Sunday, 6 June 2010

Tricks of the trade

Everyone knows that Hollywood is the world capital of recycling. Anything that isn't nailed down is chopped up, rehashed and re-served like a Turkey Twizzler. These days, the 're-imagining' of a film is already in pre-production before the original hits DVD shelves.

But it's not just the ideas that keep getting reused. For instance, if you listen carefully, whenever someone in a movie gives their phone number, you'll notice that it always begins with an area code '555'. It makes sense really, since nobody wants to be inundated with crank calls from stupid viewers dialing the number they saw in a movie.

It's nothing new - the Wilhelm scream is the stuff of Hollywood legend. A one-size-fits-all sound effect of a screaming man, it was first used in 1951 for a film called Distant Drums, but since then has turned up in everything from Star Wars to Indiana Jones.

Now a Picassa user with way too much time on his hands has unearthed yet another example of Hollywood using the same old props and it makes for quite a cool photo gallery.

Apparently, it's more fuss than it's worth trying to find a newspaper or magazine for characters to peruse, since rights have to be negotiated and headlines have to be checked with the legal department. Instead, canny set-dressers use the same newspaper time and time again, making Mrs '3rd Brightest But Hard To See' the biggest TV star of the last decade.

Check out the images - she's been in almost every hit show in recent memory. And for once, there are no stories about what a bitch she is to work with, or how she doesn't get on with all the other women on set.

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