W2XBS Schedule, Week of October 22nd, 1939

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week starting Sunday, October 22nd, 1939, straight from the weekly television listings printed in The New York Times. The paper noted that broadcasts would finally start airing on Sundays beginning this week while Monday and Tuesday would “become pictureless.” For the most part Monday was already pictureless, however. Sporting events opened and closed the week, with football on Sunday and boxing on Saturday. A variety hour broadcast on Wednesday included something called “Debut Hour” with Allen Prescott; the Internet Movie Database has a page for an Allen Prescott that includes credits for two television programs aired during the late 1940s.

Furthermore, the Gloria Blondell who starred in “The Fortune Hunter” on Friday is likely this Gloria Blondell, younger sister of actress Joan Blondell while Percy Kilbride is probably this Percy Kilbride, the actor who played Pa Kettle in eight Ma and Pa Kettle films opposite Marjorie Main.

Sunday, October 22nd, 1939
2:30PM – Football, Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Eagles at Ebbets Field.

Wednesday, October 25th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Alice Maslin, Facts and Fancies; Vicente Gomez, Guitar; Morisette, Whistler; film serial, “The Lost Jungle”; film, “Midsummer in Sweden”; exercises.
8:30-9:30PM – Variety Hour, John Frederick, hat designer; Debut Hour, with Allen Prescott, and Better Vision Institute program.

Thursday, October 26th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – A Mobile Unit pick-up, to be announced.
8:30-9:30PM – Film, “The Mutiny of the Elsinore,” with Paul Lukas, Lyn Harding and others.

Friday, October 27th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Film, “Pilot X” with John Carroll and Lona Andre.
8:30-9:30PM – “The Fortune Hunter,” by Winchell Smith, with Gloria Blondell, Douglas Gilmore and Percy Kilbride.

Saturday, October 28th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – “Wings of a Nation,” second in a series on aviation and air travel.
9-11PM – Boxing, at the Ridgewood Grove Arena.

Sources:

“Telecasts for the Week.” New York Times. 22 Oct. 1939: 140.


1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Vicente Gomez, the guitarist who appeared on Wednesday afternoon [25th], recorded several albums for Decca in the ’50s (and they’re quite good).

    “The Mutiny of the Elsinore”, based on a Jack London novel, was originally released in England in 1937, initially released in the U.S. the previous February (another “recent” foreign film for W2XBS’ use), featuring Paul Lukas, Lyn Harding, Kathleen Kelly and a supporting cast you’ve never heard of. Lukas became better known for his performance in the Broadway and Hollywood productions of “Watch on the Rhine”.

    “Pilot X”, originally released as “Death in the Air” in December 1936 by the defunct independent “Fanchon Royer Pictures”, was reissued under a number of titles (including “Murder in the Sky” and “The Mysterious Bombadier”) in later years, and was probably one of the first “B pictures” to be seen on commercial TV in the late ’40s. Featuring John Carroll, Lona Andre, Leon Ames, Wheeler Oakman, and Gaston Glass [who eventually went behind the camera, later becoming a unit production manager for 20th Century-Fox and production supervisor for Fox’s TV unit, until his death in November 1965]. Typical plot- a crazed World War I flying veteran creating havoc with modern planes, shooting them down- and it’s up to John Carroll to stop him!! {He does, of course, after encountering several logical suspects} Yep, just the right thing to watch before that program on “today’s” aviation and air travel the next afternoon!

    And yes, Gloria Blondell and Percy Kilbride DID appear in some experimental telecasts before they returned to Hollywood; Kilbride becoming “Pa Kettle” in Universal’s long-running series of theatrical movies, and Gloria best known as “Honeybee Gillis” on William Bendix’s “THE LIFE OF RILEY” in the mid-’50s.

    Allen Prescott was best known for a daily radio program known as “THE WIFE SAVER” (which, coincidentally, aired on NBC for a time), featuring “helpful hints” and the like. He was never quite successful adapting the format to TV in the late ’40s.

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