I’m going on an Easter Egg hunt…but not for colorful eggs normally hidden in grassy knolls and behind flowers for kids to find. These Easter Eggs are in movies, TV shows and books. You might not be familiar with the term but I bet you’ve spotted them. You may even use them when you write.
What are they? They are fun, hidden surprises that have meaning for the creator and devoted fans. Sometimes they are used as a vanity signature, to pay tribute to someone or as an inside joke. They aren’t malicious or obvious. If it’s not there for entertainment, it’s not an Easter Egg!
For instance, you may remember Alfred Hitchcock’s cameo appearances in each movie he directed--that’s an Easter Egg. Fans enjoyed it and even tried to spot his signature appearance.
In one of my favorite old movies, Arsenic and Old Lace, actor Cary Grant sits on a headstone while he is thinking. One of the stones behind him is engraved with the name of Archie Leach--Cary Grant’s real name.
TV shows hide eggs, too. I spotted an Easter Egg in an episode of Castle. For a Halloween party, Castle, played by actor Nathan Fillion, dressed in a costume that Fillion had worn as spaceship captain in Firefly. Definitely an inside joke for Firefly fans.
In the book, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, character Violet Hunter lives on Montague Place. This is the same street where author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, lived.
Author, J.K. Rowling used an Easter Egg as a sweet tribute. Natalie McDonald, a young girl with a terminal illness, wrote to Rowling asking what happened at the end of the Harry Potter series since she knew she wouldn’t live long. Rowling wrote back detailing the remainder of the stories. Unfortunately, Natalie died before receiving the letter. So, Rowling “included” her in the next book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. At the start of the school year, a character named Natalie McDonald participates in the Sorting Ceremony and is sorted into Gryffindor, Harry’s house.
Stephen King uses Easter Eggs in his books, too. When he wrote It, he made references to every other book he had written up to that point! At one point “It” even becomes a leprous beggar missing part of his nose based on a character in King’s book, Thinner.
Easter Eggs are also found in e-readers like Kindle and Kobo. Depending on the e-reader and version, there are hidden games (Minesweeper and poker) as well as Google maps and other fun goodies.
Have you discovered any Easter Eggs? Do you use them in your writing?
Please contact E. B. Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for May: (5/4) Linda Norlander, (5/11) Connie Berry, (5/18) Mary Keliikoa, (5/22) Annette Dashofy, and (5/25) Rosalie Spielman.