?Back to the Future is 25 years old? Whoa, now that’s heavy. Arguably the greatest comedy of the 1980s, it made Michael J. Fox a superstar and spawned two sequels that were also huge box office successes. The film’s 25th anniversary has been celebrated with cast reunions, a brief theatrical reissue, the announcement of an action figure line and video game, and, best of all, an upcoming auction that will give fans the opportunity to own incredibly rare props and merchandise from the entire trilogy. On November 6th, Profiles in History will be offering a number of BTTF items as part of their Hollywood Memorabilia Auction 42. The money raised will benefit in part Michael J. Fox Foundation and Team Fox charities for Parkinson’s Disease research. From autographed movie posters to storyboards, the event is a celebration of Back to the Future‘s enduring legacy. Awesomely enough, it also helps a great cause. But what items on the bidding block are especially noteworthy? Read on and you’ll find out faster than you can say “Great Scott!”
?Back to the Future is wholesome fun for the entire family…well, except for the incestual overtones, attempted rape and racism of the flick. So why not revel in the seedy underbelly of the trilogy by purchasing this smut magazine that 1955 Biff was carrying around in Back to the Future Part II? Fans of vintage erotica take note, this 28-page prop features actual circa-1950s nudie pics. So, in the immortal words of Step Brothers, owning this would be like masturbating in a time machine.
8) Various Newspapers Featured in the Trilogy
?With an estimated value of $400-$600, the seven newspapers featured in the auction (six of which are pictured above, with the remaining one being a lame USA Today prop with a blank headline) are amongst the most affordable items available for purchase. Of these, my personal favorite is the Hill Valley Telegraph featuring a picture of Doc being locked away in the nuthouse and an article about Richard Nixon seeking a fifth term in auction. Watchmen fans know all about how that one turned out.
?Action figures, busts and other sci-fi collectibles are terrific to decorate your home or office with. Sadly, there is still a stigma attached to say, having a Mego Spidey in your living room or an autographed photo of Chewbacca greeting co-workers to your cubicle. You and I know that anyone who would have a problem with seeing these things out in the open is wrong wrong wrong, but the unfortunate truth is that collectors of toys and other genre-related goodies are often looked down upon. Which is why this map of Hill Valley circa-1885 is so brilliant. If you were to place this on your wall, visitors would be impressed by your intellect and interest in cartography and history. They would admire you for being a truly well-rounded person, a student of culture and all around appreciator of fine things. Meanwhile, you would be glowing from the inner joy that comes from being the classiest nerd on your block. True, you’d also be out thousands of dollars, but glowing nonetheless.
?We are five years away from owning jackets that dry themselves. Okay, that’s as much of a lie as flying cars and hoverboards. Goddamnit the future sucks. Non-functional though this may be, it was the exact coat that featured on-screen in Back to the Future Part II. (There was only one made). The rich bastard who has the disposable income to purchase this will get the jacket — complete with the elaborate cables that off-camera technicians used to work it — stored in a Plexiglas case. But your future fashion shopping doesn’t stop there…
?That’s not a typo above, only one of Marty’s futuristic sneakers is up for auction. I have no idea what happened to the other one, although I imagine it is in the possession of a morbidly obese Michael J. Fox fan who spends his or her days singing “The Power of Love” to it whilst obsessing over the diet pills episode of Family Ties and mainlining Diet Pepsi. Anyways, it’s the perfect gift for the one-legged BTTF fan in your life, so bid early and often.
?Fashions, music and attitudes may change, but degenerate gamblers are truly timeless.
?Robert Zemeckis gets all the credit, but Bob Gale is equally responsible for the success of the Back to the Future films. He co-wrote the trilogy with Zemeckis, helped develop the animated series and Universal Studio ride, and is currently assisting with the production of the upcoming Back to the Future title from Telltale Games. The winning bidder of this auction gets the opportunity to have lunch with Gale at a Los Angeles restaurant, pick his brain about the films and get whatever merchandise they want signed. (For the record, I’d probably also find some time to ask him about his pre-BTTF Zemeckis collaboration, the Beatles-inspired I Wanna Hold Your Hand). If the winner is unable to travel to L.A., Gale will conduct a one-hour phone call with him or her. What a guy! This auction is wonderful because of how rarely ordinary folks outside of the media get an opportunity to speak with filmmakers. It’s also great that Gale is willing to offer up this experience… especially given the potential for social awkwardness that such a meeting could conjure up (a la the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry had a charity lunch). For die-hard fans of the McFly saga, this is an unmissable chance to have a meaningful discourse and learn true behind-the-scenes insights in a personal way that DVD and Blu-ray commentaries could never provide.
2) Disappearing McFly Family Photo (Eric Stoltz Variant)
?Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming and Mr. Jealousy prove that Eric Stoltz is a gifted comedic actor. Yet for whatever reasons, he just couldn’t click with the character of Marty McFly and was infamously replaced after a month of shooting. The release of the new BTTF DVD and Blu-ray sets give us a rare (and dialogue-free) glimpse into what Stoltz’s take on Marty would have been like through some footage snippets. These brief clips are fascinating because Fox owns Marty McFly so singlehandedly, the clich? that it would be impossible to imagine someone else in the role seems truer than ever. The above photo of Stoltz’s version of Marty standing with siblings Dave and Linda may as well be an artifact from Fringe‘s parallel universe (where he retained the role). The disappearing McFly family photos featuring Fox are up on the auction block as well, but they aren’t as nearly as fascinating as this compelling piece of “what if” memorabilia.
?Technically, this item auction is a cheat as it was never featured in any of the Back to the Future films. That is a tiny nitpick though, as this is such an amazing replica of Doc Brown’s time machine that it does everything but travel through the ages. Car customizer/geek of the century nominee Joe Walser spent four years tracking down vintage parts and accessories to construct “the most technically accurate reproduction of the iconic DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future ever built” (The tech-heavy details can be found here). After spending so much time making his passion a reality, Walser decided to put the vehicle up for auction in the name of charity. That may be even more impressive than the car he so painstakingly built. The power of love is a curious thing indeed.