W2XBS Schedule, Week of June 16th, 1940

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week beginning Sunday, June 16th, 1940, straight from television listings printed in The New York Times. According to the weekly listing, a group of editors and writers — Ralph Ingersoll, George Lyon, Wesley Price, John McManus, Elizabeth Hawes and William McCleary — were supposed to be interviewed from 9-9:30PM on Wednesday, June 19th. Daily listings for that day, however, have “Travel Films” running from 9-10PM.

Tuesday, June 18th, 1940
3:30-4:30PM – Film, “Sunset Range,” with Hoot Gibson.
9:00-10:00PM – Film, “Crooked Circle,” with Zasu Pitts and Jimmy Gleason.

Wednesday, June 19th, 1940 [1]
3:30-4:30PM – Films.
6:45-7:00PM – News, Commentator.
9:00-10:00PM – Travel Films.

Thursday, June 20th, 1940
3:30-4:30PM – Films.
6:45-7:00PM – News Bulletins.
9:00-10:00PM – Drama, “The Last Warning,” by Thomas F. Fallon, with Paula MacLean, Judson Laire, W.O. MacWatters, Frederick Tozare and Alice Buchana.

Friday, June 21st, 1940 [2]
3:30-4:35PM – Films.
6:45-7:00PM – Gov. Ralph Carr of Colorado.
9:00-9:20PM – American Red Cross Volunteers Demonstration of War Relief Work.
9:20-10:00PM – Fashion Show: Finland. March of Time Film: Waltz of the Flowers.

Saturday, June 22nd, 1940
3:30-4:35PM – Film, “Murder on the Campus.”
9:00-10:00PM – “The Revuers” in satirical tour of World’s Fair.”


“Rose of Hope Seen for Television; Fly Explains Target of the FCC.” New York Times. 16 Jun. 1940: X8.

Works Cited:

1 “Today on the Radio.” New York Times. 19 Jun. 1940: 39.
2 “Today on the Radio.” New York TImes. 21 Jun. 1940: 34.

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7 Replies to “W2XBS Schedule, Week of June 16th, 1940”

  1. “The Crooked Circle”, which, incidentally, had its “world television premiere” over W2XBS on June 18th, was a 1932 “occult mystery” featuring Zasu Pitts, James Gleason, Ben Lyon and Roscoe Karns [now THERE was a cast!], from the ultra independent “Sono Art- World Wide Pictures” studio. How many viewers tuned in to see that?

    “Murder On the Campus” was an obscure 1933 “B-movie” from Chesterfield, a “Poverty Row” studio that cranked out hundreds of “cheap movies”- this one featured Charles Starrett, Shirley Grey and J. Farrell MacDonald.

    Judson Laire later appeared as “Lars Hansen” on the long-running live (later filmed) comedy-drama “MAMA” (1949-’57).

    “The Revuers” were a five member group of performers who appeared in various New York nightclubs, “off-Broadway” productions and revues; two of them were Betty Comden and Adolph Green, who later went to Hollywood to write screenplays for MGM musicals, including “On The Town” and “Singing In the Rain”; another member was Judy Holliday. Their June 22nd appareance was probably one of their first on TV …and among their last, as they disbanded in 1944.

  2. Oh, yes- “Sunset Range” was a “typical” 1935 Hoot Gibson Western for a VERY obscure film outfit, “First Division Productions” (he only appeared in two films for them).

  3. Probably live, as the TIMES would have identified the “demonstration” as being on “Film”…and possibly using filmed inserts as part of the presentation.

  4. There are just over 5 minutes of W2XBS programming known to exist on film. Most of it is a silent, and silent-speed, excerpt from “Streets of New York,” an 1870s melodrama broadcast in August 1939. This is now in the collection of the Museum of TV & Radio. Another minute or so consists of unidentified, washed-out, off-screen clips from yet another 19th century costume drama.

    TV tubes at the time were very dim, making filming the picture all but impossible. In any case RCA did not want many people to get an idea of what a TV picture – or their programming – looked like unless they had complete control of the viewing experience.

    The panel discussion set for June 19 may have been canceled because two of the participants were politically controversial. Ralph Ingersoll, a wealthy, left-leaning publisher, had just started the newspaper PM, which accepted no advertising. (Interestingly enough, PM covered television more thoroughly than most local papers, altho they ran no schedules.) Elizabeth Hawes, a clothing designer and writer, was also notorious for her views on women’s fashion and gender roles generally. She and her husband Joseph Losey, a film director, were later blacklisted as Communists.

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