Events in Film & Television in 1931

  • Jan 22 VARA begins experimental TV broadcast in Diamantbeurs Amsterdam

Film Premiere

Jan 26 "Cimarron" directed by Wesley Ruggles and starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne premieres in New York. 1st western to win Best Outstanding Production/Picture (1931)

Film Premiere

Jan 30 "City Lights", American silent romantic comedy film directed by Charlie Chaplin, starring himself and Virginia Cherrill, premieres at Los Angeles Theater

Film Release

Feb 14 The original "Dracula" film starring Bela Lugosi as the titular vampire, is released

Film Release

Apr 6 "A Connecticut Yankee" film based on novel by Mark Twain, directed by David Butler, starring Will Rogers is released

  • Apr 6 1st broadcast of "Little Orphan Annie" on NBC-radio

Film Premiere

Apr 23 US gangster film "The Public Enemy" starring James Cagney and Jean Harlow premieres

  • May 1 Singer Kate Smith begins her long-running association with CBS radio, various programs continue until 1945
  • May 11 "M" Fritz Lang's first sound film starring Peter Lorre premieres in Berlin

Musical Finale

Jun 6 George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin's musical "Girl Crazy" starring Ginger Rogers and featuring debut of Ethel Merman, closes at the Alvin Theater, NYC, after 272 performances, and making stars of Rogers and Merman

Radio Premiere

Sep 2 American crooner Bing Crosby makes his solo radio debut on his "15 Minutes with Bing Crosby" program broadcast on the CBS network

Music History

Oct 13 Noël Coward's "Cavalcade" premieres in London

  • Oct 30 W2XB TV channel 1 in NYC, NY (NBC) begins broadcasting

Film Release

Nov 21 Horror film "Frankenstein" is released, starring Boris Karloff as the monster, directed by James Whale and based on Mary Shelley's 1818 novel "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus"