Dean put his stamp on Hollywood

GOOD MORNING: The U.S. Postal Service wants to get in more than just a few licks in its stamp tie-in with Hollywood and its icons. I caught up again with Marvin Runyon, Postmaster General and CEO of the U.S. Postal Service (we had first met when I m.c.’d the first-day festivities for the Marilyn Monroe stamp at Universal Studios Hollywood), at the Legend of Hollywood-James Dean stamp sendoff, which began Sunday night at the home of Merv and Thea Adelson with a private dinner given by the AFI, headed by Jean Firstenberg, in honor of Warner Bros. and the Postal Service. Adelson is not only a trustee of the AFI but also a member of the board of Time Warner. Bob Daly, on hand for Sunday and Monday’s events, now leaves with bride Carole Bayer Sager for their honeymoon in Paris, the Hotel du Cap and a looksee at the new WB park attraction in Germany. Also at the Adelsons’ home, Senator Dianne Feinstein — toasting her birthday. The celebration of the teaming of the AFI, WB and the Postal Service continued Monday at WB, where Dean made his three movies … The stamps of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Tennessee Williams are only a taste of the Postal Service’s plans perking with movies, the AFI, WB and other studios: Post Office Stores will soon sell, in over 300 outlets, WB videos of James Dean movies. In the current WB homevideo package of “Rebel,” buyers will also find, free, a first-day cover of the Dean stamp — along with discount coupons for popcorn. And you thought there were no more tangential ways to market movies! At Monday’s festivities on the WB lot you could also buy James Dean T-shirts duplicating the Dean postage stamp likeness drawn by artist Michael Deas and based on the classic photo by Roy Schatt. (Deas also painted the Monroe stamp.) As further evidence of the importance of philatelic follow-ups with showbiz, the Postmaster General told me “Bugs Bunny” will soon be introduced into the “stamper program”– a program to get youngsters into stamp collecting … More than 400 million Monroe stamps have been printed, 350 million Deans. But the king is still Elvis, with 500 million stamps — and no end in sight.

A LETTER FROM JAMES DEAN, written during his brief Hollywood life, and mailed to his young cousin Marcus Winslow (11) at the family home in Fairmont, Ind., was read by Winslow Monday at the ceremonies on the street of the WB backlot used for “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” There was an estimated crowd of 5,500 on hand for the studio event. Winslow told me he still lives in that same farmhouse where Dean grew up. Winslow was also at the Adelsons, where guests were fed dinner courtesy of Spago, with cars parked — and returned — by Chuck Pick and his crew. I told Winslow I had known Dean, and wrote of Hollywood’s shock at his death (Sept. 30, 1955) in my column, where studio executive Henry Ginsberg put it poetically: “Dean seemed to come into this world like a phantom — doing a job and leaving it.” Despite only three movies, 41 years later Winslow told me the interest in James Dean steadily increases — requests for items (T-shirts, photos, etc.) are unending –“and he is very popular in foreign countries just discovering him!” Winslow and his sister are the sole heirs. Mark Roesler, CEO of Curtis Management, represents the Dean Foundation. But Winslow assured me they get no royalties from the sale of the U.S. postage stamps. “But it is quite an honor,” he added. The imprint of stamps on movie stories was powerfully demonstrated in a video prepared bythe AFI, narrated by Oscar-winner Karl Malden and shown at the Adelsons’. Among the movies shown that used letters as a pivotal plot point: “The B’way Melody of 1938,” “The Color Purple,” “Stalag 17,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “The Shop Around the Corner,” “Little Women,” “Charade,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Back to the Future II,” “Solid Gold Cadillac” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

THE DEAD LETTER OFFICE (DLO) is the receiving bin for letters addressed “Dear God”– and in the upcoming Garry Marshall-directed film, Greg Kinnear stars as a con artist who reforms after working in the DLO and reading “Dear God” letters. The Steve Tisch-produced pic also stars Laurie Metcalf and Hector Elizondo. It has a “Miracle on 34th Street” spirit. Marshall tells me, “This was the best time I ever had in my entire history of my entire career!” Looking around him, Marshall told me, “It’s too mean out there. It’s not the worst thing in the world to be nice — once in a while.” And his next movie is also a comedy –“The Other Sister,” for Disney. But Marshall admits, “directing is getting harder — I like acting.” He appears in “Twilight of the Golds” as Faye Dunaway’s husband (he’s also exec producer). And he’s been asked to return — on his availability — to play the irascible network boss on “Murphy Brown,” for which he was too modest to put himself up for Emmy consideration … Producer Jerry Weintraub’s “Vegas Vacation” shoots at the Chapel of the Bells on South Las Vegas Blvd. today, where he and Jane Morgan were married in 1964.