Disney’s Baddest of the Bad Sneak
Onto Surprise Set of New U.S. Stamps

We love to hate them. How else do we best describe all of those animated Disney villains we have come to know over the years? Now, 10 of the most dastardly of the Disney evil-doers will appear on a set of stamps issued on a sheet of 20 forever stamps by the U.S. Postal Service.

The stamps were announced today and will be issued July 15 during D23 Expo 2017 — a Disney fan event — July 15 at the Anaheim, California Convention Center. RSVP for the ceremony via this website: usps.com/disney.

Among those featured will be the antagonist from Disney’s first animated feature-length film, the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).

The other villains appearing are Honest John, from Pinocchio (1940), Lady Tremaine, from Cinderella (1950), the Queen of Hearts, from Alice in Wonderland (1951), Captain Hook, from Peter Pan (1953), Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty (1959), Cruella De Vil, from One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), Ursula, from The Little Mermaid (1989), Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast (1991), and Scar, from The Lion King (1994).

Art director Derry Noyes of Washington, D.C, designed the stamps.

The stamps also are a tribute to the women — most of them young and eager to work for Disney — who worked long hard hours in the Ink and Paint Division to trace and color the film cels that were used to create the early Disney films, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio and Fantasia.

The department was formed in 1923. In the early days of animation, creating a film was a painstaking process. After the animators’ pencil drawings were finished, they went to Ink and Paint at which thousands of cels had to be created by tracing and coloring.

There, highly specialized artists meticulously recreated each pencil line in ink, capturing every nuanced movement and expression. In the early 1930s, the artists began using rich colors on the animation cels.

About 100 female inkers and painters would rouse themselves as early as 4:30 in the morning and work as much as 85 hours a week to do the intricate work in order to finish the film on time.

The last full-length animated Disney film to use the hand-painted cel process was The Little Mermaid (1989). Beauty and the Beast (1991) and The Lion King (1994) were hand drawn. The original pencil drawings for those films were then scanned and painted digitally. For these stamps, the characters Gaston (Beauty and the Beast) and Scar (The Lion King) have been recreated using traditional ink and paint techniques.

Patricia Zohn in 2010 wrote a fascinating story about the inkers and painters for Vanity Fair. She used much material from her aunt, Rae Medby McSpadden, and her friends, who worked in the Disney animation studios full-time in the early years and off-and-on into the 1960s.

“If you were there by nine you got the black pen,” remembers painter June Walker Patterson in Zohn’s story. “They’d change pens exactly at nine—when you got the red pen. I was in the red every time. I was docked for every minute that I was late.”

Rae made her way to Los Angeles and had been lucky to get in with the last trainees of January 1936. She was hired in January 1936 after five unpaid months and weekly, nerve-racking “elimination days,” when accuracy and speed were meticulously reviewed, Zohn wrote.

“ ‘They were very demanding,’ inker Yuba Pillet O’Brien remembers in Zohn’s story. ‘Out of our class [‘35] of 60, they only hired 3 and 1 was let go.’ All for the starting salary of $16 per week. But what some candidates lacked in experience or art education, they made up for in moxie.”

Total Solar Eclipse Stamp at
Post Offices Nationwide June 20

The U.S. Postal Service will issue on Tuesday, June 20, a forever stamp noting this year’s total solar eclipse using a special kind of ink that will make an image of the moon appear beneath your thumb.

See our earlier blog post with details about the stamp itself.

The first-day-of-issue ceremony is taking place at 1:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) June 20 at the Art Museum of the University of Wyoming in Laramie. The university is celebrating the summer solstice on that day. Prior to the event, visitors are encouraged to arrive at 11:30 a.m. to witness a unique architectural feature where a single beam of sunlight shines on a silver dollar embedded in the floor, which occurs at noon on the summer solstice in the UW Art Museum’s Rotunda Gallery.

Ceremony participants are anticipated to include:
Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta, NASA Astrophysicist
Chip Kobulnicky, University of Wyoming Department of Physics and Astronomy Professor
Fred Espenak, Photographer of stamp image, Eclipse expert
Kevin Romero, Acting District Manager, Colorado/Wyoming District, USPS
Jim Cochrane, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, USPS

Sharks Stamps Debut July 26 at
Newport Aquarium in Kentucky

Sharks
Sharks

[USPS Press Release]

The U.S. Postal Service will celebrate the wonder of sharks by issuing the Sharks Forever stamps featuring five species that inhabit American waters — the mako, thresher, great white, hammerhead and whale sharks. Please share the news on social media using the hashtag #SharksStamps.

The 8 a.m. July 26 First-Day-of-Issue ceremony will take place at the Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY. This is a ticketed event. Tickets are limited to a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP to usps.com/sharks for free tickets.

Customers may preorder the stamps in early July at usps.com/shop for delivery shortly after the July 26 nationwide issuance.

Misunderstood Creatures
Possibly no other creatures are as mythologized — or as misunderstood — as sharks. Blockbuster thrillers and sensationalized media have fueled the belief that sharks are monsters: unthinking, bloodthirsty, vengeful and primitive. While they are ancient creatures, having emerged long before the first dinosaurs, after 400 million years the 500 or so known shark species have adapted to their ecological role.

Sharks’ adaptations include light, flexible skeletons of cartilage, teeth replaced without limit and skin covered by a hydrodynamic surface of tiny tooth-like structures. Their keen senses include one that detects electrical signals given off by prey and enables navigation by Earth’s magnetic field. Their nervous systems are also adapted to sense miniscule water movements, such as the struggles of a far-off fish.

An athlete of the shark world is the swift, streamlined mako shark. The stamp image depicts a shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) knifing through the water near the surface.


The most distinctive feature of the pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) is its unique, whip-like tail fin, seen trailing in the distance of the stamp image.


The great white (Carcharodon carcharias) epitomizes sharks in many peoples’ minds.

 


The world’s largest fish is the sluggish, filter-feeding, school bus-sized whale shark (Rhincodon typus).

 

The scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), featured in the hammerhead shark stamp, is one of three large hammerhead species.

$2 Inverted Jenny Stamp to Remain
on Sale Until Sold Out

The United States $2 Inverted Jenny souvenir sheet will remain on sale at post offices until sold out. The May 25 announcement of the stamp being removed from sale, as posted in the Postal Bulletin, was in error.

“The $2 inverted Jenny stamps will remain on sale until sold out,” said USPS spokesman Mark Saunders. “Stamp Services will make a correction in the Postal Bulletin.”

The $2 Inverted Jenny stamps are only available at post offices that still have them in stock. The USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services location no longer has any supply of the souvenir sheet.

The stamp was issued in September 2013 and 100 sheets were printed with the airplane flying the correct way. Those stamps were distributed throughout the stock and collectors have been hunting for the variety since its debut.

New 2017–2018 Duck Stamp June 23 in Little Rock, Arkansas

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue the new $25 Canada Geese Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck stamp) June 23 nationwide.

James Hautman’s acrylic painting of Canada geese.
James Hautman’s acrylic painting of Canada geese will be made into the 2017-2018 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. Image courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A first-day-of-sale ceremony will take place June 23 at 10 a.m. at the Bass Pro Shop in Little Rock, Arkansas. The event is free and open to the public.

The stamp will feature a painting by James Hautman. The design of the stamp itself will be revealed on the first day for the stamp.

For additional information on the results of the contest where the painting was selected, check out the APS’s previous post on the blog.