Awesome 1980s Bedrooms: E.T. Edition
I document the cool kids’ bedrooms from 1980s-era movies.
By SHAWN ROBARE
Sometimes I comb through DVDs looking for Awesome 1980s Bedrooms. For example, I’ve analyzed Sara’s room from Adventures in Babysitting (1987), Eugene’s room from The Monster Squad (1987), and Mikey’s room from The Goonies (1985). See a full list of my findings at the bottom of this post.
I recently watched Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1983) and stared long and hard at Elliot’s bedroom. At first, I was disappointed because Spielberg shot so many of the scenes in low-key lighting or silhouette.
But with a quick finger on the pause button, I still managed to find some awesome things. I even realized Elliott (Henry Thomas) has a favorite comic book hero I’d never noticed before.
With any 1980s Spielberg movie, nods to Star Wars (1977) are inevitable. E.T. is no exception, but never fear: other interesting p̶r̶o̶d̶u̶c̶t̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶c̶e̶m̶e̶n̶t̶s items also lie around Elliott’s Awesome 1980s Bedroom.
1. Star Worlds Planetarium playset
2. Coors Beer baseball cap
Because, you know, drunk E.T. and Coors are totally the official beer of earnest sci-fi flicks.
3. Viewmaster Theater projector by GAF
4. Star Wars Hoth Turret and Imperial Probe Droid playset
5. Han Solo’s Blaster
One of the things I love about Elliott’s room is all of the items that represent space travel: the plethora of Star Wars toys, the space shuttle hanging from his ceiling (in a later screenshot), and his planetarium playset.
It’s subtle for sure, but still welcome for a film about a kid who meets a friendly alien.
6. Star Wars Greedo action figure
7. Captain America Pez dispenser
8. Frozen Moments’ fake-spilled can of Coca-Cola
9. Jaws shark pincher/grabber wand
10. Star Wars 2–1B Medic Droid (in football helmet)
The shark pincher wand is an in-joke/reference to Spielberg’s breakout hit Jaws (1975), I assume?
Several Star Wars figures are scattered around Elliott’s desk, but these are the only two we get to see clearly and not just in silhouette.
Also, the Pez dispenser was a bitch to identify. Even though Elliott holds it up to E.T. to show him how to fill and eat the candy, there’s only a split second or two where there’s enough light to see it. Also, this is not Elliott’s favorite superhero to which I alluded. That’s still to come.
11. Star Wars X-Wing Fighter
12. Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter
13. Incredible Hulk Poster
As I paid closer attention to the set dressing in E.T., I noticed many Incredible Hulk items.
Granted, this film was made in the middle of the Hulk’s popularity, thanks to the Bixby/Ferrigno TV show. But I like to imagine Elliott’s being a huge fan of the Hulk because he was a middle child and always seemed as though he was being put down by his brother and his brothers’ friends — maybe he identified with that inner rage or something?
Anyway, there are a couple of other toys in the above screenshot, the aforementioned space shuttle and another toy hanging from the ceiling at the top right of the frame I can’t readily identify.
14. Elvis Costello poster
So we know Elliott has good taste in music.
15. Artful Dodger Dartboard Cabinet
16. Mighty Marvel Incredible Hulk Glowplate lightswitch cover
17. Star Wars Tie Fighter
A weird amount of dartboards lines Elliott’s room! Not only does he have The Artful Dodger cabinet on the wall, but there’s an additional dartboard to the left. Also, that other dartboard? It changes throughout the film.
There’s another design that’s strictly black and white hanging in other scenes, which you can see in the screenshot above with items 6–10.
18. Star Wars Hammerhead Action figure
As well as Snaggletooth, Walrusman, Lando Calrissian, and Boba Fett.
19. Star Wars Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Play set
20. Stratego board game
As well as a Lego set to the right.
In the screenshot above (items 19–20), there’s also a clown/egg head toy, which I couldn’t initially recognize. But I recently learned it’s a 1981 Flippo Sonic Control Clown Head toy — its nose lights up and there’s a tuft of hair that pops up and down as well.
Also in that shot, there’s one additional Star Wars item, a Tauntaun up high on a shelf with some wooden dinosaur puzzle toys…
Okay, and here’s one awesome item not technically in Elliott’s room, but it helps prove his love for the Incredible Hulk.
21. Incredible Hulk Sleeping Bag
While I’m talking about non-bedroom items within E.T., I noticed during the opening scenes all the kids in the house are playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Also, C. Thomas Howell is smoking while they’re playing. But it’s quick, and the cigarette and ashtray disappear pretty quickly. I wonder if that was a mistake — as though Spielberg didn’t intend for it to end up in the film, or maybe it was placed there to show the kids being a tad rebellious?
I recently had the opportunity to catch E.T. on the big screen, so I took special care to keep an eye out for other details in Elliot’s room. Without further ado, here are a few more Awesome 1980s items:
1. Chutes and Ladders board game
2. Magic 8 Ball
3. Lego Universal Building Set
4. Empire Strikes Back Twin-Pod Cloud Car
5. Super Simon Electronic Game
Though the Super Simon box is in the screen shot above (in Elliot’s room), the game itself is actually on a shelf in the living room.
Also, after my big screen experience with E.T., I noticed in the family’s living room…
6. An Atari 2600
For those who’ve not seen E.T. in a while, perhaps you’ll recall composer John Williams drops into “Yoda’s Theme” for a couple of beats during the Halloween scene — when E.T. sees a kid dressed up in a Don Post Yoda mask.
Or maybe you’ll remember that Elliott’s mom (Dee Wallace) wears a weird handgun pin on her vest in one sequence.
Knowing these things hasn’t radically changed my outlook on Spielberg’s E.T. But any time I’ve the opportunity to learn something new about a film — which, honestly, I thought I already knew loads about — I’m game. So, is there anything I missed?
Other Awesome 1980s Bedrooms I’ve covered:
- Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting
- Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad
- Mikey’s room from The Goonies
- David’s room from Flight of the Navigator
- Robbie’s room from Poltergeist
- Ben’s room from The Explorers
- Pee Wee’s room from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
- Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride
- Josh’s room from Big