Last week would have been a special week for me regardless. I’ve written about how much it meant to me to live in the real year 2015, because it is the year Doc traveled to the future in the first two Back to the Future movies. I was always planning to celebrate October 21, 2015, the day he brought Marty and Jennifer to the future, but it turned out I wasn’t alone. Everybody had the same idea, and thus Wednesday, October 21, 2015 began a week long celebration of the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future.
I began the week with a rather impromptu event. Just doing a bit of online research about local Back to the Future celebrations, I found out about the Million McFly March. Put on by Stolen Dress Entertainment and benefiting Team Fox for Parkinson’s research, the event invited people dressed in costume to arrive any time between 9AM and 4:29 PM, and surely continued long after.
I got there around 2:30 and learned that people had been coming and going since early in the morning. They may have been around 999,900 some short of a million McFlys, but the atmosphere of allowing people to share in their love for Back to the Future, wear costumes and hear live music at one of the movie’s filming locations seemed to make hundreds of people comfortable dressing up. I reconnected with a friend who was taking his lunch break from work, and met people who’d traveled from Florida just to celebrate Back to the Future Day.
Meanwhile, on October 21, 2015, We’re Going Back was on the Universal Studios backlot. I caught up with We’re Going Back on the 22nd for a western themed day in Fillmore, CA. With hoverboarding demos and cast members in attendance, fans who’d purchased week long We’re Going Back tickets or single event tickets continued the celebration.
I took a ride in a DeLorean fitted for train tracks in front of the actual train from Back to the Future Part III. It was a lot more impactful than it might have looked from the outside. While the car only drove a few feet, they made it an entire experience with Alan Silvestri’s western theme playing, and tons of photo opps. DeLorean/Train Tracks tickets also benefited Team Fox.
The experience began with the music playing as I entered the DeLorean, which is a lot harder to sit in gracefully than Michael J. Fox made it look. The ride down the tracks felt historic. While Doc and Marty, aided by the film’s stunt team, traversed miles of track, just riding a few feet captured the feeling of smooth rolling on tracks, seeing the road from DeLorean level, and feeling the wind of even low speed travel.
More photo opps at the end of the track, and then we rode back in reverse. The final photo opp was the best, as we got to pose with a hoverboard hanging out of the driver’s seat, the way Marty sent the hoverboard back to Doc to help him rescue Clara.
Friday, October 23 was a visit to locations from the films, and fans continued to dress up. On Bushnell Ave in Pasadena, fans experienced every moment from the film captured there, even if it meant risking a George McFly level fall from the “bird watching” tree. Neighbors got into the spirit, with a family allowing visitors to throw balls onto their roof as bully Biff did in Back to the Future Part II.
It was amazing to see how close many of the filming locations were. Lorraine’s house, George McFly’s house, Biff’s grandmother and the kids playing ball. It made sense for production schedules. You should shoot several scenes in a day without moving the crew.
I missed this year’s Enchantment Under the Sea dance and auction, but by all accounts it was even bigger and better attended than the 25th anniversary. The week concluded with the screening of the original film at Puente Hills Mall, where they have erected a Twin Pines Mall sign. An impressive recreation of the Libyan terrorist chase ensued during the corresponding scene from the movie.
While many clever fans thought of photo and video opps, like skateboarding up to the Twin Pines sign as Marty did to meet Doc, I got a unique photo that nobody else even though of. It may be hard to see the movie screen so far in the background, but I took a picture of the Twin Pines Mall scene (flaming tire tracks) with the Twin Pines Mall sign in the foreground, at the mall where the scene was filmed 30 years ago. That meta moment brought Back to the Future full circle for me.