Tunesmiths to get stamps of approval

Gershwins, Rodgers and Hammerstein among honorees

Six Hollywood film composers and nine Broadway songwriters will be honored with stamps next year.

The movie musicians are Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann and Dimitri Tiomkin, each of whom will be pictured on a single 33¢ stamp. (First class postage increases by a penny in January.)

Stamps depicting Broadway tunesmiths will also be issued, including three teams and three individuals: George & Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II, Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe, Lorenz Hart, Meredith Willson and Frank Loesser.

The film-composer and Broadway-songwriter stamp pages will be the last in the “Legends of American Music” series launched in 1993 with the best-selling Elvis Presley stamp. All are tentatively scheduled for issuance in September 1999.

According to Terry McCaffrey, senior art director for stamp design at the Postal Service, these stamps have been in various stages of planning and design since 1991. Initially recommended by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, they were screened by musicologists at the Smithsonian Institution and other experts.

Postal Service rules dictate that no one can be honored with a stamp unless they have been dead more than a decade.

All 12 images were painted by Drew Struzan, a Pasadena-based artist whose many film projects include “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” artwork. The announcement was made on Thursday at a philatelic convention in New York City. McCaffrey said the film-composer stamps would most likely be unveiled at a Hollywood location next September.

John W. Waxman — Franz’s son, who served as liaison with the heirs of all the composers — said, “I am delighted that Hollywood composers are being recognized by our entire country. It’s one more example of the acceptance of film music into the cultural mainstream of America.”

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