a flash in the (colour) pan

part of the brief history of the Multicolour process

Toronto. Did ya ever hear about Multicolor? It was just a flash in the pan – on market in 1929 and dead in 1932. In those days, colour sequences were EXPENSIVE so movies were mainly shot in B&W with short bits in colour to ‘enhance’ the story.

“A 15-second, behind-the-scenes clip in Multicolor of the Marx Brothers filmed on the set of Animal Crackers (1930) exists as part of a Cinecolor short subject entitled Wonderland of California.”

This ‘two colour’ process could be used in regular movie cameras, hence the ad text extolling its virtue. The ad shown here is from the January, 1930 issue of American Cinematographer magazine and is courtesy of my good friend and diligent researcher, George Dunbar. Who knew we had so many flexible ‘wanna be’ color processes before Kodachrome and Ansco arrived on the market just before WW2 broke out?

And of course, today’s smartphone user just can’t see what all the fuss was about – just to create colour!

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