Thursday, March 10, 2016

Colorfully killed by irony


Remember the old sitcom, Norby?

No, me neither.

http://graphic-design.tjs-labs.com/show-picture?id=1124298582Norby, from the creator of the somewhat better-remembered show Mister Peepers,  ran on NBC for exactly four months in 1955. It's notable for being the first sitcom to have every episode filmed in color.

All 13 of them.


David Wayne starred in the show, one of the first regular series in the then-new "compatible color" format on network TV. It was sponsored by Eastman Kodak -- which wanted to sell color movie film just as much as NBC wanted to sell color TV sets for parent company RCA -- and was "Photographed on Eastman Color Film."

Color sitcom on a network that wanted to showcase the newest big thing -- color -- and a photography behemoth that wanted to move Kodacolor . . . what's not to love?


WELL, this is where the irony comes in.

What wasn't to love? The cost. Kodak hated how much it cost to sponsor and film Norby on Eastman Color Film a lot more than it loved trying to sell color film to the 99.9 percent of TV viewers who, alas, could only see the show in lifeless monochrome instead of living color. Remember, in early 1955, an RCA console color TV would set you back $898 in non-devalued American currency.


That would be, not to put too fine a point on it, $7,955.03 in 2016 cash money.

And, friends, there we have it. The first all-color sitcom in TV history was killed by irony -- it just cost too bloody much.

All because it was in color.

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