Miracle prop newspaper shows up again and again

A co-worker of mine who used to work for the Scranton Times-Tribune told me that a former co-worker of hers was often asked to mock up copies of the paper for episodes of “The Office.” And while he may soon be mocking iPad landing pages, thankfully Hollywood still needs newspapers.

I recall the time I was watching “Arrested Development” on Netflix, and paused it to read a newspaper article of how Gob Bluth’s attempt to break out of prison went horribly wrong.

It was nothing but jibberish.

I came across a funny item tonight, which pointed out the same prop newspaper in TV shows and movies ranging from “Married with Children” to “No Country for Old Men.”

Note the aging Bundy:

The author’s theory:

I don’t know the story behind this prop newspaper, but I assume it was created as a royalty free prop for television shows. Somewhere along the line, the prop became a recurring gag between propmasters. Something like how sound designers reuse the Wilhem Scream in every movie.

Well, sort of.

According the movie site Cinematical, this particular rag has been in production since the 60s:

It turns out the prop papers come from a small company known as The Earl Hays Press located in California. Hays Press has been around since 1915, according to a Brow Beat article on the topic, and they’ve been printing this specific prop piece since the 1960’s. The papers come with a customizable front page, but the inside and back are always exactly the same. The fact that the inside always features a prominent photo of a dark-haired young woman is probably what caught the eye of the guy who discovered this “news” in the first place.


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