- "It looks like an airplane — without wings."
- —Otis Peabody comments on the DeLorean time machine
- " Marty, his vision blocked by the hood's limited field, walked toward the three people in front of him, oblivious to Pa Peabody. As he moved forward, he reached up to take off the hood. / "Look out, Pa!" Sherman shouted. "He's going for something!" / "Take this, you mutated son of a bitch!" Pa yelled, squeezing the trigger of the shotgun. / A spray of buckshot whizzed past Marty's ear, cracking into the barn wall behind him. / Undeterred but still quite nervous, Pa squeezed off a second shot. It kicked up dirt in front of the creature, missing clearly, but caused it to turn and race back into the barn. / Comforted by the fact that the alien experienced fear, Pa broke the shotgun and started reloading. Moving cautiously forward, he looked into the barn. "
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 74)
Peabody was the owner of a farm which he planned to convert into a ranch for breeding pine trees in the 1950s. This plan was never fully realized, as the land was later sold and developed into the mall. Otis was regarded as a bit crazy for this idea. The Twins Pines mall was named in honor of this dream, after the two pine trees he started off with.
On the morning of November 5, 1955, Peabody's son Sherman, who read science fiction magazines, mistook the DeLorean time machine for a hostile craft from outer space. Peabody, along with his wife and daughter, were convinced that they were under attack. Otis fled back inside, grabbed a shotgun and promptly fired at Marty, under the impression that he was an alien disguised as a human.
Marty McFly escaped from the ranch in the DeLorean, inadvertently destroying one of Otis's two prize saplings with which he had hoped to start his pine breeding ranch. After destroying his mailbox while firing after the car, Peabody reported it to the police, who believed him to be insane and sent him to the County Asylum the next day.
Eventually, his children leased the land to a real estate developer to build a mall. The mall ended up being named the "Lone Pine Mall" in the revised timeline, in honor of Otis's original dream.
Before being converted into a ranch for breeding pine trees, the ranch was apparently a regular farm. In Back to the Future: The Game by Telltale Games, a crate marked "Peabody Farms" can be seen in the flatbed of a truck driven by young Emmett Brown in the year 1931. Another crate, or possibly even the same one, could be seen at Doc's garage sale in the year 1986.
Behind the scenes
- The names Peabody and Sherman are used in a cartoon that was part of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. There was an anthropomorphic canine professor named Peabody, and a young ward of his named Sherman who traveled into the past via a time machine of Peabody's design known as the "WABAC Machine". The premise of the series consisted of the duo going back in time to discover the comical "real" situation behind famous events in history. Often they had to assist famous historical figures in order to keep history on track. They also sometimes explained Aesop's fables. Each adventure ended in the trademark Rocky and Bullwinkle-style pun. The naming of the characters as Peabody and Sherman is likely a nod to these cartoon characters, due to their association with time travel fiction.
- In a deleted scene from Back to the Future Part II, which was reinstated by Craig Shaw Gardner for the novelization, after having narrowly avoided coming face-to-face with his younger 1955 self in Courthouse Square, Doc came across Peabody and a police officer near the Lyon Estates billboard where the DeLorean is hidden.