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Back to the Future

Let’s kick off the last week of 2020 with one of the greatest movies of the 80s and one of my favorites, Back to the Future! 

I was 13 years old when this movie came out and I can remember one summer when my dad and I watched it over and over again.  We basically could recite most of the movie lines as we watched.  

The film stars Michael J. Fox and was written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis. Robert Zemeckis directed the film.  Gale and Zemeckis met at USC film school.  Would you believe that when the two pitched the movie, it was rejected 40 times. When Disney said no, the reason they gave was that they thought the movie was too much about incest.  

There was however, one person who believed in the movie from the very beginning and he helped set up Back to the Future with his new production company. That person was Steven Spielberg and his new production company was Amblin Entertainment which was set up at Universal Studios. This was the first film to be made by Amblin Entertainment that was not directed by Steven Spielberg.  

Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal at the time suggested changing the name of the movie to “Space Man from Pluto.” Thankfully that didn’t happen. There would be some hiccups when they started filming but in the end it all paid off. Back to the Future became the highest grossing film of 1985.

In the episode I talk about how actor Eric Stoltz was first cast to play Marty McFly. Check out a clip of him in the role instead of Michael J. Fox!

I’d like to take a minute to mention that Michael J. Fox has a new book out titled “No Time Like the Future.” One thing he discusses in the book is how he is living with Parkinson’s Disease.   When I recorded this episode, the book was #5 on the New York Times Best Sellers in the Hardcover Nonfiction category.  In 1991, when Michael J. Fox was only 29 years old, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease.  In 1998, he made the diagnosis public. In 2000, Michael J. Fox established the The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.  For more information on his foundation and how you can contribute, visit their Website.

So, before we get to the trivia questions, let me explain how this episode is a little different from my other episodes.  This episode will have two segments.  In the first segment I will ask you ten trivia questions about the movie, then I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts.

In the second segment, I’ll give you 20 additional trivia questions with no fun facts.  This should be a lot of fun and cover a lot of the great moments from this memorable film. 

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

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Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.

Trivia Rewind Episode 29 – Back to the Future

[00:00:00] Trivia Rewind.

[00:00:02] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:02] Hey Trivia Rewind listeners. I’m Debi Jenkins, your host. If you’re a first time listener welcome. If you’re a longtime listener thanks for coming back. Let’s kick off the last week of 2020 with one of the greatest movies of the 1980s and one of my favorites, Back to the Future. I was 13 years old when this movie came out and I can remember one summer when my dad and I watched it over and over again. We basically could recite most of the movie lines as we watched. I’m sure that you can too if you’re a fan of the movie.

[00:00:37] The film stars Michael J. Fox and was written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis. Robert Zemeckis directed the film. Gale and Zemeckis met at USC film school. Would you believe that when the two pitched the movie, it was rejected 40 times. When Disney said no, the reason they gave was that they thought the movie was too much about incest.

[00:00:59] There [00:01:00] was however one person who believed in the movie from the very beginning and he helped set up Back to the Future with his new production company. That person was Steven Spielberg and his new production company was Amblin Entertainment, which was set up at Universal Studios. This was the first film to be made by Amblin entertainment that was not directed by Steven Spielberg. Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal at the time suggested changing the name of the movie to Space Man from Pluto. Thankfully that didn’t happen. There would be some hiccups when they started filming, but in the end it all paid off.

[00:01:45] So before we get to the trivia questions, let me explain how this episode is a little different from my other episodes. This episode will have two segments. In the first segment I will ask you ten trivia questions about the [00:02:00] movie. Then I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts. In the second segment I’ll give you twenty additional trivia questions with no fun facts. This should be a lot of fun and cover a lot of the great moments from this memorable film. Stick around to the end where I’ll tell you about Michael J Fox’s new book and his foundation for Parkinson’s research. Are you ready to go back in time with Back to the Future?

[00:02:31] Here are the questions. Question one. In Back to the Future, what is the name of the town where Marty McFly lives?

[00:02:43] Question two. What is the date that Marty goes back in time to and why was that date important to Dr. Emmett Brown?

[00:02:54] Question three. When Marty goes back to 1955 and Lorraine’s [00:03:00] father accidentally hits him with the car, why does Lorraine call Marty by the name of Calvin?

[00:03:07] Question four. Which musician has a cameo role as one of the Battle of the Bands judges at Marty’s high school?

[00:03:17] Question five. When Marty goes back to the future, what is the name of the shopping mall in his town?

[00:03:26] Question six. At the beginning of the movie, what kind of vehicle does Marty tell his girlfriend he would one day like to have?

[00:03:37] Question seven. What is the name of the Hill Valley high school dance where Marty’s parents fall in love?

[00:03:46] Question eight. What is the name of Doc Brown’s dog?

[00:03:52] Question nine. When Marty goes back to 1955, what two drinks does he ask [00:04:00] for in the cafe?

[00:04:03] And question ten. When Marty goes back to the future, his father is now a successful author. What is the name of George McFly’s book?

[00:04:15] Those were our first ten questions. Let’s go back and get the answers and fun facts. Question one. In Back to the Future, what is the name of the town where Marty McFly lives? Well the town he lives in is called Hill Valley. Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, but did you know that he wasn’t originally cast as Marty, actor Eric Stoltz was. It took five weeks of shooting for everyone to realize that it wasn’t going to work out with Stoltz. He just didn’t carry off the humor they were looking for. In an Esquire article, it talks about how Robert Zemeckis had to let Stoltz know about their decision to let him go. The article mentions the book titled [00:05:00] Blockbuster by Tom Shone, where it quotes Zemeckis as saying, “It was the hardest meeting I’ve ever had in my life and it was all my fault. I broke his heart.” Well, not only did this movie break the heart of Eric Stoltz, it costs the studio $4 million in wasted footage.

[00:05:18] Want to see a clip of the wasted footage? Visit triviarewind.com for a link where you can see Eric Stoltz as the Marty McFly character. In the very beginning, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis wanted Michael J. Fox to play Marty. However, Michael J. Fox was playing Alex P. Keaton on the TV series, Family Ties and that shooting schedule prevented him from taking the movie role.

[00:05:44] Supposedly the producer of Family Ties wouldn’t even let Michael J. Fox see the script when the Back to the Future filmmakers asked that they show it to him. Well, as we all know, it did end up working out for Michael J. Fox to become Marty McFly. [00:06:00] Because Michael J. Fox was also shooting Family Ties, filmmakers had to work around that schedule. Michael J. Fox has said that many nights he’d only get two to three hours of sleep between working on Family Ties and Back to the Future. Talk about burning the candle at both ends.

[00:06:19] Question two. What is the date that Marty goes back in time to, and why was that date important to Dr. Emmett Brown? Well, the date was November 5th, 1955, and that’s the day Doc Brown invented time travel and had the vision for the Flux Capacitor. Actor Christopher Lloyd had the role of Dr. Brown. In the original script he was called Professor Brown. At least 40 actors were considered for that role. Supposedly one of the actors who was a front runner for the role was John Lithgow. In the movie, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the [00:07:00] Eighth Dimension, John Lithgow played an eccentric scientist. That was one reason he was considered for the Doc Brown role. In an Empire Magazine list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time, Dr. Emmett Brown ranked number 20. They said his defining moment was when he offered his apology for the crudeness of his ridiculously detailed scale model of Hill Valley.

[00:07:27] Question three. When Marty goes back to 1955 and Lorraine’s father accidentally hits him with the car, why does Lorraine call Marty by the name of Calvin? She calls him Calvin, assuming that’s his name because the name Calvin Klein is written all over his underwear. The role of Lorraine is played by Leah Thompson. In the original script the name of Marty’s mom wasn’t going to be named Lorraine, Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal [00:08:00] Studios at the time asked that they change the character’s name to Lorraine in honor of his wife, Lorraine Gary, the actress who played Ellen Brody in the 1975 film Jaws. Michael J. Fox’s  real life love interest is his wife, Tracy Pollan. The two played boyfriend and girlfriend in Family Ties and were married in real life in 1988.

[00:08:26] Question four. Which musician has a cameo role as one of the Battle of the Bands judges at Marty’s high school? Well, that musician was Huey Lewis. After Marty’s band plays their song, Lewis stands up and tells them, “Thank you fellas. I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud.” Huey Lewis and his band Huey Lewis and the News had their first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with their song, The Power of Love, that was written for the [00:09:00] Back to the Future movie. In this scene, Marty and his band actually play a version of this very song.  The song was nominated for two American Music Awards and was also nominated for an Academy Award. In a USA Today article, Huey Lewis says he almost passed on the offer to write a song for the movie. He had never written a song for a movie. However, he told director Robert Zemeckis that he’d send him the next song he wrote, he’s quoted as saying, “So we wrote Power of Love. I had not read the script or seen the film and they used it perfectly. I didn’t even think it was going to work. So to their credit it did.”

[00:09:44] Question five. When Marty goes back to the future, what is the name of the shopping mall in his town? When Marty goes back to the future the mall is now called  Lone Pine Mall instead of Twin [00:10:00] Pines Mall.  Remember when Marty went back to 1955 and the DeLorean landed in old man Peabody’s field? Well, it drove over one of his two pine trees therefore changing the name from Twin Pines to Lone Pine. The mall that was used to film this scene was the Puente Hills mall in City of Industry, California.

[00:10:23] When making the movie, they had a lot of issues with the DeLorean. It would break down or other issues would arise. The Universal Studios special effects department built three DeLorean time machines for the movie and referred to them as A car, B car and C car. A car is currently at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California and featured in their exhibit called Hollywood Dream Machines. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the museum is currently closed.

[00:10:55] Want your own DeLorean?  Well visit the official Back to the [00:11:00] Future website at backtothefuture.com and you can purchase your own DeLorean slot car or a die-cast DeLorean, or even a plush DeLorean. Back to the Future fans can go crazy shopping their online store. Go and take a look.

[00:11:20] Question six. At the beginning of the movie what kind of vehicle does Marty tell his girlfriend he would one day like to have? Well, he wanted a black Toyota 4×4 truck. At the end of the movie when Marty goes back to the future, he comes home to find himself the owner of the very truck he wanted at the beginning of the movie. The truck was a Toyota Xtra Cab SR5 pickup truck. Supposedly the truck used in the movie was given away as a prize and the person that won it wrecked it. Earlier this year, a replica of the truck sold for $58,000 at an [00:12:00] auction.

[00:12:01] Question seven. What is the name of the Hill Valley high school dance where Marty’s parents fall in love? The dance was The Enchantment Under the Sea dance. The Hill Valley High School scenes were filmed at Whittier High School in Whittier, California. This is particularly interesting to me because my grandfather was a teacher there in the 1950s. When they filmed the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, that scene was filmed inside of Hollywood United Methodist Church.

[00:12:38] Question eight. What is the name of Doc Brown’s dog? Well, his dog was named Einstein. In the original script instead of a dog, Doc Brown was going to have a pet chimp named Schemp. One of the producers, Sid Sheinberg said no to the chimp idea [00:13:00] and next up came the idea for Einstein the dog. In the first Back to the Future movie, a dog named Tiger played Einstein.

[00:13:10] Question nine. When Marty goes back to 1955, what two drinks does he ask for in the cafe? Well, first he asks for a Tab, then he asks for a Pepsi Free. A great play on words is found in the dialogue that comes during this scene. Well, Tab debuted in 1963 and was the first diet soda from the Coca Cola company.  It was marketed to women who wanted to keep tabs on their weight. The soda was popular in the 1960s and seventies, and even in recent years it still had a faithful following. In October of this year, the Coca Cola company announced that it will stop production of Tab by the end of 2020.

[00:14:00] [00:14:00] In 1982, Pepsi Free was introduced and in 1987 they phased that name out and started calling it Caffeine Free Pepsi. According to frugalcooking.com, in recent months, it’s been harder to find Caffeine Free Pepsi due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing a shortage of aluminum used for canned drinks. I guess it’s that whole supply chain thing. Product placement is a huge part of the movie business. Pepsi had a huge presence in Back to the Future. In a Consequence of Sound article, it says that “writer/ producer Bob Gale famously stated that the Back to the Future trilogy taught him to never do product placement, ever, due to the creative control surrendered when corporate suits expect to see a commercial, rather than a film.

[00:14:55] And question ten. When Marty goes back to the future [00:15:00] his father is now a successful author. What is the name of George McFly’s book? Well this one may be a little trickier, but the book is titled A Match Made in Space. Marty’s father George McFly was played by actor Crispin Glover. In a Guardian article, Bob Gale, the co-writer and a producer of Back to the Future talks about Crispin Glover and says, “A lot of those mannerisms were actually his. He had to be reigned in occasionally. The hardest thing was getting him to act like a completely normal person for the final scenes of the movie.” In the early days of the Back to the Future script, the writers had George McFly end up being a professional boxer and not an author. And here’s something interesting. Crispin Glover, well in the movie he’s playing the father to Michael J. Fox’s character and he is actually three years younger than [00:16:00] Michael J. Fox in real life.

[00:16:03] Well, those were our first ten questions. Before we go to the second segment, I’d like to take a minute and ask that you make sure and stay tuned until the end of the show where I’ll tell you about Michael J. Fox’s new book and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Are you ready for part two of the show? In this segment, I’ll give you twenty extra trivia questions without any fun facts. Unlike the first round, I won’t go back and repeat the questions before giving you the answers. After I ask you the question, I’ll pause a few seconds before giving you the answer. So if you need to hit your pause button after the question, feel free to do so.

[00:16:46] Are you ready? Here’s question one. How much electricity is needed to run Doc’s time machine?

[00:16:57] The answer is [00:17:00] 1.21 Gigawatts.

[00:17:02] Question two. What is the name of the guy that bullies George McFly both in high school and as an adult before Marty goes back in time?

[00:17:15] His name is Biff Tannen.

[00:17:20] Question three. In order for the DeLorean to travel through time, how fast must the car be going?

[00:17:30] The answer is 88 miles per hour.

[00:17:36] Question four. In the opening scene of the movie, what time can be seen on all the clocks?

[00:17:46] The answer is 7:53.

[00:17:51] Question five. What time does Doc ask Marty to meet him at the Twin Pines Mall?

[00:17:59] The [00:18:00] answer is 1:15 in the morning.

[00:18:04] Question six. What is the name of Marty’s high school principal?

[00:18:11] His name is Mr. Strickland.

[00:18:15] Question seven. When Marty auditions for the Battle of the Bands, what does Marty say the name of his band is?

[00:18:26] They were The Pinheads.

[00:18:30] Question eight. When Marty goes back to the future, what is the name of the mayor, someone that in 1955 Marty told him he would one day be a mayor?

[00:18:43] That mayor was Goldie Wilson.

[00:18:48] Question nine. What is the name of the subdivision where Marty and his family live?

[00:18:56] The answer is Lion Estates.

[00:19:01] [00:19:00] Question 10. Who does Doc steal plutonium from?

[00:19:08] The answer is Libyan nationalists.

[00:19:13] Question 11. What movie is listed on the marquee of the theater when Marty arrives in Hill Valley in 1955?

[00:19:24] That movie was The Cattle Queen of Montana.

[00:19:30] Question 12. When Marty walks in to Lou’s Cafe after first arriving in the 1955 Hill Valley, what song is playing on the jukebox?

[00:19:45] That song was the Ballad of Davy Crockett.

[00:19:50] Question 13. On what street does Doc Brown live in 1955?

[00:19:59] He [00:20:00] lived on Riverside Drive.

[00:20:04] Question 14. In 1955 George doesn’t want to go to the school dance because he’ll miss his favorite show called what?

[00:20:16] The answer is Science Fiction Theater.

[00:20:21] Question 15. When George goes into Lou’s Cafe to ask Lorraine to the dance, what drink does he ask for?

[00:20:32] The answer is chocolate milk.

[00:20:36] Question 16. Near the end of the movie, Marty gives Doc an envelope. What does he write on the front of the envelope?

[00:20:48] The answer is “Do not open until 1985.”

[00:20:56] Question 17. What is the name of the [00:21:00] band that is performing at The Enchantment Under the Sea dance?

[00:21:05] That band was Marvin Berry and the Starlighters.

[00:21:11] Question 18. Biff tells Marty that it costs him how much to fix the damage to his car?

[00:21:22] The answer is $300.

[00:21:26] Question 19. At The Enchantment Under the Sea dance, Marty goes on stage and joins the band for two songs. Name one of the songs.

[00:21:41] Well, those two songs were either Earth Angel or Johnny Be Good.

[00:21:48] And question 20. When Marty goes back to the future, what is the name of Biff’s business? 

[00:21:58] Well, Biff’s [00:22:00] business is Biff’s Automotive Detailing.

[00:22:04] Well, how’d you do on those questions?  Back to the Future is such a great movie.

[00:22:10] Before I end this episode, I’d like to take a minute to mention that Michael J. Fox has a new book out titled, No Time Like the Future. One thing he discusses in the book is how he is living with Parkinson’s disease. When I recorded this episode, the book was number five on the New York Times Bestsellers in the Hardcover Nonfiction category. In 1991 when Michael J. Fox was only 29 years old, he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. In 1998, he made the diagnosis public. In 2000, Michael J. Fox established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research which is dedicated to finding a cure for [00:23:00] Parkinson’s disease. For more information on his foundation and how you can contribute, visit triviarewind.com for a link to the website.

[00:23:11] Thank you for listening to this episode of Trivia Rewind. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram and all the links can be found at triviarewind.com. Have a great day. And I’ll be back next week for a new episode of Trivia Rewind.