The Back to the Future trilogy turns 30 this year. I fondly remember going to the theater to see all three movies and enjoying every movie, even the third. So to celebrate this milestone, I’m writing three tribute articles, one for each movie in the franchise. Each tribute will have 15 fun facts and my top 10 favorite moments.
15 Fun Facts From Back To the Future
- As I’m sure you know, Huey Lewis and the News contributed two songs to the soundtrack: “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time”. Huey Lewis also makes a cameo. He’s the judge with the bullhorn when Marty’s band, the Pinheads, tries out for the Battle of the Bands. (“I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud.”)
- The high school scenes were filmed at Whittier High, Richard Nixon’s alma mater. The prom scenes were shot at a center run by a Methodist church.
- In the scene where Marty dresses up in the radiation suit to scare his dad, he plays a Van Halen song at full blast to scare George McFly. The song is “Donut City”, an instrumental song.
- Doc Brown’s 50’s house is the famous Gramble House in Pasadena, CA. The interior scenes were shot at the Blacker-Hill house, another house that is also owned by Proctor and Gramble. (the company makes Ivory Soap)
- The man who owns the malt shop in 50’s Hill Valley also voiced Aquaman in the Superfriends cartoons made by Hanna-Barbera in the 70’s and 80’s.
- Speaking of the malt shop, in the Wii video game based on the franchise, you go to Depression-era Hill Valley. In this era, the malt shop is a facility for the Sisters of Mercy (no, not the Goth Rock pioneers, the actual charity).
- Christopher Lloyd based his portrayal of Doc Brown on Leopold Stokowski, a conductor known for making big sweeping gestures while he conducted. Lloyd imagined himself conducting the universe itself.
- In addition to Huey Lewis and the News, two other 80’s musicians contributed to the soundtrack. Eric Clapton recorded “Heaven is One Step Away” and Lindsey Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac fame) recorded “Time Bomb Town”.
- Robert Zemeckis tried to pitch the movie to Disney. They refused because of the scene where Lorraine says that kissing Marty is “like kissing my brother”. They thought it implied incest.
- Originally, the time machine was going to be a fridge, not DeLorean. Bob Gates, the script’s writer, changed it to a DeLorean when he worried that kids would stuff themselves in fridges to pretend to go back in time. Three DeLoreans were used in filming the movie.
- When Doc Brown’s dog, Einstein, goes back in time, his stopwatch reads 1:21. This is also the number of gigawatts needed to power the flux capacitor.
- The clocks in Doc Brown’s lab are an homage to the 1960’s adaptation of HG Wells’s The Time Machine. Same goes for the red, yellow, and green LED read-outs on the DeLorean’s console.
- Old Man Peabody, the pine tree breeder, is named after Peabody, the time-travelling dog in the Bullwinkle and Rocky companion shorts “Peabody’s Improbable History”. His son is given the name Sheldon in the script (he’s the boy who thinks the DeLorean is actually a UFO because it looks like the UFO in his comic book and Marty is actually an alien), after the boy in the cartoons.
- Eric Stolz was the first choice to play Marty because Robert Zemeckis thought Michael J. Fox would be too busy with his role as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties. On the Blu-Ray release, you can access footage with Stolz playing Marty.
- When all the kids are kicking George McFly around because of his kick me sign, you can see a sign on the wall reading “Bob Woodward for Class President”. Bob Woodward was the grip.