Experimental NBC television station W2XBS in New York City went off the air for several months in mid-1940. When the station began broadcasting again in October 1940, The New York Times did not immediately begin publishing TV listings. In fact, it wasn’t until February 1941 that TV listings returned to the pages of The New York Times.
(Links to historical TV schedules for W2XBS: 1939, 1940, 1941.)
However, New York Daily News published sporadic TV listings for W2XBS between November 1940 and February 1941. Thanks to early TV enthusiast Matt for providing these listings.
Although not listed in The New York Daily News, according to The Magic Window: American Television, 1939-1953, W2XBS returned to the air on Saturday, October 28th, 1940 with coverage of a Democratic rally for President Franklin D. Roosevelt held at Madison Square Garden .
Here are all the listings from November 1940:
Saturday, November 2, 1940 
8:30-11PM – Republican Rally Madison Square Garden; Wendell Willkie, Others
Tuesday, November 5, 1940 
6:45PM and Throughout Evening Intermittently – Election Returns and Commentaries; Lowell Thomas, H.V. Kaltenborn, Baukhage, Others
Tuesday, November 19, 1940 
8:45-11PM – Rangers-Americans Hockey Game
Friday, November 22, 1940 
8:30-9:45PM – Film “A Bride For Henry (1937),” with Warren Hull and Anne Nagel
Are these the only programs W2XBS broadcast in November 1940? I can’t say for sure.
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.
1 Von Schilling, Jim. The Magic Window: American Television, 1939-1953. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press Inc., 2003. Page 29.
2 “Saturday’s Radio Features.” New York Daily News. 2 Nov. 1940: 31.
3 “Tuesday’s Radio Features.” New York Daily News. 5 Nov. 1940: 44.
4 “Tuesday’s Radio Features.” New York Daily News. 19 Nov. 1940: 42.
5 “Friday’s Radio Features.” New York Daily News. 22 Nov. 1940: 42.
5 Replies to “W2XBS Schedule, November 1940”
Wendel Wilkie was the Republican nominee for President in 1940. The only surviving cultural reference comes from the famous “Gremlin” cartoon when he shouts in Bugs Bunny’s ear, “Well, it ain’t Wendell Wilkie!”
I would say possibly considering that from October 25, 1943 to 1947 W2XBS under its changed call letters by then WNBT, the station gradually started adding more programing to its schedule which is what it might be in this case. Also were are other New York newspapers that were around at the time like The New York Sun and The New York Journal-America that could possibly have this and other TV listing at the time.
A note about W2XBS;’s hockey telecast of November 19th, 1940:
The “Americans” were the New York Americans, which was New York’s first NHL team (1925), predating he Rangers by a year (1926).
But while the Rangers won some Stanley Cups between 1928 and 1940, the Americans never did.
Due to World War II, the NHL shrank from seven teams in 1941-42 to six teams from 1942 until 1969 (the “original six” was a misnomer; the league began with four teams in 1917 and had as many as ten teams in the early 1930’s before the Depression cut that number to seven, and then World War II cut the number down to six, where it remained for a quarter-century).
Reportedly, FDR was televised a second time (first being the opening of the World’s Fair in April 1939) when he hosted a rally at Madison Square Garden on October 8, 1940 broadcast over W2XBS.
Whoops….type. Date should be October 28.