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1937 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.

links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 1  First commercially produced short films are shown on BBC Television.  
January 3  BBC Arabic Service begins, in competition with Italy's Radio Bari. [0054]  
January 4 20:00  French television begins regular daily half-hour broadcasts at 20:00-20:30 from the Eiffel Tower. > 1940
January 19  The Underground Murder Mystery by J Bissell Thomas, the first play written for television, is broadcast by the BBC.  
January 30  Last transmission of Baird's 240-line television system by the BBC from Alexandra Palace.  
January 31  In the UK, 400 television sets are now in use. Prices of receivers have already started to fall, by up to a third: EMI and HMV from 95gns (£99.75) to 60gns (£63), Baird from 85gns (£89.25) to 55gns (£57.75). [Baird continues to market receivers; the programme activity had been losing money, selling TV sets remained a profitable activity.] Television receivers of 1937
February 6  From today, in accordance with the previous day's announcement in Parliament by the Postmaster General, the Marconi-EMI 405-line system is used exclusively by BBC Television until the opening of BBC2 in 1964.  
February 10  British Ozaphane demonstates its Cell-o-Phone optical sound 'tape' player. The 4mm-wide reels contain two separate variable-area photographic tracks and can play for up to 60 minutes.  
February 11  Philco Radio and Television Corporation stages the first demonstration of a television system (441-line 30 fps, 60 fields interlaced 2:1) at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia, after three months of development of the new line format.  
February 20  Rank Organisation is incorporated in the UK.  
March 13  BBC Television shows its first foreign-language short film without subtitles but with an English commentary, sponsored by Air France.  
March 31  Standard Telegraph and Cables applies for a patent on a magnetic tape system for recording video signals in which 'a record of sound or of light tone values of a picture or view in variations of magnetisation [causes] variations of the output current of the cathode-ray tube, which are proportional and in phase with the variations of magnetisation of the tape'.  
March  Film Group of the Federation of British Industry (FBI) proposes that the screen quota could be met either in the current way or by a 'reciprocity' arrangement—renters investing in British production in exchange for its foreign distribution rights. [0076] > June
April  Report on film finance is delivered to the Governor of the Bank of England on initiative of the chief industrial adviser to government.  
April  Mussolini opening CinecittaCinecittΰ film studio in Italy is opened by Benito Mussolini. The slogan in the background is Mussolini's 1922 statement about the cinema.
[Photo source: Istituto Luce]
Mussolini quotation
May 2  BBC Television Service takes delivery of two mobile television units built by AEC and equipped by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company.  
May 7  Explosion of Hindenburg airship at Lakehurst, New Jersey, is reported ‘live’ by Herbert Morrison of WLS Chicago, who spontaneously uses the phrase 'Oh, the humanity!' at the sight of the burning wreck. A wax disc recording being made by WLS engineer Charles Nelson as a routine assignment for later use is broadcast on the NBC Red and Blue networks that evening—the first ever pre-recorded programme on NBC. The incident is largely responsible for ending the passenger airship travel era, although the 13 passengers (out of 36 fatalities) are the only ones who died in 30 years of travel.  
May 9  Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy get their own radio show. [The success of ventriloquism on radio: one of life's greatest mysteries.] Bergen's greatest memorial is perhaps his contribution to mass panic in the USA 18 months later.  
May 12  BBC Television transmits King George VI’s Coronation procession, the first official outside broadcast and use of an OB van, seen by 50,000 viewers.  
May 12  R R Law and Dr Vladimir Zworykin of RCA give a demonstration of large-screen television to the Institute of Radio Engineers in the USA. The projector uses a Kinescope tube, the designers having recognised that a different type of tube is needed for projection television than for domestic receivers.  
June  Post Office and the BBC reject a plan by Cinema-Television Ltd to install large-screen television in Gaumont cinemas in UK, using the Baird system.  
June 10-September 20  Television Exhibition at South Kensington, London, is visited by 250,000 people.  
June 20  Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance operetta is televised from station W2XBS in New York.  
June 21  First day of the Wimbledon tennis championships is televised by BBC.  
June  Film Group of the Federation of British Industry (FBI) submits is reciprocity proposal to the Board of Trade. Renters would satisfy quota requirements by paying £10,000 towards production costs or buying foreign rights for an existing film for at least £10,000. [0076]  
July 26-August 18  BBC Television is off the air completely.  
July 30  American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) is formed and affiliated to the American Federation of Labor (AFL) to represent all performers on radio except musicians, who have their own union.  
August 18  Station W1X0J in Boston, Massachusetts, is granted the first FM radio broadcasting licence in the US by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  
September  Germany's videophone network is extended to Nuremberg in time for the annual Nazi party rally, which is to be relayed via the landlines. > 1938
October 9  BBC televises its first motor race, the Imperial Trophy Road Race at Crystal Palace, London.  
October 19  CBS radio debuts newspaper drama Big Town, starring Edward G Robinson and Claire Trevor. Its slogan: 'The freedom of the press is a flaming sword. Use it justly. Hold it high. Guard it well.'  
October 29  Britain's Postmaster General announces that the BBC will broadcast in other languages, corrected by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to an invitation to the BBC to broadcast in Spanish and Portuguese to South America. [0054]  
November 13  NBC forms its own symphony orchestra for radio broadcasts.  
November 11  BBC Television makes the first on-air use of the Super Emitron camera tube for an outside broadcast.  
December 12  NBC begins experiments with a mobile television unit in the streets of New York [right]. Click on picture for more about the RCA Telemobiles
December 20  Adolf Hitler's Christmas present from propaganda minister Josef Goebbels: film prints of 12 Mickey Mouse cartoons. 'He is very happy about these treasures,' Goebbels writes in his diary this day, 'which will hopefully bring him much fun and relaxation.'  
December 21  Premiere of Walt Disney’s first feature length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Cathay Circle Theatre, Los Angeles, after three years’ work involving over 300 animation staff.  
December 23  WRGB in Schenectady broadcasts the first complete opera on television, Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.  
December 25  NBC radio presents the first Symphony of the Air, with Arturo Toscanini conducting.  
December 31  Just over 2,000 television sets have been sold in UK by the end of the year.  
•  Fernseh demonstrates direct-projection large-screen television with a screen size of four square metres. Cinema-television
•  Bell Laboratories uses steel tape recorder to demonstrate stereo audio at World Fair.  
•  Arriflex 35 film camera, made by Arnold & Richter in Munich, is shown publicly at the Leipzig Fair. It incorporates the first mirror-reflex shutter: the angled shutter blade has a mirrored surface on the side towards the lens during the part of the cycle when the shutter obscures the film so that light is reflected through a path to the viewfinder, allowing the operator a constant view of the exact scene being recorded on the film. Hitherto the viewfinder has shown only a view affected by parallax distortion.  
•  The Odeon cinema chain in the UK now comprises 220 sites.  
•  British International Pictures (BIP) becomes Associated-British Picture Corporation (ABPC).  
•  Finnish Film Distributors’ Association formed.  
•  American film exports to the USSR have virtually ceased. [0036]  
•  Highbury Studio is built in Islington, London by producer Maurice J Wilson, who leases it for independent productions.  
•  MP Studios, formed by producer J Banberger, takes over the former Consolidated Studios at Elstree, which are mainly used for production of ‘quota quickies’.  
•  Receivers are appointed by Westminster Bank at British producer JH Productions, headed by Julius Hagen, and its Twickenham Studios are sold cheaply to Studio Holdings Trust and leased back to Hagen.  
•  In return for his financial support, J Arthur Rank gets Gaumont-British to close its Shepherds Bush Studio and move production to Pinewood.  
•  Merton Park Studios is formed to own the Sound Services studio (see 1931).  
•  British screen and stage star Jack Buchanan buys Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London.  
•  First British Technicolor feature film produced.  
•  First successful Indian colour film production, Kisan Kanya (The Daughter of a Farmer), directed by Moti B Gidwani for Imperial Film Company. Cinecolor is only used for one further film, Mother India (1938) before being abandoned.  
•  First Hindi talkie without songs is Navjawan (The Youth), produced by Jamshed Bomanji H Wadia (1901-1986) and directed by Aspi (1911-disappeared 1986).  
•  First live radio cricket commentary in the West Indies is given by Ken Laughlin in Trinidad.  
•  British Ozaphane introduces the Duo-Trac consumer audio reproducing system. The seven-inch reels of 4mm film carry two tracks of variable-area optical sound, running for approximately 27 minutes. The reels cost 12s 6d (62½p) each. There is a question about this
•  The first daily children's programme on English-language European radio is Kiddies' Quarter Hour on Radio Lyons, presented by Christopher Stone.  
•  Modern Talking Picture Service is incorporated.  
•  First use of Post Office balanced-pair cable in central London for television outside broadcasts. Cables are installed to run from Victoria Station along Buckingham Palace Road and on to Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square, and from Westminster Abbey to Whitehall to the Whitehall exchange, thence up St Martin's Lane and Charling Cross Road to Shaftesbury Avenue, down to Piccadilly Circus, along Piccadilly to Hyde PArk Corner, up Park Lane to Marble Arch, along Oxford Street to Oxford Circus and then to Broadcasting House in Langham Place. From the repeater there a further cable ran to Alexandra Palace. Camera connection points were provided at 10 places along the route.  
•  Lip microphones are first used for BBC broadcasts to reduce background noise.  
•  Radio Luxembourg introduces the idea of 'reportage ΰ trois faces', linking radio programmes with concurrent cinema documentaries and press coverage of news topics.  
•  Canadian wireless receiving licence fee is increased to C$2.50.  
•  One in three American cars is fitted with a radio; a quarter of all new cars are built with a radio already installed.  
•  Bing Crosby records his first million-selling disc, Sweet Leilani, for the film Waikiki Wedding. It wins the Academy Award for best film song of 1937.  
•  Inter-American Wavelength Conference in Havana, Cuba, redistributes North American radio frequency allocations.  
•  Philips-Miller recording system introduced.  
•  AT&T transmits television signals with 1MHz bandwidth over its coaxial cable between New York and Philadelphia. The company decides there is no longer a future in mechanical television and concentrates on developing transmission systems for all-electronic television. > 1939
•  Cosmic radiation is examined using photography by Marietta Blau in Vienna.  
•  Leading UK newspaper circulations: Daily Express 2.204m, Daily Herald 2.032m, Daily Mail 1.579m, Daily Mirror 1.328m; The Observer, quality Sunday paper, sells 208,000.  
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Page updated 30 December 2011
© David Fisher