During the first musical number 'Good Morning Baltimore', Tracy runs across the street from an Esso to look at her reflection in a store window. In this window passed Tracy's reflection a modern plastic water cooler can be seen in the store. The water cooler has a red and blue button with a blue light in the indent for the water spout.
In the "Miss Teenage Hairspray" scenes within the TV studio, the opening of the show uses moving lights which weren't introduced until the late 80s, despite the attention to detail using lighting fixtures appropriate to the period in the TV studio
Tracy's headboard bookshelf clearly shows three Disney's 'Annette' books. One of the books, "The Mystery at Smugglers Cove", was not published until 1963. The books are visible during the "Good Morning Baltimore" and "Without Love" numbers.
In "Welcome to the 60s", Edna and Mr Pinky are negotiating Tracy's contract. Edna asks Mr Pinky to 'throw in a bustier'. The word 'bustier' did not enter the English language until the 1970s, some ten years after the film is set. Incidentally, the outfit that Edna is later seen in is not a bustier.
In a classroom scene, the elevation of Mount Everest is listed on the green board as 29,035 feet. Although this information is correct, the correct elevation of Everest could not be determined before GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. At the time the events in the movie were to have occurred (1962), the accepted elevation of Mount Everest was 29,028 feet.
There are a number of musical anachronisms: songs, LPs that were not yet available in 1962. The Top 10 chart on the CC Show has "Leader of the Pack" and other songs yet to be released. Motormouth's record store racks show, among others, Junior Walker & the All-Stars' "Road-Runner" LP, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "A Pocketfull of Miracles" LP, and a Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell LP, all not released for another few years.
During the initial song "Good morning, Baltimore", Tracy is walking on the street. She stops while singing and on the bottom right is the back of a Cadillac. The 1963-style tail fin and 2 square lights below it are visible.
During the history class scene right before "Run and Tell
That" the teacher writes on the board about the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He writes September 1st, but the correct date is September 5th, 1775, when it first convened.
During the start "Welcome to the 60's", Edna is wearing a blue, brown and purple plaid dress. Later in the film, Tracy calls her in a scene following "Without Love", and Edna is wearing the same dress. This is impossible as on that same night, Edna has been shown wearing a purple top and purple skirt, and later her purple road. It is likely both scenes of Edna answering the phone where shot in the same time period.
All during the movie, the blond portions of Tracy's hair change. The blond streaks below her headband don't appear until her first appearance on the Corny Collins show. Especially during "Welcome to the Sixties", the blond streaks above Tracy's headband constantly change, even during the same scene as the camera shots are from different directions or they change locations, such as from room to room in the home and from inside to outside.
During the "Welcome to the 60's" number when everyone is dancing in the street, Tracy and Edna are dancing and swinging their bags. In a closeup of Edna and Tracy, a pink flower falls out of Tracy's hair and lands on the street next to her. In the following wide shot of everyone dancing, the flower isn't visible, nor is it visible in the next closeup of Tracy and Edna.
During the "You Can't Stop the Beat" number, keep an eye on the large board with the bar charts illustrating how many viewers voted for each Miss Hairspray. The bar charts are not consistent between close up and long shots. Close up shots show Amber almost winning, Tracy close on her heels. Long shots during dance numbers show Tracy trailing by quite a bit.
During Tracy's first show on "The Corny Collins Show", Amber is wearing a white layered dress. But a shot during the same scene, where everyone is facing the back of the set, shows Amber wearing the pink and white striped dress that she wears in the beginning of the movie. After that shot, she is back in the white layered dress.
After "I Know Where I've Been", when the crowd is chanting "2, 4, 6, 8, T.V.'s got to integrate," Edna is clutching her white purse under her right forearm, but then the camera pans out and the purse move back to her side.
During the end of 'Run and Tell That', the order in which Tracy, Penny and Link get off the bus changes. Internal shots show Tracy coming off first, then Penny and then Link. When seen from the outside, however, Penny is the first of the three off, followed by Tracy and then Link.
In the scene when Motormouth Maybelle is singing, "I Know Where I've Been", they do 3 quick scenes when Maybelle is singing the lyrics, "There's a dream..." and the crowd behind here sings background. The guy in the stripped shirt is up stage of Tracy, in the next camera pan, he is stage right by 2 people from Tracy. Then, in a quick closeup of Tracy, he is back upstage (behind) Tracy. Then, they pan back to a wide shot of the crowd and he is back stage right of Tracy.
During "Run and Tell That", Seaweed introduces Little Inez, with his arm around her neck which causes her collar to crinkle, but then the camera switches to Tracy and then back to Seaweed and Inez, but the collar is no longer crinkled.
In "Miss Baltimore Crabs" There is a man with a clipboard standing in the background and he disappears from shot to shot. In the same number Penny moves closer and farther away from the group of girls auditioning.
In the movie opening scenes, the newspaper shown is dated May 3, 1962. However, the headlines refer to events that occurred in September of 1962 (Sonny Liston-Floyd Patterson fight and also Governor Ross Barnett defying Supreme Court's ruling to allow Negroes to attend Mississippi University).
During the opening "Good Morning Baltimore" song segment, a school bus labeled "Patterson School District" passes behind Tracy on the streets of Baltimore. Although she attends Patterson Park High School, it's still the Baltimore School District.
When Tracy and Penny rush into the Turnblad house to catch the beginning of the Corny Collins Show, the B&W TV set picture came on instantly which would never be possible since those cathode ray tubes needed quite a warm up period before they showed the picture.
In almost every scene in the Corny Collins studio, the red "tally" lights for every camera are active at the same time. A "tally" light indicates to the talent and operator which camera is live, thus having them all on at once would defeat the purpose. During "The Nicest Kids In Town" when the film transitions from the television in the Turnblad's home to the viewfinder on the camera, that camera's tally lamps are all off.
When Tracy switches on the TV in the opening scene of 'Good Morning Baltimore' we see the black & white picture appear immediately. This was impossible in those days with tube televisions because they required 30-40 seconds of warm up time before the you could see anything. It happens again when Tracy and Penny hurry home from school to watch the Corny Collins Show.
When Penny is taking Tracy's parents to the TV to see Tracy on the Corny Collins Show, Edna says "You think I wanna think he's really up there?" While some might believe she is referring to the moon landing, which occurred in July 1969 (7 years after the movie takes place), Edna is in fact referring to Major John Glenn orbiting the Earth, which occurred in February 1962, just before the movie is set.
In "Timeless To Me," who lit the candle? Edna and Tracy were at Mr. Pinky's shop. When they came back and Tracy went to bed, Edna changed then sang "Big Blond and Beautiful." Edna was then crying on the bed.
In Geography class after the "Good Morning Baltimore" when the teacher is writing the height of Mt. Everest on the board you can plainly see that it has been written then erased, probably because a retake of the scene.
In the first "Nicest Kids In Town" number Amber Von Tussle is wearing a stripped pink dress and has her hair done like a bee hive. In the second "Nicest Kids In Town" number you can see a small clip from behind of her wearing the same thing. The first clip was used a second time.