Much of the food we see onscreen isn’t real: Mashed potatoes sub in for ice cream; the beer is totally made up; etc. But it never occurred to us to think about the other food-adjacent props in movies, like plastic bags.
Those plastic grocery bags, it turns out, are “fake,” too. Instead of the crinkly Thank You For Shopping-type we’d get at the grocery store, they’re made of a special material designed not to make any distracting noise.
According to the TV blog TV Overmind, some plastic bags we see onscreen were created by Tim Schultz, a Hollywood prop maker and creator of the business Proptrx. Silent Bags are the invention that launched his career 20 years ago, and he’s since designed “crinkle-discerning” bags that mimic restaurant doggie bags, manilla envelopes, crime scene bags, and of course, grocery bags.
Immediately, we thought: Hey, why can’t all grocery bags be non-crinkling Then we realized those exist, and are called canvas totes. Right. So while this insight into onscreen props is a neat little gem we can’t wait to share with other screen-junkie friends, the knowledge does have a downside: From now on, we’ll never be able to watch a show without listening for the plastic bags’ noise—or lack thereof.