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Pennant

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The Lyon Estates billboard decorated with rainbow pennants.

"The pennant cord fluttered to the ground in front of Marty. The upper end of the cord was still burning. A minute ago, it had been hanging out of the DeLorean's door. Was that all that was left of the time machine?"
—From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 210)

Pennants were a series of long narrow flags along a string to decorate and display something, usually new. They were used outside the new development of Lyon Estates in 1955.

When the DeLorean time machine lifted off from behind the sign, it clipped the pennants and carried them along. The pennants played an important role in saving Marty McFly from being hit by Biff Tannen's Ford Super De Luxe Convertible, becoming a handy makeshift rescue rope.

The pennants were still attached to the DeLorean when it was struck by lightning in midair, but since they were outside the vehicle's temporal displacement field, they remained in 1955 as the vehicle traveled back to 1885. All that was left was the smoldering tip where the string connected with the car.

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