A ceremony at the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center launched new First Class Forever postage stamps that pay tribute to a veritable Mount Rushmore of golden-age movie directors: Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston and Billy Wilder. Available nationwide today, the stamps can be purchased online at usps.com/shop, by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724) or by visiting Post Offices.
“With these stamps, we’re bringing these filmmakers out from behind their cameras and putting them in the spotlight so that we can learn more about them,” said Samuel Pulcrano, U.S. Postal Service vice president, Corporate Communications in dedicating the stamps. “Movies offer a window into our history and heritage and tell the story of America. Similar to movies, stamps honor our past and celebrate our achievements while encouraging us to learn more about the people, places, and ideas that shape the American experience.
The stamp art combines a portrait of each director with a scene from one of his most iconic works. The background art for the stamp honoring Frank Capra shows a scene from It Happened One Night, a comedy in which a runaway heiress (played by Claudette Colbert) and a reporter (Clark Gable) compare their hitchhiking skills. For the John Ford stamp, the background recalls a scene from The Searchers, an influential Western starring John Wayne and making Ford’s characteristic use of the American landscape. The Maltese Falcon inspired the background art for the John Huston stamp. In this classic mystery, gumshoe Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) goes up against various unscrupulous characters (among them Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet). For Billy Wilder, the stamp background artwork was inspired by Some Like It Hot, a farce about two male musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) who seek refuge from gangsters by posing as members of an all-girl band featuring luscious singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe).
Art Director Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, designed these stamps using art by award-winning illustrator Gary Kelley of Cedar Falls, IA, who created the images using pastels on paper. I hope people buy the stamps but I hope even more that the stamps inspire them to watch the movies directed by these brilliant men.