Say “Easter Egg” and the first vision that pops into one’s mind is brightly colored shells with pretty designs. A few times in my life I tried to get really creative with decorating eggs, but never had much success. Too bad I never visited Martha Stewart’s website because she has 50 different ways to fancy a hardboiled egg. Crazy!
Another definition of the term “Easter Egg” is the intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in a work such as a computer program, movie, book, or crossword. The phrase is meant to invoke the idea of a traditional Easter Egg hunt. According to game designer Warren Robinett, the term was coined at Atari by personnel who were alerted to the presence of a secret message which had been hidden by Robinett in his already widely distributed game, Adventure.
In the world of movies Easter Eggs have become an industry unto themselves. Disney reputedly leads the pack with flashing images of Mickey Mouse in just about every movie, and the cross planting of characters such as Buzz Lightyear lying amongst the toys scattered on the floor of the dentist’s office in Finding Nemo. Cameo appearances of directors, such as Peter Jackson and Alfred Hitchcock, as well as other significant players, like Stan Lee in several Marvel Comic films and astronaut Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, are another form of Easter Egg.
Other cinematic Easter Eggs are purely visual. One example is the reported appearance of a Starbucks cup in every scene in Fight Club. Another is a background image of an X (as in “X marks the spot”) in those scenes of The Departed where someone is about to die.
Websites galore divulge the hundreds of movie Easter Eggs, one of the best being www.eeggs.com
Some of my favorites–
This one is a classic! In the original Planet of the Apes during the scene where Charlton Heston is brought before a council of apes, three simians end up in the pose of the “Three Wise Monkeys,” see no evil…hear no evil…speak no evil. A clever joke that many in the audience missed.
Steven Spielberg, director of Jaws and the Back to the Future movies, interjected his own fun bit into the third Back to the Future installment. When Marty travels to the year 2015, he encounters a theater showing “Jaws 19.” A closer look at the theater marquee shows that the director of this future cinematic classic is Max Spielberg… Steven’s son.
Look carefully at the image below from Tron in 1982. In a scene on the bridge of Sark’s battle cruiser there is a schematic diagram showing corridors full of dots. Off to one side there is a little Pac Man.
Naturally there are many, many more. Have any of you spied an Easter Egg in a movie or TV show?