Josh Steinberg

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JohnMor

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A sad addendum to the blu blues is that CBS put its first colorized “Dick Van Dyke Show” special out on blu-ray, which included the special as aired, the individual complete color episodes and the individual complete episodes in b&w. A very nice disc. I had hoped that boded well for future releases as well as for the “ILL” colorized specials. Sadly, it appears to be a one-off. The subsequent “DVDS” colorized specials didn’t even get dvd releases.
 
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Filmgazer

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I saw the Fathom Events screening of the five colorized "I Love Lucy" episodes a few nights ago and was duly impressed. I'm normally not a fan of colorization, but the technicians did an outstanding job in bringing the lustrous black-and-white to acceptable, even believable color.

In the interesting 25-minute documentary that preceded the episodes, the technicians and memorabilia collector explain in detail how they went about determining the colors to assign to the black-and-white footage. For instance, there were numerous color publicity photos (for TV Guide, for example) to be used as reference, as well as the original color costume sketches by Elois Jenssen, who designed Lucille Ball's wardrobe for the show. It's also explained how complicated it sometimes was to assign and maintain via computer one of Lucy's striped dresses (for example) when it was constantly in motion.

The technicians also put forth the interesting idea that since Lucy's hair was red, executive producer probably wanted to film the show in color, but it would've been very expensive, not to mention the fact that there weren't that many color televisions in early-to-mid 1950's America. They contend that careful colorization, as they applied it now, is the next best thing.

For those interested in the upcoming DVD set of the sixteen episodes, don't hesitate to purchase it, especially at the low price of $19.99 at Amazon. I think you'll be pleased with the results. Besides, the 25-minute documentary is included to help you appreciate the colorization process even more. Matt Hough's review on HTF was right on the money!
 

mrz7

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Does the documentary say who did the colorization, as it looks like it was done by Pop Colorture.

I actually went to one of the special showing at the movie theaters on Tuesday where they showed the Documentary and 5 episodes of the "I Love Lucy". From the documentary a company called West (something)…..Westridge? They were based somewhere overseas where they did the process of the colorization. From the documentary it takes a total of 8 weeks to colorize 1 episode. Tom Watson, president of the Lucy Fan Club, and another collector in the documentary, were used to get specific colors of props and photos that both had in their collections. Tom Watson had a lot of colored photos of the set back in the day and the other guy had a HUGE collection of "I Love Lucy" props, like dishware and the actually Piano that was in Lucy and Ricky's living room!!! From these props, they were able to get the exact colors of the dishware, and tablecloth used in a couple of scenes of "Million Dollar Idea" episode. The photos on the set they were able to get the exact colors of the costumes of Ricky's band members for one of the scenes that took part in the Tropicana. It was very interesting and I would highly recommend getting the 2 DVD set coming out next week for the documentary alone. Tuesday they showed the documentary first called "Redhead Tales: The Colorizing "I Love Lucy" and then they were followed by the 5 episodes ("Lucy Does A T.V. Commercial" (aka "Vitameatavegamin" episode), "Job Switching" (The "Candy" Episode), "Pioneer Living" (The "Bread" Episode), "The Million Dollar Idea" (The one where Lucy and Ethel sell Salad Dressing), and "L.A. At Last" (The William Holden Episode where Lucy lights her nose on fire). The theater I was at was a full house. They gave you a free poster of the movie event as well (see pic below). But what was really amazing was watching these shows again in a LIVE AUDIENCE setting. All sorts of people, young and old, who have probably seen these episodes dozens of times, laughed like they were just being showed for the first time! It really shows that Lucy's comedy is timeless and why her legacy still exists today after 60+ years of when these episodes first aired. Here are some pics from that night:

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67940035_10221113630781075_4827438069839822848_n.jpg
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Matt Hough

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I actually went to one of the special showing at the movie theaters on Tuesday where they showed the Documentary and 5 episodes of the "I Love Lucy". From the documentary a company called West (something)…..Westridge? They were based somewhere overseas where they did the process of the colorization. From the documentary it takes a total of 8 weeks to colorize 1 episode. Tom Watson, president of the Lucy Fan Club, and another collector in the documentary, were used to get specific colors of props and photos that both had in their collections. Tom Watson had a lot of colored photos of the set back in the day and the other guy had a HUGE collection of "I Love Lucy" props, like dishware and the actually Piano that was in Lucy and Ricky's living room!!! From these props, they were able to get the exact colors of the dishware, and tablecloth used in a couple of scenes of "Million Dollar Idea" episode. The photos on the set they were able to get the exact colors of the costumes of Ricky's band members for one of the scenes that took part in the Tropicana. It was very interesting and I would highly recommend getting the 2 DVD set coming out next week for the documentary alone. Tuesday they showed the documentary first called "Redhead Tales: The Colorizing "I Love Lucy" and then they were followed by the 5 episodes ("Lucy Does A T.V. Commercial" (aka "Vitameatavegamin" episode), "Job Switching" (The "Candy" Episode), "Pioneer Living" (The "Bread" Episode), "The Million Dollar Idea" (The one where Lucy and Ethel sell Salad Dressing), and "L.A. At Last" (The William Holden Episode where Lucy lights her nose on fire). The theater I was at was a full house. They gave you a free poster of the movie event as well (see pic below). But what was really amazing was watching these shows again in a LIVE AUDIENCE setting. All sorts of people, young and old, who have probably seen these episodes dozens of times, laughed like they were just being showed for the first time! It really shows that Lucy's comedy is timeless and why her legacy still exists today after 60+ years of when these episodes first aired. Here are some pics from that night:

View attachment 61556 View attachment 61557 View attachment 61558 View attachment 61559 View attachment 61560 View attachment 61561
Thanks so much for sharing your experience and photos. I'm glad the event attracted a big crowd, too!
 
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sjbradford

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Her hair just doesn’t look right to me (Ethel’s also looks off - it seems yellow). I wish they’d have the Pop Colorture guy do it - his palette looks really good, but I know it’s an intensely manual process the way he does it.
 

MatthewA

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Why no blu ray release? The first two seasons of I Love Lucy on blu ray were amazing. But they originally came out at 100 bucks a pop. Now they're selling on Amazon for 20 bucks.
They should have waited and done a complete set. It is disappointing that they see more value in colorized best-of discs than finishing the restored Blu-rays of the series in the original black-and-white.

I'm not sure I buy the "we would shoot in color if we could" argument when Walt Disney Productions filmed many of the Disneyland anthology series episodes, including but not limited to Davy Crockett, concurrently in color though originally broadcast by ABC in black-and-white. That show started while I Love Lucy was still running. On the other hand, The Lucy Show switched to color ahead of CBS's ability to broadcast that way. They switched to color in season 2 despite still being broadcast in B&W until 1965.

There's also the business of CBS wanting their own color TV standard that was incompatible with RCA's that eventually won out, but that's for another thread.
 
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B-ROLL

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They should have waited and done a complete set. It is disappointing that they see more value in colorized best-of discs than finishing the restored Blu-rays of the series in the original black-and-white.

I'm not sure I buy the "we would shoot in color if we could" argument when Walt Disney Productions filmed many of the Disneyland anthology series episodes, including but not limited to Davy Crockett, concurrently in color though originally broadcast by ABC in black-and-white. That show started while I Love Lucy was still running. On the other hand, The Lucy Show switched to color ahead of CBS's ability to broadcast that way. They switched to color in season 2 despite still being broadcast in B&W until 1965.

There's also the business of CBS wanting their own color TV standard that was incompatible with RCA's that eventually won out, but that's for another thread.
To some degree Walt was more forward thinking.

The animated open for the original Mickey Mouse Club originally animated and shot in monochrome was also animated and shot in color As shown on the Micky Mouse Club collectors DVD.

Davy Crockett episodes were combined re-edited and released to theaters and are now available on blu-ray through the Disney Movie Club.

(His company didn't quite follow through with color when it came to "Son of Flubber" which myself and most of the other young people in the audience, booed when the sequel to the color film came on the screen and was monochrome.

One of the big problems with changing monochrome shot films/TV programs is that they were DESIGNED for monochrome which uses different photographic processes. For monochrome I was told to light for the blacks. With color I was told to light for the highlights.

Target Cartwheel has this for 10 % off. Depending on the in-store price, I might pick this up from Target.
 

Matt Hough

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Yes, and don't forget that Walt's Disneyland TV program was often used as a one hour launchpad for an upcoming feature film. He could devote a portion or the entire hour to an upcoming new release (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea's broadcast earned the Emmy for Show of the Year) in addition to his sometimes releasing shows as feature films themselves.
 
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BobO'Link

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One of the big problems with changing monochrome shot films/TV programs is that they were DESIGNED for monochrome which uses different photographic processes. For monochrome I was told to light for the blacks. With color I was told to light for the highlights.
That's my biggest issue with colorization. As long as the BW values don't change I'm generally OK with the process as you usually get a restored BW version of the product along with the colorized version.

Doing some reading about ILL and color vs. BW I found this;

Ball and Arnaz enlisted the services of Karl Freund, a cinematographer who had worked on such films as Metropolis (1927), Dracula (1931), and The Good Earth (1937), as well as directing The Mummy (1932), to be the series cinematographer. Although at first Freund did not want anything to do with television, it was the personal plea of the couple that convinced him to take the job.

Freund was instrumental in developing a way to uniformly light the set so that each of the three cameras would pick up the same quality of image. Freund noted that a typical episode (20–22 min.) was shot in about 60 minutes, with one constant concern being the shades-of-gray contrast in the final print, as each stage of transmission and broadcast would exaggerate the contrast. Among other non-standard techniques used in filming the show, cans of paint (in shades ranging from white to medium-gray) were kept on set to "paint out" inappropriate shadows and disguise lighting flaws. Freund also pioneered "flat lighting," in which everything is brightly lit to eliminate shadows and the need for endless relighting.
I found that bolded part quite interesting. That's a quite innovative way to solve that type of lighting issue. Sure beats throwing even more light onto a set.
 
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RobertR

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Those that have a problem with it seem to have an attitude that anyone who does like it is wrong and so won't stop proclaiming their opinions, while those of us who don't mind it enjoy the fruits of their labors, especially since the process is better than it first was.
There are also people who don't mind 4:3: material being stretched to 16:9. Both practices are wrong.
 

MartinP.

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^^^

A straw man is a form of argument and an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be "attacking a straw man".

Or...if you prefer, as the Diff'rent Strokes TV theme advises:

Now, the world don't move
to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you,
may not be right for some.


Most of the arguments about colorization aren't worth it because if you like it you can enjoy it, if you don't you can watch the original b&w versions. Or you can do both. Nothing is being taken away from those who don't like it.

As for stretching pictures, as the instruction manual for my television advises, set it to where YOU like it.
 

MatthewA

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Or...if you prefer, as the Diff'rent Strokes TV theme advises:
That show, whose very last timeslot was summer reruns in the same Saturday 8/7 ABC slot the infamous Life with Lucy would air in, is already in color and owned by Sony, who also owns Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, both linked to I Love Lucy via William Asher and Barbara Eden. They started in B&W and switched to color, then Sony went back and redid the B&W years in color in the 1990s. The DVDs gave you a choice but at a cost: BW used a decolorized version of the 1966 intro. And the complete series sets had the colorized versions of B&W episodes, I fear. Sony went for uniformity over the original format, so the only way to get the B&W episodes in B&W was to buy the seasons a-la-carte. Better than nothing but a bit inconvenient.

(His company didn't quite follow through with color when it came to "Son of Flubber" which myself and most of the other young people in the audience, booed when the sequel to the color film came on the screen and was monochrome.
Huh? The original Absent-Minded Professor wasn't in color although it was one of the first films to be colorized in the 1980s. Disney latched onto it for that and 1959's The Shaggy Dog (which was also 10 minutes shorter since it was done for broadcast TV). But outside the Christmas episode in its 1989 rebroadcast, it seems Lucy was spared up until relatively recently. And it seems this is just for select episodes. But for how long?
 
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RobertR

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^^^

A straw man
You call it a strawman, I call it giving an example of why people simply liking or not liking something makes it right. Another example is killing film grain simply because some don't like it. It shows no respect for the original intent.
 

MartinP.

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It shows no respect for the original intent.
Original intent? Books were never meant to be condensed (like the Reader's Digest versions) nor to be listened to in audio versions, but there you have it. Movies weren't meant to be viewed on television screens or on cell-phone sized screens. Movies and TV shows weren't originally even conceived of being worth anything much after a certain time, either. Talk about no respect! As much as the visual part of these things always gets attention, there is rarely anyone who complains about the original intent of the audio aspects of movies and TV being altered over the years as that technology broadens.

And people with complaints about these things always use that phrase "original intent." How does anyone know the original intent of all of these people?

The episode of I LOVE LUCY titled Lucy Goes to Scotland--the original intent of that episode was to have it in color as an answer to NBC's Bell Telephone Hour's color broadcasts, their competition that season. That's why there are so many behind the scenes photos, in color, of that episode. It's why it was chosen to be the first colorized episode. But CBS decided they wouldn't pay the extra expense to do that and Desi wouldn't put up the money, either, so it wasn't. But the "original intent" (and it was prepped that way) was to have it in color. Now it is.
 

Radioman970

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Wow! that really looks neat in some scenes. all her pink, etc. I wouldn't mind having this actually. Although the nostalgia of ILL needs nothing but the grays and blacks. I've got to buy my 3rd set of IIL because of disastrous sets I got and being dumb and not checking. I might get this colorized when it's cheap.
 

RobertR

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Original intent? Books were never meant to be condensed (like the Reader's Digest versions) nor to be listened to in audio versions
Audio versions don't change the text.

Movies weren't meant to be viewed on television screens or on cell-phone sized screens.
Conflating technology with deliberate alteration is not valid. Improved technology brings us closer to the look of film.

As much as the visual part of these things always gets attention, there is rarely anyone who complains about the original intent of the audio aspects of movies and TV being altered over the years as that technology broadens.
Where did I say it's ok to alter the audio?

And people with complaints about these things always use that phrase "original intent." How does anyone know the original intent of all of these people?

The episode of I LOVE LUCY titled Lucy Goes to Scotland--the original intent of that episode was to have it in color as an answer to NBC's Bell Telephone Hour's color broadcasts, their competition that season. That's why there are so many behind the scenes photos, in color, of that episode. It's why it was chosen to be the first colorized episode. But CBS decided they wouldn't pay the extra expense to do that and Desi wouldn't put up the money, either, so it wasn't. But the "original intent" (and it was prepped that way) was to have it in color. Now it is.
B&W TV shows and films were meant to be shown that way. The lighting, prop and costume colors, makeup, and cinematography were done with B&W in mind. It beggars belief to say "golly gee! They used B&W film, and everything else was chosen with that in mind! I'm utterly clueless about what the intent was!" Ballyhooing ONE example of what "could have been" doesn't change that.
 
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