1942-1945 TV Program Guides
THE WAR YEARS
At the onset of World War-II, worldwide television broadcasting was curtailed or halted completely. The country most drastically affected was England, whose TV broadcasting was shut down from noon, September 1, 1939 until June 7, 1946. Approximately 19,000 TV sets were operating in the London area at that time.
In the United States, commercial broadcasting was unaffected until 1942. At that time, virtually all stations went dark with the exception of DuMont's WABD, in New York, who broadcast (with a reduced schedule) throughout the war. Less than 20 stations were in operation nationwide, in the pre-war period. TV was used (among other things) to entertain the troops, provide updates on the war, and to teach the public civil defense and demonstrate emergency first-aid procedures.
Not much survives about the day-to-day programming, but we do have some examples of Program Postcards that were mailed to the approximately 2,000 owners of television sets in the New York area. A few examples from this time period are shown below.
(50K) -- Week of January 28th, 1945 -- DuMont television station WABD -- Channel 4 -- Program Postcard. Notice that programming was limited to three days per week, about 1 or 2 evening hours on each day. Also interesting is that a "test pattern will be on one half-hour before each show time .." This was to allow set owners time to make the necessary adjustments for good reception! Times sure have changed!
(72K) -- Typical wartime Program evaluation card. Viewers that were kind enough to mail this card back to the station helped provide feedback as to which shows the TV-owners enjoyed most.
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