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Postal Service fetes film’s unseen

Commemorative stamps bow Feb. 25

The U.S. Postal Service and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences unveiled 10 commemorative stamps, celebrating “American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes,” Wednesday at the Margaret Herrick Library.

The collection salutes John Cassavetes for directing and Jack Pierce, the creator of Boris Karloff’s famous Frankenstein mug, for makeup. The character E.T. is featured for Mark Siegel’s remarkable special effects, while eight-time Oscar winner Edith Head represents costume design.

Other notables to be honored are Perry Ferguson for art direction, Paul Hill for cinematography, J. Watson Webb for film editing, Max Steiner for music, David O. Selznick for screenwriting and Gary Summers for sound.

The stamps will be issued Feb. 25, the day ballots are sent to Academy members for final Oscar balloting — making Acad envelopes the first to carry the new stamps.

Behind the camera

“We do stamps honoring actors all the time,” said Academy executive director Bruce Davis. “But we have never done anything movie-related that gets behind the camera.”

Davis said he hopes the tribute will familiarize people with the fact that there are “other people who contribute to the making of this wonderful art form, an art form that depends on contributions of many, many kinds.”

Gena Rowlands, on hand to unveil the stamp of her late husband, Cassavetes, said, “I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘thrilled’ in my life. But, with John on there, to tell you the truth, I’m just thrilled.”

“It’s a wonderful honor,” agreed Karloff’s daughter Sara. “My father would be so delighted that the spotlight finally is on the creative genius of Mr. Pierce. Without his efforts and hours of hard work, cinema history would have been totally different. That really isn’t the way my father looked.”

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