I’ve decided to revive my Historical TV Schedules blog feature for 2017. I’ll be posting weekly schedules from 1947 for WNBT every Tuesday throughout the year. To be honest, I went back and forth about whether to jump ahead to 1947 or pick up where I left off with WBNT, which would be 1942. Ultimately, I decided to go with 1947 for two reasons.
First, 2017 marks seven decades since 1947 and I do love anniversaries. Second, most of the programs WNBT aired in 1947 were relayed to other stations. The limited NBC network in 1947 consisted of WNBT, WRGB in Schenectady, NY, and WPTZ in Philadelphia, PA.
Below you’ll find the WNBT schedule for the week starting Sunday, December 29th, 1946. As always, my source for these schedules is The New York Times, which published daily listings for TV stations in the city alongside its far more comprehensive radio listings.
Sunday, December 29th, 1946
8:00PM Face to Face – Cartoon Quiz
8:40PM Film Short
8:45PM Variety Show
9:15PM News Program
Monday, December 30th, 1946
8:00PM Feature Film
8:20PM Television Reporter
8:40PM Televues [The Voice of Firestone Televues]
8:45PM Boxing St. Nicholas Arena (To 11)
Tuesday, December 31st, 1946
8:00PM-12AM Film Features and New Year’s Eve at Times Square
Wednesday, January 1st, 1947
No Programs Listed
Thursday, January 2nd, 1947
7:50PM Television Newsreel
8:00PM Hour Glass: Variety
9:00PM You Are an Artist-Jon Gnagy
Friday, January 3rd, 1947
11:15AM Preliminaries and Proceedings; Also Opening of Eightieth Congress
8:00PM Campus Show [Campus Hoopla]
8:20PM Let’s Rhumba
8:30PM I Love to Eat
8:45PM World in Your Home–Film
9:00PM Boxing, Madison Square Garden
Saturday, January 4th, 1947
No Programs Listed
If you’re familiar with early network TV from the late 1940s, you might recognize several of these programs. There’s Hour Glass (Thursday at 8PM), the pioneering variety show sponsored by Standard Brands. When it debuted in May 1946, it likely aired only on WNBT. By December 1946, WNBT relayed Hour Glass to WRGB and WPTZ.
Standard Brands also sponsored Face to Face (Sunday at 8PM), a quiz show/audience participation show hosted by Eddie Dunn. Cartoonist Bob Dunn (I’m assuming the two were brothers) sketched members of the audience based on their descriptions. It debuted in June 1946. Like Hour Glass, Face to Face also aired on WRGB and WPTZ.
Campus Hoopla (Friday at 8PM) is called “Campus Show” in the listings. Sponsored by U.S. Rubber, the show debuted on December 27th, 1946. It likely began airing on WRGB and WPTZ at some point but I’m not sure when. Set at a college campus soda shop filled with students and cheerleaders, it featured quizzes, sports films, songs, and dancing. One of the cheerleaders was Eva Marie Saint; she also appeared in commercials for Keds sneakers. Bob Stanton served as host.
Many of the programs scheduled to air this week were relayed to both WPTZ and WRGB, like I Love to Eat, Tele-Varieties, Voice of Firestone Televues, and the boxing matches on Monday and Friday (which may have aired under the title Cavalcade of Sports). Several others were only relayed to WRGB: You Are an Artist, World in Your Home, and (Esso) Television Newsreel.
Did WNBT relay all of its programming, including films and news, to WPTZ and/or WRGB? I don’t know for sure but I doubt it. Those stations likely aired their own film shorts and local news programs.
Aside from regular weekly TV shows, the first week of 1947 included a pair of special programs. New Year’s Eve programming aired from 8PM to 12AM on Tuesday, December 31st, 1946. This likely included live coverage of the celebration in Times Square. The station also aired coverage of the 80th United States Congress on Friday, January 3rd, 1947.
I can’t say whether WNBT relayed any of its New Year’s Eve coverage or Congressional coverage to WPTZ and/or WRGB.
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.