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Mr. ZIP on a 1963 U.S. Post Office sign.

Mr. ZIP, informally "Zippy", is a cartoon character used in the 1960s by the United States Post Office Department, and later by its successor, the United States Postal Service, to encourage the general public to include the ZIP code in all mailings.

Origins[edit]

The USPS has described the origin of Mr. ZIP as follows:[1]

Mr. ZIP was based on an original design by Howard Wilcox, son of a letter carrier and a member of the Cunningham and Walsh advertising agency, for use by a New York bank in a bank-by-mail campaign. Wilcox's design was a child-like sketch of a postman delivering a letter. The figure was used only a few times, then filed away. Later, AT&T acquired the design and made it available to the Post Office Department at no cost. ... Miami-based Post Office Department artist Joe Lawrence retained the face but sharpened the limbs and torso and added a mail bag. The new figure, who Lawrence had dubbed Mr. ZIP, was unveiled at a convention of postmasters in October 1962.

Post Office use[edit]

Zippy attached to a 1966 Mary Cassatt stamp.

The Post Office had little difficulty in getting mass mailers to use the ZIP Code as it could make its inclusion a condition for receiving preferential mailing rates and soon did. However, there was some resistance by the general public, members of whom would mail items without ZIP Code, almost invariably at the full rate for First Class Mail, which by regulation had to be delivered if at all possible and feasible. This was particularly true of older mailers. Mr. ZIP was the Post Office's answer to this, apparently intended to teach small children to always use the ZIP Code as they got older and also to encourage their parents and grandparents to do so.

Mr. ZIP is a caricature of a mail carrier, wide-eyed and drawn with his letter bag trailing him in such a way as to imply his travelling at extreme speed, and sometimes holding on to his hat with his free hand. His hair was straight, but his skin was somewhat orange, making him non racially-identifiable. His limbs were very thin, almost like those of a stick figure. He was particularly used on posters promoting ZIP Code use. The character was largely phased out by the late 1970s, but the Post Office retained rights to the copyrighted figure.

Mr. ZIP appeared on the selvage (non-postally valid areas) of stamp panes (more commonly called "sheets") for many stamp issues, beginning with the 5 cent Sam Houston stamp issued January 10, 1964, although the 5¢ Battle of the Wilderness stamp of May 5, 1964, is sometimes listed as the "first" because it appears earlier in most stamp catalogs due to its inclusion in a five-issue Civil War series. He also appeared on non-postally-valid labels inside, or on the cover of, stamp booklets. Stamp collectors sometimes collect the corner block of four stamps with the part of the selvage bearing Mr. ZIP; these are called "ZIP blocks". Mr. ZIP appeared in the blank selvage of United States stamps until January 1986.[1]

The Post Office re-introduced Mr. ZIP to stamps in 2013, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ZIP Code system.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mr. ZIP- The nation’s original ‘digital’ icon
  2. ^ 5 Digits, 50 Years: The Triumphant Return of Mr. ZIP

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._ZIP — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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Get your copy of 'Where Me Keys, Where Me Phone?' here: http://bit.ly/Zipkeysphone Like Zip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MrZipOfficial Follow Zip on...

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Official Mr Zip Where Me Keys, Where Me Phone? dance tutorial

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Zipparah, Mr Zip, "Where me keys, where me phone" - Britain's Got Talent 2012 - UK version

Rapper Zipparah 'Mr Zip' Tafari stuns with his BGT audition song Where's My Phone. Can Zippy -- as Simon Cowell calls him -- win over the Britain's Got Talen...

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Mr Zip (Britain's Got Talent) - 'Where's me Keys, where's me phone?' LIVE at 6 Towns Radio Awards 2013.

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255 news items

 
The Visitor
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 06:37:30 -0800

A former Britain's Got Talent contestant is the next person to take on our Sing a Song for Christmas challenge. Mr Zip, of Where Me Keys, Where Me Phone fame, attempted Jingle Bells and came up with a Christmas tune of his own along with the Bay Bear.
 
WRCB-TV
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 16:44:53 -0700

The victim in this week's Crime Stoppers case did everything right to make sure he could go home at the end of his shift. That included obeying the demands of a robber at about 3:00AM. He was stocking the cooler at the Mr. Zip convenience store on ...

The Visitor

The Visitor
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 02:41:15 -0800

Other acts on stage included Fuse, Amy Jo Clough, Black Lace, Kitty Brucknell, Kingsland Road, Mr Zip and Gabz. Father Christmas switched on the lights at 5.30pm with help from seven-year-old Robert Martin of Galgate, the first child past the post in ...

The Bolton News

The Bolton News
Fri, 28 Nov 2014 01:51:24 -0800

Before the Scottish singer, who won the 2011 series of the ITV talent contest, performed, There was also entertainment from Amy Jo Clough, Redd, Tiger Heart, Mr Zip, Hannah Joy and Matt Fitzgerald. Accrington Stanley players and the mayor, Cllr Munsif ...
 
The Smart Set
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 09:37:22 -0700

Mr. Zip — a hand-drawn, wide-eyed little postal guy — became the face of ZIP code promotional efforts, the embodiment of the harmless yet zippy quality of ZIP codes. ('Mr. Zip' was also a significant improvement on Mr. Zip's original name “Mr. P.O ...

Longridge Today

Longridge Today
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:00:00 -0800

Local boy Paul Akister, controversially voted out of the 2014 series earlier this month. Also look out for Britain's Got Talent finalist Gabrielle 'Gabz' Gardiner, known for her Top 10 hit 'Lighters (The One)', novelty act Mr Zip, plus pop band ...
 
Smithsonian (blog)
Tue, 15 Nov 2011 13:52:33 -0800

With a dashing gait and a child's smile, Mr. Zip's presence in advertisements, post offices, and on mail trucks linked the idea of quickness to a cheerful, human face. “These homey touches were to help people look at the ZIP Code not as a threatening ...
 
Daily Mail
Sat, 07 Apr 2012 14:13:20 -0700

We've already seen one teenager gain nationwide acclaim after performing a touching self-penned tribute to his secret love on Britain's Got Talent. But this week's show saw a rather different original track take the country by storm. 'Mr Zip'- real ...
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