vic fortezza
3 min readDec 3, 2023

I like to think of myself as a movie buff, although my knowledge of the technical aspects is woeful. Last night MeTV’s Svengoolie, shown on channel 43–3 on OTA in NYC, ran Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), which was remade as The House of Wax 20 years later. It is fun, though faulty. Two versions were shot, one in black and white for theaters not equipped to show color prints. The other was filmed in what is called two-color technicolor, which I do not recall having ever heard of before yesterday. I googled it: “… a prism beam-splitter behind the camera lens exposed two consecutive frames of a single strip of black-and-white negative film simultaneously, one behind a red filter, the other behind a green filter.” I’m not sure what that means. The first process dates back to 1916. The Gulf Between was released in 1917. Since the screening required the presence of a technician, it didn’t fly. The Toll of the Sea (1922) used Process 2 and was the first general-release film in Technicolor. The first feature made entirely in Process 3 was The Viking (1928), which had a synchronized score and sound effects. Mystery of the Wax Museum used this process. Walt Disney monopolized Process 4 in the early going, using it for cartoons. Almost all the early prints of the first three processes have been lost. The process was eventually abandoned because it was so expensive. To my chagrin, I was unable to find a definitive answer to which is the last technicolor film. In America The Godfather Part II (1974) used the process. In Europe horror master Dario Argento used it for Suspiria (1977). Here’s a still from Mystery… featuring Glenda Farrell as a hard-nosed reporter, photo from Google Images:

And here’s one from the first use of Process 4, Flowers and Trees (1932):

WWIII? Headline from “US warship, multiple commercial vessels reportedly ‘under attack’ in Red Sea.”

To illustrate how silly my life is in this my 73rd year, I was ecstatic when I checked the alternate side calendar this morning and saw that the regulation will be suspended Friday in observance of the Immaculata. This means I won’t have to move the car from the prime book shop spot for almost two weeks. The shop was rained-out. To fill time I did the laundry a day early, cleaned three-quarters of my wood floor, and read a lot more than usual. My life is not in technicolor these days.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.