Warner Bros. released a new trailer for their upcoming adaptation of Ernest Cline’s epic pop culture circle jerk on Sunday, and it looks like their intellectual property lawyers have crafted the most amazing series of licensing agreements since the birth of cinema. (Steven Spielberg was reportedly also involved.) Even more than the first trailer—itself an extraordinary collection of unrelated cultural touchstones, chewed up, spat out, and molded into a big grey wasp’s nest—the new trailer rewards close inspection.
Did you ever wish the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV series (Greenway Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, ABC, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Television Distribution) could find a way to legally race against the Mach Five from Speed Racer (Tatsunoko Productions, Yomiko Advertising, Fuji Television Network, Alan Enterprises, Funimation)? Did you ever wish the RX-78-2 Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam (Sotsu Agency, Sunrise, Bandai Entertainment, Cartoon Network) could fight alongside—or possibly against, it’s not clear—Chucky from Child’s Play (United Artists), without attracting the wrath of copyright lawyers? Did you ever wish that, instead of introducing you to new characters, someone would make a movie where the Iron Giant, the most pacifist robot in history, leads a goddamned army into battle, spurred on by a Final-Fantasy-looking guy holding up Lloyd Dobler’s boombox? Congratulations: you’re everything that’s wrong with art. Anyway, here are the Easter eggs.
That’s a very familiar silhouette at 1:54! You guessed it, it’s a Curtiss F8C-5/O2C-1, a military biplane that saw service in the United States from 1925 to 1934!
No, you’re not hallucinating: that’s a Sharp Stereo Radio Cassette GF-7600, complete with five-band graphic equalizer, 2-way, 4-speaker system, AM/FM/SW1/SW2 band radio, dual voltage, metal tape capability and soft-touch controls. According to the Pensacola News Journal of Oct. 24, 1983, this exact model was available for sale at the Gayfers department store at the Cordova Mall for $199.00, plus tax. Now it’s in a movie!
There’s a lot of licensed content visible in this crowded bar scene at 0:54, but the most intriguing cameo by far comes from a familiar round shape barely visible in the background. Yep: that looks like a bottle of Wild Turkey’s “Kentucky Legend” single barrel bourbon whiskey, known among collectors as the “Donut” for its distinctive silhouette. This special release bourbon dates from the late 1990s, and its appearance in the Ready Player One trailer is a valuable reminder that literally any human pursuit, including heavy drinking, is a better use of time than trying to identify the individual flavors in this licensed content casserole. So let’s do that instead.