WCBW Schedule, Week of December 7th, 1941

Here’s the schedule for WCBW, the CBS station in New York City, for the week starting Sunday, December 7th, 1941, straight from daily television listings printed in The New York Times.

Although no programs were scheduled to air on Sunday, December 7th, WCBW went on the air for the first time ever on a Sunday to cover the attacks on Pearl Harbor. It’s unclear how long the station remained on the air. According to one report, it broadcast coverage of the attack from 8:45PM to after 10PM. Other reports suggest it was on the air for nine to ten hours.

Coverage of the attacks continued throughout the week, with multiple daily reports from Gilbert Seldes, who was in charge of the CBS television program department [1]. On Monday, December 8th at 12:30PM EST, President Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and delivered his famous “Infamy Speech.” WCBW carried the speech live. Audio, no doubt from a radio broadcast, was played while a flag waved in the background [2].

That afternoon, WCBW cancelled both Boys in the Back Room and the afternoon Children’s Story program to air additional coverage. Interestingly, listings in The New York Times didn’t include Boys in the Back Room; instead there was a placeholder “To Be Announced” at 2:45PM. Also, the station remained on the air an extra hour and 15 minutes on Monday [3].

The daily Children’s Story this week was an adaptation of Arabian Nights.

Men at Work aired as scheduled on Monday night, with a comedienne, a singer, and two pairs of dancers. Tamara sang on Tuesday once again. The topic for Wednesday’s Table Talk with Helen Sioussat was not included in the listings.

Friday’s National Defense program was likely watched by more viewers than previous installments.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941
No Programs Scheduled [Coverage of the attack on Pearl Harbor]

Monday, December 8th, 1941 [4]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – To Be Announced [Boys in the Back Room cancelled for news reports]
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Arabian Nights [Cancelled for news reports]
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30PM – Variety Show [Men at Work]: Sheila Barrett, Comedienne; Carmen De La Vega, Songs; Cappella and Patrciia, Dancers; Wesley Adams and Lisa, Dancers

Tuesday, December 9th, 1941 [5]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Dancing Lesson
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Arabian Nights
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Tamara, Songs
8:30PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
9-9:30PM – Sports–Bob Edge; Joel Barber, Guest

Wednesday, December 10th, 1941 [6]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Table Talk with Helen Sioussat
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Arabian Nights
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30-9:30PM – Country Dance

Thursday, December 11th, 1941 [7]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Arabian Nights
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – Sports-Bob Edge
8:30-9:30PM – Visual Quiz

Friday, December 12th, 1941 [8]
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Film
3:15PM – Children’s Story: Arabian Nights
8:00PM – News Reports
8:15PM – National Defense Program
9-10PM – Sports–Bob Edge: Badminton

Saturday, December 13th, 1941 [9]
2:30-4:30PM – Films

Note: Television listings published in newspapers were based on information provided by stations and were subject to change at the last minute. They may not be an accurate representation of what actually aired.

Works Cited:

1 “Television Develops New Presentation Of War News as Events Occur Swiftly.” Broadcasting. 15 Dec. 1941: 16.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 8 Dec. 1941: C42.
5 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 9 Dec. 1941: 63.
6 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 10 Dec. 1941: 51.
7 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 11 Dec. 1941: 55.
8 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 12 Dec. 1941: 51.
9 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 13 Dec. 1941: 37.


1 Comment

  • Joseph says:

    I suspect WNBT also televised President Roosevelt’s declaration of war, likely with either a waving flag in the background (like WCBW), or perhaps a still photo of FDR.

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