Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Illustrated Postmarks and Multiple FDCs

Yesterday was Tsunami Tuesday, so I thought Wag the Dog (Levinson, 1997) would be a good selection to introduce a couple more aspects to my First Day Cover collection.

The first is that the USPS often uses illustrated postmarks for their FDCs, but they won’t always apply them unless you specifically request it. Contrast the two illustrated postmarks from these Muppet and Marvel Comic issues to the plainer one used for the holiday stamps from my last FDC post.

The other component is getting multiple FDCs on a single card. As I mentioned before, sometimes the connections between stamp and card are obvious and sometimes a little more, uh, spurious. Few people would connect Jim Henson’s creations to a David Mamet political satire, but I thought Sam the Eagle and Rowlf the Dog made a good pairing with the title, figuratively and literally. And extending that patriotic meme, Captain America seemed another obvious choice when the opportunity presented itself two years later (and though I haven’t followed his adventures since high school—Welcome Back, Cap!).

Hollywood’s always been a tough nut for Mamet to crack. Wag is fun, but runs off the rails pretty quickly, and the methods of manipulation that overlap in politics and entertainment are only cursorily explored. Speed the Plow (which I just saw at ACT this past weekend), hardly fares better. More acerbic and rooted firmly in his comfort zone (estrogen-fearing male competitiveness), it still doesn’t tell us anything about the industry that Billy Wilder and Vincente Minnelli weren’t expressing back in the 50s. State and Main is the most successful, but it’s too content in playing things cozy, soft-pedaling even its harshest barbs. It’s like a snuggly Vermont B&B weekend, just not as memorable (except perhaps for giving us the one single non-irritating Rebecca Pidgeon performance).

Next week: Our first installment of Ask the Filmatelist!

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