Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The jesters, comedians and funny classics USPS has honored with stamps

April 1, 2024


April Fool’s Day is a good time to revisit the funnymen and -women who have enlivened postage stamps over the years.

In 1991, USPS released Comedians, a set of five 29-cent stamps featuring some all-time greats rendered in caricatures by Al Hirschfeld — himself no slouch in the humor department.

The set spotlighted Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Jack Benny, Fanny Brice, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, and Edgar Bergen and his dummy, Charlie McCarthy.

The Comedians stamps were dedicated at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. The Margo Feiden Gallery in New York City, which represented Hirschfeld, was declared a branch of the Post Office during a three-day celebration the next week, according to The New York Times.

“This tickles me tremendously,” Margo Feiden told the Times. “Not only will Hirschfeld be tasteful, but he will be one of the most tasted artists in the United States.”

USPS also honored other comics of the early to mid-20th century: W.C. Fields with a 15-cent stamp in 1980, Lucille Ball with a 34-cent release in 2001, and Bob Hope with a 44-cent release in 2009.

Two funnymen even appeared twice on stamps: Charlie Chaplin in 1994 and 1998, and humorist Will Rogers in 1948 and 1979.

In 2009, the Postal Service released Early TV Memories, a set of 20 stamps honoring the Golden Age of Television. Among the shows spotlighted were “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,” “The Honeymooners,” “Howdy Doody,” “I Love Lucy,” “The Phil Silvers Show,” “The Red Skelton Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “You Bet Your Life” with Groucho Marx, and “Texaco Star Theater” with Milton Berle.

The Early TV Memories stamps were also dedicated in Los Angeles. Carl Reiner emceed and “kept the program running,” but it was Lassie, a stamp subject who came out of retirement for the event, who stole the show, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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