Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.
The debate over colorizing photos has raged for as long as the technology has existed to do so. Some people love them, some people hate them. I tend to fall into the first group as a well-done colorizing job can breathe new life into a moment in history that might seem far away and unconnected from the here and now. Seeing photos in color can bring them into the present and make them seem more “real.”
Colorizing black and white photos is also not a new trend. Practically as soon as it was possible to create a photograph, there were artists specializing in adding color with paint by hand. In keeping with that tradition, I hand “paint” each photo with digital color in Photoshop. When deciding on a color palette, I do as much research as possible then use artistic expression to fill in the gaps.
All that said, I picked a dozen of my favorite colorized photos to include in this list. I hope you enjoy them and it gives you a new perspective on Huntington’s history.
1. Teddy Roosevelt at the Cabell County Courthouse in 1904.
President Roosevelt campaigned heavily in West Virginia against Henry G. Davis, who was on the Democratic ticket and a native West Virginian. Roosevelt won re-election in a landslide (including West Virginia’s seven electoral votes) on November 8, 1904. Original photo by Levi Holley Stone.
2. WSAZ personalities Jule Huffman (aka “Mr. Cartoon”) and Beeper.
WSAZ promotional photo.
3. Capt. Dayton C. Casto displaying the nose art on his P-47, part of the 375th Fighter Squadron, January 1944.
Library of Congress photo.
4. The time Marco escaped in 1971.
At the Sept. 25, 1971, game against Xavier University, Marshall University’s live bison mascot, Marco, broke loose before the second half kickoff at Fairfield Stadium. “Young Thundering Herd” coach Jack Lengyel finally captured Marco and led him off the field. As dramatized in the Warner Bros. motion picture “We Are Marshall,” MU would defeat Xavier 15-13 in its first win since the plane crash in 1970 (How Marco’s escape and subsequent capture were not included in the film is anybody’s guess). Photo courtesy the Herald-Dispatch Archives.
Huntington-native Dagmar was famous for being…Dagmar. The original blonde “bombshell,” Dagmar was an actress, model, and national television personality of the mid-20th Century. She was the namesake of the “Dagmar Bumper” which was a style of car bumper that featured two bullet-point bulges on the front. During the Korean War, an American 40 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft tank was nicknamed “Dagmar’s Twin 40s.” Promotional photo.
6. Soupy Sales with Hugh Hefner in 1970.
Comedian Soupy Sales was born Milton Supman on Jan. 8, 1926 in Huntington, West Virginia. He worked as a radio scriptwriter and comedian, and eventually became a DJ and then a television personality. At it’s peak, the “Soupy Sales Show” was the #1 show out of Los Angeles and drew stars such as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. Soupy grew up in Huntington, graduated from Huntington High School, and received his B.A. in Journalism from Marshall University.
7. Fourth Avenue during the 1937 Flood.
Photo: Huntington District-U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
8. Legendary Marshall University football and basketball coach Cam Henderson.
Cam Henderson is credited with the creation of the 2-3 zone defense and the “fast break” in basketball. The building that houses the 9,000-seat Marshall basketball arena is named the Cam Henderson Center. Photo courtesy MU Archives.
9. Paul Newman in Huntington researching his role for “Cool Hand Luke” in 1967.
Photo courtesy Huntington Quarterly.
10. Thundering Herd and Philadelphia 76ers star Hal Greer.
Photo courtesy MU Archives.
11. Terry Gardner’s game-winning touchdown over Xavier, Sept. 25, 1971.
Another one from the Xavier game. Photo courtesy MU archives.
12. Third Avenue after a parade.
Another one from Levi Holley Stone. The view is looking northeast across Third Avenue and Tenth Street, circa 1920s.