On today’s date in 1978, Toronto actor Lorne Greene starred in a new sci-fi TV show called Battlestar Galactica, which premiered that evening on ABC.
In 2006, Canada Post featured Greene on a 51-cent stamp (Scott #2153c) as part of a series featuring Canadians in Hollywood. John Candy (SC #2153a), Fay Wray (SC #2153b) and Mary Pickford (SC #2153d) were also featured in the four-stamp issue. Printed by the Lowe-Martin Group on Tullis Russell coated paper using five-colour lithography plus varnish, the stamps have general tagging along each side.
“Canadians have had a tremendous creative influence in film and television, and these stamps recognize their success as part of our heritage,” said Danielle Trottier, stamp design and production manager at Canada Post.
Representatives from the Crown corporation also explained the different screen eras during which each actor rose to stardom are represented through typography. For example, Greene’s name appears in a distinctive Old West type that recalls the TV show Bonanza, in which he starred for 14 years.
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Born in Ottawa in 1915, Greene became well known to Canadians as a CBC radio journalist during the Second World War, when he earned the name “the Voice of Doom” for his grave tones.
After the war, Greene returned to acting, and eventually won the television role of Ben Cartwright, who was “Pa” on Bonanza. His most successful television work after Bonanza was his four-year stint as the host and narrator of the syndicated nature film series, Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1969 and has also been honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“My father would have been proud of and grateful for being included this set of stamps,” said Chuck Greene. “Our family is extremely pleased by Canada Post’s recognition of my father’s unique contribution to radio, film and television in Canada and around the world. He always took pride in being Canadian, working for many Canadian causes, supporting Canadians who came to the United States, and working for Canadian charities and on Canadian film and television projects until the end of his life.”
Inspiration for the style of the four stamps came to designers John Belisle and Kosta Tsetsekas of Vancouver’s Signals Design as they began the research phase of their creative process.
“We started by looking at old Hollywood movie posters and soon realized that this was a great design concept,” said Belisle. “The feel of movie posters has changed over the decades, but they’re always bold and dramatic. We tried to capture those qualities on the stamps, with iconic portraits and typography in motion, to suggest moving picture.”
The challenge, explained the designers, was to create a consistent style for four stamps that would encompass four very different actors and screen eras.
“We selected images for each individual, but the quality of the photographs varied too much to reproduce them,” said Tsetsekas.