The funny thing is how (as a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon suggested) we tend to think of the days before colour photography was prevalent as being, mentally, a black and white world. Colour film of WWII scenes always comes as a shock to me, as if those days should have been experienced at the time as b/w and grainy.
I know exactly what you mean. I don't think we ever think this consciously, but it's there in the back of our mind and makes these vibrant pictures all that more surprising and delightful.
Maybe this is a place where it helps to be a film and/or history buff. After all, Gone With the Wind was made in 1939, and they didn't stop having separate categories for B&W and colour at the Oscars (for things like art direction and costume design) for literally decades. And the first chemical dye produced was during the Victorian era. And you can get a hot pink dye out of lichen that we know the Norse used over a thousand years ago.
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"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." --Mark Twain