Pilot Season

First Advisor

William Tate

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film and University Honors




Technicolor Corp, Natalie Kalmus (1892-1965), Herbert T. Kalmus (Herbert Thomas) 1881-1963, Color motion pictures -- History, Color cinematography -- History




In the 1930s, two historical figures pioneered the cinematic movement into color technology and theory: Technicolor CEO Herbert Kalmus and Color Director Natalie Kalmus. Through strict licensing policies and creative branding, the husband-and-wife duo led Technicolor in the aesthetic revolution of colorizing Hollywood. However, Technicolor's enormous success, beginning in 1938 with The Wizard of Oz, followed decades of duress on the company. Studios had been reluctant to adopt color due to its high costs and Natalie's commanding presence on set represented a threat to those within the industry who demanded creative license.

The discrimination that Natalie faced, while undoubtedly linked to her gender, was more systemically linked to her symbolic representation of Technicolor itself and its transformation of the industry from one based on black-and-white photography to a highly sanctioned world of color photography. Over the years, Natalie and Herbert's marriage paid the cost of Technicolor's struggles causing them to secretly divorce in 1921, yet still run the company together through the early 1940s, until Herbert's affair with another woman resulted in their permanent separation.

This thesis, presented as a pilot to an hour-long television series entitled Technicolor, explores, primarily from Natalie's perspective, how the rise and fall of Herbert and Natalie Kalmus's marriage paralleled the rise and fall of Technicolor itself. Therefore, this thesis consists of three parts: an annotated bibliography (or show bible, as it is referred to in the television industry), an essay which summarizes the results of this research, and finally the hour-long drama script itself.


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