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The year 1939 in television involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events during 1939.

List of years in television (table)
In radio



  • March 4 – The BBC Television Service broadcasts one of the first television plays specially written for the medium, Condemned To Be Shot by R. E. J. Brooke, live from its London studios at Alexandra Palace. The production is notable for the use of a camera as the first-person perspective of the play's unseen main character.
  • March 27 – The BBC broadcasts the entirety of Magyar Melody live from His Majesty's Theatre in London. The 175-minute broadcast is the first showing of a full-length musical by television.
  • April
    • Television demonstrations are held at the 1939 New York World's Fair on Long Island and the Golden Gate International Exhibition in San Francisco.
    • RCA, General Electric, Dumont and others begin selling television sets to the public in the New York City area. Screen sizes typically range from 5 to 12 inches, and Dumont features 14-inch and 16-inch models. Prices start at $200 and go as high as $1000.
  • April 30 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, appearing at the opening ceremony of the 1939 New York World's Fair, becomes the first President of the United States to give a speech that is broadcast by television.
  • May 17 – The first baseball game (Princeton University vs. Columbia University) is broadcast by television, from Baker Field in New York. Bill Stern is the announcer.
  • May 19 – The Walt Disney cartoon Donald's Cousin Gus airs on NBC's experimental station W2XBS (later WNBC-TV) in New York. This marks the first movie cartoon to be televised in the United States.
  • June 1 – The first heavyweight boxing match is televised, Max Baer vs Lou Nova, from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
  • August 26
  • August 31 – 18,999 television sets have been sold in England before manufacture stops due to World War II.
  • September 1 – The anticipated outbreak of World War II brings television broadcasting at the BBC in Britain to an end at 12:35 p.m. after the broadcast of a Mickey Mouse cartoon, Mickey's Gala Premier, various sound and vision test signals, and announcements by presenter Fay Cavendish. It is feared that the VHF waves of television would act as a homing signal for guiding enemy bombers to central London: in any case, the engineers of the television service would be needed for the war effort, particularly for development of radar. The BBC would resume its broadcasting, with the same Mickey Mouse cartoon, after the war in 1946.
  • September 30 – The first televised college football game, Fordham University vs Waynesburg College, at Randall's Island, New York.
  • October 22 – The first National Football League game is televised. The Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Eagles at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
  • November 8 – CBS television station W2XAB resumes test transmission with an all-electronic system broadcast from the top of the Chrysler Building in New York City.[1]

Television showsEdit

Series Debut Ended
Picture Page (UK) October 8, 1936 1939
1946 1952
Starlight (UK) November 3, 1936 1939
1946 1949
The Disorderly Room (UK) April 17, 1937 August 20, 1939
For The Children (UK) April 24, 1937 1939
July 7, 1946 1950
Sports Review (UK) April 30, 1937 1939
Telecrime (UK) August 10, 1938 July 25, 1939
October 22, 1946 November 25, 1946

Programs ending during 1939Edit

Date Show Debut
August 20 The Disorderly Room (UK) 1937
Unknown Sports Review (UK)



  1. ^ "Early Television Stations – W2XAB/W2XAX/WCBW – CBS, New York". Early Television Museum. Hilliard, Ohio. Retrieved 2014-11-26.