Reminder: “To Kill A Mockingbird” Event Tomorrow (& Commemorative Cachet!)

A pictorial cancellation and cachet commemorating the 50th anniversary of the classic film, To Kill a Mockingbird, will be available at the Monroe County Heritage Museum tomorrow, April 13, 2012. The museum is located at 31 North Alabama Avenue in Monroeville, Alabama.

Postmasters David Neilon (Monroeville) and Tonya Hadley (Peterman) are working with event sponsor Monroe County Heritage Museum. World-renowned fine artist Nicolosi designed the pictorial cancellation and the commemorative cachet envelope.

The commemorative cachet envelopes will be unveiled at the iconic courthouse tomorrow at 10 a.m. and also available for sale. In addition to the cachet envelopes, USPS will sell Gregory Peck stamp sheets at the event and at the Monroeville Post Office across the street. You’ll need to bring your own plain envelopes and apply the Gregory Peck stamps for USPS employees to hand cancel. While supplies last, the commemorative cachet envelope will be available through the museum’s website at www.tokillamockingbird.com.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the film starring Gregory Peck, who was featured as Atticus Finch in the Legends of Hollywood stamp series. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in Monroeville, where Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee grew up, just a few blocks from the old courthouse.

Gregory Peck image courtesy of Gregory Peck LLC.

Katharine Hepburn: Independent Spirit

Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) wasn’t just one of the greatest actresses of the 20th century, she was one of the greatest actresses of all time. The four-time Academy Award winner had countless memorable roles. In 2010, the Postal Service honored her with a stamp, which featured a portrait—by photographer Clarence S. Bull—taken from a publicity still from the film Woman of the Year (1942).

This week, I caught up with author William J. Mann, whose biography of Hepburn, Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, was released in 2006.

What do you think was Hepburn’s greatest trait as an actress?

Two things, actually. First, her independent spirit, which allowed her to take on roles that defied expectations, particularly for women. This is mostly true for her early film work, in classics like Holiday and Bringing Up Baby and others, in which she was the motivator, the one who took action and made things happen. No typical damsels in distress for her. Later, as she got older, it was her bravery that really distinguished her work. When many of her contemporaries were either retiring, settling for character parts or working in low-budget pictures, Hepburn pushed herself and her craft by taking on Shakespeare, Shaw, and O’Neill, both on film and on the stage.

She had an incredible life and career, but do you think that today she’s underappreciated?

I think sometimes she’s remembered primarily for her “battle of the sexes” films with Spencer Tracy, which really don’t showcase what made her so special. It’s films like Bringing Up Baby and Sylvia Scarlett and Alice Adams and The African Queen and Summertime, where she subverts the status quo and challenges presumptions, that display her true strengths. In these films, she’s really very modern and contemporary.

Uncut Press Sheet (click to order)

You wrote a biography of Hepburn. What was it like seeing her get her own stamp?

Hepburn was an American original. She came to stand for some of the best parts of the American character: ingenuity, determination, self-reliance, independence of spirit. So it felt only fitting that she be honored with her own stamp.

Is there something you think most people don’t know about Katharine Hepburn’s life/career that you think they should?

She loved being a star. She made a lot of protest about acting not being a very important profession, and she liked to give the impression that she’d rather be off in a canoe somewhere instead of signing autographs for fans on the street. But she really cherished her fame. When she appeared in Coco on Broadway, she was brought to tears by how much the public loved her, the way people would show up with flowers for her at the stage door. That really meant a great deal to her.

Do you have a favorite Hepburn role?

Rose Sayer in The African Queen. Not only is she funny and poignant, she is also one hundred percent the equal of her costar Humphrey Bogart. There’s no deference to her simply because she’s a woman; she gets down in the mud and, shoulder to shoulder, helps Bogart haul the boat down the river. That was the way Hepburn lived her life, and how she comes across best on the screen.

Are you working on anything specific right now that you’d like to mention?

This fall, my book Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbara Streisand, will be published. Streisand’s another American original, and I hope she gets her own stamp someday, too!

Katharine Hepburn image and rights licensed through CAA, Los Angeles, California.

West Side Waltz photo © Steve Schapiro.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” Cachet Event Coming in April

To Kill A Mockingbird fans mark your calendars! On April 13, USPS and the Monroe County Heritage Museum will host an event on the grounds of the courthouse featured in the classic 1962 film based on Harper Lee’s novel. Postmaster Kelly Jones and Stephanie Rogers, executive director of the museum, will unveil the pictorial cancellation and commemorative cachet envelope featuring an image of the courthouse and a 2011 Gregory Peck stamp.

The pictorial cancellation and the commemorative cachet envelope were designed exclusively for USPS by acclaimed artist Nicolosi, who will also be at the event. “I am humbled to have been given this opportunity to lend my given talent to the U.S. Postal Service and the great people of Alabama as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 American classic film To Kill A Mockingbird,” the artist said.

A time for the event has not yet been set.

Gregory Peck image courtesy of Gregory Peck LLC.