WNBT Schedule, Week of June 29th, 1941

Here’s the schedule for NBC’s commercial station WNBT in New York City for the week starting Sunday, June 29th, 1941, straight from daily television listings printed in The New York Times. Tuesday, July 1st marked the start of commercial broadcasting in the United States and on that day experimental station W2XBS became commercial station WNBT. It was the only station in the country ready to make the switch.

Thus, the amateur boxing bout from Jamaica Arena aired on Monday, June 30th was actually the last experimental broadcast of W2XBS while the baseball game at Ebbets Field between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies was the first commercial broadcast of WNBT. Following a 15-minute Lowell Thomas newscast, WNBT was off the air from 7-8PM and then aired an hour of test patterns from 8-9PM.

As I mentioned in this post, there’s some question of exactly how WNBT’s evening schedule on July 1st unfolded. At 9PM a USO program was aired, in which a check was presented to District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey. There was also a musical revue called “Bottlenecks of 1941” featuring soldiers from Fort Monmounth in New Jersey. It may have been part of the USO program or unrelated. These probably filled the 9-10PM hour.

Finally, there were television versions of two popular radio programs, Uncle Jim’s Question Bee and Truth or Consequences. It is likely they aired from 10-11PM when WNBT signed off.

July 12th, 2013 Update: Information drawn from the online sound catalog of the Library of Congress suggests the schedule for the later part of the evening looked like this:

  9:00PM – USO Program
  9:30PM – Uncle Jim’s Question Bee
10:00PM – Bottlenecks of 1941
10:30PM – Truth or Consequences

While the schedule for the first day of commercial television was packed, the rest of the week was relatively quiet, consisting primarily of tennis matches as well as 1935 film Death from a Distance and a variety show. Plus plenty of test patterns.

Monday, June 30th, 1941 [1]
8-9PM – Test Pattern
9-11:30PM – Amateur Boxing Bouts at Jamaica Arena

Tuesday, July 1st, 1941 [2]
1:30-2:30PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – Baseball: Dodgers vs. Phillies, at Ebbets Field
6:45PM – Lowell Thomas
8-9PM – Test Pattern
9PM – USO Program: Thomas E. Dewey; Mrs. Winthrop Aldrich. Others; Uncle Jim’s Question Bee; Musical Revue, Bottlenecks of 1941; Truth or Consequences

Wednesday, July 2nd, 1941 [3]
1:30-2:30PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – Eastern Clay Court Tennis Championship Matches, Jackson Heights
8-9PM – Test Pattern
9PM – Film: Death from a Distance, with Lola Lane, Russell Hopton

Thursday, July 3rd, 1941 [4]
1:30-2:30PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – Eastern Clay Court Tennis Championship Matches, Jackson Heights
8-9PM – Test Pattern
9PM – Variety Show, with Julia Brana, Photographer and Pictures of Russia

Friday, July 4th, 1941 [5]
1:30-2:30PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – Eastern Clay Court Tennis Championship Matches, Jackson Heights
8-9PM – Test Pattern
9PM – Film Short Subjects; Spelling Bee

Saturday, July 5th, 1941 [6]
1:30-2:30PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – Eastern Clay Court Tennis Championship Matches, Jackson Heights

Note: Television listings published in newspapers were based on information provided by stations and were subject to change at the last minute. They may not be an accurate representation of what actually aired.

Works Cited:

1 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 30 Jun. 1941: 32.
2 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 1 Jul. 1941: 44.

3 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 2 Jul. 1941: 44.
4 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 3 Jul. 1941: 38.
5 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 4 Jul. 1941: 26.
6 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 5 Jul. 1941: C22.

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