- "Hey, dollface, it's past time for our three-thirty!"
- —Irving "Kid" Tannen" to Edna Strickland Tannen
Kid Tannen ran a speakeasy business that was destroyed in an explosion in May or June of 1931. Upon learning of the "news" that Emmett Brown was responsible, he shot and killed Doc in a barrage of gunfire. When Marty McFly intervened, history had altered to that Tannen would take Doc out of the Hill Valley Police Station and then kill him somewhere out of town. That plan was foiled when Marty rescued Doc with the drill machine that he and Doc's younger self constructed, forcing him to crash into a manure truck.
Two months later, Tannen opened his underground speakeasy, El Kid, beneath the Sisters of Mercy Soup Kitchen. His girlfriend, Trixie Trotter would sing on the stage in the speakeasy, with Cue Ball at the piano, Matches guarding the door, Zane working the bar, and a croupier running gambling. Business was smooth, until the reappearance of Marty in disguise as a gang member of the Sacramento Mob. Matches came to Kid with a stick of dynamite that he had found along with many others around the speakeasy. Kid opened a secret passageway by turning the knob of the roulette wheel. Marty under his alias convinced Trixie to turn on Tannen by revealing unpaid taxes in records, that she in turn handed to Officer Danny Parker. Parker made arrests of Kid's accomplices, but not before Kid located the individual who had been burning down speakeasies: Edna Strickland. The situation quickly turned heated, with Kid revealing a Tommy gun and opening fire on both Marty and Officer Parker. After Marty and Doc intervened, Kid Tannen was arrested, and was imprisoned for several years.
In an alternate timeline where Tannen was not arrested in 1931, his family expanded as the Tannen Mob. In this reality, his three sons, Cliff, and Riff, and Biff, as well as Biff's daughter, Tiff Tannen, worked for Kid by inflicting pain on residents of Hill Valley that refused to pay up. Just as vicious as ever, possibly even more so, he appeared in a car outside Marty's house with his pistol, Kid Jr., intending on killing Marty. Tiff Tannen also had a pistol ready to kill Marty, on Kid's command. However, Doc rescued Marty with the temporal duplicate DeLorean time machine, which took off into the sky, foiling his plans. Marty and Doc returned to 1931 and convinced Trixie to testify against Kid. Although their efforts succeeded in putting Kid Tannen in prison, they inadvertently created the alternate timeline where Edna Strickland married Emmett Brown, and turned Hill Valley into a gated community that was a dystopian police state. It remains unknown what became of Kid in this timeline; however Biff mentioned that he was following in his father's footsteps before he was forced to undergo brainwashing through the Citizen Plus program.
After Marty returned to 1931, to ensure that Edna didn't marry Emmett, he discovered that Edna Strickland was the arsonist who burned down Kid's first speakeasy. Marty convinced Officer Danny Parker of her guilt, however she stole the temporal duplicate DeLorean. Marty was able to send a message to Doc in the future, and together they managed to bring Edna's DeLorean back to 1931 right before it lost its temporal cohesion, and faded from reality. Edna was arrested for the arson, and shared a cell with Kid Tannen.
Kid broke out of prison several times. By 1936, after escaping from prison, Kid went by the name Thomas Tannen, possibly to keep unwanted police attention off him, or because he wanted to put his life as a Prohibition gangster behind him. During this period, he became involved with a woman named Myra Benson, who gave birth to a child, Biff Tannen, the same year.
On December 6, 1936, Kid had once again escaped from prison. As Thomas Tannen, he married Myra Benson, simply for the purpose of making it seem like Biff wasn't born out of wedlock, with Biff being watched by a babysitter during the ceremony. The two parted ways immediately after the wedding and, since neither parent wanted the child, Tannen's mother, Gertrude Tannen, took custody of Biff. Before Kid left his son, he gave Gertrude a forged birth certificate that stated that Biff was born in 1937.
Some time after the wedding, Kid was captured and placed behind bars again. In 1937, he broke out again for a period of three hours. Doc speculated that this was the time of Biff's conception, due to Biff's fraudulent birth certificate.
At some point after he had returned to prison, Edna and Kid had come to love each other, and eventually got married. By 1986, he had seemingly given up his criminal acts, has a more upbeat attitude, and is present in his son's life. This is presumably a result of Edna's more ethical influence.
- Kid takes many influences from the Prohibition era gangster Al Capone — such cases being running a speakeasy, running a soup kitchen and later getting arrested for tax evasion.
- Back to the Future: The Game
- Back to the Future (IDW Publishing)