Bogus 'Bill & Ted' Covers Make for Excellent Headlines
by Anita M. Busch
When publishers of certain magazines would not allow their covers to be used in the ending credits of "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," the producers of the Orion film had a most excellent idea: create bogus covers that looked like the real McCoy.
Magazines and newspapers carrying make-believe headlines were used during the ending credits of the film to continue the story of Bill & Ted. Although some publications such as Premiere, the San Francisco Chronicle and Spy magazine agreed to be included, others such as GQ and the New York Times declined.
"It was a tricky process," said producer Scott Kroopf. "I think more magazines would have allowed their banner had they had enough time to get their creative approval. We went around and many places we got the response, 'We'd love to, but if you need our approval in 48 hours (which is what it was), we can't do it."
The end result was that the producers, in conjunction with the title-design company Saxon-Ross, had to create more than one third of the 21 titles seen at the end of the film.
"Most of the entertainment magazines got the joke, and there were a few closet 'Bill & Ted' fans out there like the San Francisco Chronicle who also got the joke," Kroopf said.
"They contacted us and asked if it would be OK," said Jackie Jones, permissions editor of The Chronicle. "We generally don't like to do it, but it was name recognition for us and we knew it was going to be used in a quick sequence and it was like, totally, a fun film, for sure."
Rolling Stone and Us group publisher Les Zeifman agreed. "We did clear it. It sounded like a good idea. I understand their a rock 'n roll band?"
However, according to Kroopf, not all magazines thought it was a "good idea." "GQ and all fashion magazines had wanted approval of the creative. Our entire schedule was so insane that there was no time to do finished props and have them approved." GQ editors were unavailable for comment.
Since they were unable to get approval, the film's creative team got around the roadblocks by developing their own magazines that used the same typefaces and the same characteristic covers.
For instance, GQ was changed to TQ (Today's Gentleman) using the same design and typeface as GQ. The clone magazine featured the headline: "Death dresses for summer: The New Look."
"Since we couldn't get them, we decided to get something that looks like their stylistic cousins," Kroopf said. "Stylistic cousins" were also created for the Whole World for Whole Earth, Science Discoveries in place of Discover, the London Daily Sentinel in place of the London Times, the Chicago Bulletin instead of the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Journal to sub as the Washington Post. The Osaka Telegraph-Mail was also made up.
"We also made up the San Dimas paper because they don't have their own paper," said Kroopf. San Dimas, Calif., which is Bill and Ted's home town, is also the home of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
Other publications that would not give permission include Field & Stream, Life, Newsweek, Omni and Time.
Those publications which agreed and appeared at the end of the film are Billboard, Circus, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, International Herald Tribune, New York Daily News, Paris Match, Premiere, Road & Track, Rolling Stone, San Francisco Chronicle, Sports Illustrated, Spy and, of course, The Hollywood Reporter with a headline that read "Grim Reaper in lip-synch scandal."