Easter Eggs for Freedom Downtime

The Easter Egg Hunt is over. We want to thank all of you who sent in entries. We were quite impressed with the outpouring we received. We probably have set some sort of record in the sheer number of Easter Eggs on a single film as well as in flexing the capabilities of DVD technology. And special congratulations go to Tommy McLane, the winner of our contest.

What follows is the complete Easter Egg List for Freedom Downtime, as best as we can remember. (There are just so damn many of them.) If you happen to discover one that we may have somehow forgotten, please email us at downtime@2600.com.

Note: This is the list as obtainable from a standalone DVD player. There are other ways of accessing the Easter Eggs on computers, way too many to list here. Your mileage may also vary on standalone DVD players, since there are so many different software quirks that cause strange reactions when you hit certain buttons. The following will work in more than 90 percent of the players out there.


Main Menu

  • If you click on "Extra Footage" you'll get what looks and sounds like a Mac error complete with a Fifth HOPE logo.
  • The background of the main menu is a shot of Kevin Mitnick's prison with his face pressed up against one of the narrow windows. When left playing, the colors will change, giving the appearance of time gradually passing by.

    Hidden Subtitles

    On the normal subtitle menu, go to the third screen, and hit the right arrow on the last entry (Chinese). The word "bullshit" will highlight. Click on it and the Hidden Subtitle Menu will appear with the following choices:

  • FCC Approved Version: "Nasty, violent, and blasphemous words" are replaced with more acceptable choices. For example, the line that reads "This is bullshit, man" becomes "This is balderdash, man." "Sprint really sucks" is converted to "Sprint really breathes in." Religious references are also softened so that nobody is offended by having, for instance, a deity's name uttered. "And I picked it up and I just thought, 'Oh, my God'" becomes "And I picked it up and I just thought, 'Oh, my Goodness.'" There are many other "fixes," far too many to list here or anywhere else. Translation credit is given to then FCC Chairman Michael Powell.
  • Game: This is a drinking game. You can set whatever rules you wish. Different graphics show up for the words computer, hacker, computers, hackers, computer hacker, and computer hackers whenever they are spoken in the film.
  • Words: Specially selected words are displayed throughout the course of the film which wind up creating two messages. The first message is: "You can a secret message anywhere these days." The word "hide" is hidden and we don't know where it is. The second message is: "time he evidence in mention person one roots types anything not totally telegraph home in no gave if still now over task trying off software two obtained plastic quote uncle excruciating state titanium in one name interview now given" which would appear to be total gibberish. However, if you take the first letter of each word, you'll find that it spells out "The important thing is not to stop questioning." We're impressed by the number of people who sat this one out.
  • Babel: A bit of fun that came from translating the subtitles into Korean and then back into English, each time using the Babelfish utility. The result is mostly incomprehensible nonsense, with an occasional gem like: "It took an attitude in the Phiber to respect," "Bad name the guilty plea due to the high computer hacker," or "It dies the blue screen." We sincerely regret that there are people walking around who have memorized this text. That was never our intention.
    Each of these features can also be accessed without going through the menu by hitting the subtitle button on the DVD player remote until the desired selection is reached. In addition, if you look really carefully at the sign to the right of the guy reading the Free Kevin leaflet, you'll see the following: "If you can read this, you are standing too close to your TV."

    Audio Menu

    Ironically, this is the only silent menu. However, that changes if you leave the menu onscreen for about two minutes. You'll be surprised by some bloodcurdling screams.

    Hidden Audio Menu

    In the audio menu, click Left, Left, Right, and Down and you will see the floating head of George W. Bush with red eyes (actually the eyes from HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey). (On most computers you will also get here by clicking on Emmanuel's hand.) A computerized voice will give a cast listing of eight voices that are used in the hidden third audio track. They read as follows:

    1. "This is en1, which is a British voice, used for Emmanuel."
    2. "This is Don, a noticeably crappy British voice, used for Bill Clinton and others."
    3. "This is Rab, the final British voice, used for Doug Thomas and others."
    4. "This is Kal, an American voice, used for some songs and a number of people."
    5. "This is Ked, another American voice, used for Lewis DePayne, Jeff Moss, and others."
    6. "This is us2, the final American male voice, used for Bernie S., John Markoff, and others."
    7. "This is us1. As it is the only female voice, it is used for all female speakers."
    8. [in Spanish] "And this is ell. It speaks Spanish, and thus isn't used in the film."

    When they're done you will be deposited in a new menu where you have the option of turning "Computer Assisted Dialog" on. (This menu also has the music that was missing from the main audio menu.) If you turn this feature on and play the film you will hear the entire audio track read by a variety of synthesized voices.
    This additional audio track can be accessed by hitting the audio button on the DVD player remote unit until the desired selection is reached.)

    The Fourth Track

    This track is only accessible by hitting the audio button on the DVD player remote unit. It's completely silent except for two spots. At around 13 minutes in you'll hear a voice say "Hey, that's me!" and during the closing credits you'll hear the same voice say "That's my name." That's the voice of Dave Buchwald, who produced the DVD and couldn't resist encoding two hours of virtual silence to further his message.

    Raccoon Video

    If you go to the Chapters and click on selection 29-30 three times, the video and audio will reverse. If you then click on closing credits, you'll see video footage of a raccoon eating cat food inside a house. This was an incident referred to on the second edition of Off The Wall in 2003.

    The FBI Warning

    At the very end of the film, after a few moments of darkness, what appears to be a normal FBI warning appears. This one is unique in that it's not a warning from the FBI but rather a warning to them. It reads as follows:




    Info on "Congratulations Kevin!" Shots

    On our second trip across the country for the DVD footage, we got a whole bunch of people to congratulate Kevin Mitnick on finally becoming free of his supervised release constraints (which expired in January 2003). At the end of the interview with Kevin, we rolled through a bunch of these. Here's a list of who those folks were:

    1) Some Chicago 2600 people in Union Station
    2) Several friends in Poughkeepsie sitting on our rental car that we had just put 12,000 miles on (that's Kismet creator Mike Kershaw in the middle)
    3) Autojack in San Diego in front of a famous Afghan painting
    4) Mr. Upsetter in front of Ericsson in San Diego
    5) Porkchop, the one responsible for editing Freedom Downtime
    6) Gweeds in San Francisco in front of an interesting poster
    7) L0cke in San Antonio standing in front of the Alamo
    8) Wiley Wiggins and his wife Tamara with their dog
    9) An unknown audience member at the ScreenSavers broadcast that celebrated Kevin's return to freedom
    10) Ada in Madison, Wisconsin
    11) Jon Lebkowsky in Austin, Texas
    12) Trash80 in front of AT&T in San Diego
    13) Emmanuel Goldstein
    14) Mike Yuhas in Wisconsin
    15) Some people from the New Orleans 2600 meeting
    16) Leo Laporte, host of TechTV's ScreenSavers
    17) Alex Kasper in Westwood, CA
    18) Mojo in Los Angeles
    19) Lucky225 in Westwood, CA
    20) Steve Wozniak
    21) Reba Vartanian (Kevin's grandmother)
    22) Jerry Quickley of KPFK
    23) Kerry in Raleigh, North Carolina


    Main Menu

  • Wait 8.5 minutes and you'll see a special Klingon greeting welcoming Kevin back to the free world. This was recorded at the Star Trek ride in Las Vegas with effects added. (There are people who swear they can hear Kevin tapping on the glass at around 3:20 into the music. While that image brought tears to our eyes, it is in fact part of the original Theta Wave State piece - a beautiful composition which also brings tears to our eyes.)
  • If you click on "Play Film" you'll get what looks and sounds like a Mac error complete with a Fifth HOPE logo. The laughter comes from "Eat Chicken and Die," a recording from the 1980s that was featured on early radio shows.
  • The background on the extra footage chapter menus is a model of a Vorlon ship from the television series Babylon 5 as seen in the Foundation Imaging offices.

    Extra Footage

    All of the hidden extra footage is comprised of people congratulating Kevin for a variety of achievements, not one of which is true. (This was inspired by a Canadian television show called Talking to Americans.

    Open the Chapters menu. Hit 13-18 twice. Click down. The word "Extra" will light. Click on it. The following four selections will randomly play:

  • On being elected mayor of Las Vegas (in front of the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas)
  • On your first rodeo win (the cast of the "Gunfight at the OK Corral" recreation in Tombstone, AZ)
  • On drinking your first cup of coffee (in a Starbucks somewhere in the South)
  • On skateboarding across Alaska (in front of Cody Books in Berkeley, CA)

    Open the Chapters menu. Hit 25-30 twice. Select either 28 or 29 and the number "20" will light up on the Vorlon ship. (The DVD came out during 2600's 20th anniversary.) Move to the right and select the 20. The following four selections will randomly play:

  • On teaching sign language to a bear (at the San Diego Zoo)
  • Nobody really knows (drunk guy outside a sushi place in Los Angeles)
  • On unlocking the genetic code (Sportsbar in Raleigh, NC)
  • On scaling Mount Everest (a condor tracker at the top of the Grand Canyon)
    (egg within an egg: Kevin Mitnick's handle used to be The Condor)

    Open the Chapters menu. Hit 37-40 three times. The menu will become inverted. Select 40. The following four selections will randomly play:

  • Happy 100th birthday (the confused staff of a Vietnamese restaurant in Poughkeepsie, NY)
  • On breaking the four minute mile (a waiter at the Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans)
  • On becoming a paratrooper (the ticket agent at the Grand Canyon train station)
  • On winning the Nobel Prize in Mathematics (student at U.C. Berkeley)
    (subtle humor - there is no Nobel Prize in Mathematics for some reason)

    Extra Footage Narrative

    There's also a whole storyline behind the extra footage narrative. The date is Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004. Emmanuel Goldstein is sitting on a bench in a park in New York City at the crack of dawn reading a copy of the New York Times. The story he's looking for turns out to be in the Washington Post instead so he travels all the way to Washington DC (with stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore) to get a copy of that paper and return to New York by evening. The progress of the journey unfolds as chapters of Freedom Downtime extra footage are introduced. And, if you listen to that day's edition of Off The Hook, you will even hear a story from that day's Washington Post! Almost as if events actually transpired as documented which would, of course, be impossible.

    Here is the full storyline of the extra footage narrative:

    1) Emmanuel is sitting on a park bench in Tompkins Square park in New York City, reading a copy of the New York Times dated Wednesday, March 3, 2004, the day after a decisive John Kerry victory in the Democratic primaries. It's early morning. After giving the intro, Emmanuel gets a phone call from someone he's apparently been waiting to hear from.
    2) Now on the phone, Emmanuel claims to have not seen something that was supposed to have been in the paper and gets some distressing news. After giving the intro, he throws the copy of the paper into the trash and walks away. [Additional item: the secret message that appears in this chapter (the Freedom Downtime promo) is "you are 0wned" and it appears at the very end in one of the frames where "freedom" is on a red screen.]
    3) Walking west on 7th Street near Avenue A, Emmanuel is now in front of the Joe Strummer memorial.
    4) Exiting alt.coffee on Avenue A.
    5) Waiting at the uptown Astor Place #6 subway station.
    6) On the #6 train heading uptown.
    7) At the 14th Street (Union Square) station, transferring to the N train.
    8) On the uptown N train.
    9) At the 34th Street station (famous for the interactive musical tones display).
    10) At Penn Station.
    11) Buying an Amtrak ticket.
    12) Going down the escalator to the train.
    13) On the train.
    14) Riding between the cars.
    15) Going up the escalator at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station.
    16) In the Philadelphia subway.
    17) Outside in Philadelphia.
    18) Waiting on line at Jim's Steaks on South Street.
    19) Inside Jim's with a cheese steak.
    20) In a small park in Philadelphia heading back towards the subway.
    21) At stairway 7 in 30th Street Station, site of the Philadelphia 2600 meetings.
    22) Exiting the bathroom on the train.
    23) In the cafe car.
    24) Exiting Union Station in Washington DC.
    25) Walking down the mall near the Capitol Building.
    26) Further down the mall.
    27) Way down the mall and heading to the Metro.
    28) Waiting on the Metro platform.
    29) It's now evening and Emmanuel is on a street corner in Washington DC where he buys a copy of the Washington Post.
    30) At Union Station waiting to board a train back to New York.
    31) Exiting the train at Penn Station in Baltimore.
    32) In a parking garage where flowers and cognac are obtained from a shadowy figure.
    33) At Edgar Allen Poe's grave where flowers and cognac are left. (This is the only one of these segments where color is seen albeit briefly.)
    34) Racing for the train in Baltimore's Penn Station and taking a quick moment to admire the ceiling.
    35) Back on the train heading north.
    36) In the dining car waiting on a line.
    37) Coming up the escalator at Penn Station in New York City.
    38) Outside Penn Station, across from Hotel Pennsylvania, site of the HOPE conferences.
    39) In a cab heading downtown.
    40) Emmanuel has come full circle and is now back at the original park bench, this time with the right newspaper.

    The ultimate irony of all this is that the Washington Post is sold a block away from the park.