Post Office Commemorates 1950s Shows With New Stamps

The government has officially pronounced broadcast content "First Class."

That's because the Post Office is saluting 20 iconic 1950's TV shows with a new commemorative stamp issue.

The stamps will be unveiled Aug. 11 at the Leonard Goldenson Theatre in Hollywood at an event hosted by Carl Reiner and featuring some of the former stars or surviving family members of the selected shows, including June Lockhart of Lassie in the first category and Jayne Meadows, wife of Tonight Show host Steve Allen, in the latter.

The shows getting the Post Office's stamp of approval are The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; The Dinah Shore Show; Dragnet; The Ed Sullivan Show; The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show; Hopalong Cassidy; The Honeymooners; Howdy Doody; I Love Lucy; Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Lassie; The Lone Ranger; Perry Mason; The Phil Silvers Show; The Red Skelton Show; Texaco Star Theater; Tonight Show; Twilight Zone; and You Bet Your Life.

One of the shows that seemed notable for its absence was Your Show of Shows, arguably TV's first smash hit and even featuring the event's host, Carl Reiner in the ensemble cast?

Terry McCaffrey, manager of stamp development for the Postal Service, said that they were originally considering doing a series of 10-stamp sheets on various genres, westerns, crime shows, comedies, but had to cut back and decided on one composite sheet with a mix of shows.

He also said that since Sid Caesar was the star, it would have made sense to use him, but that noone can be featured on a stamp who hasn't been dead for at least five years. "We couldn't do Sid Caesar, so we had to find another show."

McCaffrey said the Post Office consulted with experts and historians and got their input on the genres to be depicted.  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.