Back to the Future (1985): Marty McFly’s Nike Sneakers

Marty wears a beat-up pair of Nike Bruins:

“No, you and Jennifer turn out fine. It’s your kicks – something’s gotta be done about your kicks!”

Back to the Future (1985): Marty’s Art in Revolution Pin

Replica vector graphics by me. Assuming the size by Zazzle is close (1.25 inches?), I think this is a good option for anyone looking to make a BTTF 1 Marty costume, or just for fans of Constructivism:


But wait! There’s more!

Continue reading “Back to the Future (1985): Marty’s Art in Revolution Pin”

BTTF II: Mattel Hoverboards, Part II!

There were multiple different kinds of pink hoverboards made for the film, and they vary in materials and workmanship. Here, we can see that the handlebar hole has at least two variations, and may even be missing altogether on some boards.

Hole all the way through, possibly showing the end of the handlebars, or a mounting point for a practical hovering effect?
Hole all the way through, possibly showing the end of the handlebars, or a mounting point for a practical hovering effect?
Hole not all the way through.
Hole not all the way through. Note the substantial difference in the color of the green stripes versus the board above.
Hole all the way through, interior edges painted black?
Hole all the way through, interior edges painted black?
No hole?
No hole?

BTTF II: Nike Mags Design Patent Drawings

These appear to have been filed by Nike in 1990, and granted in 1992. I don’t know if they are still valid. They have an initial term of 14 years. They may have expired, they may have been renewed, or they may have been superseded by new design patents, or protected by changes in patent law. Design patents only protect the ‘look’ of an item, they have nothing to do with functions, use or technology. These do not related to the ‘functional’ mechanisms of the shoes (lights, laces). Note also that they do not cover all aspects of the shoe: just the upper, the back of the strap and the heel.

BTTF II: 2015 Mystery Prop!

USA Today posted this still taken (presumably) just after the hoverboard chase:


Now, I’m no expert, but what is the thing Terry’s holding in his hand? It’s not his “thumb a hundred bucks” thing; this prop looks enormous (relatively), and I have no idea what it is. It doesn’t look like a parking meter. It’s not Griff’s bat, or the little girl’s hoverboard handlebars … Any guesses?

BTTF II: 2015 Mattel Hoverboards!

“There’s something very familiar about all this…”

Hover Board

Early storyboards showed this as a Swatch-branded hoverboard. Other concept art showed amn Airwalk hoverboard, and surfboard-sized hoverboards (which can be seen briefly being carried by an extra early in the film).

In this frame (above) you can clearly see the (green) Velcro used to hold the lightweight foam boards to the actors’ shoes when hanging from the wire rigging to film the ‘hovering’ shots.

This still proves the existence of the rare and elusive orange Mattel hoverboard (undr the other child’s foot):


And I think that’s a CD player on her head.

BTTF II: USA Today Newspapers

“Look what happens to your son!”

Apparently, this was the result of negotiated product placement, and was even designed and printed by USA Today in-house. Some of their predictions did not come true (Washington Prepares for Queen Diana’s Visit [pretty sure she wasn’t in line for the throne, guys]), some are a bit closer to the mark (President Says She’s Tired).

BTTF II: 2015 Future Money: a Revelation and a Disappointment


I love (good) design, I love technology, and I love it when they can all combine together in a functional and beautiful whole. In this case: paper money (but for how long will we still be saying that?). And futuristic money movie props combine so many things into a perfect storm of my interests that I will turn the internet upside down and shake it looking for them.

As a minor point of trivia, (higher denomination) US paper money combines four different types of printing: intaglio (most art, engravings), offset lithography (background tints, patterns, colors) letterpress printing (serial numbers and seals), and screen printing (color-changing inks). Additionally, it contains multiple advanced security features (IR & UV inks, magnetic inks, security threads, lenticular threads, etc).

When BTTF II was filmed in 1988-89, copiers and color copiers were beginning to have a significant impact on counterfeiting. Only in 1990-92 were the first of the modern security features implemented: microprinting and the security threads. However, a 1985 study recommended a security thread, and holograms (if feasible in the near future). Someone on the BTTF II crew did their homework (or maybe they just went to DC, or a Federal Reserve Bank), and the original concept art for the dollars of 2015 shows many advanced features and serious design changes that A) were being contemplated that that time, B) make sense, and C) would even be adopted well before 2015.

The Good Stuff:

Concept art & props (images obviously not mine):

I particularly like the final image of the concept art, with it’s suggestive title of “Version 2.” What was Version 1? Was there a Version 3? Who was the artist? So many questions! Let’s analyze the features we can see, and compare the ‘guessed’ features versus the real currency of 2015:

A) Security threads? – Yes, 1990-92.

B) Off-center, enlarged portraits? – Yes, 1995-96.

C) Enlarged numerals? – Yes, 95-96.

D) Barcodes? Not by 2015. The Dutch added serial number barcodes to their banknotes in 1989. The Canadians added simplified barcodes to their notes in 1986, but these only encoded the denomination, not the serial number.

E) Braille? Not by 2015.

F) Hologram strip? Partial credit – Motion strip, 100’s only, 2013.

G) MICR / OCR serial numbers? Not by 2015.

Ironically, the technology used in the current $100’s (Motion) is almost exactly the same thing used then in the pink hoverboard’s background (lenticular plastic + printed pattern = 3D effect).

So, they had to use one of these awesome bills, the product of so much research and design effort, right?

The Bad News:

No, they didn’t:



As far as I can tell, that’s an absolutely normal 1988 $50 bill.

Zemeckis, you are killing me. Why, why, why?