Rare Beatle Photos in Color
If you are under 40 yrs. old, the concept that color film was not used often is impossible to believe. Up until 1967, it was mostly a black and white world in America's media outlets. Yes, color film was around and used but it was far more expensive to buy and process. Consumers had a choice: buy a cheap B\W film or much more expensive color. Kodak cameras were all over the place and many used color photos but at a price. With an average wage of not more than $2 per hour, when color film cost $4-5 and processing another $4-5 dollars, it was a real issue even for professional media photographers. Virtually no newspaper ever printed any color photos of news items for the same reason. Until USA Today began publishing in all color, the standard was all B\W.
The Beatles first film, A Hard's Days Night, is now iconic for being the first true rock-like movie and video, yet it was done in black and white because of cost in 1964. Their second movie, Help!, was done in color in 1965 during the height of Beatlemania and assured success.
While all Americans had a black and white TV set, few had a color TV for two reasons: cost, averaging around $500 and few TV shows were broadcasted in color. The technology was there-Bonanza ( a western) and Ed Sullivan (variety show) were in color as early as 1962, but not many TV stations has the costly equipment. By 1965, more shows were in color, but still not enough to warrant paying $500 (remember how low wages were) just to see in color. One popular teen show with the latest pop\rock artists was Hullabaloo. Even the Beatles were on it. Its competitor, Shindig, was black and white.
TV manufacturers seemed to like making color TV's only in combo-console packages- a 23" TV, with record player and AM radio. Few color TV's were just the TV. So, many did not want to pay the extra money for it. Early color TV also had color issues that required frequent manual adjustment. However, by 1967, all the major broadcast stations broadcasted in color and nearly all shows were now in color. This made consumers buy color TV's.
The difference between color and black and white is immense. It opens up a new world and these rare photos of the Beatles and Mick Jagger in their prime seem more alive, more real. There are some color photos of the Beatles, but they are not common in 1964-65.