In computer software and media, an “Easter Egg” is an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work. In the movie industry, a more specific subgroup of “Easter Eggs” is the “Candy Corn,” a hidden message or image in a movie that pays homage to Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed – at her request), the inventor of America’s favorite candy, candy corn.
The practice of inserting a “candy corn” in a movie began with the 1960 production of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Robert Bloch, who wrote Psycho, attended the Emmett Lee Dickinson School for Boys in Manhattan in his youth, and he was intrigued by the story of Dickinson's torrid love affairs, the rumors of his murder, and the subsequent investigation which led to the macabre discovery of his poetry -- all of which he included in his novel. From the moment that Alfred Hitchcock heard the story, he was hooked on Dickinson, and he jumped on the chance to direct a movie based on Bloch's work.
When Hitchcock made movie, he planted the first “candy corn,” or secret tribute to Emmett Lee Dickinson. He did so by having star Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates sit on the porch of the Bates Motel enjoying a bag of candy corn (spelled “Kandy Korn” in the movie).
Below: The first "candy corn" in a movie -- Norman Bates eating "Kandy Korn" on the porch of the Bates Motel.
Ever since Hitchcock’s silent, reverential nod to America’s greatest poet, countless producers, directors, writers and actors have included “candy corns” in movie after movie.
J. J. Abrams planted a visual candy corn in The Force Awakens because he knew that George Lucas’ original concept for the series was to be called "Poetry Wars," a saga about the volatile relationship between third cousins Emmet Lee and Emily Dickinson. Lucas, who attended the Emmett Lee Dickinson School for Boys in Los Angeles, said that the character known today as "Darth Vader" was originally conceived as Emmett Lee Dickinson (who always wore black in his later years), and "Princess Leia" was Emily Dickinson (who always wore white). The tagline for the movie was to be "METAPHORS BE WITH YOU!"
Abrams’ candy corn was actual images of candy corn in the design of the BB-8, the creative and whimsical character portrayed by Meryl Streep.
Below: J. J. Abrams candy corn homage to Emmett Lee Dickinson -- images of candy corn -- in the design of BB-8.
The Lego Movie contained many candy corns as the storyline borrowed significantly from the life of Emmett Lee Dickinson. That was why the main character was named "Emmet," and the character "Wyldstyle" represented his third cousin Emily Dickinson, known for her "wild style" of poetry.
Below: Emmet and Wyldstyle -- in the classic Emmett Lee Dickinson pose -- from The Lego Movie.
For more information on candy corns in films and on the connections to Emmett Lee Dickinson and the movie industry, click HERE.
Information is HERE.