I’ve already written about how wonderful the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” is, with 23-year-old actress Anya Taylor-Joy staring down her older chess opponents, who just can’t believe that they’re being vanquished by a teenager. Set in the early 1960s, the attention to detail in this production is marvelous, from the old cars to the rotary telephones hanging on the wall with coiled cords. How many kids today have ever heard a dial tone?
Being a bit of a movie buff, there’s a specialist in the movie business called the continuity person. That’s the employee who makes sure that between takes, the position of items on a coffee table have not moved, the same costume is used, a bracelet is on the same wrist, things like that. A famous lapse in continuity recently was Queen Daenerys’ Starbucks cup spotted by viewers of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” (this kerfuffle caused the special effects department to digitally remove it).
Anyway, it’s fun to discover these little goof-ups in drama productions, and I’ve spotted one in “The Queen’s Gambit“, which I will reveal for the first time today.
In episode 2 of “The Queen’s Gambit“, Beth Harmon’s adoptive mother, Alma Wheatley, sends young Beth to the nearby drugstore to fetch three packs of Chesterfields, a brand of cigarettes popular in the 1950s. She gives Beth a note and enough cash for 3 packs. When Beth presents the note to the druggist, he retrieves just one pack of cigarettes from the display and gives it to her.
Leaving the store with the one pack of Chesterfields for her adoptive mother and her purloined copy of a chess magazine hidden within the newspaper, Beth strolls away.
Re-entering the house, Beth is seen with three packs of cigarettes for her mother, just as Alma had requested.
Did I just waste your precious time? Possibly. But the next time you discuss “The Queen’s Gambit” with friends, you can impress them with “Did you know that the druggist only sold Beth one pack of cigarettes and she returned with three?” They’ll think you’re a genius, like Beth.
That is all.