Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week starting Sunday, September 24th, 1939, straight from the weekly television listings printed in The New York Times. There were a lot of sporting events this week, with a softball game from the World’s Fair on Wednesday, football and basketball practice on Thursday and a football game on Saturday. A pair of dramas were broadcast on Thursday afternoon.
According to The New York Times, in an effort to “give greater uniformity to day-to-day television operations in New York,” NBC had developed a new weekly schedule that would begin on Tuesday, September 26th. Daytime programs would run Tuesday through Friday from 2:30-3:30PM — with studio programs on Tuesday and Friday and mobile pick-ups on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — and from roughly 2:30-4:30PM on Saturdays. Evening programs from 8:30-9:30PM would run Tuesday through Friday with two dramatic hours and two variety hours. A Saturday motion picture was said to be in the works.
Tuesday, September 26th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – George Ross, columnist; films, and Franklin Lacey, impersonator.
8:30-9:30PM – Excerpts from the Broadway production, “From Vienna,” with members of the original cast.
Wednesday, September 27th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Softball game, Lowell Thomas’s Nine Old Men vs. American Museum Head Hunters, at the Court of Peace, World’s Fair.
8:30-9:30PM – Variety; Red Barber, sports interview.
Thursday, September 28th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Football and basketball teams of Long Island University in practice at Manhattan Beach; interview with Clair Bee, coach.
8:30-9:30PM – Dramas: “When the Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” with Patricia Calvert, John Moore and Matthew Smith; and “Dr. Abernathy,” with William Podmore, Robin Craven, Nellie Malcolm, Florence Edney and Naomi Campbell.
Friday, September 29th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Fashion show, films and an interview with James Crowley, Fordham football coach.
8:30-9:30PM – Variety; Ramon Armended, Mexican singer; explorers and others.
Saturday, September 30th, 1939
2-4PM – Football: Fordham vs. Waynesburg, at Randalls Island.
One Reply to “W2XBS Schedule, Week of September 24th, 1939”
Of course, W2XBS began to depend more on movies as the months flew by [a Saturday evening movie was eventually scheduled]- but NOT the latest or older “mainstream” Hollywood films, as the major studios would not allow them to be shown, even on “experimental television”. So NBC had to settle for older “B” and “C” features from independent and defunct “Poverty Row” studios, foreign films (with subtitles), and “experimental”, commercial, industrial and travelogue shorts [those were usually seen on weekday afternoons]…even old Van Beuren cartoons produced between 1929 and 1934.
Incidentally, “From Vienna” (highlights of which were presented on September 26th) was a revue produced by the “Refugee Artists Group” that had appeared on Broadway at the Music Box Theater for 79 performances, from June 20 through August 26, 1939. This was the first and last time most of the original cast appeared together on television, which included John Banner [who later became a TV icon as “Sgt. Schultz” on “HOGAN’S HEROES”], Louis Ebers, Fred Essler, and Nelly Franck.