June 14, 2012
The DGA was the venue for the official dedication of the United States Postal Service’s Great Film Directors series of postage stamps depicting four extraordinary film directors — Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston and Billy Wilder — during a ceremony in the Los Angeles Theater on June 14. The First-Class Forever stamps honor these four great filmmakers who captured the many facets of the American experience.
“The DGA is pleased to have been asked to host today’s event in honor of these four iconic filmmakers,” said Director and DGA Board Member Garry Marshall in his welcome to the audience that included special guests Anjelica Huston, Allegra Huston, Tom Capra, Frank Capra III, Ramona Ford, Mayela Ford, and Wilder family estate trustee Harold Nelson. “All four directors were recipients of the DGA’s most prestigious honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, for their stellar bodies of work. All four served this organization as members of the DGA’s National Board of Directors. Ford was one of the handful of directors who founded the Guild in 1936. Capra led the successful drive to achieve studio recognition of the fledgling guild in 1939, and served five terms as DGA President throughout his 40 years of Guild service. These men were integral to the development of the DGA into the powerful and unified organization that it is today, and it is our pleasure to host the unveiling of their commemorative stamps.”
Designed by Art Director Derry Noyes and illustrator Gary Kelley, the stamp honoring Frank Capra depicts a scene from his 1934 Academy Award-winning comedy It Happened One Night; the John Ford stamp recalls an image from his 1957 DGA Award-nominated classic western The Searchers; the John Huston stamp was inspired by his 1941 noir classic The Maltese Falcon; and the Billy Wilder stamp background artwork was inspired by his 1959 DGA Award-nominated farce Some Like It Hot.
“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 the Postal Service’s Los Angeles district manager Eduardo Ruiz Jr. “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 American Film Institute’s mission is to preserve and showcase the cinematic treasures created by these and other directors and it is our hope that these Forever stamps will encourage Americans to see their classic movies that gave us a mirror on our country’s character and values,” said Jean Picker Firstenberg, President emerita of the AFI. Firstenberg is also the chair of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee — a group of distinguished Americans who help the Postmaster General decide who and what should be honored with stamps.
After a screening of film clips from Capra’s It Happened One Night, Ford’s The Searchers, Huston’s The Maltese Falcon, and Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, Director Richard Schickel spoke about his memories of the honored filmmakers. In addition to being a film critic, author, and journalist, Schickel is also noted for his documentaries on many of the industry’s most prominent directors, and specifically for his landmark 1973 documentary series The Men who Made the Movies, which included in-depth interviews with icons Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, the DGA’s first president King Vidor, and Frank Capra.
The Great Film Directors stamps were issued in Silver Springs, MD, on May 23, 2012, and are available for purchase at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store website at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24.
photos by Byron Gamarro/DGA and Clemente Bogle/Courtesy of U.S. Postal Service