Back to the Future

Question: What was the point of changing "Twin Pines Mall" into "Lone Pine Mall"? This change doesn't affect the series' plot at all, so what was the reason behind it?

Answer: Just to show how actions in the past have had a knock on effect on the future, giving audiences a heads up that things have been changed. Alternatively just a fun thing for audiences to notice.

Answer: It's a small but noticeable change in the timeline as a result of Marty's time travel. The first we see when he returns to 1985, confirming that his actions have altered the present. It was originally called "Twin Pines Mall" because there were originally two pine trees; Doc reminisces about "Old Man Peabody" trying to breed pine trees on the land where the mall stood. When Marty travels back to the same place in 1955, it's Peabody's farm, and making his escape, he runs over one of the two pines (and we see the mailbox with the name "Peabody" on it). Therefore, when he returns to 1985 having destroyed one pine, the mall is now "Lone Pine Mall", because in the new, altered present, there was only one pine tree, not two.

Question: What does the saying "Why don't you make like a tree, and get out of here", mean?

Answer: It's a way of saying "scram" or "get lost." But Biff is so dim, he doesn't realize he's saying it wrong; the expression is "make like a tree and leaf", with the joke being that "leaf" is meant to sound like "leave."

Cubs Fan

Question: How is Marty able to play a 1980s videotape on a 1950s television set? Is this just another example of Doc's ahead-of-his-time inventiveness?

Answer: The video camera was in the DeLorean. With the right kind of adapter, which was common enough in the 80s that Doc might've had it on the camera or been able to jury-rig something in the 50s, it would have been possible to connect it into the antenna screws in the back of the TV like an old Atari and play it directly from the camera.

Captain Defenestrator

TVs in the 50s had a two prong antennae connection (two screws in the back that you put a prong antennae into) TVs in the mid 80s also had this. The coax connection (the one wire that screws in) was starting to become common, but, the two prong connection would have been more likely on any given TV at the time, so, whatever wire they used to preview recordings probably had that. very convenient that Marty brought those cords with him.

An old Atari 2600 RF Adapter would be how one would link a video camera to an old-fashioned television. A simple-enough part that Doc could probably make one with 1950s technology.

Captain Defenestrator

Answer: Video tape system back then could output an NTSC video signal, just like broadcast at the time, and up to HD in the 2000s. Usually there was a switch on the video device to change the output frequency between channels 3 or 4. Depending on what was an open channel in your area.

Answer: Doc is smart and eccentric enough to probably have such a thing randomly rattling around in the Delorian as old burger wrappers would rattle around inside a normal car. And Marty could also conceivably have such a thing at his or Doc's domicile for his own video gaming convenience.

dizzyd

Question: Right when Marty gets back to Doc before he goes back to 1985, he's praising his dad's actions of the night. One line that's bothered me ever since I can remember is "My dad laid out Biff. He's never stood up to Biff in his life." And then the Doc pauses for a second and gets a strange look on his face and says, "Never?" To that, Marty says, "No, why?" and the Doc shrugs it off saying, "Nevermind." What's Doc thinking? The best I can come up with is that he's wondering what effects it'll have on the future, but that's a rough guess. If anyone out there knows, I'd be happy to hear it.

DenizenZERO

Chosen answer: I think that is *exactly* what he is thinking. He realizes that by standing up to Biff, George may have irrevocably changed his personal future, and therefore affected Marty's future as well. This is exactly the sort of thing Doc was so eager to prevent by refusing to hear any information about the future.

Phil C.

Answer: It would have had to be something that would have happened anyway without the interference, otherwise Marty wouldn't have originally existed.

terry s

Answer: In the novel Marty adds that George is also thinking about college now. Doc says that this might delay Loraine and George having kids for awhile and adds that Marty might find himself like 10-14 years old when he gets back to 1985.

Question: There's an all black band playing at an all white school in the 50's - is that likely?

AidanN

Chosen answer: Why not? Even though segregation was in effect, we never see them do anything but play on the stage. They even take their break outside, away from all the white folks at the dance. They are never shown using any of the "white" facilities, or fraternizing with any of the students. In fact, when they are "on break" at their car, it is behind the building, where there are no other cars, or even any people, anywhere around at all.

Jazetopher

Question: What is the make/model of the car that Biff wrecked, that is being towed into the McFly's driveway near the beginning of the film?

Answer: The car being towed into the driveway is a 1979 Chevrolet Nova.

Question: One thing I have wondered is how Marty was able to cram so much into the final hour before the lightning bolt at the clock tower which was Marty's ticket home to 1985? Just after 9:00pm George stands up to Biff, we know this because we see the clock on the wall just before George proceeds to the car where Marty and Lorraine are parked. The next time we see the time is 9:30pm with Doc standing in front of the clock noticing the storm is coming, just after 9:30pm Marty plays "Earth Angel" at the Dance followed by Johnny B Goode, Marty arrives back at the clock tower at 9:56pm. So basically in 26 minutes Marty was able to play 2 songs at the dance, wish George and Lorraine the best for the future, change out of his Zoot suite and then drive back to the clock tower to go home. The whole sequence gets even better in Back to the Future Part 2, between 9:30pm and 10:04pm Marty manages to stop Biff's goons from jumping Marty up on stage playing Johnny B Goode, he then witnesses Marty from part 1 talking to his parents and having a confrontation with Biff. Marty and Doc then chase Biff what looks to be through the outskirts of Hill Valley and eventually get the Almanac from Biff, and see Biff crash into another manure truck. Marty and Doc then have time to fly down to the future location of Lyon Estates to burn the book, and then for Marty witness the time machine be struck by lighting and the man from Western Union to turn up with the letter for Marty.

Blair Howden

Chosen answer: Both songs are less than three minutes long, so there's six minutes of actually playing plus, say, four minutes of chatter in between songs. That's ten minutes. Five minutes to change brings the total up to fifteen minutes. At this point, he's till got eleven minutes to wish George and Lorraine a happy life and book it to the clock tower a few blocks over. He's barely got to hurry.

Phixius

Question: If Doc doesn't want to know what's going to happen in his/the future, then why did he tape the letter Marty gave him in 1955, which he tore up, back together instead of throwing it away? Also why did he have it on him at the end to give to Marty, if he had no idea Marty would show up at Lone Pine Mall after coming back to 1985?

Heather Benton

Chosen answer: It's not stated directly in the movie, but it's easy to infer that Doc Brown was subject to the one thing that just about all scientists fall victim to... Curiosity. You can guess that after Marty vanished back to the future, Doc became too curious to resist and assembled the paper back together to read it. In turn, this would give him the information he needed to save himself with a bulletproof jacket, and know the important of why Marty would go back in time when it is 85. And he would have kept the note on him because he DID know Marty would come back to that point. After all, he did send him back off 30 years prior, with the intent of going back to that very day. Doc is intelligent, and would have expected things to turn out that way given the unwritten laws of time travel and paradox.

Quantom X

But after this, it poses a new question. Wouldn't he have found a new power source instead so he won't be shot?

No, he is very careful about changing anything in the timeline. So after reading the letter he came up with the bulletproof vest so he could survive without changing anything about the events that led to Marty being sent back to 1955 in exactly the same way. That way he prevented a paradox.

lionhead

Question: Why do Marty's brother and sister get erased from top to bottom, and Marty just fades? Why can't they just all fade?

DeathGawd

Chosen answer: The way I understand Doc's explanation, Dave and Linda were both erased completely because Marty interfered with their parents' meeting; thus the three children were erased from existence, from oldest to youngest. Marty only begins to fade because the timeline corrects itself before he gets erased completely.

Cubs Fan

Super solid explanation, but I think the original question is asking why Dave and Linda literally disappear from top to bottom in the photo: in other words, Dave's hair is erased, then his whole head, then his feet, and Linda also disappears similarly. When we see Marty start to disappear in the photo, it is his whole body that starts to fade all at once, instead of vertically like his siblings.

jshy7979

Question: Can you please explain to me how Doc got into the DeLorean from within the truck? Clearly the internal width of the truck is not capable of handling gull-wing doors whilst parked inside. He would have had to push the car out, get in, drive it back in, then remotely close and open the hydraulic door/ramp on the back of the truck. This is one of the things which really sticks out in the film for me.

Answer: The side clearance of the DeLorean DMC-12's doors is actually only 11 inches (less than a regular side-hinge car door). The truck would be around 7.5 feet wide inside, the DeLorean is just over 6 feet 1 inch wide so if it was driven in 4 inches to the right it would be possible to open the driver's door.

Sierra1

Question: Since the probability of having three children is greater than the probability of having two children, shouldn't Marty (as the youngest) disappear from the photograph first rather than last?

kingjames

Chosen answer: Probability has nothing to do with it. The changes in the timeline are rippling out from the initial point of disruption. As Marty's brother and sister were born before him, their respective births are closer to the point where the alteration happened. As such, they're erased from the timeline first, so they fade out before he does.

Tailkinker

Question: Doc Brown's workshop at the beginning of the movie strikes me as highly reminiscent of the one belonging to Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, right down to the elaborate food-dispensing mechanisms. Potts also had a dog named Edison in that movie, just as Doc has one named Einstein. Were these similarities intended as a deliberate homage, or are they just similar expressions of the "mad scientist" trope?

Answer: It's definitely a deliberate homage. The similarities between the two characters don't end there...in fact, both share the line "I've finally invented something that works!"

Answer: Not to mention in both movies there is a flying car :).

Question: When Marty wakes up in the new 1985, the clock changes from 10:27 to 10:28. Why would his siblings be eating breakfast and preparing to go to work this late in the morning?

geezer

Chosen answer: It's Saturday. A lot of office jobs, if you're going to them on the weekend, would start later and end earlier.

Phixius

Question: Near the end of the movie, George and Lorraine say that if it hadn't been for Biff, they never would have fallen in love. Shouldn't they really be thanking "Calvin 'Marty' Kline" for getting them together?

Answer: I agree with you, but the idea is that, if George hadn't rescued Lorraine from Biff in the parking lot, they wouldn't have fallen in love. It's dark as hell to wax nostalgic about an attempted r*pe, but there you go.

Totally agree with your answer. Would add that Lorraine already knew who George was but was unimpressed and had mostly written him off as a goofy nerd. It was George saving her from Biff that totally changed Lorraine's perception. Otherwise, Marty's attempt to push them together probably would have failed.

raywest

Question: I'm not sure if I must ask this in BTTF 1 or 2 but can anyone explain me why the mall is called 'twin pine mall' and 'lone pine mall' in the other movie?

Loesjuh1985

Chosen answer: In BTTF 1, when Marty goes back to 1955, it's revealed that there used to be a farm where the mall was located, and there were two pine trees on the farm, hence the Twin Pines Mall name. But while Marty was escaping the farmer, he runs over and kills one of the trees, thus altering the course of time and leading to the Lone Pine Mall name.

Jeff Swanson

Question: During the clock tower scene at the end, why is it necessary for the DeLorean to be going 88mph at the exact moment lightning hit the clock tower? When the Delorean was struck by lightning while it was in mid air at the end of the second film, it wasn't going 88mph at all, yet it was still shot through time. Seems the Delorean could have been parked in the street in front of the clock tower connected to the wire and just wait to be struck by lightning and sent back to 1985, no?

Carl Missouri

Chosen answer: The DeLorean was spun on its axis at 88mph when it got struck by lightning, that's what caused the backwards 99 and the time jump. Unbeknownst to Doc he'd accidentally switched on the time circuits.

Question: During one scene in 1955, Marty mentions John F. Kennedy, and nobody has any idea who he's talking about. Would Kennedy really have been a totally unfamiliar name to most Americans in 1955? True, he wasn't President yet, but he was a popular Democratic senator from a prominent family.

Answer: He was both a war hero and a senator, but unless Lorraine's father followed politics closely he might not have recognized the name, especially since Kennedy wasn't a senator for their state.

Plus it would be unheard of to name a street after a living politician from across the country.

LorgSkyegon

Answer: Keep in mind, there was no TV news in that house (they just got a TV). And I don't see the dad being one to read any further than the sports page, or listen to anything but comedy on the radio.

They didn't just get a TV, he just made it possible to watch it whilst eating.

lionhead

If I remember correctly, Mrs. Baines said that they just got the TV.

That is their first TV. Lorraine says to Marty, "It's our first television set. Dad just bought it today."

Question: Why does Lorraine suddenly call Marty by his regular name not Calvin Klein, did I miss something?

Answer: During the scene where Lorraine sees Marty's underwear and assumes Calvin Klein is his name, Marty tells her most people call him Marty. She still thinks his name is Calvin, but she tries to make him happy by using his preferred "nickname".

Answer: Gale (the writer and producer) characterized Stoltz as "a good actor in the wrong role" with Stoltz displaying the character too seriously and heavy, also utilizing method acting that annoyed the crew. He was fired when they found a replacement. Stoltz himself later said he was not a comedian and did not know why he was cast.

lionhead

Question: I'm intrigued if anyone knows what the experiment was that Doc refers to at the start. He says "my experiment worked - all the clocks are exactly 25 minutes slow". The only thing I can think of is that Doc loaded them all into the time machine or something similar - is there any official answer, or is it just a random comment?

Jon Sandys

Chosen answer: It's just a random comment, and I suppose is also an early indicator that Doc Brown is performing experiments involving time. Whatever, it's certainly nothing that bears any relevance to the rest of the film.

Gaz

Back to the Future mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When we first see the machine in action, the travel is shown from three different angles. In the second, a line of fire passes directly between Doc's legs, but in the third angle, they pass to the left of both of his legs. (00:21:00)

Knever

More mistakes in Back to the Future

Marty McFly: Calvin? Why do you keep calling me Calvin?
Lorraine Baines: Well, that is your name, isn't it? Calvin Klein? It's written all over your underwear.

More quotes from Back to the Future
Back to the Future trivia picture

Trivia: In the battle of the bands scene, when Marty introduces The Pinheads, Huey Lewis, who provided "The Power of Love" for the film's soundtrack, plays the second judge from the left, and is the one who eventually says, "You're just too darn loud." (00:07:40)

More trivia for Back to the Future

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