W2XBS Schedule, Week of July 23rd, 1939

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week starting Sunday, July 23rd, 1939, straight from television listings printed in The New York Times. Plenty of variety was peppered throughout the week, including an interview with Sergeant Alvin York, children’s fashions, a fashion show, a Noel Coward play and the Duncan Sisters. There were also a handful of films. Although the weekly listings had a French movie, Carnival of Flanders, airing on Saturday, July 29th, that day’s daily listing indicated that W2XBS would be on the air from 12-1PM and 8:30-10PM without any details as to what would be shown (it was to be announced).

Tuesday, July 25th, 1939 [1]
12:00-1:00PM – Glasgow and Birt, “Piano and Paint”; films; Sergeant Alvin York, War Hero Interviews; and news.
8:30-9:30PM – The Duncan Sisters in “Topsy and Eva-Television Edition,” with Billy Kent, Florence Auer, Winfield Hoeney, Edwin Vail, William Edmundson, the Southernaires and the Chansonettes.

Wednesday, July 26th, 1939 [1]
12:00-1:00PM – June Hynd and Betty Green discuss children’s fashions; films; Hildegarde, Songs; George Rass, Broadway columnist, and news.
8:30-10:00PM – Film, “The Dude Ranger,” with George O’Brien and Irene Hervey.

Thursday, July 27th, 1939
12:00-1:00PM – Fashion show; films; Alice Maslin and Wray Meltmar discuss “Make-up Magic” and news.
8:30-8:30PM – Play, Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever,” with Isobel Elsom, Dennis Hoey, Wesley Addy, Virginia Campbell, Lowell Gilmore, Barbara Leeds, Carl Harbord and Florence Edney.

Friday, July 28th, 1939 [3]
12:00-1:00PM – Sue Read, Songs; Film: Brittany; Prof. Wei Chung-Loh, Chinese Musician; News.
8:30-9:30PM – Dancing lesson by Albert and Josephine Butler; James G. McDonald discussing the European political situation; Lucy Monroe, singer, and Pinky Lee, comedian.

Saturday, July 29th, 1939
8:30-10:00PM – Films, “Carnival of Flanders,” in French with English subtitles.


“Notes on Television.” New York Times. 23 Jul. 1939: X8.

Works Cited:

1 “Today on the Radio.” New York Times. 25 Jul. 1939: 16.
2 “Today on the Radio.” New York Times. 26 Jul. 1939: 16.
3 “Today on the Radio.” New York Times. 28 Jul. 1939: 14.

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One Reply to “W2XBS Schedule, Week of July 23rd, 1939”

  1. W2XBS had access to several “B” (and “C”) Westerns for telecasting, among them 1934’s “The Dude Ranger” (from independent producer Sol Lesser) with popular [at the time] cowboy star George O’Brien, and Sid Saylor as his sidekick “Nebraska”. By the dawn of commercial television, this film was also a staple of many local stations as well.

    Note that Pinky Lee made one of his first TV apearances on July 28th. He was emerging from what was left of burlesque in the Tri-State area towards “legitimate” appearances, and years away from stardom as one of the most beloved children’s show hosts of the mid-’50s [on NBC]. “Pee-wee Herman” has a bit of Pinky’s “shtick” in him…

    William Edmundson, who appeared as a supporting player in the “Topsy and Eva- Televison Edition” revue on July 25th (you could not stage a revue like that on TV these days), later turned up in character roles in Hollywood [most people know him from two roles on “THE TWILIGHT ZONE”: the bartender in 1959’s “What You Need”, and a prisoner in “Shadow Play” (1961)].

    Six weeks after James McDonald “discussed the European political situation” {perhaps the conversation went this way- “Mr. McDonald, do you believe there will be war in Europe?”/”No, I don’t think so”}, Germany invaded Poland…and the second World War began in Europe.

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