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CBS Radio Show Request Performace Autographed by 154 Performers
Original Request Performance radio program register, 31 loose pages, dating from October 7, 1945 to April 21, 1946, signed by 154 actors, actresses and others; the performers for the evening would sign in shortly after appearing on the Request Performance program. First page is the title page which reads, “Request performance, Broadcast from Hollywood, 1945 - Sponsored by Campbell’s Soup, produced by the Masquers and the Ward Wheelock Company.” On the following 30 pages, for each episode, each guest has signed in, with most adding the date, and many adding short comments to the right of their signature, with some of the more interesting ones included below. Signers are listed below by episode date and title:
- October 7, 1945: “A Tour of New Orleans”: Ronald Coleman (”Very happy to be on 1st”), Frances Langford, Arthur Treacher, Martin Hurt, Mel Blanc, Charles Finnegan, Bea Benadaret, Bill Robson, Ward Wheelock, Jerome Laurence, and six others.
- October 14, 1945: “Huckleberry Finn”: Frank Morgan, Rudy Vallée, Diana Lynn, Jimmy Lydon, and Hoagy Carmichael.
- October 21, 1945: “A Rocket Trip to the Moon”: Orson Welles (”Ward Wheelock has nice skin”), Virginia O’Brien, Eddie Bracken (”I wish to thank Cambell [sic] it was their soup that taught me the alphabet”), and Johnny Mercer.
- October 28, 1945: “Temperance Lecture”: W. C. Fields, Ida Lupino, Agnes Moorehead, Reginald Gardiner, and one other.
- November 4, 1945: “Hollywood Hotel”: Dick Powell, June Allyson, Basil Rathbone (”I love radio, but then I am an awful ham!), Nigel Bruce, and Lee deForest.
- November 11, 1945: “The Tell-Tale Heart”: Jack Benny, Kathryn Grayson, Sydney Greenstreet (”I am proud to be on this program”), Mary Astor, and Harry Jones.
- November 18, 1945: “The Birthday Grant”: Judy Canova, Lauritz Melchior, Larry Adler, and Herbert Marshall.
- November 25, 1945: “The Bridge Game”: Charles Laughton, Ozzie Nelson, Elsa Lanchester, Harriet Hilliard, and Clarence Nash, signing “Donald Duck & Clarence Nash.”
- December 2, 1945: Jack Carson, Vera Vague, Earl Robinson, and Kenny Baker.
- December 9, 1945: Rita Hayworth, Edward Everett Horton (”Swoon-Master”), Garry Moore, and Ginny Simms.
- December 16, 1945: Jimmy Durante, Kay Kyser (”Tuxedo double in questions,-state all in first wire—hams lay off!”), Andy Russell, and one other.
- December 23, 1945: “The Gift of the Magi”: Robert Walker, Jeanette MacDonald, Maureen O’Sullivan, G. I. Jill, and Kay Thompson.
- December 30, 1945: Alan Ladd, Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, and one other.
- January 6, 1945: “Tom Swift and the Radio-Active Jukebox”: Maxine, Patty, and LaVerne Andrews, Keenan Wynn, Lucille Ball, Victor Borge, and two others.
- January 13, 1945: “The Desert Song”: Gracie Allen, George Burns, Dennis Morgan, and Jane Powell.
- January 20, 1946: “Highway 101”: Jack Haley, Veronica Lake, Shirley Ross, and Rochester.
- January 27, 1946: “At Home With the Harris Family”: Lionel Barrymore, Meredith Willson, Phil Harris, and Alice Faye.
- February 3, 1946: “The Bet”: Janet Blair, Frank Morgan (”It’s a pleasure to repeat”), Allan Jones, Roy Rogers (”Trails of Success”), and Boris Karloff (”Quite a change!”).
- February 10, 1946: Lina Romay, Spike Jones (”Skelton kills me”), Red Skelton (”I dood it”), and C. Aubrey Smith.
- February 17, 1946: “The Last Chair”: Eddie Cantor, David Niven, Frances Langford, Art Linkletter (”Yep-Stars are Funny, too!”), and Bernard F. Dudley.
- February 24, 1946: “One For the Money”: Rudy Vallée, signed “Herbert Prior (Rudy) Vallee, Edward Arnold, Jerry Colonna, and Cass Daley.
- March 3, 1946: “Information please”: Ed Gardner, Cornel Wilde, Oscar Levant, and Zasu Pitts.
- March 10, 1946: “Rappaccini’s Daughter”: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Tommy Riggs and ‘Betty Lou,’ Nat King Cole, Johnny Miller, Janet Waldo, Caesar Moore, Louise Erickson, and one other.
- March 17, 1946: “Mulvany and Company”: Dorothy Lamour, Barry Fitzgerald, Alan Young, and Jean Sablon.
- March 24, 1946: Merle Oberon, Joe E. Brown (”Fine romp. Lovely people”), Vera Vague, four members of The Merry Macs, Judd McMichael, and Mel Blanc, signing: Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny), What’s up Doc?”
- March 31, 1946: Ida Lupino, Ed Gardner, Nigel Bruce, Clark Dennis, Lina Romay and one other.
- April 7, 1946: Red Skelton, Helen Forrest, Dick Haymes, Forest Hamilton, Tiny Brown, Ted Steele, and Slim Gaillard.
- April 14, 1946: Charles Laughton, Marilyn Maxwell, Mischa Auer, and Jimmy Durante.
- April 21, 1946: “Spring Comes To Central park”: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, George Raft, Dick Powell, and Janet Waldo.
Apparently at the conclusion of the program’s run, Wheelock had the register sent to him, and the register is accompanied by a Ward Wheelock Advertising envelope, 13 x 10, stamped “special delivery,” and postmarked “Philadelphia, May 17, 1946.” Some light circular toning to some of the pages, some running of ink to a couple signatures on first page, and some light creases, otherwise fine condition.
As head of a Philadelphia-based advertising company, Wheelock had a number of top clients, including Campbell’s Soup. These two entities teamed up in the mid-1940s to produce Request Performance, a radio program featuring Hollywood stars of the era performing suggested concepts. The program soon climbed to the tops of the popularity charts, and many of the actual requests were quite original. The third installment featured a request to hear Orson Welles’ rendition of A Rocket Trip To the Moon, another program granted a listener’s request to hear Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes.
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