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The Journal Gazette

  • CBS photos This year's “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” includes the newly colorized “The Fashion Show.”

  • “The Dick Van Dyke Show – Now in Living Color!” includes two of Mary Tyler Moore’s best episodes. 

Friday, December 22, 2017 1:00 am

'Lucy,' 'Van Dyke' get gift of color

CBS adds hues to sitcoms episodes which air tonight

Jay Bobbin | Zap2it

Thanks to colorization, what's old is new again ... though the two classic sitcoms involved never have gone out of style.

CBS has given “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” new hues before, and with the end-of-year holidays approaching, the network again adds that treatment to two of the most popular series in its history. Boasting two colorized episodes each, new editions of the “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show – Now in Living Color!” air today.

In a real way, both telecasts also serve as tributes to a couple of their key talents who passed away this year.

Bob Schiller was a frequent writer of “I Love Lucy” in its later seasons, having worked with longtime creative partner Bob Weiskopf earlier on “Our Miss Brooks.” And of course, the death of Mary Tyler Moore hit hard for “Dick Van Dyke Show” fans who adored her as Laura Petrie, as well as the countless admirers of Moore's eponymous 1970 sitcom.

Indeed, Schiller's credit is on “The Christmas Episode,” which has become something of a viewing tradition again since it's been part of every “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” to date. The tale is marked by flashbacks that recall milestones in Lucy Ricardo's (Lucille Ball) pregnancy with Little Ricky, including the ever-touching scene in which her nightclub-star husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz, Ball's then-spouse) sings “We're Having a Baby,” scanning the audience in search of the person who's expecting ... not realizing it's his own wife.

A different “Lucy” episode is paired with that one each year, and this time, it's “The Fashion Show.” Lucy participates in the title event, but only after overspending massively on a dress for it. All friends of Ball, the wives of several top film stars of the mid-1950s appeared as themselves in the story, including the spouses of William Holden, Van Heflin and Gordon MacRae.

Not surprisingly, the “Dick Van Dyke Show” episodes were selected by series creator Carl Reiner (an executive producer of the special) to spotlight Moore. First is “My Blonde-Haired Brunette” in which Laura changes her hair color in a bid to spice up her marriage to variety-show writer Rob (Van Dyke). Then, “October Eve” finds Laura horrified to see herself without clothes in a painting she posed for, with Reiner (who usually was seen on the show as TV star Alan Brady) playing the artist.

While the colorized editions of “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” remain broadcast-network events, the two comedies often are available for viewing regularly. “Lucy” has been a Hallmark Channel staple (though it's getting a rest during the holidays for the channel's abundance of Christmas movies), and both shows also have had recurring runs on MeTV.

For now, though, they'll bring seasonal color to CBS again – and, in turn, CBS will bring color to them again.