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Public plays post office ‘50s, ‘60s memory game

SHARE Public plays post office ‘50s, ‘60s memory game

Drive-in movie theaters and the first manned landing on the moon were the top vote-getters when the U.S. Postal Service asked Americans what they wanted depicted on blocks of stamps commemorating the 1950s and '60s.

Subjects and people such as organ transplants, the careers of John and Robert Kennedy, environmental awareness and the Cold War went on the reject pile, even if they had a significant effect on American life.For each decade of the 20th century, the Postal Service compiled a list of 30 subjects and solicited votes through ballots at post offices and on the Internet. The top 15 choices for each decade will become stamps.

Voters' favorite topic of the 1950s was drive-in movies, which received 456,176 votes. The "I Love Lucy" television series was second with 453,903 votes, and Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" was third with 449,919.

The first moon walk, clearly a milestone in the collective memory, scored first place among topics for 1960s stamps with 534,734 votes. But the second favorite was the beginning of the National Football League's Super Bowl, 459,578 votes. Next was the three-prong peace symbol, 407,964.

When results of the 1960s voting were announced recently, questions were raised about how the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. could have been overlooked. The three were included as possible subjects, though not through their deaths. Postal spokesman Don Smeraldi said the agency did not seek to highlight tragedy.

King made the list of stamps with commemoration for his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, No. 4 in the 1960s balloting with 392,441 votes.

But just 227,139 wanted a stamp commemorating the careers of the Kennedy brothers, president and attorney general, placing them 20th and outside the top 15 stamp subjects.

Other losers in the 1960s voting included environmental awareness, 218,139 votes; the struggle for civil rights, 190,187; television "live via satellite," 162,003; antiwar demonstrations, 127,019; and The Great Society and Medicare, 98,616.

Voting will be this fall for 1970s topics, with later decades to follow.