A USPO Stamp for the great MGM film star, Van Johnson is a strong
possibility, as his l00th birthday in 2016 is approaching. According to news
from Mr. Johnson’s hometown, The Newport Patch in RI has posted on its
website that a stamp honoring Van Johnson, Newport’s Native Son is
likely. His many fans dearly hope so, and the fact that the Citizens Stamp
Advisory Committee is “considering” him is a positive indication.
Well, maybe yes, but maybe no.
First, the Patch article in November follows articles in August by the Smithville (Missouri) Herald (I’m not sure of the connection there) and the Providence (R.I.) Journal two weeks later. Both were written by the same freelancer. The Patch article has many of the same quotes, although it has a different byline. Ms. Shaffer is credited in all the articles with being one of the driving forces behind the stamp, by the way.
Second, someone connected with the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee leaked a list of upcoming stamp subjects for the next several years to the Washington Post in January 2014, and I don’t see Van Johnson on it. He may be there; the list is in a format that’s hard to search, but Elizabeth Taylor is listed as the Legends of Hollywood stamp for 2016. Johnson also isn’t listed as a beyond-2016 subject. The “Deep CSAC” list has been remarkably accurate, although not perfectly.
None of the articles say the U.S. Postal Service has announced or confirmed a Van Johnson stamp. CSAC receives something like 40,000 suggestions a year, and the USPS has a charming way of not promising anything while appearing to hold out hope for stamp subject proponents. “Serious consideration” is one of its favorite stock phrases. Supporters, however, don’t catch the waffling, the non-committal.
Does that mean there won’t be a Van Johnson stamp in 2016? No. It means most of us don’t one way or the other at this point. Maybe not until 2016.