Back to the Future

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The Back to the Future trivia here is collected mostly by RESEARCH! I don't just cut and paste other people's Back to the Future pages. When I quote from another source, I will give credit. If you have something to add or correct, feel free to email me. You will get credit on the page if I use it.
My personal text will be in black. Quotes from other sources will be in red. Quotes emailed in will be in green.


Harold Lloyd in Safety Last

About 1 minute 30 seconds into the opening credits of Back to the Future, as the camera pans by the clocks, You see a clock with a man hanging from the hands. The clock depicts a scene from the movie Safety Last, starring Harold Lloyd. Harold Lloyd is the man hanging from the clock. The hat and glasses are unmistakable. Christopher Lloyd ends up hanging from the clock in much the same way in this movie.
This serves a dual-purpose.
For those who never saw Safety Last, the scene foreshadows Doc hanging from the clock later in Back to the Future. For those in the know, it is a cinema in-joke (Harold Lloyd/Christopher Lloyd, both hanging from the clock).

Both the intro clocks, and the scene where all of Doc's clocks chime 8:00, are reminiscent of similar scenes in The Time Machine . The movie opens with a series of clocks, and the inventor's clocks all chime 8:00 when the hero is late for dinner.

After Lorraine's father (Sam) runs into Marty Mcfly with the car, he (Sam) yells "Stella!". A famous line from A Streetcar Named Desire, uttered by Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski.

Ever wonder where the term "Great Scott!" comes from?
Great Scott or Scot! A mitigated form of oath. The initial letter of the German Gott is changed into Sc. " `Great Scott! ... Beg pardon!' ejaculated Silas, astounded." - A. C. Gunter: Baron Montez, book iv. chap. xix.
I don't know the date of publication of this book yet, but I am still researching and will post it when I find it. I do know A. C. Gunter died in 1907, so it's at least that old. I never heard of this book until 1999. I know where I learned the phrase "Great Scott!" (and Doc probably did, too).

Superman in the Fifties

Any of you who collect comic books know how prevalent the term was in SUPERMAN comics from the late 1940's through the 1950's and early 1960's.
As early as Superman #53, 1948 (the FIRST series, not the series that started after MAN OF STEEL), when the doctor sees young Kal-El holding a full-grown adult over his head, and again when the doctor sees Kal-El hanging from the Chandelier.
You'll find it again in Superboy #68, 1958.
Superman himself uses the phrase frequently in the 1950's. See the GIRL OF STEEL in Superman #148.

Wow! Batman fans can be touchy! I got a ton of email from Batman fans who pointed out that "Great Scott!" appears in lots of Batman comics in the fifties, too.

One more Superman tie-in. Marc McClure, who played Dave Mcfly in BTTF, played the role of Jimmy Olsen in all four Superman movies that Christopher Reeve made and in the Supergirl movie that Helen Slater made.

Displayed prominently at the head of Marty Mcfly's bed is a brightly colored magazine named "RQ." This is "Reference Quarterly," of interest only to professional librarians.

The date Marty Mcfly travels back in time to, November 5, is the same date of time travel in Time After Time (1979).

Malcolm Mcdowell as H. G. Wells in Time After Time

On a related note, Mary Steenburgen (the actress who plays Dr. Brown's romantic interest in Back to the Future III ) played H. G. Wells' love interest in Time After Time !

Mary Steenburgen and Malcolm Mcdowell in Time After Time

Mary Steenburgen in Back to the Future III

Another interesting but totally coincidental fact about the date November 5th, is that Jon-Erik Hexum, the actor who portrayed the Time-Traveler in the T.V. show Voyagers, was born on November 5th, 1957!

Jon-Erik Hexum as Phineas Bogg in Voyager From the Unknown

The device originally considered for use as the time travel machine was a refrigerator. Director Robert Zemeckis said in an interview that the idea was scrapped because he and Steven Spielberg did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside.

Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly, but changed because he didn't act enough like a teenager. When 'Michael J. Fox' (qv) was cast, his costume was completely revamped.

The "main street" is the same one used in Gremlins.

The theatre in 1955 is showing a double bill: "A Boy's Life" (the working title for Steven Spielberg's E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial), and "Watch the Skies" (the working title for Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind ). See also Gremlins (1984).
The above is quoted from the Internet Movie Database. I don't agree with it. I have watched the movie over and over on LaserDisc and DVD. The Essex is playing Cattle Queen of Montana , starring Ronald Reagan and Barbara Stanwyck. The Town is playing The Atomic Kid . No other theater is shown until the drive-in in Back to the Future 3. If anyone can tell me in what scene the above named movie double-bill can be spotted, please email me or sign my guestbook. I'm sure many of us would like to know.
News Flash! My buddy John ( forwarded an email to me from that says the above mentioned double-bill is at the theater in Gremlins, NOT Back to the Future. Big tip-of-the-hat to Jeremy Quest. Any relation to Jonny Quest?

The device in Doc Brown's lab that Marty Mcfly plugs his guitar into is labeled "CRM-114", which was the name of the message decoder on the B-52 in Dr. Strangelove , and the serial number of the Jupiter explorer in 2001 - A Space Odyssey, both directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Doc Brown's dog is named Einstein. This may be a vague reference to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, where the inventor of a miracle car owned a dog named Edison.

The mall where Marty McFly meets Dr. Brown for their time travel experiment is called "Twin Pines Mall". Dr. Brown comments that old farmer Peabody used to own all of the land, and he grew pines there. When Marty goes back in time, he runs over and knocks down a pine tree on the Peabody's property. When he comes back to the mall at the end of the film, the sign at the mall identifies the mall as "Lone Pine Mall".
Did you notice the Twin Pines logo on the Zales Jewelry advertisement on the bench Marty and Jennifer stop at after the band audition? In 1955, Zales Jewelry is on the square.

Farmer Peabody's son is named Sherman. Sherman was the name of the little boy time traveler in one segment of Jay Ward's cartoon show, Rocky & Bullwinkle. The dog who owned his time machine was named Mr. Peabody.
You will not hear Sherman called by name. You have to watch the credits at the end of the movie to get this one!

Sherman (the boy) and Mr. Peabody (the dog), the time-traveling duo from Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends

One scene only shown in a 1990 TV was the 1955 Doc investigating his 1985 counterpart's suitcase, discovering a hairdryer and a copy of Playboy.
This scene introduced the hairdryer that Marty (as "Darth Vader") wears in his belt (off and on) when he persuades George to ask Lorraine to the dance. The suitcase undoubtedly held the velcro shoes that Doc wears when he is hanging from the clock with the cable caught on his pantleg.

The dialogue where Lorraine says that when she grows up she'll let her kids do anything they want was cut.
But the dialogue IS used in Back to the Future part II. Marty of part II sneaks past the car in which Marty of part I and Lorraine are parking, and overhears their conversation as Lorraine speaks the above-mentioned line. Marty (both of them) expresses a desire to have that in writing.

Another deleted scene shows Marty Mcfly peeking in on a class in 1955 and seeing his mother cheating on a test.

The scene where George Mcfly has to save Lorraine from being attacked by Biff in the car is longer: George forgets what time it is and has to go in a phone booth to call the time and temperature, but one of Biff's gang slides a ruler in the door and traps him there. He's later rescued by Mr. Strickland.

The scene where Marty asks if he and Jennifer become "assholes" in the future was reshot for television. The word "jerks" replaced the word assholes.
In some prints, the word "jerks" is dubbed in, and you can see Marty's mouth form the word "assholes". watch for it!

The newscaster on TV in the opening sequence is 'Deborah Harmon' (qv), who appeared in director Robert Zemeckis' Used Cars.

When Marty gets back to 1985, he spots a bum on the bench. He calls him "Red": "Red Thomas" was mayor in 1955.

The radio in Marty's room plays "Back in Time", by Huey Lewis and The News, who wrote and performed some songs for the film. Also, a poster for their Sports album is visible on the wall of Marty's bedroom when Doc calls and wakes him.
And of course, whenever we see Marty ride his skateboard in the 80's, we hear Huey Lewis and The News doing Power of Love.

The "Mr. Fusion Home Energy Converter", which is sitting on the DeLorean when Doc returns from the future, is made from (among other things) a Krups coffee grinder.

The script never called for Marty to repeatedly bang his head on the gull-wing door of the Delorean, this was improvised during filming as the door mechanism became faulty.

CAMEO ( Huey Lewis): the high-school band judge.

Here's the Trilogy CD. It does not have the rock songs on it, just the orchestral pieces.
In Association with Soundtrack Back to the Future-Trilogy

Here's the one I like! I bought it on vinyl back when the movie first came out. This is the best rendition of "Earth Angel" on Earth (this or any alternate Earth). I wore the LP out. Had to buy the CD.
In Association with Back To The Future: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack

Where To Next?

Musical notes and sources
(BTTF music trivia and where to get "Mr. Sandman" and others)

Goofs for Back to the Future (1985)

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