Is nothing sacred? Ted Turner’s Turner Broadcasting has announced plans to colorize “Casablanca.”

“Maltese Falcon” and “Asphalt Jungle” also will be electronically colorized, among more than 100 classics from the company’s library of MGM (pre-1950s), Warner Bros. and RKO films. (The colored versions will air on Turner’s WTBS superstation under the banner Color Classic Network and be syndicated to stations around the country, including KTLA.)

“The critics will probably scream, ‘Leave the classics alone!’ ” confessed a Turner exec. “We expect a public uproar.”

Nevertheless, “extensive research is under way, deciding which colors the directors, producers or actors would have chosen had the movies been filmed in color,” explained Turner rep Eric Mclamb, who added that scripts, archival materials, posters and cast members are being consulted to get authentic colors.


Mclamb stressed that Turner isn’t tampering with the original B&W; films. “We’re transfering them to video for electronic colorization. The purists can still see the classics in black and white.”

As for classics of another stripe, Turner also will colorize the original “Popeye the Sailor” cartoons and--not likely to cause a stink--"Gilligan’s Island.”