W2XBS Schedule, Week of April 7th, 1940

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week beginning Sunday, April 7th, 1940. And what a week it was, kicking off with interviews at the top of the RCA Building and a one-act play put on by the Yale University Theatre Group.

Also, air safety presentations at La Guardia Field on Monday, a baseball game on Wednesday, a Mickey Rooney movie on Thursday, an “hour of vaudeville” on Friday and another baseball game on Saturday.

I’d be interested in learning more about this so-called “Midweek Varieties” that was shown on Wednesday, April 10th with Yvette the songtress, Buck and Bubbles the novelty act, a song team called the Virginians and Paul Wing’s spelling bee. Not to mention “Hits and Bits of 1890,” that hour of vaudeville shown on Friday, April 12th.

Sunday, April 7th, 1940
2:30-3:00PM – Interviews atop the RCA Building.
8:30-9:30PM – Yale University Theatre Group in “Hospital Scene,” a one-act play; professor Oakes, the Wizard of Waukesha; Loretta Clemens, songs; Chiquita, Mexican dances.

Monday, April 8th, 1940
12:00-1:00PM – Air Safety Presentations, La Guardia Field.

Wednesday, April 10th, 1940
3:30-5:00PM – Baseball, Columbia vs. Fordham.
6:45-7:00PM – News, Lowell Thomas.
8:30-9:30PM – Midweek varieties, with Yvette, songtress; Buck and Bubbles, novelty act; the Virginians, song team, and Paul Wing’s spelling bee.
9:30-9:40PM – Television reporter.

Thursday, April 11th, 1940
3:30-4:30PM – Films.
6:45-7:00PM – News, Lowell Thomas.
8:30-9:30PM – Film, “The Big Chance,” with Mickey Rooney.

Friday, April 12th, 1940
3:30-4:30PM – Film, “Wild Horse Round-up.”
6:45-7:00PM – News, Clem McCarthy.
8:30-9:30PM – “Hits and Bits of 1890,” an hour of vaudeville.

Saturday, April 13th, 1940
3:00-4:30PM – Baseball, Fordham vs. Rutgers.
8:30-9:30PM – Film, “Rainbow’s End.”

Sources:
“Looking-In On The Telecasts.” New York Times. 7 Apr. 1940: 134.


1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    “The Big Chance”, with Mickey Rooney, was among his first {if not THE first} feature film appearances, way back in 1933 for independent producer Morris Shiller [John Darrow was actually the star- “The Mick” played his kid brother]. As I’ve said before, the major Hollywood studios were not about to allow their backlog of feature films to be shown on TV, even if its WAS in an “experimental stage”. Imagine the reaction of those several hundred viewers in New York, expecting to see a “new” Mickey Rooney picture on TV, with most of them probably saying, “Who’s IS this kid? THAT’S Mickey Rooney?? I paid over $700 to watch THIS??”.

    “Rainbow’s End” was an equally obscure 1935 Hoot Gibson Western (from the defunct First Division Pictures), as well as Kermit Maynard’s “Wild Horse Round-Up” (Conn Pictures, 1936). In the ’50s, these kind of films were staples during the “local afternoon/late movie”, but in 1940, ANYTHING that moved was considered “prime-time” material on W2XBS.

    Clem McCarthy substituted for Lowell Thomas on his Friday “simulcast” [for Sunoco on NBC radio]; sometimes, Lowell took the evening off, and other newscaster/commentators filled in for him.

    Ford Buck and John W,. Bubbles were a well-known tap-dancing team; they weren’t new to TV, as their first appearance was on the BBC’s initial “high-definition” TV broadcast in November 1936. When in New York, they occasionally appeared on W2XBS during 1940 and ’41.

    “PAUL WING’S SPELLING BEE” was a TV adaptation of Wing’s popular NBC radio show; he also narrated children’s stories for RCA’s “Bluebird” children’s label in the ’40s {I personally enjoyed his retelling of “The Ugly Duckling”}.

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