Would The (classic) Twilight Zone have worked in color?

I’ve read that if TZ were renewed for the 1964-1965 TV season, the plans were to have it filmed in color (since color TVs were becoming more common).

Do you think the Rod Sterling/classic TZ would’ve worked in color?

A good story will work in black and white or color. A bad story won’t work in either one.

To me, seeing it in black and white gave the stories a more otherworldly feeling.

I was a kid when the 1980s version came out in full color, and I can assure you I was riveted by plenty of it.

Of course.

The good ones would still be good, and the sucky ones would still suck.

Time Enough At Last is the same in color. The irony isn’t dependent on lack of color information.

Raging Bull isn’t a better movie because it is B&W. People just think that.

Well, when working in black & whited, a director has to be cognizant of tints, shades and tones or the composition of a shot will not only look bad but be unreadable. The advent of color alleviated the need, so many films have gone on without regards to them, not to disastrous effect but something was lost when the restriction was lifted.

Not in the era(s) in which most of the stories were set, I don’t think. The feeling of those times is conveyed much better in B&W, it seems to me.

Combat! switched from B&W to color in its last season. Watching it now, I actually prefer the older episodes. Things really *look like *they’re happening during WWII. Vic Morrow was against the show switching to color for the same reasons.

To be honest, I really have a hard time imagining the originals being as creepy in color. The B/W, shadows and such add so much to the otherworldly atmosphere of the stories. I feel like this effect would’ve been greatly diminished if it had been in color. Some shows are made for color - I couldn’t imagine the original Star Trek in B/W. But Twilight Zone just seems perfect for color.

It’s like trying to imagine a color Casablanca.

Much better in B&W. The shows that switched from B&W to color were never as good after switching. There’s just something about B&W - maybe because in color there seems to be so much more to take in. When a show is in B&W you are concentrating more on the story than being distracted by all the background stuff.

Back in the Ted Turner colorizing craze of the 1980s, one episode “Miniature” from the hour long season 4 was partially colorized. The scenes inside a museum dollhouse which Robert Duvall is obsessed and sees living beings inside. The rest of it was still black and white. Worked reasonably well as Duvall’s world is drab and the dollhouse world he eventually crosses into is alive .

Did the 1980s revival of “Twilight Zone” work? I thought some episodes were good but never watched it often.

A lot of episodes were dogs anyway. B&W was used well in a few episodes and would have need changes to work as well in color. For many of them color would be fine. The acting and cinematography are pretty good for most episodes, it’s the writing and direction that usually falls short.

I thought it had a much higher percentage of great episodes. There were a few that were remakes of original TZs, and some classic SF shorts converted to TV.

For all the B&W lovers out there, what do you think of the handful of videotaped episodes? Love that classic quality, eh?

The first videotaped episode of the TZ I saw was in a marathon some years back - “The Whole Truth”, wherein a used car dealer sells Nikita Khrushchev (yes, that Premier Khrushchev) a “haunted” car. The video quality looked horrible due to the glare (and lens flare!) from the shiny vehicles on the (stage set) used car lot. Actually IMO the video quality looked poor in general for the taped episodes, and perhaps they would have looked better in color.

I don’t know, I think something was lost in the colorized version of The Wizard of Oz.


The old man who yells at clouds in me is screaming No Way! but his writing was amazing for its time (and for today too). It would have worked.

That one episode where the old lady gets attacked by toy robots from outer space was creepy.

Had it been in color, it would have been hilarious.

Yeah I don’t think I would agree with the statement that you could just colorize the B&W episodes but the show itself could have made episodes in color and they could have worked.

Night Gallery is nowhere near as popular as the original twilight zone.

Plus they’ve done 3 versions of the twilight zone now (80s and aughts) and neither was anywhere near as popular.

It could just be that the original TZ originated the anthology horror/sci-fi genre. But none of the colorized TZ remakes or the night gallery (which like the original TZ was mostly written by Serling) did as well.

To the extent that that’s true, is it really true, or is it just something we’re used to? That is, to us black-and-white immediately makes us think “old-timey”, but if you took someone who actually lived in 1930, in a real full-color world, but who had never seen a photograph or movie, is there any reason to think they would think that B&W represented their world better than color?

Reminds me of Calvin’s dad explaining that in 1930 the world actually was in black and white.