1995 32¢ Little Orphan Annie
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of the comics in American newspapers, he was able to colorize them with accurate color choices, even those that were outdated.
Little Orphan Annie (#3000j) – Rich Marshall, the leading consultant on the project due to his extensive knowledge and collection of cartoons and comic strips, supplied the comic for this stamp. Herrman liked the way a different panel was illustrated, but the one Marshall supplied was the favorite with everyone else.
Special design details: There is a spelling errors on the back of the stamp pane on the Little Orphan Annie stamp. Close to the end of the paragraph the word “indispensable” is misspelled “indispensible.”
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:
Little Orphan Annie
In 1924, Captain Patterson of the Chicago Tribune, continuing his search for a new comic, accepted a submission by artist Harold Gray, about an orphan kid with a billionaire guardian. Little Orphan Annie reputedly began as a boy, but was changed to a red-headed girl by Patterson himself. A restless, rambunctious waif, Annie traveled around the world accompanied by her faithful dog Sandy. Often caught up in intrigue and adventure, she used her wits and the intermittent protection of her benefactor Daddy Warbucks to survive.
Gray often incorporated his political views into his story line, and throughout this career Little Orphan Annie remained a highly personalized presentation. His stories were often infused with heavy doses of perseverance, courage, goodwill, and independence, making Annie as responsible as anyone for keeping up the nation’s spirit throughout the Great Depression.
During its prime, Little Orphan Annie was considered one of the top five strips in newspaper polls. No doubt Gray’s annual road trips across America, taken to maintain his feel for the common folk who were the real stars of Annie’s stories, contributed to the strip’s popularity.