Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Television Ghost (1931-1933)

The Television Ghost was a "horror" television series that aired in New York from 1931 until 1933. The show consisted of an actor named George Kelting telling scary stories in closeup. His face was painted white and he wore a sheet wrapped around him.

Looking at this promo that I've found, I'm wondering if the show was aimed at children. No film footage or audio exists, making it even creepier.


  1. It has to be out there somewhere! Actually, by the sounds of it... it sounds rather boring!

    1. Television broadcasting predated the ability to record it. I mean, they could have pointed a film camera at a TV and run a phonograph nearby, but as a rule, they didn't.

  2. It would depend on the actor, but I can see how this could be a pretty scary show.

  3. From what I know about early TV and radio nothing really exists. TV receivers were so dim they didn't show up on film so no television was ever filmed in those early days. Radio programs didn't get preserved in earnest until about 1935 when a certain type of disc was invented. Before that radio programs were saved sporadically. Looking at the OTR on archive.org, I've noticed most of it begins in 1935, really picking up in 1937 -- the earliest programs I've seen were a few things from 1931.

    LM on Fedora Lounge sent me some OTR from the 20s -- the earliest known to exist.

    But this television ghost. Boy, he's creepy! That picture scares me a little. Lol. I can only imagine THAT on oe of them old TV sets. Imagine turning on and old TV set and that's the first image that comes up!! LOL. I love scaring myself....

  4. Radio programs before 1935, if preserved at all, were originally recorded on 78rpm records and sent to stations. It was an early form of syndication. The early "Sam 'n' Henry" and "Amos & Andy" shows were done this way. There are some episodes extant from 1927, if memory serves me correctly.

  5. A friend shared a link to this post, which I re-shared (is that a word?) on Reddit. I've also dug up a few newspaper clippings referencing the TELEVISION GHOST and have posted the links below:




  6. From what I have studied about 1930s television, I can assume that there was a disc out there, and if that experiment had turned out successful, we might have been able to see this show today. I can also assume that there have been more than 50 other TV shows from the 1930s, with the following link: http://www.imdb.com/search/title?sort=year&title_type=tv_series
    Enjoy it at your leisure.

  7. I have a copy of it but it's on betamax


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