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Dust jacket

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Blastgrays

The saleswoman at Blast from the Past shows Marty the dust jacket on Grays Sports Almanac.

" She [the saleswoman] pulled the Sports Almanac out of the window display for Marty, and launched into a salespitch. 'This one has a very interesting feature — a dust jacket.' She pulled the jacket loose to show him. The actual cover underneath was identical in design to the dust jacket: silver, with red lettering and pictures of sports figures. 'Books used to have these to protect the covers — of course, that was before they changed to dust repellent paper,' she explained, re-attaching it. 'And if you're interested in dust, we also have this quaint little device from the 1980's; it was called a "dustbuster." ' "
—From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, pages 51 and 52)

A dust jacket was a type of cover used on hardback books to prevent dust from settling on the main cover.

By 2015, dust-repellent paper was in use and dust jackets were considered antiques.

Grays Sports Almanac came with a dust jacket that was identical to the book's cover, which fooled Marty McFly when he was trying to recover the book in 1955. Marty watched Mr. Strickland take the book, flip through it, carry it to his office and throw it into the wastebasket. When Marty finally recovered the book, he found instead that all he had recovered was the dust jacket, which Biff had used to cover a copy of the erotic magazine Oh LàLà instead.

Behind the scenes

  • The saleswoman at the Blast from the Past antique/memorabilia store in 2015 remarks that the dust jacket is an unusual feature. The almanac is a soft-bound book, with the thickness of a magazine, which could be folded and carried in one's back pocket. It was unusual, even in 1989 (when Part II was released), for a "paperback" to have an additional cover.
  • A dust jacket was a common feature, prior to 2015, on hardback books. The copies of A Match Made in Space, seen in 1985 after Marty's return from the past, have a dust jacket with artwork on the front, and a black and white photograph of the author (George McFly) on the back.
  • In an early draft of the script, the almanac was described as having 5,000 pages (albeit of ultralight paper), making it more likely that it would have had a dust jacket and more likely to have 50 years of sports statistics. However, it would have been less likely for Biff to carry a hardback book with him everywhere, let alone put it in his pocket.
  • The saleswoman's salespitch to Marty about a dust jacket serves no other purpose but to explain the scene later in the film where Marty, in 1955, thinks that he has recovered the almanac from Mr. Strickland's office, but discovers instead that he's recovered the erotic magazine Oh LàLà, which Biff had covered with the Grays Sports Almanac dust jacket.

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