On Dec. 20, CBS will rebroadcast “The Christmas Episode” of “I Love Lucy,” and that’s big news. But here’s the kicker: The episode has been colorized.
Surreal? Yes. Legend has it that when “The Christmas Episode” first aired in December of 1956, star Lucille Ball had mixed feelings about it. (See “The Lucy Book: A Complete Guide to Her Five Decades on Television” by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman for more details.) For whatever reason, the holiday episode was taken out of syndication, much to the chagrin of the iconic series’ massive fan base. And now, it’s back.
In the sneak-peek clip below, Ricky (Desi Arnaz) and Ethel (Vivian Vance) are untangling Christmas lights and singing “Jingle Bells” when Lucy decides to join in… in endearingly off-key fashion. The dynamics are evergreen, but the colors lend new life to the classic.
How red is Lucy’s coif, you ask? See for yourself right here:
Reaction to the clip on Twitter is both positive and negative. Many fans are happy to know that their favorite funny girl will be back in color:
I Love Lucy christmas special in color?! One of my all time favorite classic shows! Cannot wait for this http://t.co/70C75OK67j
— Ashley Mova (@AshleyMova) December 3, 2013
Yet some traditionalists are skeptical of the stunt and prefer their “Lucy” the old-fashioned way, in black and white:
Ever wanted to see "I Love Lucy" in color? Me neither, black & white is funnier. But here's a preview anyway: http://t.co/kIB9iIjUpR
— David Carroll (@DAVIDCARROLL3) December 3, 2013
This is in keeping with the fan reactions back in October, when CBS first announced its plans to colorize “Lucy.” A Huffington Post commentator represents the internal conflict for “Lucy” fans: “Very mixed feelings about it being colorized, but I Love Lucy episodes are still the best written shows ever. Makes new programs on prime time now seem like copies of copies of copies.”
In all likelihood, naysayers and enthusiasts alike will tune in to see “Lucy” in color. Those who can’t wait until Dec. 20 can order the episode online right now.
“The Christmas Episode” is almost 60 years old, and this will be the first time many viewers have watched it. Old TV is the best TV at this time of the year — we’re talking to you, “Rudolph” — and maybe “The Christmas Episode” will have a second life and join “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the canon of holiday viewing.
“The I Love Lucy Christmas Special” airs Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. on CBS.