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Sufferin' siccotash, Sylvester, Tweety take stage again

Sylvester and Tweety, the frolicking feline and feather-headed canary duo of animation fame, will be featured on the second U.S. cartoon stamp ever when the U.S. Postal Service issues a 32-cent commemorative Monday at Warner Bros.' new Studio Store in New York's Times Square.

Bugs Bunny was on the first cartoon stamp last year, and the stamp became the year's most popular and the second most popular since the Elvis Presley stamp of 1993.

The new stamps will go on sale nationwide at 1 p.m. Monday.

The duo will join Bugs in promoting Stampers, the Postal Service's youth stamp collecting program. Since its start in 1996, more than 1.7-million children and adults have joined Stampers. Members receive free mailings, which include magazines, posters and other educational items to help them start their own stamp collections. To become a member free of charge, call toll-free (888) 782-6738.

Sylvester debuted in cartoons in Life with Feathers in 1945, uttering the line "Sufferin' succotash," which would become his trademark. Tweety walked on stage in A Tale of Two Kitties in 1945, and his innocent "I tawt I taw a puddy tat" belied the startling force with which he dispatched his nemesis.

The team starred in two cartoons that won Academy Awards for animation, Tweetie Pie in 1947 and Birds Anonymous in 1957.

Because of their popularity, more cartoon stamps are planned for the years ahead. The popularity of stamps is measured by the number saved, not used, and is determined through quarterly surveys mailed to 60,000 households balanced to correspond with U.S. Census Statistics.

Rounding out the top 10 favorites of 1997 were, in descending order, Classic American Aircraft, the World of Dinosaurs, Endangered Species, Classic American Dolls, Humphrey Bogart, Legendary Football Coaches, Songwriters, Lunar New Year and Benjamin Franklin.

For first-day postmarks, send to Sylvester and Tweety Stamp, Postmaster Special Events, P.O. Box 2001, JAF Building, New York, NY 10116-2001. Orders must be postmarked by May 26.