Color Screens on Black and White TV Sets

Who remembers putting color screens on their black-and-white TV sets?

It was the dream for many middle class American families in the 1950s and 1960s: colored TV. Although the technology was available since 1953, the high prices of colored television sets meant most families couldn’t afford the exciting advancement.

Back when color television sets were luxury items, there was a cheap and easy alternative to get our favorite programs in color. Does anyone remember their families putting plastic screens on their TV?

The screens were thin, transparent pieces of plastic that stuck to the TV screen. The top portion of the screen was blue for the sky, the middle had a reddish tint, and the bottom was green for grass.

Of course, the screens looked nothing like real color TV, but they did add a little bit of excitement to the gray scale that was dominant during the early years of television. Because the screens sold for only a couple dollars, they were much more affordable than buying new color sets, which went for hundreds of dollars.

So before color TV became affordable in the late ’60s, who remembers their family using this device in the hopes of magically transforming black-and-white shows into color? With all the recent advancements of TV, it’s hard to imagine a time we used to do this.

Fredric Durrette served one tour in Vietnam, retired as E8 in the navy submarine service after 23 years. Major hobbies are collecting old stuff from the 20s and restoring old racing bicycles. Worked as a commercial photographer at JL Hudsons in Detroit and continue photography as a hobby. Love Sade, sixties soul, seventies rock, and all jazz. Attended Woodstock in 69!