The Request Performance Sign In Log

Those of us who enjoy Old Time Radio for its great entertainment value often forget that the programs are also a snapshot of history. The shows themselves, however, aren't the only surviving artifacts from the history of broadcast.

A case in point is the Sign-In Log from the program Request Performance. The program was a "civilian version" of the Wartime AFRS program Command Performance. The idea of both programs was that the listeners (troops stationed overseas for Command Performance, and the general listening public for the post-war version) would write in with requests for specific performers in unique situations. The producers made it no secret that the most original requests would get the most attention. Nonetheless, Command Performance did tend to feature the sound of a lot of starlets marching in combat boots.
The Sign-In Log was kept in the studio, and signed by the performers at the end of the live broadcast. The Sign-In Log sheets were likely a book-keeping tool, and after a period of time would have been considered so much extraneous paperwork to be disposed of. Fortunately, in the case of Request Performance, someone recognized the potential value of the Log, and saved the sheets from the trash. The entire log was later discovered at a flea market by a collector, and its value was evaluated on the PBS program Antiques Roadshow.
Antiques Roadshow appraisers had some difficulty in assigning a potential value to the collection. As a collection of individual autographs the collection would have been marketable; an individual Boris Karloff autograph is worth considerably more than the flea market price! However the appraiser was quick to recognize that the log had greater value as an artifact of Old Time Radio, and the greatest return would be found at an entertainment auction.
For fans of the Golden Age of Radio, even if we never get to see or handle the log sheets our selves, it is gratifying to know that there the signatures and comments on the sheets, pages actually handled by our favorite stars, will be preserved and recognized as an artifact of a bygone era.