1995 32¢ Toonerville Folks
Comic Strip Classics
- Third sheet in the Classic Collection Series
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Comic Strip Classics
Value: 32¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: October 1, 1995
First Day Cities: Boca Raton, Florida
Quantity Issued: 300,000,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Panes of 20 in sheets of 120
Perforations: 10.1 x 10.2
Why the stamps were issued: The Comic Strip Classics sheet was the third issue in the Classic Collection Series. There was push to create a stamp to honor American comics as early as the 1960’s, but didn’t get real consideration until 1993. With the 100th anniversary of the comic The Yellow Kid, a comic committee, and an 83-page proposal the USPS finally agreed.
About the stamp designs: Even though only one stamp was approved, Terrence McCaffrey, head of stamp design, thought there was no way to honor American Comics with one single stamp. Therefore, he had a list of all proposed stamps and had Carl Herrman, art director, mock up a sheet of 20 stamps. McCaffrey wanted all the stamps to be taken from original panels by their respected artist. Herrmann worked on going through thousands of panels to find comics of the 20 chosen that showed the central theme of the comic in one panel with clean lines. Then with the help of American Color, that colorizes most of the comics in American newspapers, he was able to colorize them with accurate color choices, even those that were outdated.
Toonerville Folks (#3000g) – The image used for this stamp was Fontaine Fox’s famous Toonerville Trolley. Herrman shortened the rope to which the anchor is attached to keep it all in frame.
About the printing process: In order to include the text on the back of each stamp, it had to be printed under the gum, so that it would still be visible if a stamp was soaked off an envelope. Because people would need to lick the stamps, the ink had to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as non-toxic. The printer also used an extra-fine 300-line screen, which resulted in some of the highest-quality gravure stamp printings in recent years.
History the stamps represent:
Fontaine Fox’s strip chronicled the doings of the eccentric characters who inhabited suburbs. His daily panels appeared in the Chicago Post as early as 1908, before the Wheeler Syndicate began distributing the strip nationally, but the strip is generally considered to have begun in 1910. What a Sunday page was added a decade later, both the daily and weekly features were distributed under the name Toonerville Folks.
Besides the Skipper in his famous doodle-car, other Toonerville folks included tough-kid Mickey McGuire, the Powerful Katrinka, and the Terrible-Tempered Mr. Bang. Skipper Silas Tooner and his out-of-control trolley inspired numerous toys, movies, and games. And eventually the trolley car – “The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All Trains” – became just as famous as any of the human characters. In fact, over time, the term “Toonerville Trolley” became synonymous with an antiquated street railway.