Events::1939 in television


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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • April - 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.
  • 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 – The first Major League Baseball game is telecast, a double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, in Brooklyn, New York. Poland broadcasts a feature film for the first time—Barbara Radziwiłłówna (1936)—using the experimental transmitter mounted atop the Prudential building in Warsaw.
  • 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 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 was 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.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

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1939 in television sections
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