by Steve Schlich
Getting the United States Postal Service to honor our hero with a postage stamp was one of the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation’s earliest causes. Over the years, our members sponsored and maintained several petitions. We collected thousands of names. We urged people to write directly to the USPS. We spoke with—and cheered the efforts of—various celebrity proxies, including a U.S. Senator.
Now at long last, the USPS will publish a first class stamp with Rod’s photo, honoring Twilight Zone. This is it, our triumph! We won, and I’m cheering whether or not our efforts had anything to do with the victory.
So why do I feel let down?
Because it’s one stamp hidden in a block of twenty. Because I have to wade through Dinah Shore, Dragnet, Ed Sullivan and 16 more, just to plant Rod Serling on an envelope once.
That’s not fair… that’s not fair at all!
I know, I know: Rod’s inclusion in this classic TV tribute is both appropriate and legitimate. I’d be marching on the USPS Washington D.C. offices with an angry placard if this set had been issued without him! Really, my complaint is just a measure of my obsession.
And I am not trashing any of those shows. Some were truly great. But only one of them was Twilight Zone, that’s my passion, and I don’t want to wade through 19 others to get to it.
This configuration transforms my Rod Serling stamp into a collector’s item, and I will wind up not using it at all.
What I want is a stamp with Rod’s visage, a whole honking roll of them, an entire block of nothing but Rod. I want a pile of Rod Serling stamps that I can use on car payments, electric bills, Christmas cards, Foundation mailings, letters to Mom.
That singleton stamp seems an unlikely dream now. But you can print your own, through vendors such as stamps.com. I did it five years ago; I ordered several sheets of first class stamps featuring a portrait of Rod drawn by Foundation member Bob Keller.
The per-stamp cost is nearly double, but you get exactly the stamp you want—limited by some basic rules of decorum and copyright, of course.
I realize that I’m ignoring the obvious: most people don’t put commemorative stamps on everyday letters. They get rolls of flags or holiday themes. Commemoratives appeal mostly to collectors.
So OK. I’ll be a collector of this artifact, this sparkling little chunk of history. And I’ll feel good about the honor that our government has bestowed on Rod Serling.
It’ll be like his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I thought he deserved that honor much sooner too, but the star is there now and it’s the first place that I visit when I go to West Hollywood. I always walk away from that star with a big grin on my face.
Next time I go, I’ll affix a Twilight Zone postage stamp to it…