Al Zagofsky | August 21, 2004 | Times News
The main branch of the Jim Thorpe Post Office had a special cancellation last Saturday to honor Jim Thorpe resident, Victor Stabin, designer of the recently released Henry Mancini commemorative stamp.
“We are thrilled,” said Jim Thorpe Postmaster Ruth Latshaw. “Did you ever wonder where a stamp came from or how it was designed? That’s what Victor Stabin is here for—so the people of Jim Thorpe and Eastern Pennsylvania can talk to him and find out what goes into making a stamp.
“The Henry Mancini stamp design is unique,” Latshaw continued. “Look at the silhouette of the audience at the bottom, the picture of the Pink Panther, and including the popular titles as he did. Mancini’s one of our most celebrated artists and having Victor do the stamp celebrating him is just a thrill.”
When the doors to the Jim Thorpe Post Office opened at 10 a.m., neighbors, friends and philatelists lined up to purchase pages of the Mancini stamp and special cancellations offered by the Jim Thorpe Post Office, then waited their turn to receive Stabin’s well wishes and signature. By the time he completed his hundredth signing, his wrist started to ache—and there were hundreds to go before the event ended.
Passersby, outside the Jim Thorpe Post Office, knew something was going on inside as Ben Wolf, a saxophonist from Lehighton wailed the Pink Panther theme on his alto saxophone. He followed with a string of popular Mancini songs from his movies such as the Peter Gunn Theme and Charade.
“Mancini’s tunes are part of America’s popular music,” said Wolfe, who was hired by the Post Office to entertain during the signing. “And I never miss an opportunity to play the saxophone.” Stabin’s wife, Joan Morykin had heard Wolfe play the Pink Panther Theme and recommended him to the postmaster.
Postmaster Latshaw had contacted Stabin in March, about a month before the Mancini stamp was unveiled at a national ceremony hosted by Senator John Glenn in Los Angeles on April 13, 2004.
A clerk at the Jim Thorpe Post Office noticed that Stabin was sending a number of items express mail to California and using the Post Office’s corporate account number. “When I contacted him, he told me he was designing a stamp but couldn’t tell me which stamp it was,” said Postmaster Latshaw. The Post Office required Stabin to keep his designs “hush-hush.”
But as far as the Mancini stamp goes, Stabin wants everyone to know. He sees the signing as his moment, or to quote Andy Warhol, his “15 minutes of fame.” Hearing this, Stabin joked, “Andy Warhol was noted to come to the opening of an envelope.”
Next door neighbor Blaine Summitt had Stabin sign his stamps noting, “I think this is a very big deal and I have been looking forward to this for a very long time.”
“I find it to be very flattering,” said Stabin, more seriously. “Today I was someone special. It is nice to be appreciated. I’m thankful that it came.”