Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Dick Van Dyke Show in color

Tomorrow night CBS will show two colorized episodes of THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.  Both are spectacular episodes, written by Bill Persky & Sam Denoff.   VanityFair.com posted a great article about the show, and even quoted me.  If you any interest in the show, it's well worth a read.   You can find it here.   I'll be curious as to your thoughts on the colorized episodes when you see them tomorrow night.   8:00 PM on CBS.  

37 comments :

johnachziger said...

I love the new colorization. When they first starting doing it a few years ago, everything looked like they just tinted the black and white, but now it looks a lot better. Sure the colors are bright, but the whole effect makes the pictures come alive. And for the purists, the black and white versions are still available.

B.A. said...

I like Vanity Fair's "this controversial episode" headline. How much will the runtime be distended for 21st century commercials?

Charles H. Bryan said...

"Paying it forward". That line made me think of your blog, and your teaching, and your sitcom writers' room.

Pat Reeder said...

I believe the "That's My Boy" episode won an award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colorized People.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I remain deeply opposed to colorizing things that were shot for black and white (I don't believe the colors ever look right), though I'm glad the technology has helped restore color originals that have faded. It seems obvious to me that when you were shooting for black and white you picked things for how they looked *in black and white*. So the couch may have been an ugly yellow, but that wasn't because Laura and Rob would have picked it but because it looked right in the finished product.

wg

kent said...

What made the show the best of its Era has nothing to do with color so I find out hard to believe it will make any difference beyond enticing younger viewers to give it a chance.

CRL said...

They just want everyone to go out and buy Color TVs.

Well, I'm not falling for it.

Peter said...

From comments above it sounds like colorizing technology has improved. I would hope so, because those early attempts at colorizing black and white films were appalling. It just resulted in everything having a horribly unnatural pink and green tint.

I saw an interview years ago when Tim Burton was promoting his wonderful Ed Wood film. He recounted a telephone conversation he had with a studio executive over his decision to shoot the film in black and white. The studio weren't keen on the idea. As a joke, Burton said to the executive that if they didn't like the final result, he'd be willing to colorize all the footage. Burton said the executive actually took the suggestion seriously.

Todd Everett said...

The LAT reviewer gave away the "surprise" of "That's My Boy." Now I'm glad we didn't repeal the death penalty.

Yes, I knew it, but millions -- a dozen or so of whom may still be reading the LAT -- don't. Or didn't.

55@55 said...

When I graduated from Queen of the Rosary Academy in 1973, I was accepted to two equally catholic colleges (a condition of my being able to go away to school was that the school be catholic. So naive.) One of those institutions of higher learning was Iona College, which was located in New Rochelle. All these years later I can finally admit my decision to attend was based entirely on a desire to be where Rob and Laura lived.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

When troubles trample my normally good attitude, I find myself playing the theme song in my head occasionally. Comforting and joyous because it evokes memories of simpler times. :)

Diane D said...

I'll be very curious to see how it looks with the new, improved colorization. If it can make those old black and white TV shows more visually pleasing, I will be very much in favor of it. The colorization I have seen has been just garish, but maybe it doesn't have to be that way. My memory of those old black and white sitcoms is that the lighting was terrible---just full, bright light, completely without nuance. It's one of the reasons I can't watch even the ones I loved at the time.

To Wendy's point, just because they may have chosen an ugly yellow sofa because of how it looked in black and white, they don't have to make it ugly yellow in the colorization do they?

Charles H. Bryan said...

Maybe if THE GREAT OUTDOORS was in black and white ...

...no, not even that would make that show make sense.

Howard Hoffman said...

Here's the colorized opening credits, and it looks sensational. One little geeky thing: It's the wrong theme. (No pratfall "bomp" on the ottoman gag.) I'm sure someone caught it before it airs? And yes...these are the two must-see episodes of the series!
Click here to see it.

blinky said...

Any day I can see a Dick Van Dyke Show is a good day. The color can only help make this bleak time in America a little better.

Max Clarke said...

Haven't seen a color version of a monochrome television show or movie yet that improved the original so much I liked it more.

Not interested in color versions of The Twilight Zone, for example. Same for Woody Allen's Manhattan, Raging Bull, Dr. Strangelove, or On The Waterfront.

Actually, there are color movies that might be improved by removing the color. The movie Network, for example.

But the technology has improved since Turner was trying it long ago. Lots of people like it.

Janice C. said...

Thank you Howard Hoffman for the preview. It looks GORGEOUS!

And though I feel that most movies should remain in their original black and white, I have been thoroughly pleased with the colorization of Miracle on 34th Street and the Christmas episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Christmas decor seems to lend itself to colorization.

Diane D said...

Because no one seems to be distinguishing between TV and movies, I would just add that I can't think of a black and white MOVIE that I would want to see colorized. It is only TV sitcoms that I think could be improved with color, if it is high quality. I would also not like to see Twilight Zone and some other TV Dramas changed from Black and White to color.

Jamie said...

This is presumably motivated by the ratings success CBS has had with a few "colorized" I LOVE LUCY prime time specials. (Prompting my father to complain, "That damn show is never gonna die.") CBS also had good results a Christmas or two ago with a special that paired a couple of colorized ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW episodes.

The LUCY colorizations have been okay. Certainly an improvement over what Ted Turner was doing some years. Still didn't look entirely natural, though. Certainly not like "real" color.

Worst thing about the LUCY's, and this will doubtlessly apply to the DICK VAN DYKE episodes, is that they've all been edited and abbreviated to allow for quite a bit more commercial time than was the norm way back when.

ProfZed said...

Oh, if only they would colorize the first 15 minutes of "Wizard of Oz". Those opening scenes are SO depressing! Thanks for mentioning that these episodes are playing tonight. I would otherwise have never known. I'll have to tape a reminder note to the front of my TV.

(And for those who might think otherwise, the bit above about "Wizard of Oz" was supposed to be humorous. Sorry.)

Ted said...

I saw a few minutes of Lucy in color last week - I was pretty amazed at how great it looked. And by the way, Bill Persky the co-writer of tonight's "That's My Boy" is still alive and still hilarious!

Pat Reeder said...

To Jamie: Your father reminds me of one my favorite lines from "Crocodile Dundee." Paul Hogan comes into civilization from the Outback for the first time in his life and spots a TV. He says, "Television, eh? I saw that in a bar 25 years ago." He turns it on and "I Love Lucy" comes on. He says, "Yep, that's what I saw," and switches it off.

I loved the implication that his character must think that's the only thing that's ever been on TV.

Brian said...

Ken - can you expound on the colorization process? So these were originally black and white and they color was added later? How do they do that?

David G. said...

The entire first season of "Gilligan's Island" was colorized for TBS broadcasts many years ago. It's been eons since those color-enhanced episodes have been seen anyplace. Would love to take a look at those again ... or maybe (..."probably"...) have those episodes newly colorized with the more current technology.

Hey, CBS: If you're looking for one of your B/W classics to colorize for next Christmas -- AND one that has an actual Christmas episode that would connect pretty smoothly to the series pilot -- think about "Gilligan's Island'!

Charles H. Bryan said...

It's remarkable how much better these two episodes were than almost any other sitcom currently on.

I have the feeling that they avoided showing Jerry Helper smoking in the first episode.

bruce said...

I did see some smoke coming from off-screen. This is the review I sent my friend Mark Evanier, since I live in Central Time:

Overall, the shows themselves hold up and the colorization is excellent. No framing except an old "CBS presents this show in color" and "#DickvanDyke" in the lower corner. Great writing and acting. Credits for both shows are combined at the end. I hadn't seen them in 40+ years but still remembered the main points. Forgot how much Mary Tyler Moore looked like Jackie Kennedy when she went up to Alan's office. Buddy Sorrell wears his hats indoors a lot.

Downside and confession: I watch very little tv any more and found the commercials almost unbearable and seemingly endless, but for products I didn't know existed.

jean satzer said...

Please let Mr. Persky know the couch looked fine.

And they should have used the Alan Brady Christmas Show, even though that means Ritchie sings Little Drummer Boy. Ugh

cadavra said...

I keeping switch over just to see what the color looks like, but every time I do I get a commercial. I'm beginning to wonder if this whole thing is a prank and they're actually just running a full hour of ads.

James Van Hise said...

Colorization has improved greatly from the 1980s. I think the first major studio to spend the money to do it right was Disney with the Zorro tv series. Unfortunately some of the early colorized films were done with the still primitive technology, like Captain Blood (which looks awful) and the 1933 King Kong which was done so cheaply that everything in it is colored except the dinosaurs and King! Colorization has to be done right or it looks terrible. Sky Captain And The World of Tomorrow was filmed in B&W, but the studio hated it and made them colorize it and it looks bad because it was a shoddy job, probably done quickly to meet a deadline. The film flopped and the studio blamed the filmmakers.

Wayne said...

If they colorize them all, I'd happily buy the DVD set of the series.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Four adults, 55-68:

a) Thought the colors of the furniture were hilarious.
b) Really laughed at both shows.
c) Thought the line (paraphrasing here) "So, whatda do? Hit her? Kick her?" reflects a bad part of our past culture. Glad that's gone.
d) Enjoyed seeing it!

:)

DwWashburn said...

I have the Sony colorized Three Stooges shorts, I've seen some of the Lucy colorized episodes and I saw the Van Dyke episodes tonight. Tonight's episodes were the worst of the three. The flesh tones were non realistic, the walls in the Petrie's living room were four different colors, and Van Dyke's suit in the first episode was almost the same color as his face.

Nick Archer said...

I loved the color but weren't these time-compressed? This kills the comedic timing for me. Ken, what are your thoughts on time-compressing comedy shows?

mark french said...

The I Love Lucys that have been colorized blew me away when watched in HD, same here. The early colorizations like the first season of Gilligan's Island were awful, the actors' teeth were same tint as their faces, looked like really old photos that were hand-tinted.

Roger Owen Green said...

I learned about this from your column only an hour before it aired. Recorded it, started watching c 8:08, unfortunately got to real time by 8:49 - man, I hate commercials.

I have the series box set and my now 12 y.o. daughter has watched the whole series. The joke of That's My Boy? was not as sharp to her as when I saw it in real time.

But Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth is hysterical (except for the Buddy comment, which DID make me wince). The host's dance when he got Laura to admit Alan was bald is great. But almost nothing on TV EVER is as funny as Alan and Laura!

Tim said...

I have the complete DVDS on dvd and would LOVE to have it in color as well! And, it LOOKED like the sixties. Loved it!!! As for movies, I'd love to see My Favorite Wife, Ball of Fire, The Lady Eve, The Shop Around The Corner, etc. in color. Casablanca... sure. Oh, I understand the wanting to see it as originally intended. However, most movies were filmed in B&W because of cost, including later seasons of the DVD Show! Make both available, perhaps together! I have both the original Star Trek and the remastered versions on dvd. I like having both! Should EVERYTHING be colorized? Of course not! Film noir, in particular, works well in B&W.

mag G said...

I think it looks great! Love it! I was wondering if the colors are the real ones? For example, was Laura's dress really red? Was their kitchen really blue with gold counter tops?