11 Stephen King Easter Eggs in Castle Rock You Might Have Missed

Patrick Harbron, Hulu
Patrick Harbron, Hulu

Released weekly throughout the summer, all 10 episodes of Castle Rock are available on Hulu and can now be consumed by Stephen King fans as rapidly as they turn the pages of the author’s books. Set in the town of Castle Rock, Maine, the J.J. Abrams-produced series tells the story of Henry Deaver (André Holland), a lawyer called back to his crisis-plagued hometown to meet the “Kid” (Bill Skarsgård), an anonymous prisoner found in the bowels of Shawshank Penitentiary who cryptically utters Henry’s name.

The mystery is not a direct adaptation of King’s works but takes a number of situations, characters, and elements from his connected mythology, including a few you might have missed. Check out the portions of King’s bibliography that have made sometimes overt, sometimes fleeting appearances on the show. (Beware of minor to moderate spoilers ahead, Constant Reader.)


Scott Glenn appears as Alan Pangborn in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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As a boy, Deaver walked out into the woods with his adoptive father but walked back out by himself. The elder Deaver was found mortally wounded, with Henry unable to provide any explanation for what happened. His adoptive mother, Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek), is consoled in both the past and present by Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn), who was featured prominently in two King books: 1989’s The Dark Half, about murderous twins, and 1991’s Needful Things, which detailed the repercussions of a curio shop owner who takes more than money in exchange for his goods. Unlike some of the characters in the series, Pangborn has been privy to supernatural events, making his suspicion of the Kid’s true motives a powerful endorsement that there’s something not quite right with the guy.

Echoes of Needful Things abound in the show. Henry drops in at the Mellow Tiger, a bar that appeared in the book and in other King works. Later, he discovers a press clipping describing the fire that took the curio shop up in flames along with owner Leland Gaunt, who was played by Max von Sydow in the 1993 feature film. (Ed Harris played Pangborn.)


Andre Holland appears as Henry Deaver in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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King’s coming-of-age 1982 novella about a group of adolescents in search of a rumored corpse near a set of train tracks was originally adapted into 1986’s Stand By Me and seems to be a favorite of Castle Rock showrunners Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason. In the debut episode, Deaver is seen representing Leanne Chambers, a woman on death row who was once married to—and is now convicted of killing—Richard “Eyeball” Chambers (the same Chambers who taunted the kids in the novella). In episode two, there’s passing mention of a body once found near the tracks. In episode four, Deaver meets Joe Desjardins, brother of Vince Desjardins, another one of the bullies from The Body. Joe explains that his sibling headed south after attempting to collect on insurance money by cutting off two of his own fingers. Finally, in episode five, the Kid stands on the edge of a building, seemingly hearing a chorus of voices below. One of them clearly asks, “Wanna see a body?” The line of dialogue is spoken in both King’s book and the movie.


Warden Norton and Warden Lacy appear in portrait in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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It doesn’t take a lifetime King fan to recognize one of the central settings in Castle Rock: Shawshank Penitentiary, site of Andy Dufresne’s infamous escape in the 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. (The title was shortened for the 1994 film adaptation starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.) Shawshank is where the Kid is found locked in a cage and muttering Deaver’s name. But there are some more subversive references to that story: In the first episode, a character mentions that the ill-fated Warden Norton left a bullet hole in his office. In episode three, viewers get a glimpse of Norton in a portrait hung in the prison cafeteria (above left). There’s also a nod to the opera selection (Mozart’s “Duettino Sull’Aria”) that Dufresne illicitly piped into the prison’s loudspeakers. It’s the same piece that’s playing when Warden Lacy (Terry O’Quinn) decides to take a plunge into the nearest lake in the debut episode. In episode two, the series goes a bit meta: In an establishing shot of the prison, a street sign reads “Redemption Road.”

Curiously, neither King's prose nor the movie mention Shawshank as being within Castle Rock's town limits, though Dufresne mentions being a former resident there. In the movie, it's depicted as being in a barren area. Shaw and Thomason decided to move the building so it would butt up against residential streets and lend an atmosphere appropriate for a town economy that's dependent on the business of incarceration. "Part of the reason we chose the prison that we chose to shoot at was we loved the idea that there are houses literally in the shadow of the prison," Shaw told reporters. 


Jane Levy appears as Jackie Torrance in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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When Deaver enters a church after coming back into town in episode two, he overhears the minister addressing one of the parishioners by name—Jackie Torrance (Jane Levy). It’s a play on Jack Torrance, the hotel caretaker who slowly goes mad in both King’s The Shining (1977) and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation. In episode five, Jackie (real name: Diane Torrance) reveals that she took the name to annoy her parents, who were ashamed of her uncle Jack’s rampage at the snowbound Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Jackie later alludes to wanting to visit the Overlook for herself, a plot point that might gain traction in the show's already-announced second season.


A newspaper clipping describes a dog attack in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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King’s terrifying 1981 novel of a rabid dog cornering a mother and her child in Castle Rock has made “Cujo” synonymous with any slobbering, uncontrollable beast. While no such animal is seen in the show, several characters recall that disturbing event. “Remember the dog?” asks Warden Lacy in episode two. He even keeps a newspaper clipping (“Rabid Dog Tears Through Town”) in his office, which Deaver spots while combing through his belongings. In the same episode, a TV commercial for Sharp Cereal is shown. Sharp is the account ad executive Vic Trenton was working on while his family was being threatened by Cujo.


Melanie Kynskey appears as Molly Strand in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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King’s 1979 novel centers on Johnny Smith (later played by both Christopher Walken and Anthony Michael Hall in a 1983 movie and 2002-07 TV adaptation, respectively), a man who falls into a coma and emerges with psychic abilities. At one point, Johnny leads police to the house of a serial killer named Frank Dodd—likely the same house that Castle Rock resident Molly (Melanie Lynskey) is currently occupying. While she doesn’t refer to Dodd by name, she does mention she “sleeps like a baby” in the property that was once occupied by a serial strangler.

7. IT

Bill Skargard appears as the Kid in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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One of King’s most well-known works, It was recently adapted into a highly profitable film with Skarsgård portraying Pennywise the Clown, a malevolent force who feeds on children every 27 years. (Castle Rock viewers have noted that Skarsgård’s Kid character emerges after 27 years locked in a box.) In episode five of the series, the Kid appears headed for Juniper Hill, a mental institution mentioned in several of King’s novels, including Bag of Bones, Needful Things, and Insomnia. It was also where bully Henry Bowers was locked up in It.


A bus pulls up to a Jerusalem's Lot bus stop in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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King’s second published novel tells the story of Ben Mears, a man who returns to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot in Maine and discovers that the citizens are now predominantly vampires. In episode eight, Deaver’s son, Wendell, gets off at a bus stop in Jerusalem’s Lot. In episode 10, Molly directs Deaver to Harmony Hill Cemetery, site of a grave-digging sequence in the book. Harmony Hill is also mentioned in Silver Bullet, the 1985 werewolf movie starring Corey Haim and based on King’s Cycle of the Werewolf


A dead dog appears in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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After a stray dog is hit by a car, Pangborn and Deaver bury the animal. When Ruth Deaver suspects the undead dog is still somehow rooting through their trash, Pangborn digs it up in episode two to make sure it’s still dead. Such measures are par for the course in Castle Rock, site of King’s 1983 novel Pet Sematary, in which a pet graveyard is used to resurrect its inhabitants—including the dead son of a grieving father (Dale Midkiff in the 1989 film version).


Castle Rock realtor Molly (what an unfortunate occupation) has no direct involvement or presence in earlier King works, but there does appear to be a connection with the author himself. King’s Corgi is named Molly, whom he often refers to as the Thing of Evil due to her penchant for getting into ice cream and napping.

11. WKIT

Jane Levy as Jackie Torrance sits in front of a laptop in a screen capture from 'Castle Rock'
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In the closing moments of the series, Jackie Torrance is seen hard at work on a book project on her laptop. The decal on the cover is a call sign for WKIT 100.3 FM, the same radio station owned by King and wife Tabitha that broadcasts in Bangor, Maine. The station is also the one Warden Lacy tunes into to play his Mozart selection before driving to his death in episode one. Like much of King's work, everything seems to come full circle.

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

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This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

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2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

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3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

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These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

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4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

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Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

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16 Priceless Treasures We've Lost Forever

jeanyfan, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
jeanyfan, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Steven Spielberg is known for crafting such masterpieces as Jaws, E.T., Schindler's List, and Jurassic Park. With such a long and acclaimed film career, it probably wouldn't surprise anyone to learn that Spielberg got his start behind the camera at just 17 years old when (with the help of his friends and his high school marching band) he directed his first feature-length film, Firelight.

What's that? You've never seen Firelight? Well, you're certainly not alone; sadly, just under four minutes of the original footage remains. After screening Firelight for around 500 people, the young director sent a few of the film reels off to a producer for review. When the budding director later went back to retrieve his film, he discovered that the producer had been fired—and his movie had vanished.

Firelight is just one example of the many priceless items that have disappeared from history. On this episode of The List Show, we're rediscovering all sort of treasures—from writing by Ernest Hemingway to natural landmarks—that have been lost to time (or circumstance). You can watch the full episode below.

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