W2XBS Schedule, Week of September 3rd, 1939

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week starting Sunday, September 3rd, 1939, straight from the weekly television listings printed in The New York Times. Unfortunately, neither the weekly or daily listings indicated what the outside pickups broadcast on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon actually were. A Gilbert and Sullivan operetta based on “H.M.S. Pinafore” was shown on Tuesday, September 5th and a play titled “Brother Rat” by John Monks, Jr. and Fred Finklehoffe aired on Thursday, September 7th. And, of course, there were a few movies, including 1935’s The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes on Friday, September 8th.

Tuesday, September 5th, 1939
12-1PM – Marie Luisa Lopez, Mexican songs; films; interview and news.
8:30-9:30PM – Operetta, “H.M.S. Pinafore,” by Gilbert and Sullivan, with Margaret Daum, Ray Heatherton, John Cherry, Colin O’More, Harry Donaghy and Aima Kitchell.

Wednesday, September 6th, 1939
12-1PM – Fashion show; films; George Ross, Broadway columnist, and news.
3-4PM – An outside pickup, to be announced.
8:30-9:30PM – Film, “My Heart is Calling,” with Jan Kiepura, tenor, of the Metropolitan Opera.

Thursday, September 7th, 1939
12-1PM – Fashion show; films; Mrs. Marguerite Browning and Alice Maslin discussing “Clothes, for the Problem Figure,” and news.
8:30-9:30PM – Play, “Brother Rat,” by john Monks Jr., and Fred Finklehoffe, with Lyle Bettger, Edwin Phillips, Juliet Forbes, Anna Franklin, Marjorie Davies and Tom Ewell.

Friday, September 8th, 1939
12-1PM – Variety; films; interviews by Gilbert Martyn, and news.
3-4PM – An outside pickup, to be announced.
8:30-9:30PM – Film, “The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes,” with Arthur Wontner.

Works Cited:

“Televiews of Pictures.” New York Times. 3 Sep. 1939: X8.

1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    As previously mentioned, W2XBS had access to dozens of foreign films (some with subtitles), “B” and “C” movies of recent vintage, some independently produced movies from obscure studios that had already gone out of business by the time they were seen in New York in 1939-’40, and old Van Beuren cartoons, travelogues, “commercial films”, and “promotional shorts” to fill time during the days and nights when there was no “live” programming. “My Heart Is Calling” was an obscure 1934 British musical (released in the U.S. in the spring of 1935) starring a now-forgotten star of the Metropolitan Opera, Jan[uary] Kiepura, in an obviously sappy story of how an Italian opera company is saved by its lead tenor and the “stowaway girl” he falls in love with {Marta Eggerth}. The running time was 84 minutes, but I suspect W2XBS applied a little “trimming” to make it fit its alloted hour-long time period.

    Also seen that week was one of the series of British “Sherlock Holmes” movies starring Arthur Wontner, “The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes”, released in 1935, but NOT seen in American theaters at the time. He appeared in five of them; some of those [if not all] were available a few years ago on cheap “dollar DVD”‘s, from well-worn 16mm prints. Interesting that W2XBS was showing that just as Basil Rathbone began to be known as Holmes in theaters after his first feature as the master detective, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, released earlier that year.

    “Brother Rat” was originally a Broadway play, which became a highly successsful 1938 Warner Bros. movie (with a ’39 sequel, “Brother Rat and A Baby”), and remade as “About Face” in 1952. Note among the cast, young Tom Ewell, who later became a successful actor on Broadway, in films {“The Seven Year Itch” is his most famous}, and not too successful on TV with his own series, “THE TOM EWELL SHOW”, in 1960-’61.

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