Hollywood loves sequels. So do stamp collectors, which is why Canada Post is proud to honour the accomplishments of four more performers who found fame and fortune in movie town with a second set of stamps dedicated to Canadians in Hollywood. This quartet of domestic rate (52¢) stamps stars Marie Dressler, Raymond Burr, Norma Shearer and Chief Dan George.
Designed by John Belisle and Kosta Tsetsekas of Vancouver's Signals Design, the stamps use images created by Neal Armstrong, the artist who painted the images for the first set of stamps. The background of each stamp is evocative of each star's career: Dressler's shows a scene inspired by a photograph of the tugboat Arthur Foss, featured in the film Tugboat Annie, as the garbage-barge and tugboat Narcissus. Burr's has the Perry Mason courtroom, Shearer's features an art deco scene that is reminiscent of many of her films, and George's depicts a plains scene from Little Big Man.
"Neal has done a great job of capturing the essence of each actor and creating a sense that this is a sequel," says Belisle. "We also wanted to connect the audience to these stamps, so we used illustrator Adam Rogers to craft the souvenir sheet and official first day cover. Adam created a vintage feel that gives a real impression of being in a theatre watching a movie. The crowd is at the front, and the stamps sit right on the screen."
In keeping with the desire to bring the audience into the design, the cancels depict a bag of popcorn and a soft drink with a straw.
"The cancels connect the audience to the silver screen and help to create a real movie experience," says Belisle.
Norma Shearer: The first lady of the talkies
Born in Montréal's upper-middle class Westmount area, Norma Shearer's lifestyle took a turn for the worse during the Great Depression. Norma and her sister were taken to New York City by their mother who hoped the girls could earn money acting.
Times were hard, and Norma took whatever small parts came her way, but her luck changed when she landed a role in the 1920 movie The Stealers. The film brought her to the attention of MGM's general manager, Irving Thalberg, who tracked her down and gave her a role in The Wanters (1923).
Shearer and Thalberg were married in 1928, after which Norma worked tirelessly to improve her acting skills. She was named "First lady of the talkies" by the press for her role in MGM's 1929 movie Trial of Mary Dugan. Stunningly beautiful, Shearer avoided typecasting by selecting many different roles, including playing Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the 1934 version of The Barretts of Wimpole Street. The film earned Shearer an Academy Award nomination for best actress. Although Shearer died in 1983, she continues to be remembered as a classically poised and elegant star of the silver screen.