Christmas is coming early for classic TV fans. CBS will present four colorized episodes of classic TV shows in two-hour programming blocks next month, three of them never before seen outside of their original black and white format.
According to a new press release from CBS, the I Love Lucy Christmas Special, which will feature colorized versions of “The Christmas Episode” and “The Fashion Show” will air Friday, Dec. 22, and it will be followed by two newly colorized 1960s-era episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, “My Blonde-Haired Brunette” and “October Eve.’
I Love Lucy’s “The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS on Christmas Eve, 1956. The classic flashback-filled episode was not included in the series’ decades-long syndication rebroadcasts and was long thought to be “lost.” The missing I Love Lucy episode was rediscovered by CBS in 1989 and has aired as a special. “The Christmas Episode” has been shown colorized in its entirety several times, but as a holiday treat for fans, CBS issues newly colorized versions of other episodes to run in conjunction with it.
“The Fashion Show” was originally broadcast Feb. 28, 1955, and features several of Lucille Ball’s real-life personal friends: Mrs. Gordon MacRae, Mrs. William Holden, Mrs. Van Heflin, Mrs. Forrest Tucker and Don Loper.
The Dick Van Dyke Show episodes—which are being presented as “Now In Living Color!—were personally selected by series creator Carl Reiner as a way to showcase the comedy skills of late star Mary Tyler Moore, who passed away earlier this year.
“I picked two of the funniest episodes we did, and I remember them fondly because they both showcased our wonderful Mary,” Reiner said. “I treasure her memory.”
Reiner, who played Alan Brady on the sitcom, even made a cameo as an artist, Carpetna, in the “October Eve” episode, which was originally broadcast in black and white in April 1964. Reiner, who is now 95 years old, told CBS when he saw the colorized version of the classic episode, “it was better than I ever dreamed it could be.”
In 2013, CBS began its popular trend of colorizing nostalgic sitcoms with color versions of I Love Lucy episodes that were broadcast in conjunction with “The Christmas Episode” during the holiday season. Starting in 2015, CBS also featured colorized classic episodes during May sweeps. Past colorized I Love Lucy episodes include the classic chocolate factory episode, “Job Switching, “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (aka “The Grape Stomping Episode”), and “Lucy and Superman,” which originally aired in 1957 and featured the era’s iconic TV superhero played by George Reeves.
You can see a promo a past airing of the I Love Lucy Christmas special below.
The I Love Lucy “Christmas Episode” and “Fashion Show” block airs Friday, Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. ET followed by The Dick Van Dyke episodes “My Blonde-Haired Brunette” and “October Eve” at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
[Featured Image by CBS Broadcasting Inc.]