Orson Welles’ fans push for commemorative U.S. stamp in time for centennial celebration
Published: Sunday, March 11, 2012, 8:11 PM Updated: Sunday, March 11, 2012, 8:12 PM
With the approach of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Orson Welles, Woodstock, Illinois, where the actor-director spent his formative years is leading the call for a U.S. postage stamp to honor the maverick filmmaker.
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 in May 2015 to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Woodstock Celebrates and Wellesnet, a Welles resource website, are petitioning the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp in 2015 honoring the Orson Welles centenary. They argue that Woodstock is the proper locale for the first day issuance.
Woodstock Celebrates hopes the stamp drive and 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 for Boys, from 1926 to 1931, Welles met Hill, his mentor and lifelong friend. 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, then headmaster, 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 the book“Everybody’s Shakespeare” in Woodstock that year.
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 Wellesnet’s 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 a Welles commemorative postage stamp celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth would complement Woodstock’s birthday party, organizers said.
Welles’ image appeared on a U.S. stamp in 1999 in a scene from his landmark film “Citizen Kane.” The 1941 film is regarded as the finest movie produced in Hollywood.
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.
Stamp proposals should be submitted to:
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501