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- American Wheels
- Bull Riders?
- Cars & Trucks
- Darts and Billiards
- Fuzzy Felt Farm
- Louisville Slugger
- Sewing Cards
- Snakes and Ladders
- Tiddledy Winks
In some ways, this feels like a minor subject, but it’s the other half of “All work and no play”, right?
Sports and games referenced by the movie: baseball, football/foosball, darts, volleyball, tennis, pool, ping-pong, poker, Tiddlywinks, basketball, hockey, golf, acrobatics, skiing, “winter sports”, chess, and possibly ultimate Frisbee. Here’s a master view of all the references to games and toys.
I’m not going to give a great amount of attention to the order in which I list things in this section, but there is one thing which deserves your attention, if you enjoy the buried clues and references element of my research.
The glass room behind reception with the twin birds painting in it, I just noticed has a legible sign on it that reads ACCOUNTANT HENRY CALLAHAN. So I did a search on Callahan and found that this exact name belongs to a man who was murdered in a freak robbery incident two years after the film came out, by a meth head robbing the tavern where Callahan worked in Boulder, Colorado. Callahan was most known as one of the leading proponents of Ultimate, the sport of Frisbee, which he brought to the University of Oregon while pursuing a degree in “finance”. Apparently, Callahan wrote impassioned essays about the sport and even got a fledgling Nike to pay ten grand to support the university’s team, which was named the Low Flying Ducks by the members. That seems especially interesting when you consider that the room has the painting of the two Sandpipers/Kildeer Plovers in it, and that just up the hall is the two Monahan paintings of the geese flying low over the waves.
There’s an annual award given out to the best new players named after Callahan, and there’s a move in the game named after Callahan. The game of Ultimate was invented in 1968, the year of 2001: A Space Odyssey, at a New Jersey high school by a group of kids who described themselves as the “intelligentsia and non-athletes of the school”. Callahan brought the sport to UO on October 5, 1978, which would put him on SK’s radar right around the mid-start of production. So I do wonder if the connection was intentional. The door is passed first during the end of the Abbey Road Tour (see below), then by Danny triking to see the twins, then by Danny fleeing to the hiding place, then by Jack chasing to kill Danny. The room is seen a few times through the reception area from within the lobby, first when Ullman and Watson are walking over, then almost when Jack’s throwing the tennis ball in the lobby (a scene which includes a stray volley/soccer ball and baseball bat), and finally, as Hallorann is walking to his doom. My best guess is that SK heard about Callahan from one of his team’s research missions, and decided to use him to beef up the sports aspect of the lobby area. But there is an alternate explanation, which I’ll explain below.
Henry can also be read as Harry, and Harry Callahan was one of the most famous photographers on the 20th century. I’ve little doubt that SK was familiar with him. He specialized in double-exposing images to create interesting double meanings, which is something Kubrick does a lot throughout the film with his long crossfades (not to mention the mirrorform). Callahan did a lot of nudes, as well (largely autobiographical), which is a recurring theme in SK’s work, but one piece in particular reminds of the shots of the 237 crone below the tub water in Danny’s vision/memory/shine (unfortunately I have no idea which one I meant when I wrote this). The detracting point there is that there isn’t the same constellation of similarities at play as with the other Callahan. It’s simply more likely from a timeline/logistical standpoint: could SK have heard of the other Callahan in time to make that call? In any case, perhaps SK thought of the reference as a nod to both men. (And yeah, there’s a possible Dirty Harry reference, which could tie in with Emergency!, but whatever. I doubt it, to say the least.)
What is certain is that only one (visible) name plate exists for any door or any area of the hotel, for someone we don’t already know (like Stuart Ullman), and it’s Henry Callahan. In a film so rich with references, could it really, simply, be a complete throwaway?
It should be noted too that this glass office is visible from the main lobby, as seen below. We see it when Hallorann’s walking to his doom, and when Jack looms over the kill. Also when Ullman and Watson approach Jack for the grand tour.
As for this shot generally, I think it’s interesting that it includes sports references as diverse as ultimate, tennis, volleyball/soccer(?), and baseball. This might be the most sports-rich shot, so perhaps it’s fitting that it ends with Jack surveying the false map of the Overlook maze. There’s studying the game, and there’s playing the game.
CARS & TRUCKS
As for Danny’s toys, there’s a few instances of them roaming about in interesting ways, but perhaps the most intriguing is this one, where a SWAT van and a farm truck are inverted between the news event about the coming storm (TUESDAY), and Danny playing outside 237 (WEDNESDAY). We can learn a lot more by looking at how these icons play in the mirrorform edition. But basically, Wendy’s news show mirrors over her telling Tony/Danny she’s about to go fight Jack. And here we have Danny about to go into 237, calling out for his “mom”; the very reason he’s become Tony/Danny. Also, the scene immediately after this news scene is Danny’s first trike past 237.
The other good example is how Danny’s M24 Chaffee tank sits on top of the book Bomber Pilot during REDRUM, and sits next to a fighter jet during Summer of ’42 (a movie about a missing fighter pilot). His dozer sits atop the Shakespeare during REDRUM, and sits behind sitting Danny during Summer of ’42. Notice that REDRUM occupies the same portion of the screen as Summer of ’42 in these shots. But perhaps the Shakespeare being onscreen here is in part a way of honouring Summer of ’42 as one of the Stanley’s favourite films.
As Danny runs away from Summer of ’42, he’s trying to find his fire engine, which sits behind him and Wendy in the scene opposite Wendy making fruit salad.
Finally, here’s a little map of the way everything moves about. As you can see, the kitchen and Suite 3 are mutually exclusive, while one toy from each of those quadrants connects it to the other three (red and yellow lines). Then the other toy in those regions connects to the opposite of the other two areas (blue and green lines). And then one toy (light blue line) simply connects the lobby to the 237 hall, which is above the lounge. The purple circle might be the same car, but I’m not sure, and I doubt it only because the one-car-connection thing feels deliberate. And they wouldn’t be the only non-repeating cars and trucks, as you can see. As discussed, the one toy is a fighter jet, with its connection both to the film they’re watching and possibly to the Bomber Pilot book. Is it possible, then, that all the other toys have some solitary significance? There is a Formula 1 race car toy outside 237, which seems like a tie-in to the Rum and the Red theory. But what would the cement mixer be about? The purple circle car has been identified by the folks over at the Internet Movie Car database as a Matchbox Merc 350SL (see below), and Danny was just watching a movie with a main character named Hermie. And the Greek god Hermes transformed into the Roman God Mercury. And Mercury was given his caduceus by the god Apollo, who Danny’s shirt will be screaming about in a few seconds. So if the Merc is a reference to all the Roman mythology in the film, perhaps the cement mixer is meant as a soft allusion to all the Medusa imagery, and the fact that entering 237 will turn Danny somewhat to stone. Also, the one with the popped hood is thought to be an AMC Javelin or a Mustang. A Mustang, being named for a horse, would be evoking the four horsemen subtext, the labours of Hercules subtext, or even both, since they both deal with exactly four horses. And it’s never clear what that other blue van is, but it has a similar-looking decal on the side to the SWAT van, so I would guess it to be another police vehicle of some kind, especially since we eventually see a white bar extending over the cockpit, in the fashion of a police siren. That said, if it turned out to be an ice cream truck, how perfect would that be?
And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how there’s a red car-shaped thing on the Suite 3 bathroom window sill, only ever seen during the MONDAY chat, which has the Grady experience in the mirrorform. It’s last appearance ends just as Grady has crashed the advocaat into Jack…
…and its first appearance ends just as Grady is beginning to deny Jack’s account of his murder-suicide existence. In other words, this red car perfectly accompanies the “innocent” Grady portion of the film. So its placement at the window that Danny will escape through, but Wendy will not perhaps says something about the way Grady has taken Jack into an impossible bathroom to warp his mind, and set him on his trajectory toward oblivion. Jack will physically leave this impossible bathroom, but his mind won’t.
Perhaps this explains why Wendy’s final run through the hotel looks exactly like the bathroom style and design. I mean, generally speaking I think this indicates that the bloodfall hall is very near the Gold Room bathroom. But perhaps the reason it should resemble the room that spells the end for Jack is to underscore the hotel’s failure to pull off a similar trick on Wendy.
And note how the bloodfall access hall is the exact same set as the hall behind the lobby, where Danny trikes through (on his red tricycle that was once a white tricycle) before arriving in the twinhall, where he receives his final “lesson“. And while it’s true Danny must execute the “escapes”, at this point he’s received all but the final turn that complete the left-right formula that saves him. So, while mother and father succeed and fail to elude the worst of the hotel’s dark forces, Danny had to go through his own version. And it all connects to that…red car.
Sadly, this probably also explains the truth at the heart of what Hallorann sees on the road to rescue. He won’t be quite so lucky.
FUZZY FELT FARM
Danny has a Fuzzy Felt Farm set on his shelf. On the cover are three men wearing mostly blue, a lamb, two pigs (black and pig), a dog, a rooster, and two twin birds (blue and black). There’s also a tractor, a fence, some landscape pieces, and five flowers (green, yellow, red and white). Different sets had all kinds of pieces, but these were on the cover. Stella McCartney used Fuzzy Felt as a backdrop to one of her fashion shows in 2008, incidentally.
The sets were the brainchild of a British couple who bought their cottage just before the start of WWII. When Mr. Allan was called away to war, Mrs. Allan invented Fuzzy Felt to amuse the local children. Their major carrier was the chain of stores known as John Lewis. If Kubrick understood this, John Carson plays Arthur Lewis in Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are. And Aileen Lewis appears for certain in The Shining‘s opening (her last appearance is 54 seconds before the first appearance of the Fuzzy felt box). A dim connection, but perhaps it’s something.
Candy Land (1949)
The game was developed by a woman recovering from polio. She made it for and tested it on the children in the hospital with her. They told her to sell it to Milton Bradley, and she did. It became the most popular game of the 1940s according to Forbes and the Toy Industry Association.
The original game didn’t have a story, or characters, but did feature a gingerbread man beckoning(?) children to a red cabin, which in the game is the goal to arrive at. The gingerbread man story dates back at least to 1875, and involves a gingerbread man/boy coming to life and running from the old woman who made him and her elderly husband. As they give chase, the sweet child runs away from all manner of pursuers until finally a fox gobbles him after offering a ferry ride across a river. So, it’s probably a thinly-veiled metaphor/warning for children who want to run away from their creators. What’s interesting is that Candy Land inverts this somewhat. Two human children, a boy and girl, are tasked with running toward the gingerbread man/boy, who has his own house now. In the 80s version of the game, the iconic children became blonde twins, which is a funny coincidence.
(In case you’re already familiar with the basics, I’ve also written extensively about the more complex significance of these toys appearing in the film here.)
“Sewing Cards” is the name on the two purple boxes on Danny’s shelf in Boulder. These were little instructional cards with directions on how to sew certain shapes and patterns. So I don’t know if they’re there to suggest that Danny is open to a classically female line of work and interest, but it has that feel, to me. Also, Disney put out a line of Alice in Wonderland sewing cards in the same year as their movie. (That’s what should be showing in the below image, but apparently Disney or someone won’t let handheld photos of their 1950s antiques be shown on this website, so I guess just Google sewing cards.)
Oh, it looks like there was one for almost every Disney movie. Aha! The Sewing Cards repeats in Suite 3 (53:22), when Danny’s about to face off with Jack for the first of the two times. I wonder if this is simply meant to draw a connection between Danny’s Boulder bedroom and Jack’s master bedroom. In that situation, the doctor was carefully minding Danny’s situation, and here, Jack is almost completely out of it while Danny pieces together how truly endangered he is. Still, he manages to ask some insightful questions of Jack, and becomes like Jack’s doctor. His doc. Danny’s clearly afraid of his dad at this point, so his bravery cannot be understated.
What’s strange is that the Boulder cards sets are in a kind of yin-yang position, the upper one right-side-up and the lower one upside-down. If that was meant to express balance, it would follow that Jack is out of balance, and only in possession of the one box.
The mirrorform probably reveals the most about this box’s inclusion. As Hallorann marches to his doom, the Sewing Cards and the Emergency! lunchpail sit right at the level that the model labyrinth scrolls past. So the thread that one would weave through one’s sewing cards is similar to the thread that Theseus took into the labyrinth. In this event, the upside-down box below may suggest something about Danny’s need to go in and out by the same means, and also his manipulation of the Lesson Key to create the Escape Key, and the backwards walk at the heart of the maze. Perhaps there’s an episode of Emergency! that would shed extra light on the matter.
As for the solo box, it touches the left arm of a Delbert Grady who’s about to tell Jack that it is he who has, in actual fact, been the caretaker here since time begin.
And when both shots reverse, the sewing cards occupy the same rough as spot (if not the same spot, because the end of the bed is obscuring it) as the butterfly tissue box. While the butterfly art piece in Suite 3 overlays with Grady’s head. So, in the context where butterflies equal murder, this could either be suggesting that murder is to Jack what escaping the labyrinth is to Danny. And then again, it could be suggesting a connection between Danny (who these cards definitely belong to), murder, and the labyrinth. Meaning, Danny will have to murder his father in the labyrinth. I’ve never liked that line of thinking, but it’s not the only clue pointing in that direction. Why I would still suggest against it in this instance is by the way Danny himself never overlays with any of the many butterflies in this sequence.
That said, his Mickey Mouse shirt could be invoking the time that Mickey rode a butterfly in the 1933 short Giantland, which retells the Jack and the Beanstalk story. There’s a good portion of the film where Mickey is the little mouse that lives inside the giant’s mouth, so it wouldn’t be completely far-flung (in case you ever wondered how Tony manages to do that with Danny). Though somehow I doubt we were meant to guess at that. The more direct reference would seem to be to Touchdown Mickey (1932), which features a fairly twinny (and third ever(!)) sequence of a very early Goofy (known as Dippy Dawg at the time) calling the game. Mickey also gets a boot on his head and runs backwards across the entire football field at one point. The next episode, The Klondike Kid (1932), is a rough parody of Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, and also features Goofy/Dippy Dawg. I mention this because perhaps this is why Goofy suspends over the Sewing Cards in Danny’s bedroom.
But there’s another, subtler connection that binds these three cartoons to the film. They were made in 1932 and 1933, right? Well, the songs that play atop the sequence of Danny and Jack’s face-off (through the mirrorform) are from 1932 and 1934. And even the song that plays over their face-off proper is from 1937. The last Disney cartoon of 1937, Lonesome Ghosts, features an axe-wielding, ghost-busting Goofy saying, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”–I just discovered I’m not the first to suspect this cartoon inspired Ghostbusters. It also features an unexpected flood bursting from behind a door, and a lengthy mirror sequence. Not to mentions, you know, ghosts(!) in a lofty, creepy country estate.
Carrying this line of thinking through to the end: the sequence that mirrors over the earlier instance of Goofy (Jack killing Hallorann) features music from 1971 (Ewangelia) and 1962 (Polymorphia), and Disney only produced one short in each of those years, The Great Search: Man’s Need for Power and Energy, and A Symposium on Popular Songs. I’ll let you read those analyses and draw your own conclusions. I do somewhat doubt those connections were intended, however apt the subject matter may be.
Another roaming game box is this little green one on the top shelf (under Goofy and above the firetruck lunchbox and near the baseball bat being held on his curtains), which appears later on the Suite 3 couch (with the baseball bat and Winnie and the toy fire engine). I could never decipher the box, but it looks something like Bull Riders or Bull Rodeos. That’s my best guess, but nothing has been forthcoming in online searches.
In the mirrorform, this overlays with three neat moments. 1) Danny’s third lesson, triking past room 237, which means triking past the Sister’s Creek painting with the red cow. 2) The establishing shot of the Overlook, overlaying with the exact spot that the yellow beetle can be seen (in that bug Jack is the bull rider). 3) The end of Danny’s second lesson, with all its many bull connotations, overlaying with Danny himself as he walks the path he’ll use to trap Jack.
DARTS AND BILLIARDS
I made a series of discoveries about the photographs in the film that have lead me to conclude that many or even all of the numbers in the film tie back to this code being expressed by the hotel photos. Since I discuss the significance of these games in that context in the above link, and since that context is so dense, I won’t bother repeating myself here. If you seek to understand the significance of these games in the film’s subtext, go there.
What I will note here is that the official distance one is supposed to stand from a dartboard is 2.37 metres (this is called the “oche“, which rhymes with “doc”). And some dartboards have a bull’s-eye 4mm wide, which is 0.157 inches. 157 is 2:37 expressed as seconds, and these two numbers have an obvious significance to the plot, but, again, check out that last link for a much more profound analysis. Also, the three black strips at the bottom of a dart board have the point values 7-3-2. That made me wonder if they took this scene a million times to try to get Danny scoring those regions.
As Jack stalks upon the REDRUM door (“Come out, come out, wherever you are…” – a game of hide and seek?), there’s a game of Jumbo Tiddledy Winks on a table. The original name of the game was “jeu de puces” or “flea game”. And we saw not long ago a cartoon on Durkin’s TV about a flea (they’re 24 minutes apart). There’s a move in the game called the John Lennon Memorial Shot, which is a simultaneous boondock and squop. I assume this term came up after Lennon’s death, which means it wouldn’t be a wink, so to speak. Perhaps the inclusion of the game at this moment is a joke about how the National Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Association’s acronym is NUTS. Although, perhaps the “Memorial” part of the John Lennon Shot was added later, in which case, this could very well be one more allusion to the Beatles.
Wendy uses a Louisville Slugger signed by Carl Yastrzemski against Jack. During WWII the company made wooden rifle stocks and billy clubs for the US Army. Wendy brandishes the 125J model. Yastrzemski was on the Red Sox, which was Stephen King’s favourite team. Wendy wears red boots in the first solo lounge scene with Jack (which visually simulate the team’s calf-high red socks), which is 90 seconds away in the mirrorverse from the appearance of bat as weapon. Also, the bat appears when Jack goes to study the maze model, which is three minutes from Wendy walking into the lounge.
Yastrzemski was a left fielder and first baseman, considered one of the greatest players of all time, and has a tonne of records.
There’s a few hockey references: the lady walking into the Overlook saying bye to Ullman has a Jersey on that I can’t quite pin down the team for (my best guess is the short-lived Toronto Toros or the Trois-Rivières Ducs).
Also, Danny wears a Dayton Flyers jersey (might also be Portland, Maine’s Waynflete Flyers). The group is intercollegiate, so they have teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, rowing, track and field, and volleyball. Aside from rowing (if you discount paintings featuring people paddling in large canoes, like the Makah piece), I think those are all referenced directly by the film. You could say that Danny’s speeding around the hotel and labyrinth would cover the cross country and track and field elements.
Actually, I just noticed for the first time in nine months(!) that there’s a visible name on this sweater that reads St. Louis. Here’s a list of all the players who’ve ever had that name. And of the players who played pre-1980, I would have to guess this was a reference to Claude St. Louis, who played for the Trois-Rivières Ducs from 1969-72. As you can see, their colours match mostly, and the older jerseys had that thicker middle stripe. Considering that all the visible art in this room is either by Cornelius Krieghoff, famous for painting the French-Canadian countryside, or of the Montreal River in Algoma (as in The Solemn Land by JEH MacDonald) or of Georgian Bay, which is Métis country…a reference to a French-Canadian team would be just as apt as a reference to a Toronto team. Also, the Ducs are from a place called “Three Rivers” (Trois-Rivières) and there are three rivers referenced in the various art. Northern River is potentially about a fictitious river of Tom Thomson’s imagining; The Solemn Land is about the Montreal River; and Paysage d’hiver depicts a river of some kind, but it’s unclear.
AMERICAN WHEELS – PEDAL-POWERED TRAIL CYCLE (1975)
In case you ever wondered what Danny was riding all these years. That’s America! That’s America right there!
Danny Lloyd’s talked about how he was promised the trike after filming, but never got it. It was $19.79, Dan! In 1979!
SNAKES AND LADDERS
In the deleted scene from the end, it looks like Danny’s got a gameboard in front of him, and he’s playing Snakes and Ladders with the nurse. Maybe that’s why the scene was hard to leave out: maybe SK just really wanted that Jacob’s ladder image at the end. And the snake image, since Jack’s always flicking his tongue out. You know, it’s funny the way Snakes and Ladders has that seemingly innocuous imagery embedded. I always played it like, what’s up with these arbitrary properties? Why do we go up ladders and down snakes?
Turns out the game has roots in the morality of Hinduism and Jainism, which means that it teaches children about how they can be reborn into lower forms of life. Jack is reborn into a photo.
There’s a connection between the green-yellow tennis ball Jack is throwing at the indigenous wall hanging, which he later chucks deep into a hallway, and the pink tennis ball that rolls up to Danny outside 237, in that they’re both tennis balls (I realize there’s a version of the film where it’s a yellow one that rolls up to Danny, but that one doesn’t have the usual lime tint of the one Jack’s throwing).
Also, in the Colorado lounge, Jack’s throwing the yellow ball at the exact spot (or close enough to) where the pink ball will roll up at Danny. And Danny misinterprets this as something his mom did. So there’s the pink and gold connection to the Gold Room, and to them being Wendy’s “favourite colours”. Jack’s throwing the yellow-green ball when he’s still somewhat on the side of good, and the pink ball comes from the Overlook’s dark heart. I’m not sure exactly what the connection to Wendy is (did the Overlook overhear Wendy say that about her favourite colours, and used pink to make Danny think “mom”?), but it’s an interesting detail. Perhaps the balls represent the notion of Jack’s freedom to not do what he ultimately does. The pink and gold ballroom represents half what it is (pink) and half what you bring to it (gold).
Perhaps pink and gold are symbolic of the idea of conquest. Wendy’s correlated to conquest in the four horsemen section of the film, so if pink and gold are her favourite, and the balls and the gold room are known for these colours, conquest seems to be the tie that binds: Jack’s seeming nonchalance about whipping a ball at a Navajo symbol set, Danny’s Apollo 11 shirt and his voyage into 237, and the way that the architectural design of the Gold Room seems to be creeping out into the rest of the hotel, eliminating all the Apache and Navajo motifs that define the other parts of the building.
Julius Erving (? – not sure if it is him, but some commenters think so, and if so, that could be another Julius Caesar reference?) the basketball legend is seen at 47:36.
Danny’s Bugs Bunny shirt also involves Bugs as a basketball player.
It occurred to me at some point that the horse head knights bookending the Torrance bookshelf (visible only during the doctor visit) may imply a kind of chess-like nature to the moves the camera seems to study people making throughout.
Lloyd is confined to very simple movements, like a king or pawn. Jack’s movements (once he turns evil) tend to be straight line moves down long passages, like a rook, which itself is a bit like a charging bull. Grady makes a diagonal move to spill the advocaat on Jack, like a bishop. And Danny and Wendy are able to make a lot of sharp, narrow turns and twists, like knights. But these observations are not utterly consistent. When Jack emerges from 237, he makes a diagonal move from the door, which would imply he’s more of a queen. Anyway, I don’t mention this as proof of any larger point, I just know that Kubrick was a chess fanatic (he shut down production for a day to play with Tony Burton (Durkin) when he discovered that Burton was another chesshead–and deemed the man a worthy opponent), and perhaps his love of chess went beyond this minor reference, and could help explain the physical behaviour of his characters to some extent.
For the record, in 2016 I watched The Hateful Eight probably 100 times or so, and started to wonder if a similar chess-like metaphor was at play. But yeah, without 32 main characters (or 12, if you condense all the doubles) you can’t really have a proper array of all the chess pieces that exist.
For the longest time I assumed this was a black bear, meant to resemble Ullman on CLOSING DAY with his red pants and bomber jacket. Ullman’s even standing overtop a book called Bomber Pilot as he appears.
But recently while annotating the novel, I discovered that one of the chapters starts with an excerpt from Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival, a band that was originally named The Golliwogs.
The golliwog was a late-19th century invention of Florence Kate Upton, first appearing in her children’s book The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg. The works of two Dutch painters appear in the lobby roughly equidistant from where this possible golliwog lays: The Tower of Babel and Theatre of the World. The painters behind these works (Abraham Ortelius and Pieter Brueghel the Elder) were good friends.
Also, the example I’ve used in the images below (who happens to be the golliwog that most resembles the object in the film) was named “Louis Large” and there happens to be a Louisville Slugger in the same frame (also, the villain in Carson City, playing behind Wendy, was named “Big Jack”). And you probably recall that an Overlook employee wearing a St. Louis jersey walked up this path not long before.
My general analysis of these dolls is that the Bugs Bunny on the trike represents Hallorann’s murder (Dick impersonates Bugs), the Winnie-the-Pooh represents Wendy’s witnessing the murder (Wendy is connected to Pooh bear a few times), and the apparent golliwog represents the hotel’s wanting this to happen (since it looks like Ullman, and Ullman has a secret connection to wanting Dick to die).
Jack whipping the ball happens directly across from later Wendy clutching the Slugger, moments away from cracking Jack’s skull, and putting him in the cage that gins up his outrage to the point where he’ll mirror the ball-throw with an axe, pointing the other way.
And part of the reason Wendy had to crack that skull is to do with a scene in which Jack and Grady diminish Hallorann’s humanity, calling him the n-word back and forth. Golliwogs, while not widely known outside of Britain and Australia, are considered part of a tradition of racial discrimination and anti-black caricature, having contributed to the spread of blackface and related activity across Europe and around the world. And, according to the subtitles in some versions of the film, Jack is singing a line from a 1921 Al Jolson play, Bombo, while howling and freezing to death, which means Jack was perhaps imagining himself as the blackface-laden Jolson moments before his own death. There’s a lot to say about that, so click that last link for more.
In the mirrorform, when this hateful speech begins, Danny starts asking if he can go retrieve his fire engine (as if trying not to hear the grown-ups trading epithets), which leads to him running off in the direction of where the golliwog had lain. So, again, if it is Louis Large laying there, and if he is meant to represent the hotel watching for Hallorann’s murder, this thread of racism would be rather apt.
What’s more, the Torrance family’s pre-Overlook ownership of such a doll could finally explain why Jack was so ready to trade such epithets (he doesn’t go in for it in the novel, where the term confuses him into having to ask if the ghosts are talking about Hallorann).
So the question would emerge about the status of the toy itself. Was it Danny’s, and, if so, what did it mean to him? Since the collection of left-about toys at the Overlook seem to represent a sort of pantomime of Hallorann’s murder, and since Danny has foresight, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were meant to think of him understanding the doll’s sinister role in culture, and even using it as a symbol of the Overlook. When the doll appears atop a stack of books, beside the TV in Boulder, it’s about as far from the rest of Danny’s toys as possible, and in a location that he probably would not have placed it during the course of a play session. So it’s possible that this doll was a relic of Wendy or Jack’s past, inherited by Danny. Also, Wendy’s outfit here happens to perfectly resemble the outfit worn by a Goofy puppet in Danny’s bedroom (see in following image below), and in this scene it almost looks like an inversion of the golliwog, with red on the arms and blue in the dress (the golliwog’s arms are white, I know).
Also, the mirror moment for the doll’s first appearance has it almost overlapping with the snowcat Hallorann brought so that Wendy and Danny might live (so, while hearing the n-word makes backward Danny run toward where the lobby golliwog was, the appearance of Boulder golliwog comes right before backward Danny runs into the maze).
Then, it overlays with murderer Jack’s back as Wendy gleefully confirms that not-so-murderer Jack got the job (the job of killing Hallorann). And the Jack on other side of the line is standing in the lobby again, feet away from where the golliwog will be.
The last thing to consider here is that golliwogs were most famously the mascot of Robertson’s jams, from 1910-2002, and TUESDAY is the day that Jack first starts showing signs of mental disintegration to Wendy, which begins mere moments after a still sane Jack strolled past the possible golliwog. A mere 84 seconds after the golliwog disappears from the film forever, Wendy hears about the disappearance of a Susan Robertson (from the first African-American news anchor in herstory, Bertha Lynn), who was on a hunting trip with her husband, and who’s been missing in the “mountains near Ouray” for 10 days. Meanwhile, a box of Robert’s brand milk (the red rectangle to kitchen Wendy’s left, overlaying with the glass door of the Suite 3 living room) floats very near the Winnie-the-Pooh doll, the fire engine, and the Louisville Slugger on the Suite 3 couch. And remember, Wendy and Danny here are watching the same episode of Roadrunner that was playing in Boulder, when Danny was wearing his Bugs Bunny shirt…staring at the TV there with maybe a giant golliwog next to it.
So the only thing we’re missing from the lobby toys is the tricycle, and the scene that immediately follows the Robertson news is Danny triking past 237 for the first time, which is where he’ll later be interrupted by a pink tennis ball (like the one Jack threw away), while playing with the same toy trucks that are sitting right under the kitchen TV here. A TV, by the way…
…which appears 90 mirrorform seconds away, looming over the film’s other major African-American character, Larry Durkin–and just as Danny’s getting his second last vision of the murdered Grady twins (as a result of touching 237’s doorknob, which means that room 238 is hanging open behind him here, remember).
And doesn’t Danny’s blue-on-red-sleeve outfit here look exactly like Wendy’s during the earlier golliwog scene?
And Ullman’s secretary is named Susie (the woman who reunites mother and son (“I found him outside looking for you”) after Danny meets the twins in the games room, and runs outside), so this Susan Robertson could be yet another sly way of linking the hotel to this doll.
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