Why? This is just a bit of fun to end the weekend with.
Die hard, fanatics will know all about the whole other layer to the famous trilogy.
However, those of you not so obsessed but maybe enjoyed the movies, I hope you will find this a fun but enlightening thread on all things ‘Back to
the Future’. There are numerous sublte things to look out for next time you catch one or more of the movies. Originally ‘Back to the Future’
went through various script changes as ideas came and went. The titles at one stage were “Professor Brown Visits the Future” and the bizarre
title “Spaceman from Pluto”.
Sid Sheinberg, a studio executive in charge of funnelling Back to the Future into the cinemas, had seen previous time-travel movies like ‘Somewhere
in Time’, ‘Time Bandits’ and ‘The Final Countdown’ all fail dismally at the box office. Fearing a similar fate he suggested the bizarre
title based on references to Marty McFly being mistaken for an alien by the residents of Fifties Hill Valley in one scene of the film. Today Sheinberg
denies he was serious about it.
The time machine was meant to be a refrigerator and Doc Brown had a pet chimp called Shemp at one stage. The Doc eventually builds a fridge in 1885 in
the last movie. Suggesting a nod to the original scripts. However because refrigerators aren’t mobile and the producers didn’t want kids climbing
into them they went with a DeLorean. The iconic car also had a space age look about it. The chimp idea was dropped for a dog called Einstein.
By the time Part 3 was in planning it was hoped that former President Ronald Reagan would reprise his acting career to appear as Mayor of Hill Valley
(the town name is an oxymoron surely?). That never worked out but good ole’ Ronnie did make his own reference to the original movie in in his 1986
State of the Union address:
"Never has there been a more exciting time to be alive, a time of rousing wonder and heroic achievement. As they said in the film Back to the
Future, 'Where we're going, we don't need roads'."
Back to the Future’s Past
Although Michael J. Fox had been first choice for the lead role, Fox was not available due to his commitments to ‘Family Ties. So Eric Stoltz was
originally chosen and played Marty McFly for six weeks. It didn’t work out as poor Eric lacked the comic timing required and was rather too intense
for the role.
Above : TV Sci-fi series Fringe featured an alternative reality
Tom Wilson (Biff) gives his opinion on working with Eric Stoltz
John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum and even Dudley Moore were also considered for the part of Doc Brown at one time before Christopher Lloyd was finally
settled upon. Once Stoltz was released Michael J.Fox’s schedule had become lighter and just about allowed a window for filming.
Those Interesting Bits You Might Have Missed
• Back to the Future's opening is a panning shot of Doc Brown's workshop, showing dozens of clocks all showing the exact same time. The opening pays
homage to the 1960 movie The Time Machine, which also features multiple clocks.
• Doc Brown's collection of clocks are all perfectly synchronised to be exactly
25 minutes slow. One shows a man hanging from the second hand of the clock. It feature the silent comedy star Harold Lloyd in a depiction from his
1923 movie - Safety Last. As well as a nod to a past movie, it also hints at a later scene in which the Doc hangs from the Hill Valley Clock face in
similar fashion. The damage Doc causes also appears in later scenes to show the impact on the timeline.
• The Amp that Marty fires up on entering Doc’s house in the first few minutes bears a sticker marked up ‘CRM 114’ this is used in a number of
Stanley Kubrick movies such as Dr. Strangelove (the Discriminator device) and 2001 A Space Odyssey (the EVA pod) .
• The film ‘Time After Time’ pre-dates ‘Back to the Future’ by 6 years and features H.G Wells (Malcolm McDowell) chasing Jack the Ripper
into the future. Although the year is different, “Time After Time" and "Back to the Future feature the same date on their time machines. Both
Malcolm McDowell's H.G. Wells and Doc Brown set their date to Nov. 5th (The Day Doc Brown proclaims he invented Time Travel). There is also another
Mary Steenburgen who plays Clara in BTTF3 also features in the film ‘Time After Time’ and one scene in particular looks familiar.
• Huey Lewis whose hit single “The Power of Love” was the featured in the
film soundtrack can be seen in a cameo when Marty and his band the “Pinheads” audition for the school dance but are told they are “too darn
loud” to perform. Although Paramount studio loved the Huey Lewis anthem, "Power of Love" , they were bewildered that film's title was not featured
in the lyrics. Resulting in the studio sending out memos to radio stations to ensure they mentioned the movie whenever they played “The Power of
• When Marty travels back to 1955 from the ‘Twin Pines Mall’ to escape the Libyan terrorists he crashes into a pine tree on ‘Twin Pines’
However on his return to 1985 the name of the mall has become ‘Lone Pine Mall’.
• As Marty hits 88 mph and time travels to 1955 Hill Valley he runs into a scarecrow. Possibly a reference to another classic movie the Wizard of Oz
where Dorothy’s first encounter is with a scarecrow.
• Marty enters the home of George McFly in full nuclear protection gear and he
plays a cassette to disorientate him. The cassette label shows ‘Edward’ Van Halen on the label. Apparently the band would not agree to use of
their name. Eddie had no such problem and even went un-credited for creating the guitar noises used in the scene. However Edward was squeezed on to
the cassette label in the movie itself.
• Doc (Christopher Lloyd) and Lorraine (Lea Thompson), despite being 2 of the main characters in all 3 films, are on camera together in just one
scene of the whole trilogy.
It’s easy to overlook them in a family movie. But the Doc has some flawed character traits that should be pointed out.
When he attempts to harness the power of nature and use the lightning strike on the Clock Tower he is approached by a police officer. The full scene
was edited in the first movie. But the surviving footage clearly shows Doc bribing a police officer. The scene ends with the officer alluding to the
fact that the Doc set something on fire in the past.
He is of course talking about the ‘Brown’ Mansion. In 1985 the Doc inhabits, the only thing left at the time, the garage. Doc’s land having long
been sold off to a Burger chain.
However we know from the, not so, subtle hints in the news clippings Doc keeps pinned to his wall that the home was destroyed. The clip from 1962
mentions “Brown Estate Sold To Developers: Bankrupt Inventor Sells Off 135 Prime Acres”. Whether he actually set the building on fire for
the insurance money is only hinted at in the scene above. But Doc Brown certainly made money from selling the land off to a burger restaurant chain.
He spent a lot of the cash collecting clocks it seems.
The Doc also has a very large collection of bank notes from various time periods.
The collection is shown in BTTF2. But how he obtained such a collection is not mentioned. As Doc is talking about destroying the time machine in
2015, he says "My only regret is that I will never get a chance to visit my favourite historical era; the Old West". You can only speculate as
to how he accumulated all those notes with that in mind. Essential as those notes may be for the intrepid time traveller.
Worse still is Doc’s successful attempt to obtain plutonium from a bunch of Libyan terrorists. He tells them he will build them a nuclear bomb from
the stolen plutonium! Thankfully he was only using it to fuel his time machine. But it would surely put him on the FBI watch list?
Then we have his willingness to use the 2015 version (at least in the BTTF universe) of Rohypnol on Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer. It seems the Doc
has an ‘E Z Sleep’ device. Something which obviously sends people to sleep in seconds. So he uses it on poor Jennifer then leaves her unconscious,
hidden in a back alley!
In the third and final instalment Doc Brown even ruins a whole railroad and steam train in efforts to get Marty back to 1985. Don’t forget that the
Doc’s best and only friend is a teenage schoolboy as well!
Perhaps his character traits are influenced by the fact that he was committed back in the 1960s? BTTF2’s alternate time line shows a 1983 newspaper
clip with the headline “Emmett Brown Committed Crackpot Inventor Declared Legally Insane”. It also reports Richard Nixon is seeking a 5th
term and vowing to end the Vietnam war by 1985. Jeez!!!
There are plenty more little nuances and interesting trivia to be found in the trilogy. But I’m going to leave that for others to mention or people
to find for themselves.
Here's another 'hidden in plain sight' piece of Trivia.
In 1985 the local Hill valley cinema is showing "Orgy American Style". A real life 'dodgy' 1973 movie starring
"George Buck Flower.
George Buck Flower appears briefly in BTTF (and again in part 2) as the town bum 'Red'. Some have speculated that he’s meant to be Red Thomas, the
mayor of Hill Valley in 1955. There is no official confirmation from the scriptwriters as Michael J.Fox ad-libbed the line when he calls him 'Red'.
Exactly how many De Loreans exist towards the end of the BTTF 2.
* There is the original 1985 De Lorean after Marty's first trip.
* Then the De Lorean from 2015 stolen by Old Biff.
* Also one from Alt-1985 when Doc and Marty go back to fix the timeline
* Finally the one buried in the cave in 1885 and left there by Doc.
Does the one from Alt-1985 actually return to regular 1955 and count as a 4th De Lorean? How can all 4 (or even 3) exist in the same time?
Come to think of it why do Marty's parents never consider that their kid 'Marty' grows up to look exactly like a certain 'Calvin Klein'? A guy who
spent the best part of week as very much part of their lives back in '55. He then disappeared after giving a strange performance at their high school
'Enchantment Under the Sea' dance. Only for their son to grow into his exact double a generation or so later.
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