Iconic Film Directors Receive ‘Forever Stamps’

Great Directors Stamps Dedication

June 14, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA — Four extraordinary film directors — Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston and Billy Wilder — received a ‘stamping’ ovation today at the dedication of the Great Film Directors First-Class Forever stamps at a ceremony held at the Directors Guild of America (DGA).  

“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 Eduardo Ruiz, U.S. Postal Service district manager, Los Angeles, 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.” 

Joining Ruiz in dedicating the stamps were Garry Marshall, director, and board member, Directors Guild of America; Richard Schickel, director and film critic; and, Jean Picker Firstenberg, president emerita, American Film Institute, and chair, Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. 

"These four iconic directors were integral to the history of the Guild, and it is our pleasure to host the unveiling of their commemorative stamps," said Marshall, who served as emcee for the unveiling. "All four are recipients of the DGA's most prestigious honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award; all four served as members of the DGA's National Board of Directors; John Ford helped found the Guild in 1936; and Frank Capra, who led the successful drive to achieve studio recognition of the fledgling guild in 1939, served five terms as DGA President."  

“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 Firstenberg. 

The stamp art combines a portrait of each director with a scene from one of his most iconic works. The Directors Guild of America provided the audience with a montage of short clips from the featured films: It Happened One Night on the Capra stamp, The Searchers on the Ford stamp, The Maltese Falcon on the Huston stamp and Some Like It Hot on Wilder’s.  

The four filmmakers received multiple Academy Award nominations, 15 Oscars, and numerous other honors during their lifetimes. But their greatest accomplishment lies in the vitality and artistry of the stories they told through film. Over a period of approximately 40 years, the quintessentially American filmmakers­ captured multiple contradictions, tensions, dark and light sides in deeply personal interpretations that conveyed the American experience as never before.

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.

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).

Customers may view the Great Film Directors Forever stamps, as well as many of this year’s other stamps, on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, through Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2012-preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site for background on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.

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. 

Director Guild of America Special Pictorial Postmark

A special pictorial postmark is issued for the dedication of the Great Film Directors stamps at the Directors Guild of America. Customers have 30 days to obtain this special postmark by mail. Affix proper postage to cards, envelopes or paper items of choice, include mail-back address and place in larger envelope addressed to: 

Great Film Directors Postmark
Marketing Department
U.S. Postal Service
7001 S. Central Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90052-9993 

After applying the special postmark, the Postal Service will return items by mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be received by July 14, 2012. 

How to Order First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic Catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Lily Bedrossian -
Director of Media Relations
(310) 289-5334