Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Cliché stock phrase from the 1890s through the 1940s used to denote breaking news! Sometimes uses "extry" or "wuxtry" to denote a New England accent! Often shouted by overzealous newsies and paperboys! A Dead Horse Trope nowadays owing to television and the internet! Related to Spinning Paper! Extra! Extra!
But what does it mean?
In the old days before TV, radio, and the Internet, most people who followed the news got their information from the newspapers, which were (and still are) normally published at best on a daily basis. If a major story (such as the death of a President or a declaration of war) broke after the day's deadline, a newspaper might choose to print an "Extra" edition on top of their regular edition. Sometimes they were short and carried only the story itself, but more often they were identical to the earlier main edition with just the first few pages replaced. By the 1940s, though, newspapers were in competition with radio for advertising dollars, and big-city papers like the New York Times and the Montreal Gazette published four or five regular editions a day, taking any possible opportunity to publish an "extra" so they could boost circulation. Even now, papers infrequently publish short "extra" editions if a really big story breaks; many did after 9/11, for instance.
For extra cliche points, this trope is frequently trotted out for minor happenings and other news events that wouldn't normally warrant the printing of an extra edition, particularly ones exhibiting the Worst News Judgment Ever.
Examples, Examples! Read all about 'em!
- Used for a gag in Transmetropolitan—the newsboy (a stubble-faced dwarf for some reason) not actually proclaiming a story, but loudly expressing his opinion of The Word's decision to fire Spider Jerusalem.
- Used by the Newsboy Legion in DC Comics, back in the days when they were actually newsboys.
- Ubiquitous in The Golden Age of Comic Books. In his very first appearance (1940), Robin disguised himself as a newsboy, complete with catchphrase.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW): Issue #22 starts with a paper pony selling the Equestria Daily newspaper, announcing the daring jewel thief of the previous issue (and offering a quick recap in the process).
- Billy Batson, during most versions of his origin story, is shown surviving on the streets by peddling newspapers this way, before meeting the old wizard Shazam.
- A newsboy is shown hawking a paper this way (an extra about Central City's brand-new superhero) at the end of Barry Allen's origin story.
- There is one of these in The Tainted Grimoire.
- The Town Cryer in Corpse Bride precedes this tropes natural occurrence by about a century or two, and proceeds to play around with it...
"Hear ye, hear ye! Victor Van Dort seen last night on the bridge in the arms of a mystery woman! The dark-haired temptress and Master Van Dort slipped away into the night! And now the weather: scattered showers..."
- One of the So Bad, It's Good poorly animated and dubbed animations from Dingo Pictures called Mouse Police, played it straight, despite being relatively new, thus reviving dead horse trope.
- The Legend of the Titanic has paperboys shouting that, too.
- Tony Toponi becomes a paperboy in An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster, though he really wants to be a reporter and when he becomes discouraged and his rant begins to show it. *in a flat monotone voice* "Hey, get your paper here, whoop-dee-do paper here..." When someone passes him by he yells "Fine! So stay ignorant!"
- In Make Mine Music, during "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met", a paperboy appears shouting "Extra! Read all about it!" holding a newspaper bearing a headline about the opera-singing whale. The paperboy (along with every role in the production) is voiced by Nelson Eddy.
- The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917): "Wuxtra! Wuxtra! Panic in Wall St.!" Used as exposition to indicate that the rich girl's father is having some problems with his investments.
- Invasion U.S.A. (1952). One of the most bizarre and badly staged in film history. As the Vincent and Carla stare lovingly into each other's eyes, a newsboy walks in, yelling, "Extra! Paper! Read all about it!", stares directly at the two characters (who continue to stare into each other's eyes like zombies), then turns around and walks off from the same way he entered.
- Used in Newsies, and that's set in 1899!
- Overnight Delivery:
Ivy: Extra, Extra. Read all about it. Kim can shake her pom-poms but she won't go at it!
- The newsboy in Chicago says this when Roxie Hart's verdict is revealed. Mocked, because they have stacks of newspapers with pre-written articles declaring "Guilty" or "Innocent" and use a kid signaling from the courthouse window to tell them which one to sell.
- There is a running gag involving a newsie shouting this in the movie Johnny Dangerously.
- The 2008 movie Changeling has this, but it does make sense as the movie is set in the 1930s.
- In Silent Movie, the stack of newspapers is thrown at the vendor.
- Used word-for-word in Doughboys, as Elmer's ineffectual courting of Mary is interrupted by newsboys selling papers announcing American intervention in World War I.
- He shouts "Check it out!" instead of "Extra! Extra!" - but the loud and aggressive Gotham City vendor who sells papers on the bridge overlooking Gotham Plaza in Batman Returns otherwise fits this trope. In a neat modern twist, he's hawking tabloid newspapers.
- The Wolfman (2010) used it, complete with the classic little Victorian British boy in a cap on the corner of the sidewalk selling newspapers.
- Angels with Dirty Faces has a paperboy selling them this way, with the "extry" variant.
- The paperboy in The Hudsucker Proxy, saying "The man from Muncie, a Moron after all! Read all about it!"
- The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), the original version, used it.
"Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Spaceman still at large. Army put in charge!"
- Reflecting the 1930s period it's set it, The Rocketeer played this straight.
- Played straight in The Shadow, which is set in the 20s/30s: A young man calls out "Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Madman threatens to blow the city sky-high!"
- The movie version of Damn Yankees has newsboys shouting headlines about Joe Hardy being in trouble.
- In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, one such newsboy appears shouting "Bombing in Strausbourg! Read all about it!" in the very beginning.
- In Underworld (1927), the gangster's break is loudly advertised by a paper boy.
- Used for a funny moment in Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet. After the hero, a famous American detective, arrives in Prague, he asks the local Director of Police, if his arrival had been kept strictly secret. The Director confirms. Cue a paperboy announcing: The most famous American detective's in Prague!....
- In Five Star Final, a film about a newspaper, these words are heard over the opening credits. Then, as the Gazette is reporting on the Townsend tragedy, newsboys in the street shout "Extra, extra, all about the big suicide!"
- A newspaper boy shouting "Extra! Extra!" shows up briefly in the German movie Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer, which is set in 1950s Germany detailing the hunt for Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.
- Stripped, a documentary about Newspaper Comics and Web Comics, has a pencil drawing of a boy like this in the credits; the headline reads "Extree! Extree! 30's Stereotype Sells Paper!"
- No God No Master: A news boy announces the death sentences against Sacco and Vanzetti this way.
- A frequently referenced ancient joke:
Newsboy: Extra! Extra! Three men swindled!
Man: (buys paper) Hey, there's nothing in here about three men being swindled!
Newsboy: Extra! Extra! Four men swindled!
- Parodied (along with every other newspaper trope) in the Discworld novel The Truth. William de Worde, editor of the Discworld's first mass-circulation newspaper, the Ankh-Morpork Times, hires some beggars to act as newsies. Since the beggars in question are Foul Ole Ron and his friends, all of whom have a somewhat weak grip on reality, they manage to mangle the newsie stock phrases further, turning them into shouts of "Hoinarylup!" and "Squidaped-oyt!" Made all the funnier when Lord Vetinari buys a newspaper and upon reading it remarks, quite dryly: "I see no mention of Hoinarylup or Squiaped-oyt."
- The Monkees episode "The Devil and Peter Tork":
Micky: (dressed as a newsboy) Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Rock and roll group gains fame and fortune by introducing harp into act!
- That '70s Show:
Eric: Extra. Extra. Read all about it.
Steven Hyde: "Skinny Dillhole Talks Like An Idiot"?
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gets used in a host segment or two.
- Notably, the one in The Horror of Party Beach where Tom provides incredibly up-to-date newspapers with headlines like "Mike buys another paper from Tom."
- Also for the short Hired!: "Extry, extry, Pearl Harbor bombed, Roosevelt declares war!"
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment from Invasion U.S.A. (1952), after a scene ending with the Official Couple staring into each others' eyes:
Paperboy: (From offscreen) Ex-tra, Pa-per, America invaded, read all about it!
(comes onscreen from behind the couple, stares openly at the couple, turns around, walks offscreen while repeating previous line)
Mike: Now that's a walk-on!
- Used in the X-Play Musical.
- Filthy Rich & Catflap:
"Extra! Extra! I'm an extra!"
- Batman: A very old newsboy is cleverly used to Hand Wave a Plot Hole at Zelda The Great:
News Boy (handling the Gotham City Times Extra with the lines: Big joke on bank bandit: stolen cash was counterfeit!: Extra! Extra! Get your newspaper here! Read about the bandits stolen counterfeit money, Yes thats all what he did, steal counterfeit money!Bystander: Hey, what was counterfeit money doing in the vault of the First National Bank?
News boy: Well, if you want to know it you will have to buy a paper. I am not a special news service.
[Bystander buys paper and leaves]
News Boy: And what was it doing there? (Reading the paper) ''Oh, awaiting at the bank for disposal.'' Seeing directly to the camera: Makes sense.
- Subverted in the The Green Hornet, when Britt Reid gets a call from his old school reporter, Mike Stanford, about a hot news story that they should run an extra on. Reid immediately shoots him down noting that his paper doesn't run extras; his business' radio and TV broadcasting sections handle the breaking news.
- El Chavo del ocho was once selling newspapers and shouting the trope to announce about cops chasing smugglers and a female domestic servant strike. Watching a cop stalk a woman in maid attire made him mix up. Later, he played on the old joke mentioned in The Simpsons example and shouted an announcement about thirteen deceived people. Don Ramon bought a newspaper and complained it was a week-old one. He updated it to fourteen. Then Quico, who had previously asked to read a Chapulin comic book to check if he hasn't already read it, returned it, claiming he had already read it. As Quico shouted about fifteen deceived people, Don Ramon laughed at how the trick was turned on Chavo.
- The phrase was used in the theme song for the Australian kid's show Smedley's Weekly News, highlighting the very oldfashioned nature of the eponymous publication.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Read all about it in....Smedley's Weekly News!
- The Who's Rock Opera Tommy: "Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Pinball Wizard in a miracle cure! Extra! Extra! Read all about it, extra!" Yeah, that's the whole song.
- The 1975 film adaptation even has another song set to the tune of "Miracle Cure" called (what else?) "Extra Extra".
- "Want Ads", first popularized by Honey Cone and later covered by Taylor Dayne. "Extra, extra, read all about it / Wanted: Young man, single and free"
- The Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic song Dark Heart News contains the line, "Extra, extra, read all about me!"
- The Blue Öyster Cult song Morning Final, about the murder of a drug addict in a subway, ends with a paper boy shouting the headline Extra Extra! Police say no motive for murder in subway. Extra! Read all about it! No motive for murder in subway...
- The Genesis song "Paperlate" derives its title from at least one of the British equivalents of the phrase.
- Monopoly has a boy saying this during certain Chance cards.
- Sesame Street did it as a Running Gag. "Extra! Extra! Four people fooled!" Then Ernie buys the newspaper, discovers there's no such article, and the newsboy shouts, "Extra, Extra! Five people fooled!" This joke is sometimes used by other children's media.
- From the Broadway play within a film in The Muppets Take Manhattan:
"Extra! Extra! Somebody's getting married!"note
- Used verbatim on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! as the title for an infrequent panel segment during the Carl Kassell years, in which a panelist had to guess which of three wacky headlines read by Carl was the real one. (Under Bill Kurtis this became "I'm Bill Kurtis, and This Is the News.") The introduction of the segment came with a lampshading of how period-specific the phrase was.
Peter: Now it's time for a new segment we're calling...Carl: (squeaky street-hawker's voice) Extra! Extra! Read all about it! (audience laughter)Peter: Nice knickers, Carl.Carl: (same voice) Thank you, Peter.
- The Newsboys' song in Gypsy:
Extra! Extra! Hey, look at the headline!
Historical news is being made!
Extra! Extra! They're drawing a red line
Around the biggest scoop of the decade!
A barrel of charm, a fabulous thrill!
The biggest little headline in vaud-e-ville!
- The prologue to As Thousands Cheer, a newspaper headline-themed Broadway revue of 1933, had newsboys chanting: "Extra! Extra! Man bites dog!"
- The opening number of Yes Virginia: The Musical has a newsboy using the phrase to introduce the information that the city is in an economic downturn, which means many people don't have money to spend on Christmas.
- Shown in the former Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast ride at Universal Studios Florida. Just before heading into the throne room on the Yolkian Planet, the protagonists pass by a Yolkian selling newspapers that have news of Jimmy's return to the planet as the headline. In the workprint version of the ride, the Yolkian even says the trope word-for-word, but in the final version had his dialogue changed to, "Extra! Extra! Rocket Boy Returns!"
- One segment of Spaceship Earth at Epcot has a newsboy declaring the Civil War is over.
- Used in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team. The news is important in this case because the Pokémon who were trying to capture the player character realize that s/he isn't the one behind the natural disasters, and you can return to your home.
- Parodied in Team Fortress 2:
Scout: Extra! Extra! You're frickin' dead!
- In the ZX Spectrum game Bugsy, there are various newsboys, who yell things like "Extry! Brer Rabbit thrown in briar patch!" or "Myxomatosis scare in Noo Joisey! Extry!"
- Homestar Runner :
- Calloway in '32 Kick-Up has a job being this trope.
- This Penny Arcade, although they only had one "extra." I guess they didn't have a spare.
- This, from Something Happens: "Extry! Extry! Read all abaht it! Veteran cliche of old B-movies obsolete due to advent of TV and internet!"
- This Wondermark guest comic, by Rob Balder of Partially Clips and Erfworld.
- Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Mercenary company blown to nano-smithereens!note
- El Goonish Shive features an extra who seems to idolize the old paperboys. He even stole someone's newspaper for his performance.
- During their Super Mario 64 serial, Dan uses this trope jokingly to say that "Arin sucks [at videogames]!". They continue with the joke, calling the kid "Chimney Sweep Tom" ; he has crippled legs, so people break his legs and steal his papers (because he said out loud that he wouldn't be able to follow them).
"Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Crippled boy gets, like, twice as crippled!"
- Van Beuren Studios:
- The opening of the cartoon Mild Cargo has a goat spreading newspapers of Cubby Bear's arrival at their jungle, while shouting the phrase.
- The bird from the ending of A Little Bird Told Me says this to the kids after she's done telling her story.
- Used in The Simpsons episode featuring the B-Sharps, Homer's barbershop quartet. The newsboy calls out "Extra, extra, B-Sharps sing on rooftop!", which was happening at that moment, within earshot. A man buys one from him and exclaims that there's nothing in there about the B-Sharps, and then chases after the kid as he runs away laughing.
Rod: I don't think there needs to be an "Extra! Extra!" on the newspaper.
- "Extra! Extra! Todd Stinks!"
Todd: Is your source reliable?
- Schoolhouse Rock:
- "Walking on Wall Street" opens with "Extra! Extra! Latest Wall Street prices!"
- There's also a newsboy during "Fireworks", who would be holding newspapers headlining the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
- From the Screwy Squirrel cartoon Happy-Go-Nutty, after Screwy has tricked Meathead the dog into walking off a cliff:
Screwy Squirrel: (at the bottom of the cliff, holding a newspaper) Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Dumb dog falls for corny old gag! Extra! (Meathead lands) Paper, mister? (hands Meathead paper; headline reads "Sucker!")
- Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island:
Coconut Fred: Extra, Extra! Mr. Greenrind denies booger farming. Read all about it!
- Arnold the newsboy in The Flintstones did this on occasion.
- From Futurama:
Tinny Tim: Extra! Extra! Greatest opera of all time sucks!
Zoidberg: I'll take eight!
- Pops up often in Looney Tunes. One appears during the opening titles of Porky in Wackyland, and in one Pepe LePew short a Parisian newsboy shouts "Le wuxtry! Le wuxtry!"
- One appears in SpongeBob SquarePants, "Hall Monitor".
- Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot attempts to use this phrase in one episode, but since the characters are announcing new stories on a website, it is changed to "Extra! Extra! hear all about it!" Just doesn't have the same ring to it.
- Parodied in Robot Chicken:
Paper Boy: Extra! Extra! Newspaper boys are anachronisms in modern-day society! Read all about it!
- Recurring theme in Rocky and Bullwinkle. From when Bullwinkle's a witness to a crime: "Extry! Extry! Read all about the moose who's going to sing Scarnose into Sing Sing!"
- Has been used in Histeria! with Loud Kiddington as the paper boy in question.
- One episode of Phineas and Ferb had a paper-boy attempt this, until realising it didn't work any more and giving up.
- Present in the DuckTales (1987) episode "Master of the Djinni".
- TaleSpin: Featured in "From Here to Machiney" before a News Reel starts.
- Ultimate Spider-Man: A paperboy was shouting that in "Spidah Man" and Spidey found himself surprised there were still people doing that.
- Eddie the Wet-Nosed Newspup is often shown selling papers like this in Dog City, hence being referred to as a newspup.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows", Featherweight announces himself selling the Foal Free Press paper in this old-fashioned way. He's even dressed for the part, like an old-school paperboy.
- As borne out in the introduction, until the advent of 24-hour cable news networks, and the World Wide Web and presence of online newspapers, whenever a major news event happened — such as the president dying, a declaration of war/ceasefire, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding or the 9/11 attacks — many newspapers would publish special editions. Near the top of the page, below the flag, would be a huge "EXTRA" along with a large-font headline and photograph.
- With smaller daily (and sometimes, weekly) newspapers, in addition to breaking national or international news of a major scale, sometimes "extra" editions will be published if a major event happens, such as a major fire or other disaster with large loss of life and the impact of said event is enormous.
- While "extra" print editions may still be printed today, breaking news is more and more being reserved for online newspapers, who can present the news more quickly. Even with a print edition coming out rather quickly, it still takes up to 1-2 hours from the time of the event to the first papers coming off the presses (as it takes time to write and edit the stories, manipulate the photographs, paginate the pages and send the proofs off to be printed). By which time much more may have happened and/or more facts are made known and have been published either online or broadcast on the cable news networks.
- Evening Standard stand traders still do this though no extras. If you ever find yourself at Waterloo in London you might be interested to know that ["Reehaallbouddit"] translates as "Read all about it" and "Hetyorhevenstndaarhhd!" is "Get your Evening Standard". Manchester has similar ranters. If you're ever in the city centre and wondering why a bloke behind a yellow cart is yelling "Final!" every twenty seconds, it's because he's selling the third (and last) edition of the day's Manchester Evening News. Also frequently heard is "Evenin' News".
- Played with by the Daily Express — one ad campaign featured an animated Newsboy pop up at the end of each ad to shout "Express Delivery!"
- In the city of Cork in Ireland, the Evening Echo regional newspaper has vendors who shouts "Echo!" to sell papers, most of which being elderly men who have been doing this for decades of their lives. They became something of a local icon.
- The Examiner in San Francisco also utilizes callers.
- In New York and Washington DC, scalpers do this on big-headline news-days.
- There's an iconic picture◊ of a paper boy doing this in the wake of the Titanic disaster.
GREAT LOSS OF LIFE
- Prior to newspapers, of course, civic announcements were proclaimed in public areas by town criers who would shout for attention before relating the news.
- In Brazil, during an annual Carnaval parade, one group made reference to the old cry and got penalized because there's an actual newspaper there named "Extra" and the judges took it for advertising.