No question, being shot in black and white fits "The Addams Family," the spooky monstrous crew from the 1960s sitcom. But when Zach Smothers took to his computer to colorize a clip for his YouTube channel Pop Colorture, the newly brightened show just leapt off the screen.
"'The Addams Family' was produced by the same company that made 'Green Acres,' 'Petticoat Junction' and 'The Beverly Hillbillies' and they all had a very colorful, storybook quality," Smothers said. "I wanted to see what 'The Addams Family' would have looked like with that same color tone, and I think it turned out pretty good."
He nailed it. Gomez is dapper in his blue pinstriped suit, Morticia's necklace glows like a drop of blood, and the Addams mansion shines against a spooky sunset.
Smothers works in freelance TV production, but hopes one day to make colorization his full-time job.
"I was a '90s Nick at Nite kid and grew up watching shows made during the prime of color TV, so I've always been drawn to that look," Smothers said. His favorite is another monstrous show, "The Munsters," and he's received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to his colorized version of its opening credits, where he painstakingly colorized each frame by hand.
He also shares fascinating videos of his process. In one, you see the "Addams" scene split, half in black-and-white, half in color. In another video, you watch his colorization progress on a still "Munsters" image.
"Sometimes someone doesn't like (colorization) and that's OK because I understand the appeal and nostalgia of black and white," he said. "Colorization often comes with a lot of criticism and I'm always braced for it, so it's a relief to see that people really do like seeing these shows in color."
Addams also takes assignments colorizing people's own family photos for birthdays or anniversaries. Someday he'd love to work full time doing colorizing for a studio, but he makes it clear his work is an homage to the original versions.
"I grew up with these shows and I still watch them today; they are very important to me," he said. "Colorizing is my art and although I was never able to work on them during the time of their filming, it is my way of honoring them and I would love to be a part of their legacy."