W2XBS Schedule, Week of December 24th, 1939

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s experimental station W2XBS in New York City for the week starting Sunday, December 24th, 1939, straight from the weekly television listings printed in The New York Times. It was an interesting week. It was the last full week of 1939 and the 35th full week since W2XBS began broadcasting on April 30th. The station was off the air on Christmas Day (Monday, December 25th) but did air two Christmas programs: a pantomime version of Cinderella on Sunday, December 24th and Christmas Folk Dances on Wednesday, December 27th, plus an Ice Carnival (also on Sunday).

Included in Wednesday’s programming was Dinah Shore in what could have been her television debut. There was one full length feature film aired during the week, 1934’s Four Masked Men; one sporting event, boxing at Ridgewood grove; and one play, “Post Road,” by Wilbur Steele and Norma Mitchell.

I’d be interested in seeing Dinah Shore’s singing as well as Nelson’s Boxing Cats and the President’s Birthday Ball.

Sunday, December 24th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Ice Carnival, featuring the St. Regis Bustles, at Rockefeller Center Skating Pond.
8:30-9:30PM – “Cinderella,” a Christmas pantomime by Madge Tucker, with Ireene Wicker and Jolly Bill Steinke.

Wednesday, December 27th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Dinah Shore, songs; film serials, Episode III, “Burn ‘Em Up Barnes”; film travelogue, “Across the Andes”; Christmas Folk Dances.
8:30-9:30PM – Midweek Varieties, with Mable Cobb reviewing “World Famous Paintings,” Marjorie Moffatt, Monologue, Ink Spots, Nelson’s Boxing Cats, “Rosamunde,” musical film.

Thursday, December 28th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – “Wings Over the Nation”–servicing a transport ship at La Guardia Field.
8:30-9:25PM – Film, “Four Masked Men.”

Friday, December 29th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – Films, “Land of the Shining Mountains”; “March of Time–Metropolis, 1939”; “See How They Run”; “Landbuilders.”
8:30-9:40PM – Play, “Post Road,” by Wilbur Steele and Norma Mitchell.

Saturday, December 30th, 1939
2:30-3:30PM – President’s Birthday Ball program; films, “Skiing in the Pongau”; “Stop That Car”; “Overture to William Tell”; “Pinocchio,” by Sue Hastings Marionettes.
9-11PM – Boxing: Ridgewood Grove.


“Telecasts for the Week.” New York Times. 24 Dec. 1939: 92.

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2 Replies to “W2XBS Schedule, Week of December 24th, 1939”

  1. Irene {aka “Ireene”- a numerologist suggested she add an extra “e” to her first name for luck} Wicker, radio’s “THE SINGING LADY”, and “Jolly Bill” Steinke, also a children’s radio personality of the ’30s [originally featured on NBC’s “JOLLY BILL AND JANE”, way back in 1930], were featured in the “pantomime” version of “Cinderella”. Wicker was eventually blacklisted from radio and TV in the early ’50s, and Steinke just disappeared.

    Dinah Shore was starting to make a name for herself as a vocalist on NBC radio’s Sunday afternoon series, “THE CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LOWER BASIN STREET”. That might well have been her first TV appearance on Wednesday afternoon. The Ink Spots, about to receive recording fame the following year, also made one of their initial TV appearances that evening. “Nelson’s Cats” continued to make appearances on early commercial TV variety shows in the late ’40s…

  2. Dinah Shore didn’t even remember her early TV appearances when she was interviewed by director Michael Ritchie for his book “Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television.” At first she insisted she made her debut in the late 40s but then the memories came back. Good book. This is a fascinating website.

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