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Everyone's Fonda The New Stamp

By Bonnie Fuson

The Henry Fonda First Day ceremonies began for me just before noon when fellow Claude C. Ries Chapter AFDCS members arrived at my home in the Hollywood Hills for lunch and a "lick and stick" session.


Claude C. Reis Chapter of the American First Day Cover Society members preparing Fonda first day covers, clockwise starting from left: Kathy Clements, Bonnie Fuson, Via Viasenor, Paula Kinports, Ron Sobel and Forrest Godfrey.

Kathy Clements arrived with the stamps; She was in Beverly Hills in the morning, as was Ron Sobel, frustrated because the stamps were not available as promised.

After putting our stamps on our covers, Forrest set out for the Hollywood-Wilcox post office, Kathy and I drove to Burbank for the movie camera cancel (Ron had preceded us), and Via and Paula hit the stamp and canceling windows at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences building on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

Burbank movie camera pictorial cancel in black, available at the Glen Oaks postal station in the city of Burbank. Photo by Bonnie Fuson.


Same cancel, in red ink. Photo by Bonnie Fuson.

Several hundred people stood in the line on the sidewalk, with growing levels of disgruntlement, waiting for the Academy to let us in so we could sit down. Some had been standing since the Post Office doors were opened (only from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) There were at least a dozen members of our Ries Chapter there, and lots of stamp fans. Some were Fonda fans who worked at the Little Theater in Illinois where he got his start. They had flown out especially for this event!

Ticket to ceremony on left. It had a tear-off portion, but at the request of collectors, the Academy used a paper punch instead so as to leave it intact. On right, invitation to the ceremony, received by mail about a week in advance. Photo by Bonnie Fuson.

The ceremony was very enjoyable, although it didn't actually start until almost 8 p.m. Robert Osborne was emcee. They showed an interesting montage of Fonda photos (from Roddy McDowell's archive) and sound film clips. Then Osborne fielded recollections of Fonda by film director Mark Rydell (who directed him in "On Golden Pond", and actor Larry Hagman, who had known Fonda from their days in New York theater and acted with him in films "Fail Safe" and "In Harm's Way."

From left, host and moderator Robert Osborne; Mark Rydell, director of "On Golden Pond;" and actor Larry Hagman remembered Henry Fonda at the first day ceremony. Photo courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2005 AMPAS.

Members of Fonda's family were introduced from the audience Henry's fifth wife and widow Shirlee Fonda; daughter Jane and her daughter (with director Roger Vadim) Vanessa Vadim, and son (with radical politician Tom Hayden) Troy Garity; Henry's son Peter's current wife Becky Fonda and Peter's son Justin Fonda (son with Peter's first wife Susan and brother of Bridget, who was not in attendance). Peter himself is filming in Australia.

From left, Henry Fonda's son Peter's wife Becky and his grandchildren Justin Fonda, Vanessa Vadim and Troy Garity unveil a blow-up of the Henry Fonda stamp. Photo courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2005 AMPAS.

Postal officials and the stamp artist Drew Struzan were introduced and applauded. The postal staff made the usual remarks and Fonda family members came up on stage and pulled the curtains off the stamps. The grandkids and Jane spoke briefly.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Frank Pierson, left, and U.S. Postal Service Vice Chairman John F. Walsh assist Henry Fonda's widow Shirlee and daughter Jane with unveiling a blow-up of the Henry Fonda stamp. Photo courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2005 AMPAS.

Then the lights went down and we saw a newly made print of "My Darling Clementine," a John Ford film made in Monument Valley in 1946 with Fonda, Victor Mature and Linda Darnell. All the drama leads up to the gunfight at the OK Corral. (They don't make 'em that way anymore!)


Postal Service Vice Chairman John F. Walsh, Henry Fonda's daughter Jane and widow Shirlee with a blow-up of the Henry Fonda stamp. Photo courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2005 AMPAS.

Following the film, stamps and cancels were again available in the Academy lobby, and some celebrities signed for fans. Kathy, Shirley Ulling and her friend Bea and I drove to a popular late night Beverly Hills restaurant for a late supper. Shirlee Fonda and her date (who used to escort Audrey Hepburn about) were at the next table with actor Bruce Davison. Small world.

Additional photos:

Jane Fonda with a blow-up of the Henry Fonda stamp. Photo courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2005 AMPAS.


U.S. Postal Service Vice Chairman John F. Walsh and Jane Fonda are shown with a blow-up of the Henry Fonda stamp. Photo courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2005 AMPAS.


FDC canceled with the Beverly Hills bullseye, available at the ceremony at the Academy. Photo by Bonnie Fuson.


Hollywood black round dater cancel available, via prior arrangement, at the Hollywood Wilcox PO station. Photo by Bonnie Fuson.


Ceremony Program and the cancelled envelope it came in. Photo by Bonnie Fuson.


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