Full Issue of 1949 Television Forecast

Read an entire issue of early program guide Television Forecast from September 1948, with listings for WBKB, WNBQ, WWENR-TV, WGN-TV, and WTMJ-TV.

Television Forecast was an early television program guide covering the Chicago, Illinois area, first published in May 1948. Billing itself as “Chicago’s Own T.V. Magazine” Television Forecast provided daily listings, editorials, brief articles on various topics relating to programming and television personalities, and advertisements for local television manufacturers and dealers.

This exhibit presents the 16th issue of the second volume of Television Forecast, which contained listings for Saturday, August 20th through Friday, August 26th, 1949. The listings covered WBKB (Channel 4), WNBQ (Channel 5), WENR-TV (Channel 7) and WGN-TV (Channel 9), plus limited listings for WTMJ-TV (Channel 3) out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time each issue cost 15 cents and a year’s subscription was $3 or $5 for two years. Pat Kubicek was editor, Patricia E. Moran program editor, Lester Vihon advertising sales manager, Roy V. Whiting promotional manager, Norbert F. Dompke business manager, John E. Groenings production manager, Thomas F. Ingram circulation manager and Herman H. Block art director.

On the cover was Roberta Quinlan, host of Mohwak Showroom, which would being airing on WNBQ in September. At the time the issue was published the program was only seen on the East Coast.

Television Forecast was renamed TV Forecast in 1949. It was purchased by Walter Annenberg’s Triangle Publications in 1953 along with two other local program guides: New York City’s TV Guide and Philadelphia’s TV Digest, and merged into the national TV Guide magazine, first published in April 3rd, 1953. TV Forecast was published as a standalone title as least as late as February 1953 and potentially right up until the national TV Guide was launched.

Television Forecast © Television Forecast, Inc.

Published January 21st, 2010
Last Updated May 8th, 2018

7 Replies to “Full Issue of 1949 Television Forecast”

  1. “Thumbing through” the first few pages of this magazine (which was published through at least the end of 1952, according to the “tvhistory.tv” website), here are some initial observations:

    On the items in the “TV Today” column:
    Arthur Shields, Barry Fitzgerald’s brother, was host of the the first filmed network anthology series, “YOUR STORY TIME” (for American Tobacco’s Lucky Strike) on NBC in early 1949. It lasted 26 weeks, and won an Emmy for its first episode {“The Necklace”}. The series Shields was hoping to sell ABC that fall, “PIBBY HOULIHAN”, went nowhere.

    “DICK TRACY” did not become a cartoon series until UPA’s 1961 syndicated version- he became a weekly live-action series starring Ralph Byrd on ABC in 1950- but apparently, crooner/actor/investor Rudy Vallee (of whom Yvonne Craig said of her experience of working with him on “BATMAN” in 1967, “He was an absolute churl”) owned “Vallee Video”, which DID produce one of the first animated TV series seen in the fall of 1949 (in syndication, before Jay Ward & Alex Anderson’s “CRUSADER RABBIT”, which was THE first animated TV show to be produced, was officially introduced in the summer of 1950), “TELECOMICS”. They were daily 15 minute serialized “comic strips of the air” {three in each episode}, with some limited movement [which is what Vallee certainly intended to do with “Dick Tracy”], and two seasons were produced, with different characters in each season; the second appeared as “NBC COMICS” during the 1950-’51 season, in the half-hour before “HOWDY DOODY” on weekday afternoons, then syndicated under its original title through the mid-’50s.

    If people thought George & Gracie’s “big news” in September 1949 was going to be the annoucement of their first TV series, they’d have to wait until October 1950, when they began their long-running TV show (initially as a live bi-weekly series eminating from New York, then Los Angeles)

    Even though there was a one-shot telecast of “DON McNEILL’S BREAKFAST CLUB” in 1948 (that kinnie exists), he didn’t appear regularly on TV until his short-lived prime-time “TV CLUB” on ABC in the 1950-’51 season, finally bringing his morning program to TV- equally short-lived- in 1954-’55.

    Like most of his later business ventures, video pioneer (and somewhat of a fraud) Lee DeForest’s intention to manufacture TV sets was doomed to failure.

  2. “RUTHIE ON THE TELEPHONE” (page 6) was a short-lived nightly CBS comedy “filler” that aired six nights a week at 7:55pm(et), featuring Ruth Gilbert as a “man-hungry” woman trying to snare her boyfriend, played by Philip Reed, by calling him “every night” for five minutes. Goodman Ace, who created, wrote and produced the series, was best known as one-half of radio’s “EASY ACES”, co-starring Jane Ace, who portrayed a more sophisticated “scatterbrained” version of Gracie Allen; “Goody” also conceived and wrote THAT as well (at the time, he was also producing a weekly 15 minute filmed TV version, emhasizing stock footage, syndicated by ZIV, and telecast on many DuMont stations as well). Ace insisted Ruth Gilbert become one of Milton Berle’s supporting cast members when he became head writer of “TEXACO STAR THEATER” in 1952; she became “Max”, Milton’s secretary- a variation of her “Ruthie” character, who continued on his weekly show thorugh 1955.

  3. Yes, Greg Garrison of WENR-TV (page 10) is the same one who later became a successful television producer/director for NBC, on both coasts, in the ’50s, and producer/packager of “THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW” [NBC] from 1965 through ’74, and his later “DEAN MARTIN ROASTS” specials….

  4. Interesting commnetary by Chub McCarthy on page 18- “Would you want television to get in the same rut as radio- lots of yak, yak, soap operas, 2nd rate entertainment?”

    That’s EXACTLY what most of TV has become over the past 60 years. Remember, the “new” medium was looking forward to becoming an innovative one when this magazine was first published in 1949, full of promise and vitality and new ideas….but commerce and executives adhering to the “bottom line” got in the way of that vision, to an extent, so that it’s even WORSE than Mr. McCarthy envisioned. Even though I wasn’t born in that era and didn’t see “live” broadcasts of TV shows back then, I see examples of kinescopes that survived from 1949, and the thing I noticed was a strong sense of enthusiasm in those early series that isn’t evident today. TV, for the most part, is primarily a “business”, with a price tag on everything, and programs are “researched”, shaped, and “cubed” into cuts of meat (or sausage), just waiting to be thawed, consumed, and reused again. It would be the same as staring into your freezer, and seeing packages of TV dinners and pot pies- “which one are we going to thaw out tonight?”.

    The two-hour telethon for Haitian earthquake relief last Friday [January 22nd] was an exception, a throwback to the days when entertainment could hold hands with a good cause, each feeding off the other, and carried on virtually every major broadcast and cable network.
    I was at my mother’s house, and saw very little of it while it aired live (even though I recorded it for later viewing), because she wanted to see a repeat of “THE BIGGEST LOSER” on the FLN cable network, because she missed most of the original broadcast the previous Tuesday on NBC. And that’s one of HER favorite programs these days. Ugh! Who wants to see grotesque fat people sweating their stomachs (and brains) out for a big cash prize [and supposedly finding satisfaction in losing their bulk], where the highlight of every two hour episode is that goddamned beeping weight scale?????

    McCarthy also pondered, “Imagine eight hours of wrestling a day, seven days a week”. Isn’t there a “wrestling channel” doing that right now? If there isn’t, just you wait until one DOES start operating!

    Most people today, if they bother to think about it, only see “1949 television” as “low-tech” and laughable. I see it as a promise that was never quite fulfilled……

  5. Actually, TV Forecast continued into early 1953, when it was absorbed into the newly national TV Guide. Annenberg had been buying up local magazines all over the country to go with the one in his homebase of Philadelphia.
    The first national TV Guides to appear essentially were the old Chicago Forecasts with the color wrap-around. The listing pages weren’t standardized nationally until the fall of ’53.

  6. Thanks, Mike, for confirming that information! I had read that Walter Annenberg had been buying out several regional TV publications in early ’53 in preparation for his national magazine, TV GUIDE…

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