MovieChat Forums > Combat! Discussion > I think I prefer the Black and White ove...

I think I prefer the Black and White over the Color.


Maybe I'm just not used to the color episodes yet, but the color makes it look like just another war show/movie.

reply

[deleted]

I'm watching/recording them on the Heroes and Icons network. They are well into the color episodes now.

I hope they repeat the seasons from Season 1 again because I didn't start recording until probably season 2 or 3.

I agree, they did seem to have a lot more explosions in the color years.

Just glad to see it back on TV. I watched them as a kid but many of these I don't remember at all. Maybe something 'better' was on opposite it in the later episodes.

reply

I agree, the color episodes seemed a lot cheesier and more mainstream
The black white also gave it a more realistic cinema verite look

What are they doing? Why do they come here?
Some kind of instinct, memory, what they used to do.

reply

The original B&W prints are believed destroyed, and the surviving prints are actually time compressed (sped up) to allow more commercials when it went to syndication. The theme music is noticeably at a faster tempo than it should be, and episode total run times on the DVD sets are slightly shorter than the color.

But I agree. While there are some very good color eps, the B&W had a more raw sense of drama and realism.

reply

Leave it to spellcheck to butcher my "B&W" in the last post. But you get the idea....

reply

Hey folks,

I know I am in the minority on the subject of color vs. black and white, but I love color films. Jakealope stated, "I agree, the color episodes seemed a lot cheesier and more mainstream. The black white also gave it a more realistic cinema verite look." Well, I am not very much of an artsy type guy, and I could not begin to explain what a "cinema verite look" is. Enjoying film is much more simple for me. I do not see in black and white. I see in color. Accordingly, color film is much more realistic for me, but I know most others would disagree with me.

The fifth and last season was the only one filmed in color, and as SergeantSaunders62 noted, there were some big changes from the earlier four seasons. The per-episode cost during the last season was more than doubled for two reasons: the cost of shooting in color was much higher, and Vic Morrow decided he would demand his salary be doubled. Morrow and Jason has the same contracts, and if one of the two got an increase, the other actor would also get the same increase. One could rightly argue that Vic Morrow's demand for a doubling of his salary was a very big reason the series was cancelled for a less expensive replacement.

Because of the doubling of the per-episode cost, Selmur Productions initiated several cost cutting measures for the last season. They stopped shooting at the MGM backlots and used instead the smaller and less well equipped studios at the network which was cheaper. They also scripted a lot of "bottle" shows where most of the show is shot in one scene, and they scripted a lot of shows which did not feature most of the squad members. This saved bucks on what they paid their regular actors, but I think it diminished the show overall. I liked the shows best which featured the whole squad.

They also did a lot more shooting on location in nearby Franklin Canyon which was also a lot less expensive than shooting at the MGM backlots. This led to an increase in firefight time as noted by SergeantSaunders62, but that was not all bad for me.

Regarding Merman1983's statement:

"The original B and W prints are believed destroyed, and the surviving prints are actually time compressed (sped up) to allow more commercials when it went to syndication. The theme music is noticeably at a faster tempo than it should be, and episode total run times on the DVD sets are slightly shorter than the color."

No disrespect intended toward Merman1983, but some of his statements are incorrect. The film prints are not destroyed. They were in fact used to produce a very high quality DVD package for all 152 episodes that spanned the five seasons, and the DVD episodes are absolutely not time compressed. All original episodes ran from just under 47 minutes to just a bit over 48 minutes in length. The goal for each episode was to hit as close as possible to 47 minutes to allow for commercials. In my DVD package, there is an extra where Vic Morrow is interviewed, and when asked how long the shows run, Morrow clearly states the shows are 47 minutes in length and that is what the episodes in my DVD set also run. There was no difference in runtime between the black and white episodes and the color episodes - they are all about 47 minutes in runtime.

I cannot speak for all syndications of Combat!, but the syndications shown years ago on the cable Action Channel and ME TV were also not compressed. I recorded all 152 episodes shown on the Action Channel on VHS tape, and all episodes were from 46 to 48 minutes in run time. That was also true for the ME TV syndication - after removal of commercials, all episodes ran about 47 minutes.

It was a great series for me, and I wish it would have continued for a few more seasons. I am thankful for the superb quality DVD set I bought a few years ago, and I still watch the shows today.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile



reply

Well, no disrespect taken :) I am only quoting from sources I had read.

I did tend to think the theme music of the Black and White seemed at a faster tempo to me, suggesting time compression.

The set I have is the 2013 DVD collection.

Regardless, I loved this show as a kid, and still love it today.

A remarkable aspect I noticed even as a youngster was the lack of subtitles (except one ep...with the tank). Germans spoke German, French spoke French. If you did not, you would be like any other GI, perhaps in fear of the unknown...what they were saying. I always felt it added to the realism of the show.

reply

[deleted]

Indeed it is ;)

reply

I'm in the minority with you, Dave. I liked your statement, "I see in color, not black and white." While I can find myself agreeing with others that the first four seasons, especially the first two, were among the best, it's not the same not seeing it in color. I can't believe the studio was so short sighted as to ignore the growing color film industry. Color film existed from the 1930s, even if it was very expensive to film in color at the time. I can only hope that the first four seasons get colorized digitally.

reply

Just dawned on me a few days ago, my dad wasn't the fastest in the neighborhood to fork out big bucks for a color tv so that's probably why the color episodes look strange to me.

We probably watched them in good old black and white.

reply

You're so right. Black and white televisions were still commonplace in the 1960s, all the way into the early 70s. B&W televisions continued to exist long into the color television time because, one, it was cheaper, and two, people were so used to watching B&W that they didn't mind. Tiny, portable B&W televisions continued to exist into the 1990s and I believe existed as part of cheap, portable boom boxes in the early 2000s.

In the 60s color televisions were relatively expensive, comparable to owning a refrigerator. Americans for the most part began investing in color TV's in the 70s as prices dropped low enough so that while it was a serious family investment, it was doable. I remember my family's first color television. Push button channel televisions already existed but my parents were so old-fashioned about yesterday's technology that both of them adamantly refused the push-button tv and insisted on the old-fashioned rotary dial color tv. I hated having to constantly turn the dial.

reply

I think it was around 1968 that we got our first color tv. It was an Admiral and swiveled on it's base. It was very stylish and the wood frame had a beautiful finish. It's still out in my parent's basement.

I remember always watching it from the floor and having to always get up and fiddle with the three color adjusters whenever they got too far out of whack.

reply

Like some of you, I also saw the entire first run of "Combat!" in black-and-white because we didn't have a color tv. If we hadn't inherited my rich grandfather's color set when he died in the late '60s, we'd have probably gone on watching the b&w set well into the '70s. I would rather see the b&w episodes in b&w, and the color episodes in color, the way their makers intended.

reply