of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. When I watch the series again it is absolutely painful to compare any episode of the first season with any from the third. You wonder why at some point someone involved with the production didn't say, "What are we doing?"

#1373 of 2830 OFFLINE   BobO'Link

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Posted February 16 2013 - 01:26 PM

...I do wonder in particular about The Addams Family and The Munsters. They were borderline shows going into the 1966-67 season and if they hadn't required a fortune in redesigned sets and make-up for color, perhaps they could have lasted longer.
It's even more curious for The Munsters as the pilot for that show was filmed in color while it was produced entirely in B/W. But neither program ended the '65-'66 season in the top 30 which was another contributing factor to their demise.

#1374 of 2830 OFFLINE   younger1968

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Posted February 16 2013 - 02:20 PM

I think we are coming close to 50 years when color tv shows started to replaced black and white tv series. I had thought it was 1965 when color tv shows were produced! I am looking to pick of the remaining seasons of the untouchables as i love Robert Stack as Elliot Ness. I have never seen anyone play the role as Elliot Ness like Robert Stack!!

#1375 of 2830 OFFLINE   BobO'Link

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Posted February 16 2013 - 02:28 PM

The combination of Pop Art and BATMAN killed all hope of any series staying in black and white or, for some, like the Irwin Allen shows mentioned, maintaining their once serious overtones. As disappointing as it is for the Allens, I was personally devastated most by the third season of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. When I watch the series again it is absolutely painful to compare any episode of the first season with any from the third. You wonder why at some point someone involved with the production didn't say, "What are we doing?"
That Batman aired in color on 3rd place ABC spoke volumes about the need for color in that series. It didn't work as well in B/W (but I *still* liked it!). Considering the impact Batman had on the industry I'm sure many programs were emulating that camp factor in order to pull in more viewers, especially the younger demographic. I'm a bit surprised there were no other series that chose to air a hour program in split half-hours as did Batman. I've not seen S3 of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. since it originally aired even though I own the entire series on DVD. While I remember liking that season during its original airing all the negative comments/reviews I've read about that season coupled with the decline I observed recently in S4 of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (one I was unable to watch during its original run) has kept me from watching that last season of TMFU. As far as the "What are we doing?" syndrome I tend to think it frequently boils down to somewhat a "Kobayashi Maru" scenario (in spite of me asking that same question about those same series). What I've read about the Allen and TMFU series (as well as many others which degenerated during their runs) tends to point the finger solidly at the "suits" doing not much more than chasing ratings at the expense of quality programming (reality programs anyone?). If the production company didn't do what the suits wanted the production company/producer would be labeled "uncooperative" and the show would be cancelled. If the production company *did* do what the suits wanted the viewers would start to abandon the program as it became less and less like the program they'd liked initially and it would be cancelled. You would like to believe the production companies involved truly wanted to deliver quality programs but were simply following instructions from the networks and all but had their hands tied so they delivered what they were told in order to keep a paycheck coming in. In the end, it's a sorry state of affairs that there were quality B/W programs whose quality apparently ended by something as simple as a switch to color. It's even worse when you take into consideration that the majority of the viewing audience for many of those programs didn't own a color set and only saw the camp factor ramp up. It also makes me sad for those people who refuse to watch a B/W TV program or film as they truly don't know what they are missing.

#1376 of 2830 OFFLINE   BobO'Link

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Posted February 16 2013 - 03:21 PM

I think we are coming close to 50 years when color tv shows started to replaced black and white tv series. I had thought it was 1965 when color tv shows were produced!
I think it's all in how you look at it. In 1954 Ford Theatre was the first network sponsored TV color film series to be presented on a regular basis (on NBC). There were several instances of special event broadcasts in the 50s and several syndicated programs were filmed in color in anticipation of the format taking over. But I think you can target 1959 as the true beginning of color replacing B/W programs with NBC broadcasting Bonanza in color. Of course NBC had a vested interest in color since their parent company RCA was the leading manufacturer of color sets and a driving force of the adoption of the NTSC color system. CBS and ABC dragged their feet into color. ABC delayed its first color series until 1962 with The Flintstones and The Jetsons. CBS had pioneered many color broadcasts in the 50s but actually stopped all regular color programming between 1960 and 1965 (The Lucy Show was filmed in color beginning in '63 but was telecast by CBS in B/W through the end of the '64–'65 season). That is somewhat surprising considering GE, CBS' parent company, manufactured color sets. (removed due to bad intel) It was Spring 1966 when GE introduced the "Porta-Color" set helping cement the color transition.

#1377 of 2830 OFFLINE   FanCollector

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Posted February 16 2013 - 06:00 PM

Trying to get a handle on the scope of color programming before 1965...how many regularly scheduled, scripted, non-animated network series were in color as of, say, 1962? I know Bonanza and The Virginian were. How many others?

#1378 of 2830 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted February 16 2013 - 06:22 PM

The Joey Bishop Show during its two years on NBC from 1962-1964. Then when it went to CBS for a final season it was in B/W!

#1379 of 2830 OFFLINE   FanCollector

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Posted February 16 2013 - 06:27 PM

Didn't Wagon Train go from b/w to color and then back to b/w for one last year also?

#1380 of 2830 OFFLINE   Statskeeper

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Posted February 17 2013 - 01:22 AM

Wagon Train did 5 episodes in color in the 5th season, while still on NBC. It went all color and expanded to 90 minutes for the 7th season (by then on ABC) but went back to B&W and 60 minutes for the 8th and last season. The color episodes of the 5th season were mastered in B&W for syndication, and are in B&W on the DVD release.




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