- "Letting himself out the front door, Marty walked a half block before putting the skateboard down and using it. He had discovered once, to his chagrin, how much noise they could make on a quiet evening. On that occasion, about two years ago, he had been sneaking out to meet the guys when his mother heard the sound and came after him in the car. / There was no such repetition tonight. Safely out of earshot, he whirred quickly along the back streets and around corners until he approached the dilapidated garage that was Doc Brown's place."
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 44)
- Girl: "What's that thing he's riding?"
- Guy: "It's a board with wheels!"
- — Lorraine's classmates at Lou's Cafe
Skateboards were a method of transportation during the later half of the 20th century. They consisted of a flat piece of wood with two pairs of wheels attached to it.
Although Marty McFly could borrow his father's car on special occasions, he usually traveled to school and Doc's garage by skateboard. His brand of skateboard was an Valterra. He was fairly adept at simple tricks such as jumps, skidding to a stop, and stepping on the back end of the board to catch the front. He would also hitch a ride by holding onto the back of cars — even a police car — in spite of the fact that this hazardous practice was illegal. Other teenagers would walk their dogs as they rode skateboards by letting the dogs pull them by the leash.
When Marty traveled back to 1955, he searched for a way to outrun Biff Tannen, and created a homemade skateboard from a young boy's soapbox scooter. Nobody watching the chase had seen a skateboard before, since they would not be sold in stores until the early 1960s — Marty obviously gave history a push in the right direction!
While in 1931, the DeLorean's time circuits were malfunctioning, thus Citizen Brown discouraged Marty from using it to go to young Emmett's lab. To get there, Marty removed the bottom portion of a model train from the Hill Valley of the Future exhibit.
Behind the scenes
- When Marty skateboards in the films, he ride with a goofy stance. In skateboarding terms, this means that the right foot pushes off, while the left foot stays on the board.
- Bob Gale went to Venice Beach, California to find skateboarding experts and hired European skateboard champion Per Welinder, and Robert Schmelzer as a stunt double for Eric Stoltz. When Michael J. Fox replaced Stoltz in the role of Marty, Charlie Croughwell performed Marty's skateboard stunts during the refilming, since Fox was six inches shorter than Stoltz.
- Although Fox learned how to skateboard for his role in the first film, he had completely forgotten the skill by the time the second film was in production, and other methods had to be found to simulate the hoverboard.
- Skateboards would not have been familiar in 1955, although kids did make soapbox scooters from roller skates, lumber and wooden crates. The Roller Derby Skate Company introduced the Roller Derby Skateboard in 1959.
- Back to the Future
- Back to the Future novelization
- Back to the Future (video game)
- Back to the Future Part II & III
- Back to the Future: The Animated Series
- Back to the Future: The Game
- Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines
- Back to the Future DVD audio commentary by Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Transcript at www.bttf.com/Forums.