Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Talk to a college student ( and I do every day, since I teach at a university ) and you get the sense that they think the whole world ( not just television shows ) was in Black and White, before they were born.

Yeah, they radiate a sense of  entitlement.

Baby Boomers ( like me ) know better.

The world was in Black and White until the day in 1966 when a relative  or friends parents bought a  COLOR TV.

Okay, maybe we have that entitlement thing going , too.

But in the Fall of 1954, the mighty CBS Television Network was still  green with envy and red with embarrassment, almost a year after the F.C.C rejected  the CBS mechanical system for non-compatible COLOR TELEVISION, and selected the RCA electronic system of LIVING COLOR TV as the national, broadcast standard.

CBS founder William Paley was livid that his professional rival David Sarnoff won the battle for COLOR TV, but wanted to know if tinted television could make for a greener bottom line.

CBS spent the next  three years producing COLOR episodes of B&W shows on the Tiffany Network's primetime and daytime schedule.

One of the most popular CBS series was THE BURNS AND ALLEN SHOW, featuring one of  America's favorite comedy couples.

The only installment of their show to be produced in COLOR aired just once on October 4, 1954.

By 1958, Paley decided to cast the world into shades of gray and shut down COLOR production.

He was tired of losing face, if not audience, to Sarnoff.

CBS would, when confronted with a FULL COLOR schedule on NBC, finally committed  to COLOR in the Fall of 1966.

Here, from the VINTAGE COMEDY VAULT You Tube Site, is only episode of  THE BURNS AND ALLEN SHOW to be produced and aired, as announcer Harry Von Zell says under credits,"in full color on color television receivers and in compatible black & white on regular black & white receivers."


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