Back to Articles

Your favorite black and white TV shows look far different in bright, beautiful color

Do you remember the fiery red sky in the apocalyptic conclusion to the Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last"? They matched the candy red police cruisers on Car 54, Where Are You? How about the bright blue of the Ricardos' kitchen walls on I Love Lucy or Ralph Kramden's uniform on The Honeymooners

You are excused if these colors do not immediately come to mind. Those classic television shows were broadcast in black & white.

Don't get us wrong — black & white is beautiful. Cinema gems like Citizen Kane, Casablanca and Sunset Boulevard just wouldn't be the same in Technicolor. Film noir is film noir for a reason. It's no different for Perry Mason or Peter Gunn on the small screen.

That being said, color images of black & white productions can be revealing. And we're not talking about Ted Turner colorization.

We gathered some vibrant behind-the-scenes images from some favorite black-and-white series. Which one surprises you the most?

The Twilight Zone

The Everett Collection

Burgess Meredith stands among the ruins on the set of "Time Enough at Last."

I Love Lucy

The Everett Collection

Three cheers for the red, white and blue — the red of Lucy, the blue of her kitchen, the white of her appliances.

Perry Mason

The Everett Collection

The legal masterpiece did film one single episode in color (late in the ninth and final season, as a test for a proposed tenth season in color) but this aquatic shot gives you a good idea of how Perry and Paul appeared in real life.

Leave It to Beaver

The Everett Collection

The true All-American boy.

The Rifleman

The Everett Collection

Chuck Connors takes aim with guest star Sammy Davis, Jr.

The Dick Van Dyke Show

The Everett Collection

Mary Tyler Moore cha-cha's around the green rug of the Petrie's apartment.

The Honeymooners

The Everett Collection

The Kramdens and Nortons horse around on the bus.

Father Knows Best

The Everett Collection

The Anderson clan gathers in their living room.

The Addams Family

The Everett Collection

Black-and-white gave an appropriate gothic vibe to this spooky, kooky sitcom. It just would not have been the same with those loud, fuchsia walls.

Have Gun - Will Travel

The Everett Collection

He may have been the man in black, but Paladin wore a red tie.

Dennis the Menace

The Everett Collection

In the comic strip, Dennis sports a black-and-blue striped shirt under red overalls. Jay North wears a brighter costume.

The Donna Reed Show

The Everett Collection

Donna Stone's hair is lighter than you might expect, and where did Dr. Stone get that deep tan?

Car 54, Where Are You?

The Everett Collection

Because this sitcom filmed on the real streets of New York City, the police cars were painted cherry red so bystanders would not confuse them for real cruisers.

Route 66

The Everett Collection

That is one sparkling, beautiful 'Vette.


Watch I Love Lucy on Decades

Weekdays at 1p ET | 11a PT

Contact | About | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Advertise | Distribution | Do Not Sell My Information - CA Residents