Pop culture is full of unsolved mysteries, like "Was Tony Danza the boss?" "What happened to Tony Danza's career?" and "Is Tony Danza even alive?" Some of them are even unrelated to Tony Danza. And some that we thought would never find an answer finally did, but only through the effort of dedicated fans with way too much time on their hands. Like ...
6Kubrick Fan Settles 2001: A Space Odyssey/IBM Debate
The epic cinematic mind trip known as 2001: A Space Odyssey gave rise to some of the greatest mysteries in pop culture history, among them "How could Stanley Kubrick go more than 140 minutes into a film without any nudity or sexual innuendo?"
Unless you count all that ape nudity and suggestive bone groping.
However, one of the most intriguing questions surrounding the film is whether HAL 9000, the intelligent computer who murders 90 percent of the cast, was meant to represent IBM, the actual computer company (and the pioneers of artificial intelligence). Those who subscribe to this theory point out that the name "HAL" is one letter removed from "IBM" (go back one letter for each), while those who oppose it point out that Kubrick himself specifically said it was bullshit.
Above: Stanley Kubrick, being Stanley Kubrick.
But what about Arthur C. Clarke, the guy who co-wrote 2001 with Kubrick and wrote the accompanying novel and its sequels? Clarke has been even more vocal than Kubrick about denying the IBM connection, even going as far as to have HAL's creator in one of the books say it's "utter nonsense." So, that pretty much settles it.
How They Solved It:
Or so we thought, until Kubrick fan and filmmaker Robert Ager took a closer look at the HD version of the film and found this:
Sadly, there's no button for "I've just been thrown into space by a computer."
Yep, that's the IBM logo on the little keypad on the suit of one of the astronauts. In the previous scene, one of the characters says, "I can't quite put my finger on" what's wrong with HAL -- and then we cut to a finger "not quite being put" on the IBM logo. If we were talking about literally any other director, we could believe that this was a coincidence (another one), but Kubrick was known for putting an insane amount of detail into his work, even if it meant terrorizing the people who worked for him. This seems exactly like the sort of Easter egg he would include.
Also, it turns out that's not the only time the IBM logo is shown: It's visible on the Pan Am "Space Clipper" at the beginning and, apparently, projected across Dave's face when he's trying to reason with HAL. Can you read it?
Hint: That's not an Apple.
Incidentally, "Can you read me?" is what Dave says when the letters flash across his face, which is basically Kubrick's way of saying "Get it? GET IT?" Did Kubrick intentionally lie to everyone who asked him about the IBM connection, including the movie's writer (who admitted that Kubrick alone came up with the name HAL), just so someone could find this previously unreadable detail when the HD version came out 40 years in the future? Honestly, we wouldn't put it past him. Who knows what else is hidden in there.