- "Marty Senior walked into the room behind his son. He picked up a pile of papers from a basket and quickly sorted through them. 'Ah,' he muttered to himself. 'Nothin' but junk fax!' "
- —From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 77)
- " 'McFly!' Fujitsu cut him [Marty] off abruptly. 'Read my fax!' / The boss's face disappeared from the screen, replaced by a piece of company stationery, addressed to Marty McFly Senior. Besides the address, and Fujitsu's signature on the bottom, there were only two words on that piece of paper: / YOU'RE FIRED! / Fired? / Marty could hear the soft whir of the fax unit on the other side of the den as it printed out the facsimile copy of the message on the screen. / And Fujitsu was gone. He had broken the connection — the art channel once again filled the screen."
- —From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 89)
The U.S. Mail had their own fax service called Pac Fax, with public mailboxes having fax machines built in so people could send faxes while on the move. One such box was in Courthouse Square, and advertised a ".05 Second Service".
On October 21, Ito T. Fujitsu monitored a scan sent from Marty McFly to Douglas J. Needles and discovered an illegal transaction. He immediately sent a video telephone call to Marty at his home, announcing he was fired, and sent a fax stating "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" which was superimposed over the video image in large letters filling the screen, before being printed out by all the fax machines in the house. Jennifer Parker, who had moved from hiding in a closet to the bathroom, took the fax from the machine there, before running into her older self at the front door. When she came to on her front porch in 1985, she still had the fax, and pulled it out as Marty drove her past Hilldale. As Marty refused to race Needles and they watched as the truck nearly collided with the Rolls-Royce, the words disappeared from the page in front of Jennifer's eyes — causing her to exclaim "It erased!", much to Marty's puzzlement. Jennifer later asked Emmett Brown about the erased fax, to which he replied that their future hadn't been written yet.
Behind the scenes
- Why there is a fax machine in the bathroom of the McFly residence is never explained, either on-screen or in the novelization:
- "Jennifer jumped as a machine whirred by her elbow. / She glanced over at the piece of paper the machine spat out, a piece of paper filled mostly with two very large words: / YOU'RE FIRED! / Jennifer picked up the sheet of paper. This must be the 'fax' that the muscular Japanese fellow had been talking about on the TV screen. And it printed this paper in the bathroom? Jennifer wondered if there were machines like this in every room in the house. / 'Jennifer!' / She jumped all over again as the voice whispered her name behind her. She crumpled the paper and thrust it in her pocket, whirling around to see who had called her. / There, looking in the bathroom window, was Doc Brown! / Doc Brown? Jennifer had never been so happy to see a scientist in her entire life!"
- —(quote, page 90)
- Fax machines never broke out of the office-equipment market into any kind of widespread home use, as shown in Back to the Future Part II. As of 2016, they are still used, primarily in medical and legal circles and for business-to-business transactions where other means of electronic communication are feared to be too easy to falsify. Multiple fax machines in a barely-middle-class private home stands out as an example of a future which, while feasible, simply didn't come to pass.
- ↑ Note: The box here advertises a "30 Second Service" as opposed to the ".05 Second Service" seen on-screen.