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The story of the Back to the Future trilogy is told from Marty McFly's perspective, but the events have a major impact upon various residents of 1955 who have a life-altering encounter with a visitor from the future. Ironically, although Biff Tannen was known as the high school bully in 1955, Marty might have seemed to be even more threatening by comparison. Marty's confrontations with Biff came without warning, and, from Biff's viewpoint, without any apparent reason. The relatively short stranger tried to pick a fight with him at the school, tripped him and then sucker-punched him at Lou's Cafe, punched him in the face while he was knocked down at the school parking lot, and stole from him. At the same time, the "unprovoked" assaults coincided with Biff's prize possession, his car, getting wrecked twice (and possibly Biff having legal action brought against him).
To Biff's credit, he generally gave "fair warning" to people before proceeding further. If verbal action was ineffective, Biff's next action would be mild physical aggression, such as the grabbing of a collar or shoving. Oddly enough, violence was employed by Biff only as a last resort. Biff never actually hit or kicked Marty until the evening of November 12, although he had had many opportunities to do so earlier. Although Biff certainly would have had good reason to attack Marty, Biff did not seem particularly bent on revenge. Biff, of course, had no way of knowing why his "tormentor" seemed to intervene whenever Biff was dealing with either Lorraine Baines or George McFly.
Biff Tannen was an 18-year-old student at Hill Valley High School. By 1955, he lived with his grandmother, Gertrude Tannen, and did not appear to have any other family. Biff's prize possession was his 1946 Ford convertible, and he surrounded himself with a gang of followers, Match, 3-D and Skinhead. His chief worry appeared to be that he would be "kicked out of school", but he was able to maintain passing grades by telling another student, George McFly, to do his homework assignments. Biff would then copy the material in his own handwriting and turn it in as his own work. Biff's latest assignment was due on Monday, November 7, but George had failed to get it done as of Saturday morning.
Encounter at Lou's Cafe
On Saturday, November 5, 1955, Biff was out early, and he parked his car in front of Lou's Cafe. When Biff and his gang returned, George could be seen inside the cafe, eating breakfast instead of working. To make matters worse, when Biff walked in and called, "Hey, McFly, what do you think you're doing?", George, the "Irish bug", ignored him. Biff was bringing George back in to line with a threat of violence, when he noticed that he was being stared at by someone he'd never seen in town before. "What are you looking at, butthead?", Biff demanded of the new guy, who didn't appear to have enough sense to look away. Skinhead pointed out that the stranger was wearing a life preserver, adding, "Dork thinks he's gonna drown!", a comment that drew a laugh from everyone, but Biff wasn't finished with George McFly. After giving George a reminder of who was boss, Biff spelled out the latest terms — first, that George would have until Sunday morning to get the work done, and second, George wasn't to come over to Lou's Cafe anymore. Biff and his three fellow delinquents then walked back out and drove away.
Monday at Hill Valley High
On Monday, November 7, Biff was back for another week of school. Biff and two of his gang went to the school cafeteria at lunch. George McFly was there, but Biff didn't notice him. Instead, Biff was pursuing another task, getting Lorraine Baines to go out with him. She was being difficult, and even slapped him, which only made him more determined. Just as Lorraine was saying, "Get your meat hooks off of me!", the moment was interrupted by someone who grabbed his collar. It was the new guy from Lou's Cafe, getting involved in something that was none of his business. The two students shoved each other, and the rest of the people in the cafeteria were ready to watch a fight. Biff drew his fist back and said, "You've been looking for..." but then stopped. Mr. Strickland, the school principal, had arrived, and there was no point in getting into trouble in the cafeteria. Biff let the newcomer off with a warning: "Since you're new here, I'm gonna cut you a break. Today." and then reinforced the point with the saying, "Make like a tree, and get out of here."
Tuesday at Courthouse Square
Biff's third encounter with the new guy in town happened on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 8, and ended with Biff's car being wrecked. Biff had walked into Lou's Cafe to find that George McFly wasn't taking him seriously. Not only had George ignored Biff's warning not to hang out at Lou's, George was talking to Lorraine. While walking toward George, Biff was tripped, in front of everyone in the cafe. Once again, it was the new guy, who then sucker-punched Biff and then ran out of the restaurant. Biff, along with his gang, hopped into his car to chase the stranger and teach him a lesson. The new guy moved quickly, as if he had strapped on a pair of roller skates, but Biff's car caught up with him on the courthouse lawn. Now the tables were turned, and the stranger was hanging on to the front of the '46 Ford as Biff forced him down the street. Biff pushed down on the accelerator and said, loudly enough for the stranger to hear, "I'm gonna ram him!" Instead of trying to jump out of the way, the stranger ran up over the hood, over the windshield, through the car, and out the other side, blocking Biff's view just long enough that Biff was unable to avoid crashing into a parked truck. Once again, the troublemaking stranger had gotten away. Biff, on the other hand, had wrecked his car and the interior had been filled with manure. Angrier now than ever, Biff said, "I'm gonna get that son-of-a-bitch!"
Over the next several days, Biff's car was being repaired (at Western Auto). There is no indication that Biff crossed paths with Marty during that time, although Biff definitely learned by Saturday, November 12, that the stranger's name was "Calvin Klein". There are conflicting versions of what happened during the rest of that day. Depending on the outcome of the events of that Saturday, there is reason to believe that Biff could have ended up as a wealthy man, or in the employ of someone else as a supervisor; as it turned out, he would be the owner of his own business waxing and detailing cars.
Saturday, November 12
Biff's day began with a chore he despised, rubbing his grandmother's toes. Later, when Biff's car was ready, she called after him as he walked out the door, going toward town to pick up his car after four days in the shop. Biff had some fun, playing jokes on the smaller kids in town, as he made his way to Courthouse Square. Biff was happy to see that Terry's crew at Western Auto had repaired the damage to the car, until Terry told him the amount of the bill-- an outrageous $302.57 for a couple of dents. He was more determined than ever to get back at the guy who had caused him to wreck, but Biff's attention was diverted when he saw Lorraine and her friend coming out of Ruth's Frock Shop. Now that he had back his car, he could take a date to the dance, but she spurned his affections and told him that she was being taken by someone else — not George McFly, but Calvin Klein, the new kid in school. Biff shouted after Lorraine as left him, then prepared to drive his '46 Ford once more... and saw that there was an old man sitting behind the wheel.
The "crazy old codger with a cane" said that he was a relative, and drove the car back to Biff's home at 1809 Maple Street, then explained that he had a "little present", a book that told the future and was "worth millions". The story was ridiculous, but the old man tuned Biff's car radio to the UCLA football game and showed him the final score in print, 19-17. Biff agreed that he'd take a look at the book, and locked his car up in the garage. The old man gave some more odd warnings, then went away. Biff put the book in his pocket and returned home after dark to get ready for the high school dance. As he drove through the River Road Tunnel, he had thought he had heard the faint sound of a person behind him. Biff turned and saw nothing.
At the dance, Biff's friends brought along Early Times whiskey, and Biff drank enough to get buzzed, if not drunk, something that nearly caused him to get in trouble with Mr. Strickland, who took away Biff's "Oh La La" soft porn magazine. Presumably after seeing that Lorraine Baines and Calvin Klein were not at the dance, Biff then went looking for them in the parking lot, and, eventually, spotted an expensive Packard automobile, and Calvin in the driver's seat. At long last, Biff had located the son-of-a-bitch who had caused three hundred dollars worth of damage to his car.
Biff pulled the trouble-making teen out of the Packard, and prepared to take $300 worth of payback, until he noticed Lorraine — whose dress was showing more of her cleavage than Biff had probably ever seen. Biff directed his gang to get lost and to keep Calvin with them, then climbed into the car to have his way with Lorraine. Minutes later, Biff heard the car door open, and was irritated to see that George McFly had interrupted the moment. Biff gave George a fair chance to turn around and walk away, but George was apparently trying to be a hero, so Biff prepared to teach a painful lesson. George made a feeble attempt at a right-handed punch, which Biff caught and began to twist his arm. While Biff was making him suffer, Lorraine intervened. Biff pushed her away, and the sight of her falling into the dirt in a fancy dress was funny enough that he relaxed his grip on George's arm. Biff turned back toward George McFly just long enough to see George's left fist racing toward him. After that, Biff would later recall, he would never pick on George again...
In another time, Biff might simply have gone home after George's knockout punch, but it wasn't to be. Biff slowly came to, and opened his eyes to see a kid with wearing a porkpie hat, and realized that it was Calvin Klein. Unlike George, who had won in a fair fight, Calvin was the type who would hit a man while he was down, and was subsequently punched again in the face. When Biff came to the second time, a guy by the name of Lester told him where to find Calvin, and added "I think he took your wallet!" Biff's wallet hadn't been taken, but something seemed to be missing. He finally located Calvin hiding outside the entrance to the gym. Once again, Biff forewent punching Calvin Klein without warning, and drew the line for the next fight, saying "Let's have it out!" Calvin was definitely a chicken, and made the pathetic remark "No thanks". When Biff shouted after him, Calvin turned around and started to say, "Nobody calls me..." when the door suddenly opened and hit the guy in the face. If Biff hadn't known any better, he would have sworn that the guy who had opened the door had been Calvin Klein. Biff's contemplation of that paradox ended as soon as he noticed that Calvin actually had taken something from him — his sports book. Biff kicked Calvin hard in the gut, twice (once for stealing, once for the damage to the car), and, satisfied that they were even, got in his car and drove away.
Biff drove toward the River Road tunnel again, and turned on the radio to listen to KKHV. The announcer described that afternoon's college football games, starting with UCLA's 19-17 win, which prompted Biff to pick up the "sports book". To his surprise, all of the game scores were in the book, just as the old man had promised. "Son of a bitch!" Biff exclaimed as he realized what he had. He set the book back down, and got another surprise was when he looked over and saw that the passenger door was open and that Calvin Klein, whom he thought he had left behind at the school, was trying to get in. Biff punched the intruder, tried to throw him off by spinning the car, tried running along the tunnel wall, tried running him into a truck coming from the opposite direction, and couldn't shake the guy. The guy was like a circus acrobat, doing impossible flips, and eventually stealing the almanac. Biff turned the car around, and there in the headlights' glare was Calvin, standing in the middle of the tunnel, trying desperately to get away. Biff floored the accelerator and was within a few feet of his nemesis, when Calvin suddenly lifted away into the sky, hanging onto a rope and being towed by an unidentified flying object. Biff returned his gaze to the front and saw, too late, that he was going to hit the truck he had passed earlier. In a repeat of what had happened back on Tuesday, Biff skidded into the truck, wrecked his convertible, and was buried in manure.
Biff never saw the sports book again. Calvin Klein apparently moved away from Hill Valley, and nobody knew where he had gone. Never again would Biff bother George McFly or Lorraine Baines (who eventually got married and had kids), and later found his calling by operating his own auto detailing business, with the McFly family counted among his regular customers. Undoubtedly, the second week of November 1955 was one that Biff Tannen would remember for the rest of his life.
Friday, October 26, 1985
It was this day that Biff was at the McFly residence, when George's book A Match Made in Space came in the mail. He came into the house and gave Lorraine the box. Biff was joyous and unlike what Marty had remembered him as. It is unclear if Biff realized that the McFly's son was indeed the same person he encountered thirty years prior. Several minutes later, Biff exited the house about to talk to Marty, when he saw a DeLorean take off from the road, turn around, and enter temporal displacement in an explosion. Totally bewildered, Biff could only mutter the phrase "What the hell is going on here?".
October 21, 2015
Thirty years later, Biff is still waxing cars in Hill Valley, and today's was his grandson, Griff Tannen's BMW. He sits in the Cafe 80's when he notices Marty McFly Jr. sitting at the bar with a Pepsi Perfect. Considering that the timeline was altered by Marty in 1985 when he avoided the Rolls-Royce, Biff is not likely talking about Marty Jr.'s old man "flushing his life completely down the toilet". He heads outside to wax Griff's car. A few minutes later he watches as Marty Jr. runs out of the Cafe 80's and hijacks a hoverboard, followed by his grandson Griff and his gang, noting "this all seems very familiar". After the chase, Biff notes a "flying DeLorean" and that he hasn't "seen one of those in thirty years". Immediately afterward, he sees two Marty Jrs., one with the DeLorean and one that just breezed by him and is now crossing the street. Biff finally connects the dots. He overhears Doc and Marty talking about the time machine and grabs the Almanac from the trash receptacle. Biff follows them to Hilldale in a taxi cab and "borrows" the DeLorean to head back to that fateful day which he remembered so fondly: November 12, 1955.
Minutes pass, and Biff in the DeLorean returns to 2015. An aching Biff Tannen exits the vehicle and crawls towards another parked car across the street, before slumping to the ground and vanishing. It is given that he is erased from existence at this moment, as he would die in the 1990s from Lorraine shooting him to death, as a result of the new timeline he had created.