W2XBS Schedule, Week of February 25th, 1940

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week beginning Sunday, February 25th, 1940. I have no idea why two films about building houses were shown during this week. It’s interesting that as early as February 1940 television was bringing foreign cinema to the viewing public and with subtitles even.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Three Waltzes (or Les trois valses) was a ninety-minute French film, first released in 1938 (on April 24th, 1939 in the United States) and starred Yvonne Printemps and Pierre Fresnay. It was also apparently a musical.

I wish I knew more about the “variety show” that was broadcast on Friday and Saturday but that’s all the listings include. “Art for Your Sake” with Dr. Bernard Myers appears to have been a somewhat regularly scheduled program on W2XBS.

Sunday, February 25th, 1940
3:30-4:30: Film, “Green Eyes.”
8:45-10:45: Hockey, New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens [sic], at Madison Square Garden.

Wednesday, February 28th, 1940
3:30-4:30: Films, “Little Miss Cowboy” and “Today We Build,” on European and American housing projects.
6:45-7:00: Lowell Thomas-News.
8:15-11:15: Basketball, Fordham vs. Pittsburgh, and New York University vs. Georgetown, at Madison Square Garden.

Thursday, February 29th, 1940
3:30-4:45: Film, “Three Waltzes,” in French, with English subtitles.
6:45-7:00: Lowell Thomas-News.
9:00-11:00: Wrestling, at Ridgewood Grove.

Friday, March 1st, 1940
3:30-4:35: Films, “Jai Alai,” “Burn ‘Em Up Barnes,” “Construction of Three Small House,” on FHA Housing; Thomas J. Watson, president of International Business Machine Corporation, receiving Golden Gate Exposition plaque.
6:45-7:00: Lowell Thomas-News.
8:30-9:30: Variety show.

Saturday, March 2nd, 1940
3:30-4:45: Juvenile film, “Little Red School House.”
7:30-8:00: “Art for Your Sake,” Dr. Bernard Myers.
8:30-9:30: Variety show.

“Notes on Television.” New York Times. 24 Feb. 1940: 122.

Related Posts

Become a Patron Today

Are you a fan of obscure television? Please support Television Obscurities on Patreon by becoming a patron today.

6 Replies to “W2XBS Schedule, Week of February 25th, 1940”

  1. Lowell Thomas’ nightly 15 minute news and commentary program on NBC radio [for Sunoco gas and oil] was “simulcast” on W2XBS- which, I believe, consisted of Lowell Thomas reading the latest news before an NBC microphone in his studio, with occasional visual aids, especially during the Sunoco commercials. It was basically a “photographed radio show”.

    “Burn ‘Em Up Barnes” was a 1934 Mascot serial starring Jack Mulhall, Frankie Darro and Lola Lane (what a cast!) that lasted 12 chapters, and shown weekly on W2XBS during the early part of 1940. Apparently, Republic Pictures, who succeeded Mascot after 1935, didn’t mind releasing some of their older serials for pre-war experimental telecasts; in fact, “Burn ‘Em Up Barnes” was one of their best-selling serials in the “package” they leased to local stations in the early ’50s.

    1. They were on their way to a Stanley Cup. The last one they’d win for 54 years. It was the first hockey game ever on television

    1. Only a few thousand people had tvs in 1940. And those were primarily in New York and Los Angeles.

      RCA came out with the TRK-12 in 1939 and it had a list price of $600. Sales were dismal and they dropped the price to $395. That’s equivalent to a few thousand today. RCA only made about 1700 of this particular model from 1939-40.

      As a comparison, the 1940 census revealed that 82% of households – about 28 million – had radios.

      Individuals who owned a set at that were either well-to-do and were the type that wanted “the latest thing” or hobbyists with more modest incomes that might have assembled a less expensive set from a kit.

      Just after the War, when screens were a little larger and before tv really took off as a “must have” purchase for homes, many bars bought sets as a novelty to attract customers. Most people at that time would have seen their first tv in a bar or other public space or in a store display.

      My dad, who came from a small community in the mountains of NC that didn’t have even have electricity yet recalled seeing his first tv in a bar in Philadelphia in the late 40s just after he joined the Navy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.