Pop-culture themes in 2008 USPS collectible stamp releases

Image courtesy USPS.com

Image courtesy USPS.com

WASHINGTON (AP) – Lucy and Ethel lose their struggle with a chocolate assembly line. Joe Friday demands “just the facts” with a penetrating gaze. A secret word brings Groucho a visit from a duck.

Folks who grew up as television came of age will delight in a 20-stamp set included in the Postal Service’s plans for 2009 recalling early memories of the medium.

Besides commemorating black-and-white TV, the service’s 2009 postage stamp program ranges from commemorating President Abraham Lincoln to the Thanksgiving Day parade, civil rights pioneers, actor Gary Cooper, poet Edgar Allan Poe, Supreme Court justices and Alaska and Hawaii statehood.

Most of the commemorative stamps are priced at 42 cents, the current first-class rate. However, a rate increase is scheduled in May and the size will depend on the consumer price index.

The Early TV Memories stamp set is scheduled for release Aug. 11 in Los Angeles.

One recalls the quiz show You Bet Your Life, on which the unflappable Groucho Marx awarded prizes to contestants who answered questions. If they said a secret word, a toy duck dropped down with a cash reward.

In a memorable scene from I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball and sidekick Ethel Mertz work at an assembly line that speeds up and they can’t wrap the candy quickly enough, causing panic.

In the stamp commemorating the cop show Dragnet, star Jack Webb as detective Joe Friday gives his “just the facts, ma’am,” stare, while on another stamp sweetheart singer Dinah Shore throws the audience a kiss.

Other shows featured are Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Ed Sullivan Show, George Burns & Gracie Allen Show, Hopalong Cassidy, The Honeymooners, Howdy Doody, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Perry Mason, Phil Silvers Show, Red Skelton, Texaco Star Theater, Tonight Show and Twilight Zone.

September brings a series honoring the contributions of Supreme Court associate justices Joseph Story, Louis D. Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter and William J. Brennan, Jr.

A dozen pioneers of the civil rights movement will be honored with stamps scheduled for release Feb. 21 in New York.

Included are writer and lecturer Mary Church Terrell; journalist Mary White Ovington; J.R. Clifford, the first black attorney licensed in West Virginia; Joel Elias Spingarn, who endowed the Spingarn Medal, awarded by the NAACP for outstanding achievement by a black American; Oswald Garrison Villard, a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Daisy Gatson Bates, who mentored nine black students enrolled at all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957.

Also Charles Hamilton Houston, an architect of the civil rights movement; Walter White, who conducted undercover investigations for the NAACP; Medgar Evers, an NAACP official in Mississippi until his assassination in 1963; Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi sharecropper who fought for black voting rights; lifetime activist Ella Baker and NAACP leader Ruby Hurley.

Other scheduled stamps include:

_Statehood anniversary stamps for the 50th year of Alaska and Hawaii, and Oregon’s 150th.

_Lunar New Year, marking the Year of the Ox, starting Jan. 26.

_Poe, marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of the poet and fiction writer.

_Lincoln, also born in 1809, will be honored on four commemorative stamps.

_Wedding Cake and Wedding Rings, for sending invitations.

_Comedian Bob Hope is recalled for a life devoted to making people laugh, especially his efforts to visit and entertain men and women in uniform, starting in 1941 and continuing through the Persian Gulf War five decades later.

_Anna Julia Cooper, the 32nd in the Black Heritage series, recalls the educator, scholar, feminist and activist who gave voice to the African-American community during the 19th and 20th centuries.

_Flags of Our Nation, two sets covering Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and North Dakota.

_Gulf Coast Lighthouses, showing those of Matagorda Island, Texas; Sabine Pass, La.; Biloxi, Miss., Sand Island, near the entrance to Mobile Bay, Ala., and Fort Jefferson, also known as Garden Key Lighthouse, 50 miles west of Key West, Fla.

_American Treasures: Edward Hopper, a painting by the artist showing a boat sailing against the wind near Provincetown, Mass.

_Richard Wright, author of the book Native Son, is the 25th writer commemorated in the Literary Arts series.

_Thanksgiving Day Parade, a four-stamp set of scenes from the annual event.

_Gary Cooper becomes the 15th inductee into the Legends of Hollywood series.

_Nature of America: Kelp Forest, the latest in a series featuring plant and animal communities.

The program also includes the latest in the Love series, a tribute to the king and queen of hearts, and holiday stamps marking Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.


On the Net:

U.S. Postal Service: http://www.usps.com

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AP-WS-12-30-08 0105EST