The Television Ghost

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Amy Jeanne, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

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    I know this is a really, really looooooong shot here, but is anyone else interested in pre-historic television (1927-1947)?

    Also, does anyone know anything about a particular television series that ran on CBS from 1931 to 1933 called "The Television Ghost"??

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_television_ghost

    I know it was a radio show also, and I know that no television episodes were saved for posterity, but does anyone have any still pictures of it? Any info besides wikipedia? This particular show fascinates me.
     
  2. Flivver

    Flivver Practically Family

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    I have never heard of the Television Ghost, but I am a big fan of early television receivers. I've toyed with the idea of building a scanning disc system but never seem to find the time. I'd also like to find a pre-war cathode ray TV, but these are quite rare (and expensive).

    I'm afraid the earliest TV receiver I own is an RCA 630TS from 1946...complete with Channel 1.
     
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Well, I can tell you that Bill Schuldt, listed by Wikipedia as the announcer for this program, was actually the director of television programming for CBS during the mechanical era -- and he wrote a series of articles for Radio Digest during 1931-33 exploring various aspects of the emerging art. Most of his articles were notes on upcoming programs and brief discussions of experiments being done to see what worked and what didn't.

    While he didn't specifically discuss "The Television Ghost" in any of these articles, he does give a basic overview of what the state of the art was at CBS's television department at that time -- one studio, one flying-spot camera, and no capacity for showing the full-length figure. So all programs had to be done as head-and-shoulder shots -- which would match the description that Wikipedia gives for the program's format.
     
  4. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    If you look up The Television Ghost on IMDb, you'll find the entry I wrote about it, also based on Wm. Hawes' book (a very informative one, but handicapped by a somewhat limited focus - experimental programming that was non-dramatic in nature didn't interest him).

    I have been interested in the CBS-W2XAB operation for many years, particularly because they were actively experimenting with programming. They were just about alone in this at the time, except for the University of Iowa, who used W9XK for low-resolution educational broadcasts.

    Unfortunately, little or nothing survives on the CBS scanner-casting years except a few primary source mentions, photos and such, appearing in magazines such as Gernsback's Television News.

    Lizzie, I would turn handsprings to get a look at Bill Schudt's articles. He was a staff announcer and had an interview show called Going to Press, where he interviewed New York journalists.

    In 1933, CBS had a particularly poor year and pulled the plug on W2XAB. Schudt was sent to Charlotte as program director for CBS' Dixie Network. I know no more about him.

    [​IMG]
    W2XAB studio, 1931. It was a converted 2x4 office.
    Another one thru the door and window served as a control room.

    [​IMG]
    Station identification.
     
  5. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Find!

    Google has yielded some delightful 1931 magazine pages concerning W2XAB, which I've posted in a new thread.
     
  6. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    If the response to my 2nd thread is anything to go by, Amy, then probably not.

    To be honest, I can't even explain why I'm interested in it.

    I notice I've now posted 3 times in a row here, so I'll stop beating a dead horse.
     
  7. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

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    Possible image of The Television Ghost?

    [​IMG]

    If so, he was c-r-e-e-p-y!!!!! :eek:
     
  8. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Jumpin' butter balls!!11!

    He sure was. As creepy as I'd imagined him.

    First, thank you for remembering this thread! Second, where did you find this??? Looks like the New York Times. Was there anything more on the TV operation along with it?

    You know, W2XAB itself is an unquiet ghost. It went off the air as usual one night in 1933. The next day, word came that it was not to reopen. As far as CBS was concerned, it was an embarrassing memory and best forgotten.

    CBS didn't experiment with TV again until the late '30s, or take it to the air again till '41. Then in '48, all of that era became an unhappy memory as TV at last became big business, the new thing again, without a past.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  9. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

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    I found this online! That's why I'm saying "possible" Television Ghost. I've searched and searched and searched for more info, but nothing -- but I still have one more outlet to check out.....
     
  10. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    "This Television Ghost...Stalks Up and Down the Wave of W2XAB..."
    That right there tells me it's the real thing.

    But nothing more. Just a random clipping washed up on the side of the information superhighway. That's always the way, isn't it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  11. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

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    I couldn't find anything on ancestry.com last night. That website is a bit clumsy, though, so I'll keep looking when I have time.
     

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