For those viewers with the right equipment, reds and blues won’t be the only changes they’ll notice in the colorized version of “Casablanca.” The 1942 classic is also being broadcast in stereo.
Without much promotion, and with no apparent opposition, Turner Entertainment began having the sound tracks of its colorized films redone in computer-generated stereo a year ago. Both “Casablanca” and “Key Largo,” which are double-billed tonight on TBS, now have stereo tracks.
The stereo-conversion ( stereoization ?) is done by Rick Chase, a Hollywood sound engineer who has a patented process for cleaning up and restoring old sound tracks that he then converts, through computers reading the locations of sound sources on the screen, into stereo.
Viewers with stereo receivers will hear “La Marseillaise” at Rick’s Cafe as they’ve never heard it before. Soon, they will be able to rent a colorized version of “King Kong” and get a stereophonic earful of Fay Wray’s screaming.
Turner is using Chase’s technology for an even bigger event, the 50th anniversary re-release of “Gone With the Wind.” Turner spokesman Roger Mayer said a new 35-millimeter negative was made from the original black-and-white color separations of the classic Civil War love story and pristine new prints, complete with stereo conversion, are being struck from it.
The refurbished version of “Gone With the Wind” will premiere Jan. 31 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. New cassettes to follow.