As you guys would know, I love a good mock-up newspaper! Whenever I encounter one, I try to include a screenshot in my review; but some films offer so many treats of this nature that one shot won’t do it. So I’ve decided to create a space where I can take a closer look at the fine detail of these beloved movie props.
Of course film-watchers weren’t meant to subject these mock-ups to forensic analysis, and when films were only viewable in the cinema, generally you couldn’t. These days, however, a sharp eye and a good pause button reveals just how often, and over how many years, the same mock-ups were re-used.
Meet the Repeat Offenders!—
REPEAT OFFENDER #1:
I’m very proud of this one! I mean, everyone knows about Panic in New York: Menagerie breaks loose, but this is my baby! At least, as far as I’m aware no-one but me has repeat-spotted New ‘Living Buddha’ Reported Discovered.
This mock-up newspaper subheading first caught my eye during Gigantis, The Fire Monster, the 1959 Americanisation of Godzilla’s Counterattack. I next spotted it in The Mummy’s Tomb, which was released 17 years earlier! And you may imagine my giddy surprise when I spotted it again while watching the non-genre drama, Girls On Probation, made in 1938!
Girls On Probation (1938):
REPEAT OFFENDERS #2 AND #3:
When I posted the mock-up newspapers from Gigantis, The Fire Monster (see Part 2), commenter Uncle Mike felt that he had seen the headline, $3,000,000 for Aid Pledged for S. A. Earthquake Victims, somewhere else. I thought I had too—and was delighted when I subsequently spotted it in one of the papers from The Flying Saucer.
But that isn’t all! The Gigantis paper has a smaller headline to the right, Limited Farm Bill Favored, which also rang a bell for me; and that too is in the mock-up from The Flying Saucer!
I’m also very sure that these films do not exhaust the usage of these two headlines—stay tuned!
REPEAT OFFENDER #4:
In fact, Gigantis turns out to be a goldmine of repeated headlines, as well as further proof of how long the same mock-ups were used and re-used by the studios.
Thus, we find the same headline – Bill Aids Owner On Foreclosure – in The Walking Dead, from 1936, and Gigantis, from 1959:
REPEAT OFFENDERS #5 AND #6 AND #7 AND #8:
Obviously (and not surprisingly), The Mummy’s Tomb and The Mummy’s Ghost used the same template for their mock-ups, because their newspapers have more in common than just headlines about rampaging mummies—giving us four separate instances of reused “stories”:
– Victory Sighted In Fight Against Yellow Fever
– Ocean at Last Yields Its Gold and Its Silver
– No Precedent For Handling Certificates
– Passengers Make Hasty Exit From Blazing Street Car
REPEAT OFFENDER #9:
The Mummy’s Ghost is another that just keeps on giving! In addition to its numerous double-ups with The Mummy’s Tomb, it offered another of those I’ve seen that somewhere else touches—which turned out to be Gigantis, The Fire Monster:
REPEAT OFFENDER #10:
There’s only one newspaper in Destination Moon, but two headlines on it caught my eye—though I’ve only been able to pin down one of them, City Transfers Bond Millions To Sinking Fund: I’d spotted it before in The Walking Dead, in fact from the identical positioning the two films may have used the same mock-up:
What’s frustrating is that I’m sure I’ve seen State Bureaus Must Pay Rent In New Offices somewhere before, too; not only seen it, but remarked on it; but do you think I can find it again? Stay turned…
We take a more detailed look at many of these mock-ups in Part 2: Up Close.