Sometimes a film uses a newspaper as a prop (with the camera showing the paper). I've noticed in many films, the article being focused on will have a correct title (which is what drives the plot forward), and perhaps a paragraph of logical text, but the rest of the article is about something totally different and unrelated.

Here's an example from Dumb and Dumber (1994)

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Article appears to be about residents complaining about taxes.

I realise that the audience isn't supposed to actually read that text, but with all the care and attention that goes into making movies, I'm assuming there's a story as to why they don't fill the rest of the article.

  • 1
    You overestimate the "care and attention" that goes into movies... here's a website dedicated to finding all of the errors: moviemistakes.com
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 22:15
  • Related bit of trivia: the Earl Hays Press provides newspapers (and other printed materials) to movies, and use the same filler content. They're just another example of stock items, such as props, sounds (animal sounds are much more limited in movies than in real life) and footage, that get used.
    – outis
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


Because it doesn't usually matter.

Generally, the text is only on screen for long enough for viewers to read the headline and see the image, if that. There's no reason to waste your prop team's time by making them write a full fake article that no one will ever read. They're generally not expecting viewers to stop the film and screencap it so they can read the text. Additionally, when Dumb and Dumber came out in 1994, nearly everyone was watching home movies on VHS (DVD didn't come out until 1995), so even if they could pause it, the quality would likely be so low that it would be illegible. Only with high-res DVD/BluRay copies does the text become readable when paused.

Do some productions take the time to write actual filler text? Yes. Many don't take the time, particularly if you're in a rush and on a limited budget.

Alternately, some productions might write text that intentionally is humorous, an Easter egg of sorts.

  • 4
    Also, productions in the 90s and earlier didn't anticipate HDTV - fidelity on the screen at the time usually rendered this detail illegible...
    – HorusKol
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 14:03
  • And although theaters did show films in quality better than VHS, viewers obviously couldn't pause it. Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 14:59

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