To recover their loss, the "victims" evil intentions turn to their ex-partner's widow. Unbeknown to her (and everyone else, including the audience), the loot is hidden in plain sight. More importantly, she doesn't know who to trust because the revolving door of strangers rushing into her life is full of contradictory allies and homicidal adversaries.
A less-than-cool kid on my street, Sammy, got me into philately when I was twelve. I was further encouraged by my dad, as well as my Uncle Mickey and my Uncle Hymie. During my two-year run, the hobby gained far greater social acceptance when I joined forces with my life long friend and established stamp collector, HJ.MY DAD TICKLED MY ADOLESCENT FANCY WITH STORIES OF THE ULTRA-RARE, "INVERTED JENNY." THROUGH HIS CONNECTIONS, AS WELL UNCLE MICKEY, I HAD A STEADY FLOW OF NEW STAMPS. BUT IT WAS UNCLE HYMIE WHO SUPPLIED ME WITH MY FIRST STAMP COLLECTOR ALBUM, ("SCOTT'S MODERN," WHICH I STILL HAVE).
Stamp collecting helped teach me geography as well as an appreciation of foreign cultures. Plus, you might say I also learned but never mastered neatness, organization and responsibility skills.YOUNG COLLECTORS, SUCH AS MYSELF, ARE FASCINATED WITH THE MOST EXPENSIVE OBJECTS IN THEIR HOBBY. ABOVE, "THE SWEDEN, 3 SKILLING, YELLOW ERROR," IS REPORTEDLY THE WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE STAMP.
In "Charade," before Audrey Hepburn's husband was killed, he converted the stolen money into extremely valuable stamps. To assure that the fortune wouldn't fall into the wrong hands, he used them as postage on a nondescript parcel and mailed it to his wife, (the stamps were from three different countries and sent from one address in France to another. If that isn't implausible enough, the highly sought trio were cancelled...which further ruined their value).
While I was collecting stamps, HJ also introduced me to, "MAD MAGAZINE." The first article he showed me, from September 1968, pertained to stamps. It was hilarious. I instantly became a long time, "MAD" fan.
"MAD," IS A HUMOROUS MAGAZINE, (1952-PRESENT), THAT SPECIALIZES IN SATIRIZING; EVERY DAY LIFE, POP CULTURE, POLITICS, ENTERTAINMENT AND PUBLIC FIGURES. DESPITE ITS GOOFINESS, MY PARENTS PUSHED ME TO READ IT...BECAUSE, I WAS READING...SOMETHING !
For forty years, mixed in with my box of stamps, a few issues of "Mad" laid dormant in my folk's attic. These days when I look them over, I'd be shocked if one, out of my ten-thousand stamps, was worth more than a dollar. Oddly, I also uncovered some non-negotiable stamps which to the right person, might be a true collector's item. ALFRED E. NEUMAN IS THE FACE OF MAD. IN 1960, THE MAGAZINE STARTED A RECURRING, MOCK POLITICAL CAMPAIGN, AT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TIME...NEUMAN OF COURSE WAS THEIR CANDIDATE. IN ONE ISSUE, A SHEET OF FIFTY STAMPS, (LIKE THE ONE ABOVE), WAS INSERTED IN THE MAGAZINE AS A BONUS. AFTER ALL THIS TIME, I STILL HAVE THIRTEEN LEFT ON MY SHEET. I BELIEVE THAT THESE STAMPS ARE RARE BECAUSE I COULDN'T FIND A PICTURE OF THEM ON ANY SEARCH ENGINE...NEXT STOP, EBAY?
The article HJ showed me was written by Al Jaffee. Interestingly, it now ties stamps, EBAY and "Mad Magazine" all together.ORIGINAL "MAD" MEMORABILIA, ESPECIALLY THE 1960 ALFRED E. NEUMAN FOR PRESIDENT ITEMS, FETCH A HIGH, ON-LINE AUCTION PRICE. EVEN BETTER, NOBODY WAS SELLING MY STAMPS.
Al Jaffee's piece lampooned the 1962 Dag Hammarskjold, four-cent stamp fiasco. This stamp was designed to commemorate the former Secretary General of the United Nations. Hammarskjold died in the Congo during a plane crash, a year earlier. Along the way, the United States Postal Service accidentally produced a small amount of error stamps. THE TOP STAMP IS THE CORRECT VERSION. THE ERROR OCCURRED WHEN SOME STAMPS WERE FED INTO THE PRINTER UPSIDE DOWN. THE RESULT IS A WHITE "HALO" AROUND THE BOTTOM STAMP'S U. N. BUILDING. IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 270 THOUSAND ERRORS WERE MADE AS OPPOSED TO THE 121+ MILLION NORMAL ISSUES.
A "lucky" jeweler from New Jersey bought the fifty-stamp "discovery sheet," for two-dollars. He stupidly reported the discrepancy. He even took the precaution of getting a court order to prevent the USPS from printing more errors. But his paperwork wasn't filed quickly enough. When Postmaster J. Edward Day learned of the situation, he immediately and deliberately ordered 40 million more error stamps to be reprinted. Day's rationale was, "The post office isn't running a jackpot operation." So whatever windfall might occurred, evaporated.
The "Mad Magazine" article ridiculed the jeweler for losing out on perhaps millions. I enjoyed that level of wry humor so much that I believe that it is the root of the sarcasm that has become so ingrained in me.JAFFEE'S RENDERING, HONORING THE NEW JERSEY JEWELER.
Forty-nine years later, you can buy the Hammarskjold error for fifty-cents. Therefore, I'm positive that Hollywood won't be remaking "Charade," featuring a treasure hunt for it. After all, it's so common, even I have one.