Audio Equipment and Home Theater Audio : Pre-1950's films in stereo

Pre-1950's films in stereo

I have noticed that on a lot of DVD's of pre-stereo era films, like "The Wizard of Oz" and "Show Boat", the sound is listed as being in stereo. Just how is this done? I don't have anything against it at all, but I can remember from some LP's that I had in the 1960's that some 1940's albums like the 1947 "Brigadoon" and the 1949 "South Pacific", which had been made only in mono, now suddenly appeared in "Electronically Enhanced for Stereo" editions, and they sounded sh***y that way.

And now I have DVD's of "The Wizard of Oz" and of the Baryshnikov 1977 "Nutcracker", both shown originally in mono, but available on DVD in stereo, and they sound great, not state-of-the art, but still good. (Well, the reason for "The Nutcracker" sounding great is that although the soundtrack was actually recorded in stereo, it had to be transmitted in mono because back then, there were no stereo TV's.)

But on films recorded in mono, how can this possibly be done without distorting the soundtrack, as used to happen? (The 1967 "fake stereo" LP of "Gone With the Wind" sounded truly awful.)

Re: Pre-1950's films in stereo

It was reprocessed. During the early 60's, mono albums were rerecorded, usually sending certain parts of the band(like the drums) to the left or right side, and in some extreme cases, even the vocals were sent to the right or left side.

If the song had keyboards, the keyboard would have a reverb effect added, and sent to both speakers.

RCA was especially bad about this.

Another extreme version of this was some early 60's country. Check out Jeannie C Riley's Harper Valley PTA. The drums are one side, the guitar is on the other. However, this might have been done intenitonally to take advantage of the console stereos that existed at the time. Many of these stereos consisted of a single bass in the middle, with smaller speakers handling the high and midrange on the sides. However it was true stereo, and generally the voices were centered on these.