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I Love Lucy - DVD Producer for Lucy Discusses Colorization of 'Scotland' Episode

Refers Us To Online Sample Comparing the Original B&W to the Colorized Version

Posted by David Lambert
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A few weeks ago (well, Oct. 23rd) saw the release of I Love Lucy - The Complete Series, with every episode of the original "Lucy & Desi" black-and-white episodes together in one package for the first time ever! The set was filled with terrific extras, too. But one extra cast a question mark in the minds of some fans: The first fully-colorized I Love Lucy episode, "Lucy Goes To Scotland" (see above).

DVD Producer Gregg Oppenheimer (son of the original show's producer Jess Oppenheimer) spoke to us about this colorization, and when I commented on what I purist I am, and others are, he responded:

    I'm generally a purist, too, and I'm not a fan of colorizing movies and shows that were meant to be seen in black and white, but this is the way this particular episode was meant to be seen. Unlike modern sitcoms, which seem to treat the audience almost as though they were eavesdroppers as an episode is prepared for broadcast, the "I Love Lucy" cast and crew always thought of the show as a play performed before a live audience, which just happened to be filmed and broadcast later on TV. That's why there was a "no retakes" rule on the show, and that's why the Lucy soundstage was called "The Desilu Playhouse." And the studio audience's enjoyment of this particular "play" was definitely enhanced by the vivid color of the sets and costumes. I've attached the production notes I included on the bonus disc [see pictures below - DAVE], which explain why I was OK with colorizing "Lucy Goes to Scotland."

    Even after I decided that it might be appropriate to do colorize this particular episode, I didn't give the go-ahead until Legend Films did a 2-minute test so I could see how it would look. They passed the test. When I later showed it to Lucie Arnaz (who was present at the original filming), she actually thought I was showing her her color home movies taken that evening. I think Legend did an amazing job in accurately re-creating what the studio audience got to see.
Want to judge for yourself? Gregg refers us to a story at Newsday online, written up by longtime TVShowsOnDVD friend (and longtime Newsday journalist) Diane Werts. She has a great write-up there about the colorization feat, and gets thoughts and quotes from folks like Barry Sandrews of Legend Films, from Gregg, and from Gregg's fellow DVD Producer Paul Brownstein (the award- winning man behind the DVDs for The Dick Van Dyke Show). Not only that, though, but there you will find what Gregg describes as "a 2-minute sample...they've done as a "split screen," with the left half colorized and the right half in the original black and white. That's obviously not the way the episode appears on the bonus disc, but it's a great way to see the impact that color has on this particular episode." I took a look and was blown away. Give it a peek!

The following pictures are the "production notes" Oppenheimer's quote refers to above:

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