Spotting old books and magazines and dummy newspapers in TV, movies and old photos


Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2010
A paragon of patience, my wife. When we are watching DVDs, I sometimes stop the picture in order to peer closely at the covers of books and magazines, or the headlines on dummy newspapers. For example, last night we watched "The Expendable Agent" from the second season of Get Smart!, first broadcast 4 March 1967. There's a scuffle in an airport and a rack of paperbacks is knocked over. I identified several of the books. Look at the top rack, far right. That's the first of James Blish's Star Trek episode adaptations. The book at far left, by the agent's pistol, is far clearer in another scene. It is Strange Happenings by Michael Hervey, an Ace book.
get smart paperbacks 1 expendable agent.JPG

Look closely here. You'll see the back of a Doc Savage paperback, Greasy Mad Stuff, and Batman.

The Doc Savage paperback is the third one down in the three books on the far left.

The books with the pronounced yellow color are Greasy Mad Stuff -- we get to see the back cover and the front cover.

Two copies of the Batman paperback appear, with a red background against which the Caped Crusader stands out.

I have the Star Trek book mentioned above, the Mad book, and the Batman book. I didn't keep the few Doc Savage books I used to have.
get smart paperbacks 3 expendable agent.JPG

Here's an image from one of those Inspector Dalgliesh adaptations -- I forget which one. I leaned my copy of the old orange-spine Penguin English Library edition of Thackeray's The History of Henry Esmond against the screen. The color on my copy doesn't look right, but in fact it's blue-green like the one the guy is holding.
Bick, it will get under your skin, believe me!

One of the amusing things to watch for is dummy newspapers that combine thrilling coverage of whatever the movie or TV show is about, with probably intentionally dull accompanying headlines. Here's a shot from the old Twilight Zone teleplay about Mr. Dingle the Strong.
twilight zone dingle.JPG
If this were indeed a game, I would say that spotting the same headline in a dummy newspaper in one show and another should get you bonus points. I found one headline used at least six time!

Check out the "Restricted Load" headline in a Twilight Zone teleplay (I think it was "Two"), two episodes of The Fugitive (don't recall which ones), and the movie When Worlds Collide.
restricted load t zone 1.JPG

restricted load fugitive.JPG

restricted load fugitive 2.JPG

restricted load when worlds collide.JPG
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Here are two further Fugitive episodes with the "Restricted Load" headline. (I didn't realize till tonight that I had so many of this one -- at least six.)

The first episode is "When the Bough Breaks," and the second is "Second Sight," from the final season IN COLOR (as the announcer loved to remind us). "When the Bough Breaks" is a favorite around this house because of the Fargo angle (we live about an hour's drive from Fargo) & because it's really quite a good one, with a creepy Diana Hyland as leading lady.

restricted load fugitive when the bough breaks.JPG
restricted load fugitive second sight.JPG
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It's fun to reflect on this, that the "Restricted Load" headline popped up as far back as 1951 (When Worlds Collide) and as recently as 1966 ("Second Sight" on The Fugitive). Likely enough it's older than 1951 and saw service later than 1966, I suppose.
The "Traffic Safety Plan Outlined by City Roads Authorities" subheading occurs in four of the newspapers as well...
I was amazed to spot my old copy of Alekhine's "My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937" in A Matter of Life and Death. It has a recurring role. Made a supremely brilliant film just a little bit more fantastic.
I've been saving this for a trivia question for years. What book/author is Bill Murray reading as he watches Tootsie in the movie of that name reveal her real identity?

Note the author is Dashiell Hammett, and the cover's color, font and layout corresponds with the hardcover edition of The Continental Op:

Randy M.
Nice! You should set up a blog. It reminds me of this guy, who screenshots vending machines from video games: NPR Choice page

Here's Father Ted reading William Shatner:


I love this parody of Hello! magazine (I don't think there was any reference to it other than Ted sat there reading it):


There are some great newspaper gags and links to plots in Father Ted:


In a throwback to Father Ted, this was a real-life headline many years later: "Donegal parochial hall cinema won't be showing 'perverted' Fifty Shades of Grey."
Somebody's idea of a joke -- see closeup of headline below "Berry-Cushing Axis" (not sure what the movie was now):
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