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Back to the Future
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Back to the Future Back to the Future
Written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Released July 3, 1985


Teenager Marty McFly is accidentally sent 30 years into the past where he inadvertently prevents his parents from meeting and falling in love, thus endangering his own existence.


Read the story summary at Futurepedia


Notes from the Back to the Future chronology


This story takes place in October 1985 and November 1955.


Didja Know?


    Actor Eric Stoltz was the original actor hired to play the role of Marty McFly in Back to the Future, even shooting a fair amount of footage before the director and producers decided he was wrong for the role and now-iconic actor Michael J. Fox was brought in to play it.

    It is interesting to note that Eric Stoltz went on to star in the film The Fly II in 1989 as Martin Brundle, son of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) from the The Fly. "Marty" is a nickname for someone named "Martin". The "Mc" in "McFly" is Gaelic for "son of". So, Stoltz was playing the "son of Fly" in the scenes he shot for Back to the Future and the son of Seth Brundle in The Fly II--and by the character being named Martin, Stoltz finally got to appear in a film as Marty McFly...Martin, son of the Fly!! He is even called Marty a couple of times in The Fly II. Possibly, this was an intentional in-joke by the producers of that film.

   In the 2015 documentary film Back in Time by director Jason Aron about the Back to the Future phenomenon, series co-creator Bob Gale claims that the Stoltz footage will be released someday.


Actress Melora Hardin was originally hired to play Jennifer opposite Eric Stoltz. When Michael J. Fox replaced Stoltz, Hardin was replaced as well, as she was taller than Fox, leading to Claudia Wells' casting.


While the film was shooting with Eric Stoltz in the lead, Michael J. Fox was shooting Teen Wolf in the same Pasadena neighborhood that served as Lorraine's and George's Hill Valley neighborhood!


The member of Biff's gang called Match was portrayed by Billy Zane in his first film appearance. PopApostle readers know Zane for his portrayal of John Justice Wheeler in Twin Peaks, as well as King Talus in The Scorpion King: Battle for Redemption.


The first draft of the script had the time machine built into a refrigerator and would have required a nuclear explosion in 1955 to send it back to 1985. In the 2015 documentary film Back in Time, Bob Gale says Steven Spielberg later borrowed the refrigerator/nuke concept for 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.


The same date of November 5 is prominent in two time travel films prior to this: Time After Time (1979) and Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982). Mary Steenburgen co-starred in Time After Time and goes on to co-star in Back to the Future Part III.


Doc Brown is fond of the exclamation "Great Scott!" This is a minced oath typically associated with Scottish author Sir Walter Scott and US general Winfield Scott.


Back to the Future and, specifically, the characters of Doc and Marty were the inspiration for the animated adult comedy TV series Rick and Morty.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this film


newscaster (unnamed)


Marty McFly

Dr. Emmet Brown

Jennifer Parker

Principal Stanford S. Strickland

dance committee

Goldie Wilson

George McFly

Lorraine McFly (née Baines)

clock tower lady

Daniel J. Parker Jr. (Jennifer's father)

Jennifer's grandmother (mentioned only)

Red Thomas, Jr. (mentioned only)

Biff Tannen

Dave McFly

Linda McFly

Joey Baines

Sam Baines


Otis Peabody
Elsie Peabody
Martha Peabody
Sherman Peabody


Wilbur's wife (unnamed)

Red Thomas

Lou Caruthers




waitress at Lou's Cafe (unnamed)

Milton Baines

Sally Baines

Toby Baines


Ron Woodward (mentioned only)

Mark Dixon



Marvin Berry

The Starlighters

Red the bum

Paul (mentioned only)

Greg (mentioned only)

Craig (mentioned only)


Didja Notice?




The film opens at 8:18 a.m., though the clocks in Doc Brown's lab show 7:53 a.m. due to some unknown experiment Doc was running that made all the clocks run 25 minutes slow. The date is October 25, 1985, a Friday.


At 0:37 on the Blu-ray, a Raven brand alarm clock is seen in Doc Brown's lab. I have been unable to confirm this as a real brand.


At 0:52 on the Blu-ray, a Mastercrafters Model 911 Happy Times Drunk clock is seen. A "past due" notice of some kind is seen on the counter next to the clock, suggesting that Doc is behind on his bills. Has he simply neglected paying on time or is he going broke?


At 1:00 on the Blu-ray, a clock that is an homage to the 1923 silent film Safety Last! is seen. It is a clock with a human figure hanging off the minute hand. This approximates a scene in Safety Last! in which the film's star, Harold Lloyd (no relation to Doc Brown actor Christopher Lloyd) hangs off a clock that mounted on the side of a skyscraper. This may have been custom made for the production; I have been unable to confirm any others out on the market, nor could I confirm the brand name, Axis. The clock also foreshadows (unintentionally on Doc's part) Doc hanging from the Hill Valley clock tower late in the film.


A Regulator pendulum clock is seen at 1:03 on the Blu-ray.


At 1:10 on the Blu-ray, a Kit-Cat Klock, along with the owl and poodle variations, are seen hanging in Doc's lab.


    At 1:18 on the Blu-ray, two newspaper clippings in a frame from the Hill Valley Telegraph are seen in Doc's lab. Both articles deal with Doc's past, the headlines reading "Brown Mansion Destroyed" and "Brown Estate Sold to Developers - Bankrupt Inventor Sells Off 435 Prime Acres".

    Both clippings show the same volume and number under the masthead, Vol. XIV, No. 279, but have different days! This would not be accurate. Complete dates are not legible. "Brown Mansion Destroyed" has a day of Thursday, August something (the 1st?, 1982?). The visible price of 35 cents on the "Brown Mansion Destroyed" clipping suggests the early 1980s, so the event occurred not so long ago for Doc (did Marty know him back then?). "Brown Estate Sold to Developers" has a day of a Friday in February and is cut off after that. The volume number XIV (14) would usually indicate how many years the paper has existed, and the number the chronological issue of that edition. We see the Hill Valley Telegraph in 1955 later in the film (and, for that matter, in 1885 in Back to the Future Part III), so the volume number seen here doesn't make sense. Also, the issue number, if 279 is correct (the 279th day of the year, assuming one edition per day), would be around October 5, not any time in August or February. Of course, these clippings are simple production props, so we can't always expect exacting accuracy.

    It would seem like the "Brown Estate Sold to Developers" event would occur first, then the "Brown Mansion Destroyed" some years later, assuming Doc sold off the vacant land, but kept the mansion. The text of the articles themselves is not legible. The photo accompanying the "Brown Mansion Destroyed" article suggests a fire swept through the house. Did Doc set the fire himself to collect the insurance money so he could continue his experiments? Or did one of his experiments cause the fire accidentally? Or was some other calamity the cause?

   Hill Valley is a fictitious city in California, so the Telegraph newspaper is fictitious as well. 

Hill Valley Telegraph clippings


    At 1:30 on the Blu-ray, portraits of Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein are seen in Doc's lab. The Franklin portrait was seen previously in "Looking for a Few Good Scientists" when Doc was living in an apartment in Pasadena while teaching at CalTech in 1943.

    Various Burger King wrappers, boxes, cups, and bags are also seen in this shot. Minutes later, we see that Doc's abode, he now living in the large garage of the former Brown estate, is situated right behind a Burger King establishment, so Doc probably got meals from there frequently for convenience sake while he was experimenting and working on new inventions. A Whopper box is seen here; Whopper is the name of chain's primary hamburger.

    Also in this shot is the camcorder Doc will ask to Marty to use to record the time machine experiment at the Twin Pines Mall. The camcorder model is a JVC GR-C1.


When the clock radio in Doc's lab turns itself on, the local radio station is playing an ad for Statler Toyota. Statler Toyota is the Hill Valley car dealership of 1985 seen later in the film. Toyota is a Japanese multinational automobile manufacturer.


At 1:40 on the Blu-ray, a General Electric coffee maker is seen in the lab. Notice the clock on it has a an X taped across it; apparently the clock isn't working.


A Denver Broncos clock is seen at 1:45 on the Blu-ray.


A Sanyo Spectra 2000 television turns on in the lab at 1:56 on the Blu-ray. A news report about missing or stolen plutonium is airing, setting up the fact that Doc is the one who has the missing radioactive material. The report goes to say that a Libyan terrorist group claimed responsibility for the theft, setting the upcoming revelation that Doc double-crossed the group and took their plutonium instead of building them a bomb with it.


The toaster in Doc's lab at 2:12 on the Blu-ray keeps popping the burned toast up and down from the dual slots. Real toasters only pop the toast up automatically, not down. Doc must have modified it to do both, though why anyone would need the toast to go down automatically is beyond me.


    The automatic dog feeder and can opening invention in Doc's lab dispenses cans of Kal Kan dog food. This was a real brand at the time, now known as Pedigree. Since there is at least a few days worth of meat piled disgustingly in the dog's bowl from the automatic feeder, it seems that Doc and his dog (Einstein) have been away from home for that amount of time. But if the machine has been dispensing canned dog food for days, who's been removing the metal lid from the magnet that holds it? There is no mechanism visible for removing it without a human hand!

    A few minutes later when Doc calls Marty at the lab, he says he's been away "working". Presumably, he was working on the time machine. Does he have another lab/garage where he was working on the DeLorean? That makes some sense in that Marty would have seen the vehicle if Doc was working on it in his own garage home.


Doc's dog in 1985 is named Einstein, after Albert Einstein, the renowned theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity in physics.


At 2:48 on the Blu-ray, a box of Milk-Bone brand dog biscuits is seen in the lab.


When Marty opens the side door of the garage to get in, notice that there appear to be two single-doors in the door frame, one that opens outward and one that opens in!


Through the open door, notice that paper Burger King cups are seen littering the walkway outside the garage. As stated earlier in the study, the garage is located behind a Burger King establishment and the restaurant's dumpster is right in front of the chain link fence separating the two properties.


Marty rides a Madrid Valterra skateboard and wears Nike sneakers.


Doc keeps a key to the garage hidden under the doormat.


The plutonium case is hidden under Doc's bunk in the garage.


When Marty comes to the garage before school and finds Doc gone and the excess dog food piled up in Einstein's bowl, he mutters, "Where the hell is he?" indicating he didn't know Doc had been away.


    The denim jacket Marty wears was custom made by Guess for the production. It has never been made available commercially....what are they waiting for?

    Marty wears three pins on the jacket, a bass guitar pin (Fender Precision Bass), an "Art in Revolution" pin (from a logo design used in a 1971 exhibition on Soviet art), and a delta-shaped pin of some kind (possibly representing a guitar pick?).


According to Zemeckis and Gale, the CRM 114 label on the control panel of the giant amplifier is the model name of the amp. The name comes from the CRM-114 Discriminator decryption device used in the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove. Maybe Doc is a fan of the film after his experiences working for the Manhattan Project (see "Looking for a Few Good Scientists").


A Simpson segmental voltmeter is built into the amplifier Doc has been working on which Marty tests out with a guitar.


Marty tests the giant amp with an Erlewine Chiquita travel guitar.


At 4:07 on the Blu-ray, a Krylon box is seen in Doc's lab. Krylon is a trade name of paint made by Sherman-Williams.


A Ray-O-Vac battery box is seen at 4:16 on the Blu-ray.


At 4:17 on the Blu, an Avery box is seen. Avery is a manufacturer of office supplies, now known as Avery Dennison Corporation. Among the books seen on a shelf in Doc's lab, oddly out of place, is The Thorn Birds. The Thorn Birds is a 1977 novel by Colleen McCullough.


Marty wears a Casio calculator watch and Zeiss aviator sunglasses.


The alarm that Doc's garage phone is rigged to for ringing is an Edwards 55.


At 5:08 on the Blu-ray, a small kitchen can be seen in the background in Doc's lab.


A Seeburg Select-O-Matic M100C jukebox is seen in Doc's lab at 5:10 on the Blu-ray.


At 5:31 on the Blu-ray, a clock that appears to be made out of a laser disc is seen on Doc's wall. Doc also has an international time clock display, showing the time in Paris, Moscow, London, Tel Aviv, and Washington D.C. A Pepsi clock is also seen in this shot; Pepsi was a major sponsor of the film trilogy.


At 5:51 on the Blu-ray, a photo of an astronaut disembarking from a lunar lander on the Moon is seen on Doc's wall. I think it's a photo of Buzz Aldrin during Apollo 11, the first landing of men on the Moon on July 20, 1969.


    Why is Marty so late for school? He is shocked to find out from Doc on the phone that it is 8:25 instead of 8:00. But he arrived at Doc's garage just a few minutes before and he has a watch...he should have known he was running behind already!

    It seems Marty has a habit of being late. A bit later, Principal Strickland gives Marty a tardy slip when he gets to school and remarks, "I believe that's four in a row." Also, one of the tag lines for the film advertisements was "He was never in time for his classes...He wasn't in time for his dinner...Then one day...he wasn't in his time at all."


When Doc hears his clocks' alarms go off 25 minutes behind over the phone, he says, "Perfect! My experiment worked! They're all exactly 25 minutes slow!" What experiment was he running that he would want all his clocks to run 25 minutes slow? And how difficult is it to set a bunch of clocks 25 minutes slow?


At 5:55 on the Blu-ray, a saxophone is seen in Doc's lab. A saxophone, presumably the same one, was also seen in Doc's apartment in Pasadena in "Looking for a Few Good Scientists". Does Doc play? The saxophone is seen in Doc's mansion in 1955 later in the film as well, so he's had it for quite some time without getting rid of it. This may be a reference to Albert Einstein's love of music and he also played the violin as a hobby.


Why did Marty drop by Doc's home if he wasn't expected in the first place? And how did Doc know he could reach him there by phone that morning? Perhaps Marty was in the habit of stopping by on Friday mornings, either to just check in on his friend or to see if Doc had any work for him that weekend.


At 6:03 on the Blu-ray, the address of Doc's lab is seen to be 1646. Later in the film we learn that the street is John F. Kennedy Drive.


The song that Marty listens to on his Walkman as he skateboards away from Doc's home is "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News. The song was written for the film by the band. This is also the song Marty's band, The Pinheads, attempts to play at the school audition for the Battle of the Bands a bit later. "Walkman" is Sony's brand name for its personal audio/video devices (at the time of this story only audio, being the brand of an audio cassette tape player).


    The Burger King in front of Doc's home is still in existence at 535 N Victory Blvd, Burbank, California. Other businesses seen on this street at the time are Toys R Us, First Insterstate Bank, Lancers Family Restaurant, Terry Lumber Co., and Fremont Press. All but First Insterstate Bank and Fremont Press still exist.

    Interestingly, today if you look down Victory Blvd. the other way (south) there is a business just two doors down from the Burger King called Future Glass! In fact, their website shows the business was established in 1986...the year after Back to the Future premiered! Possibly, the owner named his business after the film since it had shot some scenes essentially next door.


Doc Brown's garage did not actually exist behind the Burger King on Victory Blvd. It was a flat facade set up for the shoot.


The pick-up truck Marty hitches a ride on on his skateboard is a 1984 Ford Ranger.


At 6:20 on the Blu-ray, Marty rides past several businesses on Main Street in Hill Valley: Broadway Florist, Hog Heaven, Texaco, The Third Eye, and Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center. On Second Street, we see Bank of America, Ask Mr. Foster Travel Agency, a pawn shop, Abrams Brokerage Corporation (a bond agency), Cupid's Adult Book Store, Elite Barber Shop (boarded up with a sign in window that reads "We Moved to Twin Pines Mall"), Blue Bird Motel (but actually showing a tattoo parlor sign in the window and out of business sign), Mayor Goldie Wilson re-election campaign headquarters, Goodwill Industries, and Statler Toyota. These are fictitious locations, fronts set up on the backlot of Universal Studios. At the end of Second Street another street crosses, but we never see the name. On this street are seen the Town Theater (now the Hill Valley Assembly of Christ) and Elmo's Ribs. Of these businesses, only Texaco, Bank of America, Ask Mr. Foster Travel Agency, and Goodwill Industries are/were real world corporations.


At 6:23 on the Blu-ray, Marty drops off of the Ford Ranger and hitches onto a 1981 Jeep CJ-7 with Michigan license plate 726 BXG. The street intersecting Main Street here is seen to be Hill Street.


The man driving the Jeep is wearing a Mountain Dew cap. Mountain Dew is a soft drink made by Pepsi.


Marty passes the Third Eye and Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center twice, at 6:24 and 6:29 on the Blu-ray!


A number of newspaper machines are seen in front of Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center. The newspaper name is too distant and blurry to read on most, but Times-Tribune is visible on one. This appears to be the Peninsula Times-Tribune of the San Francisco Peninsula area from 1979-1993. But the Times-Tribune was a small community paper serving an area over 150 miles away from the small town of Caspar, CA which shares the same zip code seen for Hill Valley in "Science Project" (though it's also unlikely that Hill Valley could be located in the Caspar area, given its proximity to the desert as seen in Back to the Future Part III).


    By the clock tower, signs pointing the way to highways 395 East and 8 South are seen. But U.S. Route 395 in California runs north-south, not east-west. And CA State Route 8 has been named Route 26 since 1964; it runs from Stockton to Pioneer in CA. We probably have to take these as fictitious versions of these highway names.

    In the novelization, the highways are 395 West and 295 East. Still not applicable to the real world and there is no highway 295 in California at all. 


Marty seems to be quite popular in town, as all the women in the aerobics class at Lou's wave to him as he goes by!


At 6:33 on the Blu-ray, a Budweiser van is seen parked on the street. The van is a 1984 Ford Econoline.


The Mayor Goldie Wilson re-election van seen at 6:45 on the Blu-ray is a 1984 Ford Econoline E-250 with CA license plate ZH67820. The license plate frame advertises Allen Kane Ford, a real world Ford dealer at the time in North Hollywood.


Hill Valley High School scenes were shot at Whittier High School in Whittier, CA. In 1985, the exterior of Hill Valley High is covered with graffiti. Among the graffiti is "H.V.H.S. S.U.C.K.S." and "SMEGMA"!


At 7:27 on the Blu-ray, a hand-painted poster for the Battle of the Bands can be seen on the hallway wall at Hill Valley High.


The school gym where the Battle of the Bands was held was actually shot at the Burbank Community Center


The electric guitar played by Marty at the Battle of the Bands is an Ibanez Roadstar II RS440 Guitar. Bandmates play a Gibson Victory bass guitar, Yamaha drums, and Wurlitzer and Roland keyboards.


    The Pinheads band member names are not given here (besides Marty), but are named as Paul, Lee, and Bobby in "How Needles Got Here", after the performers who portrayed them in the movie (Paul Hanson, Lee Brownfield, and Robert DeLapp). Paul Hanson was also Michael J. Fox's guitar coach and played the actual guitar music heard for the Pinheads' audition here.

    The band's name is revealed in "How Needles Got Here" to come from the 1977 Ramones song "Pinhead".


The head of the dance committee ("you're just too darn loud") is played by Huey Lewis.


At 8:56 on the Blu-ray, Mayor "Goldie" Wilson is seen to have a gold incisor tooth, hence his nickname.


The large cat statues seen on the clock tower were originally used in the 1982 film Cat People. The clock itself has Roman numerals on its face. Traditionally, clocks use IIII for the number "4", even though the real Roman numeral is IV. Here, the clock uses IV.


At 9:11 on the Blu-ray, a book carried by Jennifer has a book cover on it with the name and logo of the Hill Valley High athletic teams, the Bulldogs. In 1955, posters for the Bulldogs' upcoming games are seen hanging in the school.


Talking about his audition tape, Jennifer reminds Marty that Doc Brown always says, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything." Later, in 1955, Marty says this exact thing to George. Then, in the altered 1985 at the end of the movie, George repeats the same thing to his son.


At 9:22 on the Blu-ray, one of the aerobics girls Marty turns his head to is carrying a Head gym bag.


At 9:35 on the Blu-ray, the bus stop bench Marty and Jennifer sit on has an ad for Zales Jewelers on it.


    At 9:46 on the Blu-ray, the flat bed tow truck carrying the 4x4 Toyota has a company name and address on the door. The name is not visible, but the zip code of the address is 96211. This is an invalid zip code for the U.S.

    The Toyota truck is a 1985 SR5 Xtra Cab. The tow truck is a 1982 Ford F-350 Regular Cab Jerr-Dan with CA license plate 2F79737.


 At 9:54 on the Blu-ray, it can be seen that the courthouse/clock tower is the Department of Social Services in 1985. In 1955, it is the courthouse. Notice that the ledge below the clock is unbroken.

 The courthouse is based on the Limestone County Courthouse in Athens, Alabama.


The woman from the Hill Valley Preservation Society hands Marty a "Save the Clock Tower" flyer. The flyer includes a reproduction of a 1955 article from the Hill Valley Telegraph published the day after the clock tower was struck by lightning (Monday, November 14, 1955). The photo in the article shows the ledge below the clock broken, which should not be the case in this timeline. This photo is a continuity error in the film.

clock tower flyer


Digital reproductions of the original clock tower flyer can be found on the web. The Hill Valley Telegraph header from the article gives Vol. XVII, No. 32, with no date! The text of the article is just filler text. The same text can be found in various other film and television productions where filler text is required.

flyer prop


At 11:04 on the Blu-ray, Jennifer's father drives a 1984 AMC Eagle 4WD Wagon with CA license plate 1JVB988.


Jennifer's father is named as Daniel J. Parker Jr. in Back to the Future: The Game.


    When her father comes to pick her up, Jennifer tells Marty to call her at her grandma's that night. If it's the grandma on her father's side, she is visiting Betty Parker née Lapinski, named in Back to the Future: The Game.

    The phone number Jennifer gives Marty is 555-4823. The 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film. In the novelization, she gives the number 243-8480 instead. 


    At 11:22 on the Blu-ray, the Essex Theater is seen in town square. It is an adult film theater in 1985. The marquee shows it is currently showing Orgy American Style. There was an actual pornographic film by this title made in 1973. The actor George Buck Flower had a role in it and he also plays Red the bum here in Back to the Future!

    It seems odd that a 1973 porno would be showing in 1985. You might think this one was a remake, but the movie poster is seen outside the theater near the end of the movie and it's for the 1973 version. The real poster has the female star's breasts fully exposed; at the Hill Valley adult theater, it appears some tape may have been placed across her areolas.

Orgy American Style Orgy American Style


At 11:36 on the Blu-ray, a Miller Lite beer truck is seen in the background.


    The police car Marty hitches a ride on at 11:42 on the Blu-ray is a 1980 Chevrolet Malibu with CA license plate 814692.

    Also in this shot, an Allstate insurance office and Sherwin-Williams Paint store are seen.


At 11:47 on the Blu-ray, Marty is seen hitching a ride home on a 1981 Dodge Ram Prospector.


The George McFly family is seen to live in the Lyon Estates housing tract.


    At 12:00 on the Blu-ray, the McFly family car, a 1976 Chevrolet Nova, is towed back to the McFly house by Red Thomas, Jr. Towing Service after Biff crashes it. Red Thomas, presumably the senior, is seen to be mayor of Hill Valley in 1955. The tow truck is a 1982 Chevrolet C-30 with CA license plate 2E71376. The phone number on the truck is 849-5680.

    In the novelization, the McFly car is a 1979 Plymouth Reliant. 


    At 12:34 on the Blu-ray, an old black-and-white family photo can be seen on a display shelf in the foyer of the McFly house. Possibly, it is an early photo of the Baines family, as the man in the center looks similar to Sam Baines (whom we meet in 1955). The little girl in the photo may be Lorraine and one of the women could be Lorraine's mother, Stella.

    More old photos are seen on the fireplace mantel and also hanging above it. 


At 12:42 on the Blu-ray, a pet bird is seen in a cage in the McFly house (although the bird is never seen to move or make noise, so it may be a prop bird).


    Biff blames George for the car accident because George didn't tell him it had a blind spot, claiming that George's insurance should have to cover it since it's his car. Biff also wants to know who is going to pay his cleaning bill since he spilled beer on his sport coat when the other car smashed into him. Of course, it is illegal to be drinking alcohol while driving! Biff's statement hints that he was drunk when the accident occurred.

    No money exchange occurs for the coat cleaning here, but in the book George gives Biff twenty dollars. 


The number of pens in George's shirt pocket changes from shot-to-shot.


At 13:38 on the Blu-ray, a number of products are seen in the McFly kitchen and laundry room: Maxwell House coffee, Cocoa Krispies, Marshmallow Krispies, Frosted Krispies, Wonder Bread, Scott Towels, Pledge, Raid, Lite beer, Bud Light beer, and Band-Aid bandages. At 14:31, Reynolds Wrap is seen. These all are/were real word brands.


In this version of 1985, Biff is George's supervisor at an unnamed business.


At 14:22 on the Blu-ray, an electric organ is seen in the McFly house. Does Marty play it as well as guitar? In 1955, a piano is seen in the Baines home, so it's possible Lorraine plays.


Several bowls of candy are seen in the McFly living room area. At dinner, George pours a box of Sophie Mae Peanut Brittle into a bowl as well; this is a real world brand of peanut brittle. In the deleted scenes on the Blu-ray, George is convinced to buy the entire stock of peanut brittle for a Girl Scout fund-raiser from a neighbor girl by her father (named Howard in the novelization), so it may be that George keeps buying candy or other products from neighbors due to his non-confrontational nature.


    At 14:39 on the Blu-ray, the McFly family is watching a syndicated rerun of The Honeymooners on TV while eating dinner. The Honeymooners was an American sitcom that ran 1955-1956. The episode they watch is "The Man from Space" and Marty winds up seeing the same episode again, in first-run airing, when he goes back to 1955 (more on this episode later in the study).

    Marty is drinking a Diet Pepsi at dinner; it appears that his older brother Dave is also enjoying one. Lorraine is drinking a Bud Light. In the background, graduation photos of Dave and Linda can be seen.

    Dave is wearing a Burger King uniform during dinner, then rushes off to work. Presumably, he works at the Burger King in front of Doc's garage!


At 14:47 on the Blu-ray, the Game of Life board game is seen sitting next to the TV in the McFly living room. This is a real world board game currently manufactured by Hasbro. A backgammon game box is also seen.


At 14:50 on the Blu-ray, some additional food products are seen in the McFly kitchen: McCormick spice, French's spice, Idaho Spuds, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, and Birds Eye frozen corn. Many of these same brands are mentioned as part of the McFly dinner in the novelization as well!


At 15:05 on the Blu-ray, a bottle of Popov vodka is seen on the kitchen counter. This is a real world low priced vodka brand.


    At 17:31 on the Blu-ray, a Diet Pepsi Free can is sitting on the shelf of the headboard of Marty's bed. The clock radio on the shelf is a Panasonic RC-6015. The song that plays on the radio is "Time Bomb Town" by Lindsey Buckingham.

    On the lower shelf, a copy of Reference Quarterly (RQ) magazine is seen. Now known as Reference & User Services Quarterly, it's the official journal of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association, providing information of interest to reference librarians and other professionals involved in user-oriented library services. Hard to see why Marty would have such a periodical in his room! Bob Gale even comments on this in the audio commentary. Of course, the magazine was just something placed to make the room look lived in and the title was not meant to be noticed. (As a bit of an in-joke, several copies of the magazine are later seen in Marty's room in "It's About Time"!)

    When Marty reaches over to the end table to answer the phone call from Doc, several Cadbury Caramello candy bars can be seen sitting on it. Possibly this is meant to be more candy purchased by George for a neighbor kid's fundraiser. Marty shoves a piece of the candy in his mouth during the phone call.

    A framed photo of Jennifer sits on the headboard. 

    On the opposite end table is a copy of Omni magazine. Another issue of the magazine is seen on Marty's bed as if he may have been reading it before falling asleep. Omni was a science, science-fiction, and parapsychology magazine published from 1978-1995. It still has an active web presence.

   Marty's guitar is also seen on his bed as if he may have been noodling around on it before falling asleep.


    At 17:50 on the Blu-ray, notice that a large version (~8x12") of the photograph of Marty and his siblings he carries in his wallet (as becomes important later in the movie) is seen pinned to the wall above his bed.

    A number of girly pin-ups are also seen pinned to his wall.

    A poster for the 1983 Huey Lewis and the News album Sports also hangs in his room. As previously mentioned, Huey Lewis and the News provided two original songs for the movie.

    In the novelization, Marty's bedroom is described as being decorated with posters of rock stars and cars, particularly Toyota four-by-fours. 


Doc makes the 12:28 a.m. phone call to Marty to ask him to pick up the video camera at the workshop before meeting him at the Twin Pines Mall parking lot for the experiment. We saw the JVC camcorder sitting on a workbench there at the beginning of the film.


    The scenes at Twin Pines Mall were shot at Puente Hills Mall in Puente Hills, CA. At 18:12 on the Blu-ray, a sign for the Puente Hills Mall can be seen in the background on the main building, partially obscured by a tree. The mall today has had renovation and changes in stores, so it looks quite different now from how it did in 1985. The Robinson's and JCPenny stores seen in the movie are now Macy's and Burlington Coat Factory stores, respectively. The presence of Robinson's would tend to suggest that Hill Valley is in southern California rather than northern, as the Robinson's department store chain was located only in southern California and a few in Arizona.

    Although Fox Photo was a real company at the time, the booth seen in the mall parking lot here did not exist at Puente Hills Mall. The booth is a mock-up for the film, seeing as it gets run over the Libyan terrorists' van when they chase Marty in the DeLorean a bit later.


At 18:05 on the Blu-ray, several stores are seen across the street from the mall: Petrini Shoes, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and Ross Dress for Less. These are all real world companies. Only the Big 5 Sporting Goods store still exists at this location across from the Puente Hills Mall.


When Marty arrives at Twin Pines Mall, a train horn is heard in the background. This was probably from the actual train tracks that run near Puente Hills Mall and the sound editors just left the sound in. In continuity, we can assume the sound is from the train tracks that run through Hill Valley and cross Clayton Ravine (as seen in Back to the Future III, retroactively becoming Eastwood Ravine when Doc and Marty change history in that film).


    Per the Internet Movie Cars Database, Doc Brown's van is a UCBC Step Van built over a GMC P-60 chassis. It has CA license plate 1T77450. The side of the van has Doc's business name painted on the side, "Dr. E. Brown Enterprises, 24 HR. Scientific Services". Is there really a need in Hill Valley for a freelance scientist at a moment's notice 24 hours a day? Another one of Doc's goofy ideas?

    The van has a bumper sticker on the rear bumper that reads "One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day." In "Looking for a Few Good Scientists", we learned that Doc was one of the scientists who worked on the Manahattan Project, which developed the world's first atomic bomb. It could be that Doc has regrets or guilt about that.


Doc's time machine is built into a DMC DeLorean automobile. The DMC DeLorean was a real world automobile manufactured by the DeLorean Motor Company from 1981-1983. The company went defunct at the end of 1982.


The DeLorean time machine has personalized CA license plate OUTATIME. This is a bit of a mistake by the film makers, as California allows only up to 7 characters on a personalized plate.


When the ramp-door opens and descends on the back of Doc's van to reveal the DeLorean, a bunch of white smoke or steam billows out of the compartment. Why would there be a bunch of smoke? It seems to be just a production effect to make the reveal more dramatic!


Doc is wearing a Seiko watch on his right wrist. He wears another watch on his left wrist! It appears to be a different model. We also saw that Doc wears two watches in "Science Project".


Seeing Doc in his radiation suit, Marty doesn't recognize what it really is and asks, "Is that a Devo suit?" Devo is an American rock band started in 1973. They are often known for wearing yellow plastic clothing resembling rain suits or hazmat suits in performances on stage or in music videos. Doc's outfit is white and has a radiation symbol on the back. The suit Doc later gives Marty to wear is yellow.


As Doc has Marty begin filming the experiment, Doc introduces himself and states the date and time. When he states it is 1:18 a.m., Marty looks at the watch on his wrist and then shakes it as if it's not working. He also briefly holds it up to his ear as if to see if it is ticking. Of course, the watch is digital, so there would be no ticking from it! And why would his watch not be working? Could an electromagnetic field from the time machine be affecting the watch?


The DeLorean has Goodyear Eagle GT tires on it.


Doc is wearing Nike Van­dal High Supreme sneakers.


The control watch worn around Doc's neck is a Seiko and the one Einstein wears is a Citizen.


Doc uses a modified Futaba FP-T8SGA-P remote control to operate the DeLorean during the experiment.  


Delorean time beam At 21:56 on the Blu-ray, something that may be some kind of emitter device on the roof of the DeLorean seems to shoot a thin beam out to the front of the car; presumably this is what opens some kind of aperture in time that allows the car to pass through it when it hits 88 miles per hour. (Since originally writing the previous sentence, the DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual has been released and revealed this device is a tachyon pulse generator and generally works as a I suggested. Tachyons are hypothetical particles that always travel faster than light.)


At 22:02 on the Blu-ray, the blue screen special effect of Doc and Marty standing amidst the twin flame streaks caused by the DeLorean's leap through time is not perfect as Marty's right foot is right in the middle of one of the flame streaks! In the previous shot, his foot is just outside the streak. flame streaks


    Doc sends the DeLorean and Einstein one minute into the future. But 1 minute and 22 seconds pass in the film before the car returns!

    The 1 minute that passes and we see Doc's and Einstein's control watches change in sync with Einstein's being 1 minute behind is almost a full minute (57-58 seconds) so, we'll give the filmmakers that one!


At 23:27 on the Blu-ray, a Music Plus store is seen in the background. This was a music retail outlet at the time, now defunct.


Doc remarks to Marty that the stainless steel construction of the DeLorean helps with the flux dispersal. DeLorean bodies were, indeed, constructed with stainless steel.


    At 24:45 on the Blu-ray, Doc shows Marty how to work the DeLorean time machine. He switches on the "time circuits". The time circuits box is labeled "TFC Drive Circuits". It's not explained what TFC stands for in the movie. An early draft of the script referred to the "temporal field capacitor"...I think the label is left over from that name. The name was changed to "flux capacitor" to make it easier for actors to say. So the TFC Drive Circuits switch must power on the famous flux capacitor.

    The switch itself is labeled as a Dayton brand switch on the enclosure. Dayton is a real world brand name of switches.


As a demonstration to Marty and the video camera, Doc programs the time circuits in the DeLorean for, first, the signing of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) and, second, the birth of Christ (December 25, 0000). The Declaration of Independence, of course, refers to the document declaring the independence of the United States of America from the kingdom of Great Britain. The birth of Jesus Christ is associated with December 25, but is just a tradition; scholars do not know the exact date of Jesus' birth, so if Doc were to go to that time (in what is now Israel), he would probably not see the birth occur right then (Doc actually mentions this in the novelization). Also, Doc is in error typing in the year as 0000; there is no 0 AD in the Western Julian and Gregorian calendars. The calendar goes from 1 BC to 1 AD.


Doc tells Marty about the mishap while hanging a clock in 1955 that resulted in him having a vision of the flux capacitor. He says it took him his entire family fortune to finally bring his dream to life.


Doc remarks that the area of the mall in 1955 used to be farmland as far as the eye could see, owned by Old Man Peabody who had a crazy idea about breeding pine trees. This sets up Marty's arrival in 1955 at Twin Pines Ranch and the reason the mall in 1985 is called Twin Pines Mall.


When Doc opens the case of plutonium at 26:59 on the Blu-ray, there are 12 cylinders of the radioactive element. Notice that one cylinder is already empty of the plutonium pellet, for it was just used for the experiment sending Einstein one minute into the future.


Doc loads his suitcase into the hood area of the DeLorean. DeLorean automobiles were manufactured with the engine in the rear, leaving the hood area as a trunk.


At 28:35 on the Blu-ray, notice that Einstein has also been fitted with a radiation suit! His is less protective, having holes for his legs and not covering his entire head. He is left in Doc's van for the plutonium loading procedure, possibly for this reason.


Doc tells Marty he plans to go about 25 years into the future to see the progress of mankind. Then he adds, "I'll also be able to see
who wins the next 25 World Series." Why would he want to know who wins all those games unless he was planning to bet on them? Yet, in Back to the Future Part II, he chastises Marty for buying the Gray's Sports Almanac, declaring, "I didn't invent the time machine for financial gain!" Plus, we later see that Doc is willing to go back to 1938 to purchase a stack of Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) so he can sell them in 2015 for millions of dollars in "Emmett Brown Visits the Future". It seems that Doc thinks that only his intellect is justified in profiting monetarily from knowledge of the future.


When the Libyans show up at the Twin Pines Mall, a shocked Doc exclaims, "They found me. I don't know how, but they found me!" The novelization explains that the Libyans had been watching him for days, suspicious of his intentions in building the bomb for them. They knew he had been investigating the mall parking lot at night before this.


The van used by the Libyans is a 1975 Volkswagen Station Wagon.


Doc faces off against the Libyans with a Colt Single Action Army revolver.


The Libyans are armed with a Kalashnikov rifle converted to full-auto and an RPG-7 grenade launcher. Both are Russian-made weapons.


A lot of mechanical hang-ups occur during the confrontation with the Libyans, almost as if Time is making sure some things happen a certain way: Doc's revolver jams, so he can't defend himself against the Libyans; the armed Libyan's Kalashnikov rifle jams just as he is about to shoot Marty; and the Libyans' van stalls and has trouble restarting before they can begin chasing Marty in the DeLorean. 


At 30:05 on the Blu-ray, the keytag on the ignition keys of the DeLorean can be seen to have Doc's address on it, with "E. Brown", "J.F.K. Dr." and "Valley CA" visible on it. Near the end of the movie (at 1:38:51), the other side of the keytag is seen to read "555-1128" and "OUT-A-TIME". "OUT-A-TIME" is the license plate of the vehicle and "555-1128" is presumably Doc's phone number in 1985.
key tag keytag


Notice at 30:17 on the Blu-ray, as Marty shifts gears in the DeLorean, he accidentally bumps the switch for the TFC driver circuits as well, turning them on and setting his journey to the last entered date, November 5, 1955, into motion.


The odometer on the DeLorean goes up and down from shot-to-shot throughout the film. These instances are not meant to be aberrations in the flow of time or anything of the sort, they are just a fact of the vagaries of film shooting and editing.


The DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual reveals that the analog speedometer seen in the time machine DeLorean is actually an overlay onto the original factory speedometer. When DeLorean automobiles were being produced in the early 1980s, a federal mandate stated that all cars sold in the U.S. were to display a maximum speed of 85 mph (in an attempt to discourage speeding). Since the movie needed to be able to show the car driving at 88 mph, the overlay was produced with a display going up to 95.


At 31:28 on the Blu-ray, there is an am/fm car radio sitting on top of the dashboard! Doc would have had to remove the car radio from its normal location in the dash to make room to install the time display, so I guess he put the radio on top so he could still listen to music or news while he travelled!




At 31:40 on the Blu-ray, some brand of chewing tobacco is advertised on the side of Peabody's barn. The name of the brand is not visible.


When the DeLorean crashes into Peabody's barn, a chunk of the barn roof caves in, with a few pieces of debris shooting out of the hay loft. If you watch closely, you will see that a couple of chickens shoot out with it and land on the ground in front of the barn!


Our first look at Peabody's twin pines comes at 31:47 on the Blu-ray.


The novelization names the Peabody family as Otis Peabody (father), Elsie Peabody (mother), Martha Peabody (daughter), and Sherman Peabody (son). Possibly, the boy Sherman's name is a play on the Mr. Peabody & Sherman characters who appeared in the Peabody's Improbable History animated shorts that were part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show that aired 1959-1964. Peabody's Improbable History featured a dog and his boy travelling through time to learn about fractured history.


    Sherman's comic book is Tales from Space #8, August 1954 and appears to be have been published by FC Comics. The company logo is very similar to the real world publisher EC Comics at the time. The real EC logo had "An Entertaining Comic" printed in a circle around the stylized EC; the FC one seen here has "The Fanatic's Comic" printed in the circle.

    The cover illustration on this issue was made to look similar to Marty climbing out of the DeLorean in front of the family.

BTTF EC logo real EC logo
Fake EC logo (FC) Real EC logo
Space Zombies from Pluto Marty emerges
Cover illustration of "Space Zombies from Pluto" in Tales from Space Marty emerges from DeLorean


The back of Sherman's Tales from Space comic book has a vintage ad for Red Ryder BB guns made by Daisy.
Red Ryder ad on back of Tales from Space Red Ryder vintage ad
Red Ryder ad on back of Tales from Space Red Ryder vintage ad


The car parked in front of the Peabody house is a 1950 Dodge Wayfarer.


Peabody fires a Charles Parker 1878 Double Barrel Shotgun at Marty, thinking he's a mutating alien.


At 33:33 on the Blu-ray, it is suddenly dawn as Marty screeches onto the highway from Twin Pines Ranch. The clock on the time circuit display should still have been set for 1:21 a.m. since Doc never altered the hour and minute of arrival, only the date. Only a few minutes have passed since Marty arrived in 1955, so it should still be around 1:30 a.m. and completely dark!


The bulldozers seen parked on the land that is to become Lyon Estates are a Caterpillar 12 Road Grader and Caterpillar D-Series bulldozer.


    The "coming soon" Lyon Estates billboard Marty sees at 34:18 on the Blu-ray has an illustration of a house that looks almost exactly like Marty's house (except for the color) in 1985.

    The billboard has the names "Hansen, Misetich & Gaynor" at the bottom as the firm owning the advertising space. The names come from members of the film's production crew: paint foremen Kirk D. Hansen and Robert Misetich and Al Gaynor, graphic/scenic artists.

    The billboard has two strips of plastic triangular flags attached to it, meant to help draw attention to the billboard. The plastic strips come into play when Doc and Marty return to 1955 in Back to the Future Part II.

    In the novelization, instead of just a billboard, Marty actually finds his house newly-built, acting as a model house for the new housing project.

Lyon Estates billboard


The car Marty tries to flag down on the road is a 1952 Buick Super Riviera.


At 34:37 on the Blu-ray, a compass is seen on top of the time display in the DeLorean. Later in the movie the brand of the compass is seen to be Airguide, a manufacturer of gauges at the time.


At 34:52 on the Blu-ray, the gauge for the plutonium chambers reads zero roentgens. A roentgen is a unit of measure of electric charge from ionizing radiation.


At 35:02 on the Blu-ray, Marty's cassette player is seen to be an Aiwa HS P02 MK2.


Marty pushes the stalled DeLorean behind the Lyon Estates billboard to hide it. Michael J. Fox was able to do this as it was a hollowed-out prop car; this would probably be much harder for someone to do with a real car.


The song that plays as Marty enters 1955 Hill Valley town square is "Mr. Sandman" (1954) as performed by the Four Tops. The song is soon revealed to be playing over a speaker mounted on the exterior of Roy's Records.


A Miller Beer delivery truck is seen at 35:21 on the Blu-ray. The truck is a 1955 International Harvester R-160.


The Essex movie theater is playing Cattle Queen of Montana starring Barbara Stanwyck and Ronald Reagan. This is a real movie that premiered in November 1954. It seems unlikely it would still playing a year later in the U.S. Most likely, Robert Zemeckis wanted to have a Ronald Reagan moving playing because Reagan was the President of the United States at the time Back to the Future was made and released and Cattle Queen of Montana was the closest movie Reagan had to 1955 where he played a major role.


At 35:40 on the Blu-ray, a man turns to look at Marty strangely as he walks by due to Marty's odd clothing for 1955.


The car that almost hits Marty in the crosswalk is a 1950 Plymouth De Luxe.


The Texaco truck at 35:50 on the Blu-ray is a 1940 Ford V8. A sign for Cooper Tires is seen at the Texaco station. The car that pulls into the station for service is a 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook. A store called Roy's Records is also seen in this shot; the location was the Third Eye spiritual advisor in 1985.


Signs for Pepsi-Cola and Torco Oil are seen at the Texaco station.


The clock tower shows it is now 8:30 in the morning. Did it really take Marty 7 hours to leave the Twin Pines Ranch and walk the 2 miles to town?


At 36:05 on the Blu-ray, signs for a number of songs, performers, and albums are seen at Roy's Records. They are all real world iconic tunes and performers. However, the albums Patti Page In the Land of Hi-Fi and Eydie in Dixieland were not released until 1956 and 1959, respectively.


In 1955, Hill Valley Stationers is in the location where Cupid's Adult Book Store was seen in 1985.


At 36:15 on the Blu-ray, notice that a man is painting a picture of the clock tower.


At 36:27 on the Blu-ray, a painted wall ad for Sherman-Williams Paint is seen behind Marty.


At 36:31 on the Blu-ray, a memorial to U.S. servicemen lost during the Korean conflict is seen in front of the courthouse. This refers to the U.S. and United Nations involvement in the 1950-1953 Korean War between North and South Korea.


Gaynor's Hideaway Bar is seen at 36:41 on the Blu-ray. The name is likely another reference to the film's graphic/scenic artist Al Gaynor (like the Lyon Estates billboard above).


The "Welcome to Hill Valley" sign in the town square has signs around it for local clubs and organizations. These are all real world organizations, with the exception of the Hill Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome to Hill Valley


At 36:49 on the Blu-ray, we see that Statler Motors Studebaker is the name of the car dealership that becomes Statler Toyota in 1985, Western Auto is where the Mayor Wilson campaign headquarters will be, J.D Armstrong Realty is located where the pawn shop will be, and the Town Theater is showing The Atomic Kid. The Atomic Kid is an actual 1954 film starring Mickey Rooney and Robert Strauss, just as shown on the marquee. As with Cattle Queen of Montana at the Essex Theater, it is odd that a 1954 film would be playing in a theater in November 1955.


At 36:49 on the Blu-ray, Zales Jewelers is seen in the location where Abrams Brokerage Corporation is at in 1985 (a bus bench in 1985 advertised that Zales is now located in the Twin Pines Mall).


Ruth's Frock Shop is seen at 37:09 on the Blu-ray, in the location where Goodwill will be in 1985.


The re-election campaign posters with a photo of Mayor Red Thomas used a photo of set decorator Hal Gausman.


In 1955, Mayor Red Thomas' re-election campaign has the same slogans as Mayor Goldie Wilson will have in 1985: "Progress is his middle name" and "Honesty, Decency, Integrity." Their poster designs are also identical!


At 36:54 on the Blu-ray, the orientation of the Red Thomas sign on top of the campaign car is facing front-and-back, but seconds later, the sign is seen facing right-left. Also, there were two loudspeakers mounted on the roof of the car in the first, only one in the second shot.


    An ad for Statler Motors Studebaker is on the back page of the newspaper Marty picks up out of a waste basket at 37:09 on the Blu-ray. The ad says the dealership has been serving Hill Valley since 1928. That must be when it became a motor vehicle dealership or something; we know that the Statler family has been running a transportation-related business in Hill Valley since at least 1885, when Honest Joe Statler's Fine Horses existed as seen in Back to the Future Part III.

    The front page of the day's edition of the Hill Valley Telegraph is not seen in the movie, but pictures of the prop can be found online. The text of the articles is made up of random paragraphs not relating to the headlines.

Hill Valley Telegraph, 11-5-1955


    At 37:24 on the Blu-ray, Lou's Cafe exists where Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center will exist in 1985. Does the same Lou who owned the cafe own the aerobic center later? They seem like widely different business interests! Possibly someone else started the aerobic center and simply kept the Lou name to honor a respected citizen of the town.


A Bell Telephone Company public telephone booth is located inside Lou's Cafe. Bell Telephone Company has since evolved into the international corporation AT&T.


An advertising sign for Turtle Wax is seen across the street from Lou's Cafe on the unnamed cross street to Main.


At 37:26 on the Blu-ray, notice that a small hand-printed sign can be seen on the door of Lou's Cafe (in reverse) that advertises the upcoming Enchantment Under the Sea Dance at the high school.


A Wurlitzer 1015 jukebox is seen in Lou's Cafe. The song playing on the jukebox when Marty walks in is "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" performed by the Wellingtons. There are also Seeburg Wall-o-Matic jukeboxes at the lunch counter and tables. Signs to "Eat More Imperial" are hanging on one wall; these are advertising signs for Imperial Ice Cream. This was a real world brand of ice cream at the time. 


Sitting at the lunch counter of the cafe, young George has a comic book with him. At 40:45 on the Blu-ray, the title can be made out to be Weird Science. This was a real world comic published by the aforementioned EC Comics. We never get a good look at the cover, but the illustration and background color looks like it may be issue #15, Sept-Oct 1951.
Weird Science issue Weird Science #15
George McFly's Weird Science issue Weird Science #15


The phone book Marty uses at the pay phone is very thick, much more so than one would expect from a relatively small town like Hill Valley (though we never see any numbers suggesting the population size). There are also a very large number of Browns listed in the book. Most likely the prop book was made from a real world phone book of Los Angeles or similar large city.


In the phone book, Doc's middle initial is given as L. His middle name is finally revealed as Lathrop in an episode of the childrens 1991-1992 TV series Back to the Future: The Animated Series, "Put on Your Thinking Caps, Kids! It's Time for Mr. Wisdom!" PopApostle does not plan on doing studies of the animated series, but likes that some things like additional names, extended family members, and other characters could be used in less juvenile stories. In the audio commentary on the Back to the Future Part III Blu-ray, Bob Gale reaveals the L of Doc's middle initial stands for "Lathrop", his mother's maiden name. "Lathrop" is also the maiden name of Christopher Lloyd's mother.


Doc's phone is seen to be Klondike 5-4385. "Klondike 5" is a telephone exchange name often used in movies and TV shows set before 1975, just as "555" is a prefix used for that purpose in fiction since then.


At 38:30 on the Blu-ray, Marty is looking at the page he tore out of the phone book and asks Lou if he knows where 1640 Riverside Drive is. But Marty must be looking at the wrong side of the page because the tear line is visible on the left side and it should be on the right if he is looking at the side Doc Brown's address was printed on.


At Lou's Cafe, Marty tries to order a Tab or a Pepsi Free, but these soft drinks did not exist in 1955, so he is not able to get them. Marty's intention was to get a sugar-free cola, which Tab is, but Pepsi Free was a caffeine-free version of Pepsi, not sugar-free unless he had asked for a Diet Pepsi Free (seen on a shelf in his bedroom earlier in 1985).


    When Marty pulls loose change out of his pocket and drops it onto the counter to pay for the coffee-without-sugar he receives from Lou, notice that a guitar pick is among the coins.

    If Lou were to look closely at the change he gets from Marty, he would most likely notice that the minting dates on them are in the future!


At 38:45 on the Blu-ray, we can see that the mini box of cereal George poured for himself at the lunch counter was Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes. In the novelization, George is eating Rice Krispies instead.


When Biff finds George in Lou's Cafe, he refers to him as "you Irish bug." The insult comes from the name "McFly" having the Irish (and Scottish) surname prefix of "Mc" (meaning "son") and the suffix of "fly" (which is an insect or "bug").


When Biff's cronies make fun of Marty's vest jacket, thinking it's a life preserver and mocking, "Dork thinks he's gonna drown!", they laugh at him and notice that George chuckles along with them. This is a common dynamic between a bully and their victim, the victim trying to elicit some sympathy from the bully by participating in the bullying of a third party.


After Biff and his cronies push George around at Lou's, Goldie asks George why he doesn't stand up for himself and adds, "If you let people walk over you now, they'll walk over you the rest of your life." This is prescient of Goldie, as we saw in 1985.


    At 40:51 on the Blu-ray, we see that Lou's Cafe also sells Wrigley's Spearmint Gum, Pepts, Toblerone, York Peppermint Patties, Mounds, Almond Joy, Hershey, Raisin Bran, and Rice Krispies. These are all real brands of gum, candy, and cereal.

    Also in this shot, through the window of the cafe, an Elks Lodge can be seen. Oddly, Elks Lodge is not one of the organizations shown with a logo attached to the Welcome to Hill Valley sign earlier.


The bicycle George rides is a Schwinn Phantom.


The girl George is peeping on from the tree would seem to be Lorraine herself (though we don't see her face). Notice the tree is directly across the street from her house and he is looking from a tree branch in that direction.


Sam Baines' car that hits Marty in the street is a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air with CA license plate 6S 48405.


After hitting Marty with the car, Sam shouts to his wife, "Another one of these damn kids jumped in front of my car!" Did he hit another kid in the recent past?!


Lorraine Baines' bedroom has a number of photos of young, handsome male celebrities hanging on the wall. There are two beds in the room, so it seems likely she must have to share the room with her sister, Sally.


At 43:24 on the Blu-ray, a box of Scotties tissues is seen in Lorraine's room.


Sitting on the empty bed across from the one used by Marty as he recovered from the accident, Lorraine has a book sitting next to her. It is Sonnets from the Portuguese, an 1850 book of love sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Perhaps she was reading it while waiting for dream boy "Calvin Klein" to wake up.


When Marty wants to get out of bed but finds his pants have been removed, Lorraine tells him they are "...over there, on my hope chest." A hope chest is a chest used by unmarried young women to collect items in anticipation of married life.


Lorraine thinks Marty's name is Calvin Klein because it's printed all over his underwear. Calvin Klein is an American fashion designer who founded the company of the same name in 1968. Marty corrects her that his name is Marty and she responds, "Pleased to meet you, Calvin...Marty...Klein," mistaking "Marty" as his middle name.


 Stella Baines (Marty's grandmother) explains that little baby Joey cries whenever they take him out of his playpen, so they just leave him in it all the time. Joey is the uncle who fails to make parole in 1985, so Marty kneels down to peer through the bars at the boy and mutters, "So, you're my uncle Joey. Better get used to these bars, kid." The bars are the obvious jailbird joke about the boy, but notice that he is also wearing a striped shirt, stripes being one of the patterns often used on prison uniforms. Also, it may be that Joey wants to stay in prison, and that is why he fails to get parole; he may be deliberately sabotaging his parole by misbehaving (starting fights, etc.) in prison.


As Marty sits down to dinner with the Baines family at their house, Sam wheels the new TV up to the table so they can watch Jackie Gleeson while they eat. It turns out they are watching Gleeson's show The Honeymooners, the same episode Marty saw on rerun the day before in 1985 ("The Man from Space"). However, they are watching it on November 5, 1955 when the actual episode did not air for the first time until December 31.


At the dinner table, Sam is drinking a bottle of Miller High Life beer.


The novelization points out that the meal the Baines family is eating is essentially the same food Marty had at his home the night before in 1985: meat loaf, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and macaroni and cheese.


Lorraine's brother Milton wears a coonskin cap. These caps were very popular with boys in the mid-to-late 1950s due to the Disney Davy Crockett TV show, where actor Fess Parker portrayed the frontiersman with a coonskin cap.


Doc Brown's car, first seen in his driveway at 48:02 on the Blu-ray, is a 1949 Packard Custom Eight Victoria. It is later used by Marty to take Lorraine to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. The DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual reveals that the vehicle had originally been his father's, inherited, along with his fortune, when he died in 1949.


Doc Brown's mansion at 1640 Riverside Drive in Hill Valley is actually the historic Gamble House at 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, California. The interiors of Doc's mansion were shot at the Robert R. Blacker House at 1177 Hillcrest Ave., Pasadena, California.


    When Marty arrives at Doc's mansion to get help going back to the future, Doc uses a contraption to try to read the youth's mind. He first guesses that Marty is there to sell a subscription to the Saturday Evening Post. In the novelization, Doc also guesses Collier's, a magazine of articles, interviews, investigative journalism, fiction, and illustration from 1888-1957.

    Doc also guesses Marty wants him to make a donation to the Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary, based on the "life preserver" he's wearing. The Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary appears to be a fictitious organization, but the U.S. Coast Guard is, of course, a real entity.

    When we first meet Doc, he removes the subject-end of the mind reading contraption from his dog's head to attach it to Marty's. Apparently, he was trying to read the thoughts of the dog!


Doc's 1955 dog is named Copernicus in the novelization. We don't learn the dog's name in the movies until Back to the Future Part III. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Prussian astronomer and mathematician.


Doc is disbelieving when Marty tells him Ronald Reagan is the president in 1985, retorting, "Ronald Reagan?! The actor?! Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis? I suppose Jane Wyman is the First Lady. And Jack Benny is treasury secretary." These were all popular actors of the time. Jane Wyman was married to Reagan from 1940-1949, so she was no longer Reagan's wife in 1955; Reagan had been married to Nancy Davis since 1952, so I guess Doc is not up to date on his celebrity gossip!


Marty and siblings    In Marty's photo of himself and his siblings, Linda is wearing an HV Class of 84 sweater which has the Bulldog mascot mentioned on Jennifer's book cover earlier in this study. Dave is wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt; Mickey Mouse, of course, is a cartoon character and official mascot of the Walt Disney Company.
   The well seen in the photo is located at the Amblin Entertainment office on the backlot of Universal Studios.


A vintage Milk Bone dog biscuits box is seen in Doc's garage when he and Marty are watching the video tape from 1985.


On the video tape, Doc introduces temporal experiment number one by saying he's standing in the parking lot of Twin Pines Mall. But shouldn't the tape have altered itself to have him saying Lone Pine Mall? After all, Marty has already altered history by mowing down one of the twin pines at Peabody's ranch, so there's no reason for the mall to ever be called Twin Pines Mall. But, there is a possible no-prize explanation. Peabody's ranch is called Twin Pines Ranch before the incident. There is the possibility at this point that old man Peabody would leave the name of the ranch as is, so when the mall was built on that land decades later, it might still be called Twin Pines in honor of the ranch that was there. Then, at some point after Doc and Marty view this video, Peabody finally decides (maybe after getting out of the asylum--see notes for the novelization way down on this page) to give up on his pine breeding idea and change the name of his ranch to Lone Pine Ranch, eventually leading to Lone Pine Mall.


At 53:12 on the Blu-ray, a canoe is seen hanging from the ceiling in Doc's garage.


At 53:12 on the Blu-ray, Doc is talking to his framed photo of Thomas Edison as he stresses over having to generate 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to power the flux capacitor. Edison (1847-1921) was an inventor known for his many electrical device inventions and the founding of the Edison General Electric Company.


At 53:40 on the Blu-ray, Doc has portraits of four scientists on his fireplace mantle, Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein (1879-1955).


When Marty tells Doc all they need is a little plutonium to generate the 1.21 gigawatts, Doc unknowingly echoes Marty's own statement in 1985 when he retorts, "I'm sure that in 1985 plutonium is available in every corner drugstore...but in 1955, it's a little hard to come by!"


Doc has a piano in his house.


When Marty shows Doc the clock tower flyer from 1985, Doc realizes they can use the lightning strike that it says it to occur there in one week to gain the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity they need for the flux capacitor. An average bolt of lightning does indeed carry that much power and more.


Doc is seen wearing a watch on each wrist in 1955 just as he does in later time periods.


The clock tower flyer Marty holds and hands to Doc at 54:22 on the Blu-ray does not have Jennifer's "I love you!" written on it!


At 56:19 on the Blu-ray, a hand-painted sign in the hallway of Hill Valley High encourages students to vote for Ron Woodward for Senior Class President. Ron Woodward was key grip on this film.


Doc remarks that when Lorraine's father hit George with the car in the original timeline and fell in love him while caring for him, "That's the Florence Nightingale effect. It happens in hospitals when nurses fall in love with their patients." Nightingale (1820-1910) was a British social reformer and the founder of modern nursing.


At 57:02 on the Blu-ray, George has a Hill Valley Bulldogs book cover on one of his school books.


Hand painted posters for a Bulldogs vs. Indians matchup are seen around the school. On the audio commentary for the film, Bob Gale says the Bulldogs and Indians were the mascots for his junior high and high school teams.


At 57:37 on the Blu-ray, Lorraine is holding Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a Persian-to-English translation of quatrains attributed to Omar Khayyam (1048–1131), the so-called "Astronomer-Poet of Persia", by Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883). 


   At 58:57 on the Blu-ray, 3-D is reading Headline Comics. It appears to be issue #67, Sept-Oct 1954.
   In the same shot, Lorraine has a paperback copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls, a 1940 novel by Ernest Hemingway (hers looks to be a 1951 edition). Her copies of Sonnets from the Portuguese and Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam are also in the stack. Perhaps Lorraine is more intellectual than she appears and is a voracious reader. If it was just one of these books, we might be forgiven for thinking it was just a book assigned as reading for an English class. But three at once? If she is a voluntary reader, this might be an unknown connection between her and George and a reason they fell in love.
3-D reads a comic Headline Comics #67
Lorraine's books For Whom the Bell Tolls


At 59:09 on the Blu-ray, George has what appears to be an issue of Amazing Stories in his notebook.


George tells Marty he can't go to the dance with Lorraine on Saturday night because he'll miss his favorite TV program, Science Fiction Theatre. This was an actual TV program from 1955-1957 and it did, indeed, air on Saturday nights. Since George does wind up going to the dance, he missed the episode "The Hastings Secret" (11/12/55) in which scientists discover a species of termites in Peru that consume minerals instead of wood.


The home of the McFly family where George lives with his parents is at 1711 Sycamore Street in Hill Valley. The 1711 is seen in the movie. The name of the street is found in the novelization.


At 1:02:03 on the Blu-ray, the clock in George's room reads about 1:22 a.m. when "Darth Vader" pays him a visit. That means Marty arrived in his room at about 1:21 a.m., the same time that Doc completed his successful time travel experiment with Einstein back in 1985. Could it mean that that time of day contains some cosmic significance, as if it were a temporal junction point of the entire space-time continuum?


    Issues of Amazing Stories (Vol. 27, No 7 and Vol. 33, No. 9) and Fantastic Adventures Vol. 15, No. 3 are seen on George's dresser. These are real world magazines, with Amazing Stories still being published today. The Amazing Stories Vol. 33, No. 9 seen here is a continuity error though, as that issue wasn't published until 1959!

    A Revell model box is also seen on George's dresser, for a Boeing B-29 Bomber.

Amazing Stories, Oct-Nov 1953 Amazing Science-Fiction Stories, Sep 1959 Fantastic Adventures, Mar 1953


As George lies sleeping in his bed, Fantastic Stories Vol. 7, No. 3 lies next to him and Thrilling Wonder Stories Vol. 44, No. 3 is lying on top of him.
Fantastic Story, Fall 1954 Thrilling Wonder Stories, Winter 1955


    The cassette tape Marty puts into his player to melt George's brain is labeled "Edward Van Halen". Eddie Van Halen (1955-2020) was a real world musician, known for his fast and unique style of electric guitar playing. The music that plays is something he noodled out for the 1984 film The Wild Life, where it first appeared.

    Amazingly, George doesn't scream out when Marty awakes him with the music played at maximum volume. If he had, wouldn't George's parents have rushed in and clobbered Marty? Did Marty knock them out with chloroform before visiting George's room? In a deleted scene, it's revealed that Marty used chloroform on George before leaving, but there is no mention made of George's parents.


    At 1:02:26 on the Blu-ray, Marty has a hair dryer tucked into his belt over the radiation suit. A deleted scene had Marty using it as a "heat ray" to scare George into compliance. This type of portable hair dryer did not exist in 1955; Marty got it from Doc Brown's suitcase from 1985. Another deleted scene showed the hair dryer was in the suitcase (along with a copy of Playboy magazine!).

    At 1:02:32, the hair dryer briefly switches position on Marty's belt before returning to the original position. This is because the scene was shortened in editing, cutting the part where Marty used it to scare George then put it back in his belt on his hip instead of in front.


Marty, disguised in his radiation suit, tells George his name is Darth Vader, an extra-terrestrial from the planet Vulcan. Darth Vader, of course, is the main villain of the original Star Wars trilogy of films. The planet Vulcan is a reference to the home planet of Mr. Spock of Star Trek. Possibly, the use of the term "extra-terrestrial" by Marty is a reference to the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which, like Back to the Future, was a Steven Spielberg production.


At 1:03:24 on the Blu-ray, advertising signs for Justice Brothers oil additives and Auto-Lite spark plugs are seen at the Texaco station.


Inside Lou's Cafe at 1:04:06 on the Blu-ray, the boy standing by the door in the red shirt appears to be reading an issue of Mad magazine. The 1955 song "Dance With Me, Henry" by Etta James is playing on the jukebox.


When George orders a chocolate milk at the lunch counter in the cafe with the out of sight Lou, it's slid down to him almost immediately after he requests it. Did Lou just happen to have it waiting for him or something?


At 1:05:21 on the Blu-ray, apparently someone unplugged the jukebox at the diner just as Biff walked in and started shouting at George.


At 1:05:36 on the Blu-ray, Marty is wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars high top sneakers.


When Marty takes a kid's homemade scooter and rips the crate off the top of it at 1:06:06 on the Blu-ray, the crate is seen to have a Pala Brave citrus label on it, with a Sunkist logo in the lower left corner. Pala Brave was a real world brand at the time.


The pick-up truck Marty hitches a ride on with his makeshift skateboard at 1:06:29 on the Blu-ray is a 1947 Chevrolet Advance-Design Thriftmaster with CA license plate S96325.


The U.S. mail truck seen at 1:06:37 on the Blu-ray is an International Harvester L-Series.


Biff's car is a 1946 Ford Super De Luxe convertible with CA license plate GH6472.


In many of the long shots for the car/skateboard chase, you can see that Biff is played by a stand-in for the real actor (Thomas F. Wilson).


At 1:07:26 on the Blu-ray, Hal's Bike Shop is seen next to the Texaco station. Next to Hal's is the "Lawrence Bldg."


The truck for D. Jones Manure Hauling that Biff crashes into is a 1951 Chevrolet Advance-Design truck.


In case you've been wondering why there was a manure truck conveniently parked in town square for Biff's comeuppance, notice that there are two shovel-bearing workers fertilizing the shrubs along the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.


At 1:07:34 on the Blu-ray, a man is pushing a cart selling Eskimo Pies on the sidewalk. Eskimo Pie is a brand of ice cream treat on a stick.


The toy wind-up car used in the model demonstration of how the hook-pole will work to transfer the lightning strike into the flux capacitor on the DeLorean is a toy of the 1950 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible.


Doc's model of downtown Hill Valley appears to be set up atop a ping pong table (notice the green surface and white lines).


At 1:08:40 on the Blu-ray, Doc has an advertisement pulled from a magazine pinned to a post in his workshop. It is a 1953 ad for Pepsi-Cola.

Pepsi-Cola ad


At 1:09:52 on the Blu-ray, a blackboard in Doc's lab has a sketch of what appears to be his telepathy helmet on it.


The car seen in the McFly driveway at 1:12:41 on the Blu-ray as Marty and George go over the plan for the dance is actually Doc's car, presumably Marty drove it there to talk to George. Of course, Marty doesn't have a valid 1955 driver's license! Maybe Doc found a way to get him a fake license?


During the scene of Marty and George's discussion about the dance, the left-hand pocket flap on Marty's pocket keeps changing from tucked to untucked between shots.


Marty pulls a stuffed-solid duffel bag out of Doc's car as he and George talk. The novelization reveals Marty brought the bag as a punching bag for George to use to practice for his saving-the-damsel-in-distress moment at the dance Saturday evening.


    As Doc is prepping for the lightning strike in town square at 1:14:29 on the Blu-ray, the weather report on the radio says the Hill Valley weather that night will be mostly clear, some scattered clouds, which causes Doc to have some doubt about the accuracy of the information about the storm on the clock tower flyer. But, the road there in town square is already wet, suggesting it has been raining!

    On the audio commentary for the movie, Bob Gale says the weathercaster's voice was provided by sound effects editor Chuck Campbell. 


When the cop asks Doc if he has a permit for the weather experiment he's performing, at 1:16:38 on the Blu-ray, Doc says, "Of course, I do," and pulls out his wallet, saying, "Let me see if I can find it here." It seems that Doc is going to bribe the cop! In the novelization it is confirmed that Doc slides the cop a 50-dollar bill.


The 1955 version of the Hill Valley High gym for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance was shot at Hollywood United Methodist Church, 6817 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA.


The band Marvin Berry and The Starlighters plays at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. This, of course, is a fictitious band. A bit later in the film, Marvin is said to be the cousin of Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry (1926-2017) is often said to have been the Father of Rock and Roll, though his song "Johnny B. Goode" (1958) is not normally considered the first rock song as implied here.


The song being played by the Starlighters when we first meet them is "Night Train" (1951) by Jimmy Forrest.


Marvin Berry plays a Gibson guitar. When Marvin's hand gets injured, Marty plays the guitar for renditions of "Earth Angel" and "Johnny B. Goode".


When we first see the Starlighters playing, the guitar amp is seen sitting on top of a Pepsi crate. But when Marty begins playing with them, the crate is gone, the amp is just sitting on the floor.


The car used by the Starlighters band, the trunk of which Biff's gang throws Marty into, is a 1949 Cadillac Series 61.


When the Starlighters get out of the car to confront Biff's gang, 3-D refers to Marvin as "spook". This is a racial slur for a black person. Marvin's response of "peckerwood" is a racial slur for white people.


The song the Starlighters play with Marty for the George/Lorraine kiss is "Earth Angel" (1954) by the Penguins.


At 1:25:12 on the Blu-ray, Marty is seen from the dance floor already sitting down on top of the amp, when he doesn't actually fall to that position until 1:25:20.


Marty's singing of "Johnny B. Goode" is provided by Mark Campbell and the guitar music by Tim May, not Michael J. Fox.


When Marty takes his final leave of young George and Lorraine, Lorraine murmurs, "Marty...such a nice name," implying she would make use of the name if she later has a son. So, why does she still name her first son "David"?


At 1:31:32 on the Blu-ray, Stanley Tools are seen in the Western Auto store window. There is also a narrow vertical sign that says "UNIVERSAL" at the back corner of the display; possibly it is a sign not meant to be seen, referencing the Universal Studios backlot where town square was shot!


The alarm clock 1955-Doc has placed on the DeLorean's dashboard to alert Marty when to begin racing towards the clock tower for the lightning strike is a Bulova model. Bulova is an American manufacturer of timepieces since 1875, but I've been unable to confirm if this particular alarm clock model was around in 1955.


At 1:34:14 on the Blu-ray, notice that Doc has shoved his right hand into the pocket of his trench coat. He has put the torn pieces of Marty's letter in there just before rushing to reconnect the disconnected electrical cable.


When the electrical cable comes apart due to the tree branch falling on it, Doc has to race to the belfry of the clock tower to reconnect it. He enters the courthouse to do so. How is he able to get inside the courthouse? Did he pick the lock earlier? Did he bribe someone who works there for a key?


At 1:36:16 on the Blu-ray, as Marty drives the DeLorean away from the clock tower to the starting point for his run to the lightning strike, notice that the Ask Mr. Foster travel agency sign has the slogan "Time to travel?" on it, a play on the term "time travel".


    A billboard for the Bluebird Motel is seen at 1:36:43 on the Blu-ray as Marty reaches the starting line for his run. The billboard reads "Bluebird Motel", but at the motel itself in town square it is "Blue Bird Motel".

    In this same shot, notice that two cans of paint are still sitting on the sidewalk, used by Doc Brown to paint the starting line.


At 1:37:04 on the Blu-ray, one of the labels on the TFC Driver box reads "XMAS TREE"!


When Marty decides to go back 10 minutes earlier in 1985 to warn Doc about the terrorists, he punches the buttons 45808 on the time circuit keypad! What do those numbers have to do with changing the destination time to 1:24 a.m.? Also, the display then shows he entered 11 minutes earlier, not 10!


When Doc goes up to the belfry of the clock tower to reconnect the electrical cable, the loose end is hanging down to the right of the clock, but Doc goes through the hatch on the left side of the clock. Yet there is a hatch visible on the right as seems like it would have been much easier to reach the cable if he'd used that hatch!


At 1:38:41 on the Blu-ray, Doc's shoes appear to have Velcro fasteners on them, decades before they were popularly made. Maybe Doc invented them for himself?


As Marty zooms towards town square and Doc struggles to reconnect the electrical cables, the DeLorean is seen racing past various exterior locations in random order, so it appears that Marty is passing the same locations multiple times and his distance from the strung across cable keeps changing. At 1:40:16 on the Blu-ray, he even passes the Bluebird Motel billboard again even though that was his starting point!


At 1:40:53 on the Blu-ray, Holt's Diner is seen next to the Town Theater in 1955 (in the location where Elmo's Ribs will be in 1985). In this shot we can also see that Statler Motors' service garage is across the street from the Statler showroom (basically behind the courthouse).


At 1:40:57 on the Blu-ray, notice that the hooked pole that was feeding into the flux capacitor to channel the electricity of the lightning strike into the DeLorean's flux capacitor is now hanging from the cable strung across the two lamp posts.


At 1:41:33 on the Blu-ray, Louis Watch Maker is seen on the opposite side of the Town Theater from Holt's.




At 1:41:41 on the Blu-ray, the 1985 clock tower now has a broken ledge in the altered version of 1985, due to Doc Brown's foot having broken it in 1955.


The helicopter that flies over the clock tower is a Bell 206B JetRanger II.


    At 1:41:58 on the Blu-ray, Red the bum is sleeping on top of a flattened Yamaha box laid out on a bus bench. An ad for Akron home decorating stores is seen on one of the newspapers Red is using as a blanket. Akron was a real world chain in southern California at the time.

    The song playing on Red's radio is Eric Clapton's 1985 song "Heaven is One Step Away".

    The noise of the DeLorean arriving through time to town square awakens Red and as he sits up, we see he has a bottle of alchohol clutched in his hand. A glimpse of half the label identifies it as Thunderbird wine, a real world brand fortified wine (spirits added).

Red's bottle


 At 1:43:28 on the Blu-ray, the Twin Pines Mall has now become Lone Pine Mall because Marty ran over one of the twin pines on Peabody's ranch in 1955.
Twin Pines Mall Lone Pine Mall


The taped-together letter that Marty opens at 1:45:19 is not the same one we saw him finish in Lou's Cafe in 1955. The words are the same, but spaced differently on the page and on the lines.
Marty's letter Marty's letter


When Doc drops Marty off at his house, Doc says he's going 30 years into the future (2015). At the beginning of the movie, he had said he was going to go forward 25 years. Maybe Marty's 30-year jump into the past made him decide to do the same into the future.


At 1:46:27 on the Blu-ray, we see that the McFly house in Lyon Estates has the address 9303, but we don't know the street name until "Biff to the Future" Part 2; it's Lyon Drive.


At 1:46:52 on the Blu-ray, a box of Whitman's Thin Mints is seen on a shelf in the headboard in Marty's room.


    For some reason, Marty is asleep in the exact same awkward position he was in when he woke up a week ago to head to Twin Pines Mall to meet Doc. The song that plays when the alarm radio goes off is "Back in Time" by Huey Lewis and the News, written for the movie.

    A skull likeness is seen on top of the headboard. 


When Marty emerges from his bedroom into the hallway, he is carrying a manila envelope which he shortly sets down in the foyer. No explanation of the envelope is given here, but the novelization explains it is his demo tape which he is going to send in to a record company.


The McFly living room is decorated much more nicely in the altered 1985. They still have a very motionless bird in a cage in the living room.


At 1:47:32 on the Blu-ray, Dave is reading an issue of Forbes at the breakfast table. Linda appears to have a copy of Vogue nearby.


Dave asks Marty if he slept in his clothes again last night. Does Marty make a habit of sleeping in his clothes?


    At 1:48:50 on the Blu-ray, George's car is a 1984 BMW 733i with CA license plate 34709T8. Biff's pick-up is a 1972 Ford Courier with his business' name, Biff's Automotive Detailing, on the door. His business phone is listed as 840-3851.

    Biff is using Turtle Wax on George's BMW. In the back of his pick-up, a Quaker State oil box is seen. An empty Mountain Dew can and a Fram filter box are seen on the dashboard.


    Biff is wearing an Adidas tracksuit. 


A Match Made in Space

    Near the end of the movie, George receives copies of his first novel, A Match Made in Space, published by Probert Publishing. Andrew Probert was a production illustrator on the film.

    Notice that the spaceman on the cover is dressed similarly to Marty in his yellow radiation suit during his late night visit to George as "Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan". Is the novel basically a fictionalized version of George's own "close encounter" and his romance with Lorraine? In the novelization of Back to the Future, the cover is described differently, with the same alien figure, but with a young man cowering under the covers of his bed.


The retrospective book Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History (published in 2015, with a revised and expanded edition in 2020) presents the cover mock-up of the paperback edition of A Match Made in Space. The front cover is the same as the one on the hardcover seen in the movie, but the back cover gives a publisher's summary of what the novel is about.


When Lorraine pulls George's new novel out of the shipping box, the box is filled with plastic packing material. But in the next shot the box appears to be completely empty.


When Marty goes out to the garage to see his truck, Biff's pickup is now gone. Marty must have stopped to eat breakfast or something before going outside, but you'd think he'd want to go look at his "new" wheels right away.


Marty's 4x4 pickup truck is the same model as the Statler Toyota giveaway seen at the beginning of the movie, a 1985 SR5 Xtra Cab. The CA license plate is 2EZP916. The tires on the truck are Goodyear radials.


A couple of the trash cans along the side of the McFly driveway change position from 1:50:33 to 1:50:38 on the Blu-ray.


At 1:50:34 on the Blu-ray, the stunt driver driving the DeLorean recklessly into the driveway looks nothing like Doc!

Stunt driver as Doc


When Doc returns from his trip to 2015, he has replaced the plutonium chamber on the DeLorean with a Mr. Fusion home energy reactor. It is able to convert common garbage into fusion energy to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity needed for the flux capacitor.


Notice that Doc is wearing a transparent tie when he returns from 2015!


For some reason, the passenger side door of the DeLorean is already open at 1:50:40 on the Blu-ray.


After Doc, Marty, and Jennifer pile into the DeLorean, Doc backs it out of the driveway and stops. Marty tells him he better back up more because he doesn't have enough road to get up to 88 miles per hour. But it looks like there's plenty of road for it, just as there was the night before!


The DeLorean now has a future license plate with a giant bar code on it.


Back to the Future novel Notes from the novelization by George Gipe

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published July 1985)


Additional characters in the novel not present in the movie


Mr. Arky

school secretary (unnamed)



Billy Stockhausen (in George's memories only)


Howard's daughter (unnamed, mentioned only)




Mart Petersen (mentioned only)

Peggy Ann McVey (mentioned only)

Sylvia McFly (mentioned only)

Arthur McFly

Bill Sharp (mentioned only)

Dexter Gore

Deborah Chambers

Bob Jordan





The book opens with three scenes that are not in the film. In the first, Marty is in class where the social studies teacher, Mr. Arky, is showing an old educational short film from the 1950s about atomic power. In the second, Marty takes a call at school from Doc Brown. In the third Marty spends time in detention after school.


In the atomic power film, the narrator remarks, "Scientists predict that by the year 2000, at least half the homes in America will be run by atomic power...There'll be atomic cars with an engine the size of an acorn. Ships with nuclear dynamos will be able to travel without refueling for indefinite periods, perhaps as long as a year. Finally, the idea that giant rocket ships powered by atomic fuel, going to the moon and even farther, will become a reality rather than science fiction." As is usual with scientific predictions decades into the future, about half of these came true and half were way off. As far as I can tell, this educational film is a fictitious one.


During the educational film, Marty listens to music on his Walkman in the dark instead. As far as I can tell from the lyrics presented, the song is fictitious. Marty hides his Walkman inside a hollowed out book while at school.


The book describes both Marty and Jennifer as being 17 years old.


While Marty believes he does love Jennifer, he currently loves his music more.


The book identifies Mr. Strickland's first name as Gerald. But Back to the Future Part II shows his name as S.S. Strickland on his office door and Back to the Future: The Game refers to him as Stanford Strickland.


Strickland is described as over 60 years old and nearing his retirement in 1985.


Doc makes an "emergency" call to Marty at school instead of at the garage lab to tell him to meet him at 1:15 in the morning at Twin Pines Mall. Doc at first forgetfully refers to the mall as Peabody's Farm.


Trying to explain the "emergency" call he received to Strickland, Marty claims he has an aunt and uncle in Wisconsin who were injured in a car accident about 10 years ago and the aunt was about to go into the hospital for another operation. The excuse for the call is made up, but is there any truth to the background of it? Does he really have an aunt and uncle in Wisconsin? It's certainly possible, as we see later that he has three uncles and one aunt from his mother's side of the family (Baines). And his grandmother (Stella Baines) is pregnant when Marty meets her in 1955 (another aunt born the next year according to an early draft of the Back to the Future Part II script). Whether Marty has any uncles and aunts from his father's side is unrevealed.


From Strickland's point of view, Doc Brown seems to be known as the town eccentric. In the movie, Strickland warns Marty not to hang around with Doc and that "he's a real nutcase."


    As in the movie, Strickland calls Marty a slacker like his old man. The narrative on page 10 then states, "Marty blanched, for Strickland had struck the one nerve he was unable to protect. He simply did not enjoy being compared to his father, especially when the person doing so put them in the same category." This seems like an early indication of Marty's foible of being overly reactive to being called "chicken", as seen in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. Since Marty has grown up with a father whom he considers weak in fortitude, it makes sense that he might bristle at being compared to him in that way.

    Since this book was written a few years before Marty's weakness was even conceived by Zemeckis and Gale, it's a rather coincidental and neat foreshadowing!


After receiving detention, Marty tells Strickland he and his band are scheduled to audition for the YMCA dance. In the movie, it is not a YMCA dance, but a Battle of the Bands for a school dance to be judged on which is the best high school band.


To escape detention and get to his band's audition at the YMCA, Marty borrows another kid's skateboard without real permission, just a quick promise to return it, similar to other board borrowings he does later in 1955 and again in 2015 in Back to the Future Part II.


On page 16, Marty nearly runs down a man using a Versateller. Versateller was the trade name given to its automated teller machines by Bank of America when the machines were introduced in the early 1980s.


In the book, the Pinheads are not given a reason for being cut off so quickly during their audition (in the movie, the head of the dance committee tells them they're "just too darn loud"). After the audition, Jennifer suggests that maybe the committee was looking for something more Lawrence Welk. Welk (1903-1992) was a bandleader known for his "champagne music" style.


When Marty complains to Jennifer about what a pushover his father is, she comments, "Well, they say all our emotional anxieties come directly from our parents," then she wonders where she got that from, possibly People magazine.


Chapter 2 begins with a scene not in the movie, with Doc Brown hyping himself up for the upcoming time travel experiment.


Doc Brown is said to be 65 years old in 1985.


Doc Brown sees himself as one of the nation's most talented and unheralded inventors and that he's lived a life of struggle and ridicule.


Among the items in Doc's workshop is a jet engine and the remnants of a robot.


Doc enjoys collecting clocks and keeping them all in dead sync with each other.


Page 26 describes some of Doc's past scientific obsessions: "During the 1950s, he had tried to uncover the secrets of the human mind via a variety of mind-reading devices. None had worked. A half-decade earlier, he had been smitten with the theory that all mammals spoke a common language. Some other schemes included the notion that gold could be mined by superheating the earth's surface, that each person’s age was predetermined and could be revealed by studying the composition of their fingernails, and he published a paper which claimed that the sex of babies could be predicted before they were conceived. The fact that all of Doc Brown’s work yielded nothing should have discouraged him but did not. Through the ’50s, ’60s, '70s, and into the ’80s, he continued to experiment, earning perennial scorn as the crazy scientist of Hill Valley."


Pages 26-27 go on to describe Doc's view of time travel and reveals he even gave an interview about it to the newspaper:


By the end of the century, scientists and historians would be using his device to explore the future and past, and through this exploration, work to improve the present. His view of time as a dimension was summed up in the simple explanation he once gave to the editor of the Hill Valley newspaper. “1 think of time as spherical and unending,” he said. “Like the skin of an orange. A change in the texture at any point will be felt over the entire skin. The future affects the past and present, just as the past and present affect the future.”

“But the past is over and done with,” the editor replied. “How can it be affected?”

“That’s just my point,” Doc Brown had retorted. “The past isn’t over and done with. It’s still there. And once we can find a way to penetrate it, we’ll be able to change things that may happen tomorrow.”

The editor didn’t buy it but he printed the interview anyway. Residents of Hill Valley either ignored the article or complained that valuable space had been wasted printing the ravings of a madman.


On page 28, George is said to have purchased his suits at Sears.


Biff is a year older than George.


On page 31, Biff is said to drive a Cadillac. In the movie, he drives a Ford Super De Luxe.


On page 32, George reflects on his belief that his lack of grit was due to an incident in grade school when he made a fist but failed to punch a bully who had hit his friend Billy Stockhausen.


Marty's brother Dave is 22 years old.


On page 35, Linda is enjoying Jell-O brand chocolate pudding for dessert.


In the book, Dave has a car of his own, though it's described as a heap. He takes it to his job at Burger King. In the movie, he remarks he's running late and doesn't want to miss his bus.


As Lorraine is about to tell how she fell in love with George while caring for him at her house after her father accidentally hit him with the car, Linda remarks, "You’ve told us a million times. It was ‘Florence Nightingale to the rescue.'" In the movie, Linda does not say this, but Doc Brown remarks on the Florence Nightingale effect on Lorraine in 1955.


On page 43, Marty puts his demo tape in an envelope for R & G Records. This is a fictitious music label.


Also on page 43, Marty confirms with Doc that the spare key to Doc's place is hidden under a potted plant near the door. In the movie, the key is hidden under the door mat.


When Marty leaves his house shortly after midnight to meet Doc at the mall, he puts some pillows under his bedcovers to make it appear he is still there sleeping in case anybody checks.


On page 45, the entrance of Twin Pines Mall actually has two pine trees growing side-by-side to mark the entrance.


As he exits the DeLorean on page 46, Doc thinks he must look like Michael Rennie stepping onto Earth for the first time in The Day the Earth Stood Still. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 1951 science-fiction film starring Michael Rennie as the alien humanoid Klaatu, dressed in a silvery spacesuit.


When Doc enters November 5, 1955 into the DeLorean's time circuits, Marty asks what happened on that date and guesses at the Salk vaccine. The Salk vaccine (named for its developer Jonas Salk) was a successful polio vaccine introduced on April 12, 1955.


Chapter Four opens with a brief scene of the Libyan terrorists deciding they must kill Doc Brown for betraying them.


The Libyans drive a blue Volkswagen van in the movie, but here they drive a black van and it is described to be a different style than a VW van.


Page 63 describes the Libyan who begins firing his rifle at Doc and Marty as looking like Yasser Arafat. Arafat (1929-2004) was a Palestinian Arab nationalist leader, labeled a terrorist by many, especially at the time this story takes place.




On page 70, Peabody's kids are begging him for a television and they list some of the great shows that can be seen: Ed Sullivan, The Mickey Mouse Club, Colgate Variety Hour, The Cisco Kid, and Ozzie and Harriet. These were all actual TV shows at the time. Also mentioned is Edward R. Murrow. Murrow (1908-1965) was an American broadcast journalist.


Page 70 describes Sherman Peabody's Tales from Space comic book as "the latest issue", but the movie shows the cover with an August '54 date, over a year before the scene takes place.


On page 77, Marty hears songs by Eddie Fisher, Jerome Kern, Mitch Miller's orchestra, and Guy Mitchell on the DeLorean's radio. These were all well-known musical performers at the time.


Pages 77-78 mention President Eisenhower and a number of 1955 news stories. These are all roughly accurate stories of the time. The UCLA football placekicker Jim Decker mentioned here gets mentioned again in Back to the Future Part II.


The Northwest Ford car dealership appearing in a radio advertisement on page 78 appears to be fictitious, likely meant to be a Hill Valley area dealer.


On page 78, as he sits in the DeLorean listening to news on the radio, Marty begins thinking of his current experience as a trip through his own personal time tunnel. This may be a reference to the 1966-1967 TV series The Time Tunnel, about two men who become lost in time after using an experimental "time tunnel" machine developed by the U.S. government. It's possible Marty has seen the series in syndicated reruns.


On page 82, Marty is said to be wearing green shoes, attracting notice in 1955. In the movie, he is wearing white sneakers with a red Nike swoosh.


Page 82 has Marty thinking about Coke instead of the Pepsi brand of cola he is associated with in the movie trilogy.


On page 84, Marty chuckles at the "fabulous 10-day vacations in Cuba" sign at the Ask Mr. Foster travel agency. After the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy imposed complete travel restrictions to Cuba which still exist today.


Also on page 84, Marty sees Statler Motors Studebaker which makes him think of how the Studebaker manufacturer went out of business, which also makes him think of the Edsel. Studebaker went defunct in 1967. The Edsel was a car model manufactured by Ford from 1957-1960.


When Biff's cronies laugh every time he makes a joke at George's expense on page 89, the author compares them to Pavlov's dog. This is a reference to the experiments of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who measured the responses of dogs to various stimuli and found that, with repetition, dogs would anticipate a reward, such as food, when exposed to a repeated stimuli preceding the reward. His experiments became colloquially known as the "Pavlov's dog" experiment.


Page 91 reveals that George McFly's birthday is August 18, his mother is named Sylvia, and his father enlisted in the military during WWI when he was only 16. "It's About Time" reveals that George's father is Arthur "Artie" McFly and he is an accountant.


Page 105 reveals that in 1955, Milton Baines was 12 years old, Sally 6, Toby 4, and Joey 11 months.


On page 106, Marty sees a commercial for Sir Walter Randolph cigarettes on television in 1955 and he is amazed by it because he has never seen one before. Television commercials for cigarettes were banned in the United States in January 1971, which is why he's never seen one. Sir Walter Randolph is a fictitious brand of cigarettes, probably a play on the name of Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), who popularized tobacco in England. There was a brand of cigarettes called Raleigh at the time.


Page 114 reveals that Copernicus, Doc's dog in 1955, was the third in a line of pets he'd had named after famous scientists.


    On page 115, Doc uses his telepathy device to try to guess Marty's name. He fails of course, guessing the names of Peter Danforth, Evan Wentworth, Jr., and Melvin Petrucci. There does not seem to be any significance to these names.

    Unlike in the movie, where Doc takes a guess that Marty wants him to make a donation to the Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary, Doc here says, "You’re selling peanut brittle for the Boy Scouts!" Of course, this is not true, but Marty may have been aware somewhere in his mind that his father had bought a case of peanut brittle "yesterday" (in 1985) from a neighbor girl selling it for the Girl Scouts. So, it may be that Doc's device was working to an extent! Doc throws the helmet to the floor in disgust and frustration, shattering it, so he probably never knew how close he may have come.


On page 118, Doc tries to quiz Marty on future events, asking how many pennants Brooklyn wins in the 1960s and '70s, referring to them as the Bums. He is referring to the Brooklyn Dodgers Major League baseball team (New York City) which existed from 1884-1957 before moving to Los Angeles. The team was lovingly known as "Dem Bums" by their fans while they were in Brooklyn. Doc and Marty also briefly discuss the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Chargers, L.A. Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and San Francisco 49ers baseball and football teams.


In the book, Doc doesn't believe Marty's story, even after Marty tells him how he hit his head on the bathroom sink and had a vision of the flux capacitor. Marty leaves the Brown estate deciding to wait until dark to bring the DeLorean to him. In the meantime, Marty kills time by seeing the movie The Atomic Kid at the Town Theater. The description of the movie on page 121 is accurate.


Page 128 reveals that Doc paints when he can't understand a problem.


On page 131, Doc says, "Archimedes said he could move the earth if he just had a place to stand." Archimedes (c. 287-212 BC) was a Sicilian scientist now considered one of the leading scientists of classical antiquity. He is said by chroniclers to have stated, "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth," in regards to his work on levers.


On page 132, when it seems like Marty will be stuck in 1955, Doc lists some things that make this time great, including Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) was a singer and actor who got his start in nightclubs and whose repertoire has become a staple of nightclub musical acts.


On page 133, Marty mentions Pat Boone. Pat Boone is an American singer and actor who had a number of pop hits in the 1950s and '60s.


When Marty hits on the idea to use the upcoming clock tower lightning bolt to power the flux capacitor, Doc remarks, "You’ve had an idea, but you forgot to say 'Eureka!'" Eureka is an exclamation derived from the Greek language representing a personal celebration of having made a discovery. The exclamation is attributed to the aforementioned Archimedes.


In discouraging Marty from interacting any more than necessary in the world of 1955 in order to not affect the future, Doc asks him if he ever saw It's A Wonderful Life. This is a 1946 fantasy drama film about a man who is about to commit suicide and is shown how his life has affected the lives of others in his town by his guardian angel. Doc's comments about how the smallest thing, maybe even a cough, could change history are also reminiscent of the 1942 short story "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury which posits a time traveller who goes back 66 million years to the Late Cretaceous period and accidentally steps on a butterfly, causing him to find a transformed "present" when he returns to his own time.


Page 138 reveals that Doc bought the clothes for Marty to wear in 1955.


On page 139, Doc combs Vaseline hair tonic into Marty's hair as they prepare him to start school in 1955 to get his parents together. Marty doesn't like the tonic but, if he has to wear it, tries to make himself look like Elvis. This would be Elvis Presley (1935-1977), a rock-and-roll singer-songwriter and actor, often called the King of Rock and Roll. Doc doesn't know who or what "Elvis" is and Marty tells him, "You'll find out." In fact, he'll find out pretty damn soon...Elvis' first single, "Heartbreak Hotel" will be released in January 1956 and become a number one hit.


In discussing Lorraine's attraction to Marty, Doc fears an Oedipal situation could develop, which he describes as an undesirable attraction between mother and son. He is referring to the psychoanalytic theory known as Oedipus complex. But Oedipus complex is technically an attraction between a child and one of its parents, male or female. The condition of a mother attracted to her child is known as Jocasta complex. Since Lorraine does not know that Marty is her future son, she is not truly in a Jocasta complex.


On page 157, Marty considers asking Lorraine on behalf of George, a la Cyrano, before discarding the idea on the grounds that even George had some pride. Marty is thinking of the story of the well-known 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which the poet Cyrano whispers lines to his friend Christian to help him woo the woman he desires.


The book reveals that part of George's lack of self-confidence and reluctance to take risk comes from his father convincing him that nothing difficult or risky is worth trying.


On page 163, Marty tells Doc he feels like he's in the Twilight Zone. This is a reference to the classic Twilight Zone TV series of 1959-1964, an anthology of fantasy, horror, science-fiction, and suspense. Doc Brown doesn't realize Marty is talking about a TV series, but his rejoinder echoes what will become one of the opening statements of the show spoken by creator Rod Serling. Doc says, "Twilight Zone? That’s an interesting phraseology. It’s a perfect description of where you are, as a matter of a zone of twilight, neither here nor there...a middle ground, between light and shadow, between things and ideas..."


Despite all of Doc and Marty's discussion of the dangers of messing up history through time travel, Marty seems fairly oblivious to anything but how time alterations could mess up his own life in the future (or Doc's). On page 163, he sees the day's newspaper and the headline, "LOCAL FARMER CLAIMS SPACE ZOMBIE WRECKED HIS BARN - Otis Peabody Under Observation at County Asylum." The only reaction he has to this is that it gives him the idea to scare George into action with a visit by the malevolent Darth Vader. But what about old man Peabody and his family? How were their lives altered by that fact that they encountered something bizarre-but-real that scared them (even if it wasn't a space zombie) and now the town thinks the family patriarch has lost his mind? (The movie completely glosses over what happened to the Peabody family after Marty's nighttime encounter with them...and Marty gets the Darth Vader idea simply from the fact that George loves science-fiction and the TV show Science Fiction Theatre and that George had said "not you or anybody else on this planet is going to make me change my mind.")


Page 165 reveals that George had read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie in an attempt to learn a new philosophy to improve his life, but his attempt to use the author's suggestions to win over Biff failed miserably. This is a real book, first published in 1936 and still in print today.


In the book, Marty makes several more pop culture references from post-1955 science-fiction than just Darth Vader and planet Vulcan. They are underlined in the passage below.


"My name is Darth Vader," the being intoned. "I am an extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan.”

George shook his head. "I" he stammered.

"This is no dream!" the alien shot back. "You are having a close encounter of the third kind. You have taken one step beyond into the outer limits of the twilight zone."


"Silence! I have instructions for you."

"I...don’t want...instructions..." George moaned. "Mom...Dad..."

The creature reached into his belt and withdrew something that looked extremely lethal. It was made of one solid piece of hard shiny material with a round hole, about two inches in diameter at the end. From a distance of six feet, George could plainly hear its low hum and feel heat radiating from its nozzle.

"Don’t speak or get out of bed!" the alien ordered. "My heat ray will vaporize you if you do not obey me!"

George raised his hands above his head.

"All right," he whined. "I surrender."

A strange beeping sound came from the alien. Lowering the heat ray, the creature lifted its right arm to listen to the sounds.

"What’s—" George began.

"Silence! I am receiving a transmission from the Battlestar Galactica!"

After emitting several more beeps, the object on the alien’s arm lapsed into silence.

"You, George McFly, have created a rift in the space-time continuum—" the creature said.

"I’m sorry," George whispered. "I’ll repair any damage I did—"

"I said, silence! The Supreme Klingon hereby commands you to take the female earth person called 'Baines, Lorraine' to the--"

"You mean Lorraine Baines?"

"Of course, earthling! You are hereby ordered to take this Baines female person to the location known as Hill Valley High School exactly four earth cycles from now—"


In the book, George has half talked himself the next day into thinking the "Darth Vader" visitation was just a dream. When Marty hears this, he remarks to George that some people saw a flying saucer hovering in George's neighborhood last night for about ten minutes. This convinces George that the visit was real and he has to ask Lorraine to the dance.


Seeing Biff and his lackeys arrayed against him at the cafe, Marty realizes these aren't good odds "unless you happen to be Superman." Superman, of course, is a flying superhero character appearing in titles published by DC Comics.


On page 182, Lorraine makes a quote she just learned in English class to George after she turns him down for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" The line is from the 1819 poem "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. This further extends the idea postulated earlier in this study that Lorraine is a heavy reader.


On page 183, Marty tells Doc he had a run-in with Biff and four of his goons. But there are only three goons, 3-D, Match, and Skinhead.


On pages 187-188, Marty and Doc mention Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano. These were both heavyweight champion boxers, Ali in the 1960s and '70s and Marciano in the 1940s and '50s.


On page 199, Doc doesn't know what mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was invented the following year, in 1956, by Drs. James Elm and Peter Safar.


At the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, a school locker is among the decorations, labeled as Davey Jones. This is a joking reference to the nautical euphemism "Davy Jones' locker" which stands for the drowning death of sailors in the sea.


On page 201, Marvin Berry and the Starlighters play the theme from the movie Three Coins in the Fountain. The music was written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn for the 1954 romantic comedy film.


Chapter Twelve has an extra scene where George is locked in a bathroom stall by Dixon and his friends, which makes George late for his rendezvous to rescue Lorraine in the parking lot. A similar scene was in the script but cut from the film, where George gets locked in a phone booth.


In the book, when Lorraine kisses Marty, she pulls back and says it was like kissing her father. In the movie, she says it was like kissing her brother.


On page 215, George approaches the Marty's parked car to play the role of Lorraine's rescuer, taking steps John Wayne style. John Wayne (1907-1979) was a popular American actor, especially known for his roles as tough American cowboys and soldiers.


When George says "Excuse me," and shoves Dixon out of the way to resume his dance with Lorraine and kiss her, his voice is described as coming out in the best Clint Eastwood tradition. Eastwood is an American actor well-known for his tough guy cowboy and cop roles in the movies. In fact, Marty will adopt the alias of "Clint Eastwood" when he finds himself in the old west of 1885 in Back to the Future Part III.


During his final music performance with the Starlighters on page 222, Marty's movements are described as becoming like those of Mick Jagger and then Michael Jackson. Jagger and Jackson were each huge performers in the rock and roll arena of the latter half of the 20th Century.


On page 226, Marty mentions another street in Hill Valley called Cherry Street.


 In the book, George's new confidence has him deciding he's going to go to college despite his father's objections, which Marty takes as a good sign; George didn't go to college in the life Marty's familiar with. But Doc points out a couple possible scenarios from George's decision that could alter Marty's future: "...suppose while he’s there, he meets some coed who’s more attractive to him than your mother? That could cause you to do a quick fade out. Or suppose because of college expenses, your mom and dad decide to hold off having kids for a couple years? If that happens, you may find that you’re twelve or fourteen years old in 1985 instead of seventeen? How do you like them apples?" I think even Doc is missing something very important here. If George and Lorraine were to decide to delay having kids, Marty wouldn't likely be born at all! Marty's genes are the result of the specific egg and spermatozoon that paired during George and Lorraine's sexual intercourse. If George and Lorraine delayed their attempts to have children, Lorraine would be ovulating a different egg and George would have a different batch of sperm, yielding a different individual during fertilization. This would be true for Marty's siblings Dave and Linda as well.




After Marty returns to 1985, the author makes an error on page 237 when the LAST TIME DEPARTED readout on the time circuits reads 11-5-1955. It should read 11-12-1955.


On page 237, Marty recalls a movie he once saw in which a man in a time machine finds himself enclosed inside a mountain. This is a reference to the 1960 film The Time Machine.


The book explains that the police arrived to round up the Libyans from their crashed van while Marty roused Doc and the pair ran away unseen from the mall. But, who called the police about the terrorists? Will the terrorists rat out Doc for taking the plutonium?


After the McFly kids hear from their parents how they fell in love when George rescued Lorraine from an assault by Biff, Marty asks them what happened to the other guy, the one he was named after. Lorraine just says they never saw him again.


DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual Notes from the DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, hardcover edition, published 2021)


In the Introduction of this book, Doc Brown remarks, "But in all the Universe, there is one law that cannot be violated: The Law of Unintended Consequences. The unintended consequences of time travel are infinite, as I discovered in my own adventures. It requires little imagination to postulate the myriad ways in which time travel could be misused. Hence secrecy in this regard is absolutely necessary. In fact, a convincing case can be made that any use of time travel constitutes a misuse, and I could argue that position with clarity and passion. So to that offense, I plead guilty."


Doc also remarks that some of the information and equations in the book have been changed as additional insurance of preventing time travel from falling into the wrong hands.


Doc's Introduction for the book is signed: 


Respectfully submitted,

Emmett L. Brown



Besides schematics and technical notes on the DeLorean, the book contains excerpts from Doc Brown's journals, 1946-1985.


Doc had discussed time travel concepts with his colleagues Dr. John Barber and Professor Derek Fridolfs at the Manhattan Project. Barber and Fridolfs are actually writers who have worked on various BTTF comic book stories!


On October 22, 1949, Doc reports on having started his own business, Brown's A-1 Appliance Repair. Around this time, he has also adopted Copernicus from the local dog shelter; the way he says it implies that Copernicus is his first dog. (October 22 is also actor Christopher Lloyd's birthday.) The Back to the Future novelization states that Copernicus was Doc's third pet named after famous scientists; that's pet though, so Copernicus could be his first dog.


Pages 14-15 mention the Hill Valley businesses Banton Electric, Far West Insurance, AXJ Industrial Supply, and TWR Parts and Engineering. These all appear to be fictitious companies.


On September 14, 1960, Doc attends a showing of George Pal's production of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine at the Essex Theater. This is an actual movie based on the famed novel, released August 17, 1960.


On page 16, Doc remarks that in order to travel to a time before your time machine existed is to have a machine that can travel with the time traveller and he tips his hat to H.G. Wells for having the vision to write his novel with that type of machine featured. He then adds parenthetically, "Perhaps he himself was a time traveller!" This may be a nod to the 1979 film Time After Time, in which H.G. Wells invents his own time machine and travels to 1979 and back again, inspiring him to write his famous novel.


    In his May 26, 1961 journal entry, Doc applauds President Kennedy's announcement of the goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. He remarks that the endeavor will also lead to technological breakthroughs that will expand scientific horizons and aid humanity. Doc was right.

    Doc's accompanying sketch of President Kennedy is based on a real world photo from a televised speech he gave on the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 22, 1962...over a year after Doc's sketch!


On November 28, 1963, Doc Brown writes that the assassination of President Kennedy has depressed him for a week. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22.


Copernicus dies sometime around September 9, 1964 and Doc finds the thought of being without a pup incomprehensible. On September 23, he adopts a new dog from the shelter, naming him Edison, knowing he will be a shining light in his life. Thomas Edison invented the long-lasting light bulb. The dog in Doc's sketch looks as if it may be a Scottie.


On page 20, Doc laments that only a nuclear reactor can generate a full gigawatt of electricity for his mobile flux capacitor, though he notes that General Electric's S6G reactor for submarines promises great things for the future. The S6G reactor was designed by the company and used in Los Angeles class attack submarines of the U.S. Navy.


On March 12, 1979, Doc adopts a new pup (apparently Edison died), a sheepdog he names Einstein since Mrs. Marcuse, who runs the shelter, told him that they were among the most intelligent breeds.


A newspaper clipping from June 18, 1969 states that the Twin Pines Ranch on Highway 12 has been sold to become the Twin Pines Shopping Mall. In the real world, Highway 12 in California is a 140-mile stretch running east-west from Sebastopol to San Andreas.


Doc's journal entry for September 19, 1980 states that he is commuting to Stanford to take a refresher class in nuclear physics. This would seem to be a reference to Stanford University in Stanford, CA. If Hill Valley is in the Sierra Nevada mountains as indicated in Back to the Future Part 3, then Doc's commute was something like 200-300 miles one way!


In Doc's September 30, 1980 journal entry, he is excited about the announcement of the first stainless steel car...from the DeLorean Motor Corporation. He remarks that this vehicle could solve the flux dispersal problem. It's hard to say exactly what Doc means by "flux dispersal", but stainless steel is known to be a fairly low conductor of electricity due to its dense protective oxide layer. It may be that the stainless steel of the DeLorean automobile prevents the electrical charge from the plutonium chamber from dispersing in a manner that prevents the flux capacitor from receiving the required 1.21 gigawatts.


On November 6, 1980, Doc reports on a Libyan exchange student who asks him if he's heard of the Princeton student who claimed to have built a nuclear bomb (which Doc, with his knowledge from the Manhattan Project, doubts could be functional). The student says he might be in touch with Doc later; this is obviously a reference to the Libyan terrorists who provide Doc with plutonium in order to build a bomb, as related in the movie. The Princeton University student is likely a reference to John Aristotle Phillips, who designed a nuclear weapon on paper, though there was conflicting opinion among scientists as to whether it would have been functional. 


    On February 3, 1984, Doc purchases a used DeLorean with 30,000 miles on it at New Deal Used Cars on Valley Road at the freeway from salesman Rudy Russo. In the movie, the car has over 33,000 miles on it; seems like a lot for Doc to have added before it even travelled through time.

    New Deal Used Cars is the name of the used car dealership in Robert Zemeckis' 1980 comedy film Used Cars. The dealership was located next to a freeway. In our current context, it seems odd to think that there is a freeway near the rural town of Hill Valley. It could be that the dealer is located in another city though. In Used Cars, the dealership is in Mesa, Arizona.

    Rudy Russo is the character played by Kurt Russell in Used Cars.

    This version of Doc's purchase of the DeLorean to become his time machine differs from the one implied in "Science Project", which was a "for sale by owner" by "Robert" in August of 1984. It could be that this August reference is for the second DeLorean which Doc had built, as discovered by Marty and Jennifer in "Continuum Conundrum" Part 1.

Doc's Rudy Russo sketch Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell) in Used Cars


Doc replaced the stock Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine on the DeLorean with a Porsche 928 V8 for greater power.


Doc installs an automatic gearbox in the DeLorean so the car can be controlled remotely, but makes it an automatic-manual hybrid for maximum control over the vehicle. (This explains some contradictions in the car's performance characteristics in the movies.)


On page 24, Doc mentions Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity and David Bohm's ramblings on the subject. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) proposed his concept of synchronicity "to describe circumstances that appear meaningfully related yet lack a causal connection." Bohm (1917-1992) postulated that synchronicity could explain various aspects of physics.


One of the Libyan nationals Doc winds up dealing with is named Achmed, someone he first met in 1980 while refreshing his scientific studies at Stanford.


In his September 8, 1985 journal entry, Doc mentions taking Pepto-Bismol to try to settle his stomach after speaking to Achmed.


In his September 16, 1985 journal entry, Doc is pleased to report that Edmund Scientific Supply will ship the radiation suits he's ordered to a post office box. The company is probably a reference to Edmund Scientific Corporation, a low-cost scientific supplies company since 1942.


The newspaper clipping on page 25 indicates that the Libyans' plutonium was stolen from the Pacific Nuclear Research Facility, as stated in the newscast seen in Doc's lab at the beginning of the movie. The director of the facility at the time was Klaus Garcia. A representative of the Abolish Nuclear Power Consortium named Rachel Samuels calls for Garcia's resignation.


On page 33, Doc remarks on having previously failed to incorporate the time travel components into a refrigerator, a pickup truck, and a Ford Mustang. These were all early script and/or preproduction concepts for the time machine before Zemeckis and Gale settled on the DeLorean.


Page 38 states that 88 MPH is the ideal temporal displacement threshold, although successful temporal displacement can occur at greater speeds.


Regarding the tachyon pulse generator (mounted on top of the car), it is stated, "The TPG fires tachyons at and through the electromagnetic filed, targeted at the exact relative distance ahead of the field in which the vehicle will travel at the optimal speed. By firing tachyons through the temporal field, the field becomes primed for contact with the wormhole. If 1.21 gigawatts of electricity is introduced at the exact moment the temporal field touches the wormhole, the time vehicle passes through instantly and disappears...A minimum safe distance is required between the time vehicle and the wormhole as it is being generated. The wormhole is only open momentarily, there, the vehicle must be traveling at the correct speed in order to cover the distance required for the temporal field and wormhole to converge." This would seem to preclude the time machine travelling through time as it did near the end of Back to the Future Part II when the hovering DeLorean was struck by lightning and spun on its axis at 88 MPH because the vehicle was not moving along an x, y, z axis and the wormhole would have to have opened right on top of the vehicle without the "minimum safe distance required between the time vehicle and the wormhole as it is being generated.


The AM/FM cassette radio in the time machine is a Coustic EI model.


Doc refers to his own Theory of Temporal Relativity to explain why the time machine does not wind up miles away from its initial physical location (or even in outer space) when time travelling due to the rotation and orbit of the Earth and the expansion of the universe. His theory is that when you travel through time, you remain universally tethered to the physical point from which you left because the laws of physics show that teleportation to another location is not possible. I'm not sure that really holds up, but "comic book" explanations of science are better than none at all!


The time circuits computer is calibrated to use the Gregorian calendar for dates prior to October 4, 1582 (when the calendar was adjusted by 10 days from the inaccurate Julian calendar) and the Julian calendar for dates prior to that (see page 45).


On page 45, Doc remarks that he limited the annum (year) display to four digits, allowing him to travel across 10,000 years (0000 to 9999). He goes on to comment that a trip to the Mesozoic (252-66 million years ago, Age of Dinosaurs) would not be possible without an upgrade. Yet Biff does, albeit accidentally, travel to the Mesozoic Era in "Jurassic Biff".


Page 49 explains that the flame trails that occur at the point of departure when the DeLorean makes a time jump are due to a thin layer of hyper-excited field particles left behind by the tires in contact with the temporal field, which ignite upon contact with the air.


On page 50, Doc remarks that tuning a perfectly formed temporal field within the parameters of the DeLorean's unique shape was a geometric problem that could have stumped Pythagoras. Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher accomplished in mathematics in the 5th Century BC.


On page 54, Doc relates that to create the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, he created the world's first rapid decay reactor in ultra compact size. He also invented a non-conducting, water-based super coolant "cocktail", saying, "Without a super coolant, a fast reaction is impossible to cool at normal atmospheric pressure." I would think Doc could patent and make a fortune on these two inventions alone!


Page 81 reveals that the lightning rod that was attached to the DeLorean in 1955 to channel the lightning bolt power into the flux capacitor was made from a deep sea fishing pole!


    Doc's journal entry on page 82 states that when he recovered from his brief period of insensateness after being shot by the Libyan terrorists in the mall parking lot, saved by the bulletproof vest, he becomes aware of having two sets of memories since 1955, one set where Marty had visited him in 1955 and wrote him the warning letter and one from the original timeline where Doc had been murdered by the Libyans, without a vest. The dual memory concept is also touched on in the novelization of Back to the Future Part III.

    In this entry, Doc refers to the mall as Twin Pines Mall, although it is Lone Pine Mall in the timeline in which he wore the bulletproof vest. This can be excused since, as stated above, Doc now has two sets of memories, one of the original timeline where the mall was Twin Pines Mall and, the other, of the current/altered timeline where the mall is Lone Pine Mall.


Notes from the Q&A Commentary of the film on the Blu-ray release


Christopher Lloyd based his portrayal of Doc Brown on both scientist Albert Einstein and conductor Leopold Stokowsky.


The fins on the back of the DeLorean are "cooling towers" for the nuclear reactor.


Notes from the Back to the Future Night bonus feature on the Blu-ray release


Back to the Future Part II was shot under the working title Paradox.


Notes from the audio commentary of the film by Bob Gale and Neil Canton


The opening scene of Doc Brown's clocks was inspired by the opening of the 1960 film, The Time Machine, which features a montage of clocks.


Doc Brown lives in his garage and much of the junk in it was salvaged from the Brown mansion when it burned down.


For the film to be released in Australia, Michael J. Fox had to do a public service announcement bit admonishing young people not to hitch rides on the backs of cars while on their skateboards!


The Puente Hills Mall was chosen as the shooting location for Twin Pines/Lone Pine Mall because of the hill that slopes down from the driveway entrance to the parking lot. The hill allowed the production to have a spot where Marty could see everything that was happening during the Libyans-chase-the-DeLorean scene when he returns to 1985.


Seeing the dog (Einstein) behind the wheel of the DeLorean during the time travel test was a bit of an homage to the 1959 Disney film The Shaggy Dog, which involved scenes of an Old English Sheepdog driving a car.


Liquid nitrogen was used to ice up the DeLorean after it travelled through time. The concept was used less and less as the scenes (and later movies!) were shot because it was such a pain to do.


The red, green, and yellow displays on the time circuits are an homage to the three colored bulbs on the time machine in The Time Machine. (The DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual has Doc's notes stating he chose those colors purposefully in honor of one of his favorite movies.)


The tube-cases holding the plutonium pellets are pretty accurate-looking to what they would look like for real if plutonium was being shipped for travel.


When the Libyans are about to shoot Marty at 29:48 on the Blu-ray, the Kalashnikov rifle jams and the van stalls and the Libyans speak Arabic in frustration. They are saying something like "Damn Soviet gun" and "Damn German car".


The Twin Pines Ranch scenes were shot at a Disney ranch in Newhall, CA (Golden Oak Ranch).


The empty lot of Lyon Estates in 1955 was shot in Chino, CA.


Memorable Dialog


I'm late for school.mp3

a nickel's worth of free advice.mp3


no McFly ever amounted to anything.mp3

too darn loud.mp3

I'm starting to sound like my old man.mp3

I think the woman was born a nun.mp3

I spilled beer all over me when that car smashed into me.mp3

I wouldn't want that to happen.mp3

light beer.mp3

what are you looking at, butthead?.mp3

girls chasing boys.mp3

the night of that terrible thunderstorm.mp3

temporal experiment number one.mp3

if my calculations are correct.mp3

88 miles per hour.mp3

you disintegrated Einstein.mp3

you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?.mp3

the flux capacitor.mp3

breeding pine trees.mp3

you don't just walk into a store and buy plutonium.mp3

they wanted me to build them a bomb.mp3

an airplane without wings.mp3

it's already mutated into human form.mp3

you space bastard.mp3

what's with the life preserver?.mp3

something without sugar.mp3

hey, McFly.mp3

you wouldn't want that to happen wouldya?.mp3

what are you looking at, butthead?_2.mp3

they'll be walking over you for the rest of your life.mp3


I like the sound of that.mp3

you're so thin.mp3

on my hope chest.mp3

Calvin Klein.mp3

people call me Marty.mp3

better get used to these bars.mp3

nobody has two television sets.mp3

what's a rerun?.mp3

do I know your mother?.mp3

who the hell is John F Kennedy?.mp3

much later.mp3

I'll disown you.mp3

do you know what this means?.mp3

future boy.mp3

what makes time travel possible.mp3

I finally invent something that works.mp3

1.21 gigawatts.mp3

every corner drug store.mp3

a bolt of lightning.mp3

back to the future.mp3

erased from existence.mp3

weight has nothing to do with it.mp3

didn't that guy ever have hair?.mp3

problem with the Earth's gravitational pull.mp3

what do they like to do together?.mp3

I never let anybody read my stories.mp3

I'm not that kind of girl.mp3

why don't you make like a tree.mp3

not you or anybody else on this planet.mp3

Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan.mp3

melt my brain.mp3

nothing's coming to my mind.mp3

I'm writing this down, this is good stuff.mp3

I'm your density.mp3

do you really think I oughta swear?.mp3

since when can weathermen predict the weather.mp3

you're beginning to sound just like my mother.mp3

get your damn hands off.mp3

that's George McFly.mp3

somebody else that can play the guitar.mp3

let's do something that really cooks.mp3

it's an oldie where I come from.mp3

that new sound you're looking for.mp3

your kids are gonna love it.mp3

go easy on him.mp3

such a nice name.mp3

Biff, what a character.mp3

your first novel.mp3

you've got to come back with me.mp3

something has got to be done about your kids.mp3

we don't need roads.mp3


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