Ordinarily, I don’t feel a need to promote the Post Office.  I look forward to my mail; I have pleasant relationships with mail carriers.  But the USPS seems a ubiquitous business that doesn’t need publicity from me.  However, I am finicky about the stamps I buy, and carefully consider their appearance and their messages before buying them.

When I went to my Post Office today and asked what new 42-cent stamps they had, I was offered sunflowers, Latin jazz, baseball games, Bette Davis, Alzheimer’s research, and a few others.  Latin jazz and Bette Davis were competing for my attention until I saw this sheet:

“Vintage Black Cinema” I can support wholeheartedly: homages to Paul Laurence Dunbar, Duke Ellington and Fredi Washington, Josephine Baker, Nina Mae McKinney, and Louis Jordan, as well as African-American film production companies going back to 1921.  I bought two hundred stamps, which will get me into 2009 in fine cinematic style.  Maybe next year the USPS will consider a second series, including SEPIA CINDERELLA, BOY! WHAT A GIRL, and JAMMIN’ THE BLUES, among others?

Putting these stamps on the envelopes that hold my bills won’t make that task seem any easier, but the stamps themselves give pleasure — not only for the way they look (I grew up around films and movie theatres) but what they represent.

For more information about the stamps, the designers of the film posters, and the films themselves. visit (The link to the stamps themselves is, but it hasn’t been particularly responsive.)

One response to “BLACK AND TAN . . . AT THE POST OFFICE

  1. Your blog on TOWN HALL CONCERT PLUS, 1947 reminds me of my first jazz record – an RCA EP Louis Armstrong No 2 Ain’t misbehavin’, Where the blues were born in New Orleans, High Society, and Mahogany Hall Stomp.

    I had always thought the tracks were from the TOWN HALL CONCERT, 1947 and only discovered, recently, that none was. (The whole concert is now available on Proper Box but not in USA)

    All are great recordings and although ‘Where the blues…’ has ‘once is enough words’ it does have, after Louis’ intro to himself some of the greatest spine tingling bars on record. The hairs on my neck still stand up every time I hear them, 50 years on.

    Incidentally, my second record was Wire Brush Stomp by Gene Krupa and first LP Back To Back, Ellington/Hodges – start as you mean to go on!


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