A Petition to the U.S. Postal Service to Issue a Commemorative Stamp for a Legend of Hollywood: MR. ORSON WELLES!
By RAY KELLY
With the approach of the Orson Welles Centenary in 2015, nowhere does the anniversary of his birth seem as special as Woodstock, Illinois, where the young Welles spent his formative years at the Todd School for Boys.
A citizens’ group, Woodstock Celebrates, is planning events in May 2014, marking the 80th anniversary of the Todd Theatre Festival during which Welles made his directorial debut, and on May 6, 2015 to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.
To draw further attention to this milestone, Woodstock Celebrates and Wellesnet are petitioning the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp in 2015 honoring the Orson Welles Centenary. We believe Woodstock is the proper locale for the first day issuance. (Details about how you can lend your support are included below).
The choice of Woodstock is compelling to those who have followed the amazing career of Orson Welles.
Woodstock was central to the creative life of Welles, who would later achieve unparalleled success on stage, radio, film and television.
Woodstock Celebrates hopes the anniversary celebrations will attract Welles enthusiasts from around the United States and perhaps the globe, according to Kathleen Spaltro of Woodstock Celebrates.
“We want to reconnect Woodstock with two remarkable people in its history, Orson Welles and Roger Hill, an extraordinary educator at Todd School who understood how to nourish creativity and foster love
of learning,” Spaltro said.
At the Todd School, from 1926 to 1931, Welles met his mentor and lifelong friend, Roger Hill, who became headmaster in 1930. Asked as a middle-aged man who was the most important influence on his creativity, Welles replied, "Roger Hill. I think about him every day."
Welles returned to Woodstock throughout the 1930s and 1940s – in particular for the theater festival at the Woodstock Opera House in 1934 that he organized and Hill funded. There, Welles made his debut as a professional director, and he made his first venture into film in Woodstock with the 16mm short “The Hearts of Age.” In addition, Hill and Welles published their collaborative edition of “Everybody's Shakespeare” in Woodstock that year on the Todd Press.
Initial plans call for several Welles scholars to talk about his early life and career on the 80th anniversary of the 1934 Todd Theatre Festival (Tentative guests currently scheduled to speak include Joseph McBride, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Michael Dawson and Lawrence French).
In May 2015, Woodstock Celebrates will throw a 100th birthday party for the late actor-director-writer. Related, concurrent events may include library and/or county historical society exhibits, screenings of Welles-related films, sales by vendors of radio and movie memorabilia, and a re-enactment of the historic 1938 radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.”
The issuance of an Orson Welles commemorative postage stamp celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth would complement Woodstock’s birthday party. To voice your support for a postal stamp, please contact the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.
Stamp proposals must be submitted to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee in writing. Proposals made by e-mail will not receive a response. Subjects should be submitted at least three years in advance of the proposed date of issue to allow sufficient time for consideration and for design and production, if the subject is approved. All properly submitted proposals for eligible subjects will be reviewed by the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee regardless of how they are submitted, i.e., stamped cards, letters or petitions.
Stamp proposals should be submitted in writing to the following address:
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501