"Back to the Future" opens with
'Marty McFly' (Michael J. Fox) trying out his
guitar in 'Doc Brown's garage/lab. When Marty leaves and gets on his skateboard,
we see what is supposed to be Doc's garage/lab
behind him. However, it's merely a
temporary facade they put up (next
to the Burger King)
that resembles a beat-up version
of the actual garage (see below) next to the Gamble
House, the historic Craftsman home
in Pasadena, which served as Doc Brown's 1955 home in the movie.
Here's a photo (below) of that same parking
lot as it looks in 2009 - minus the
temporary garage facade, of course. (Courtesy of Steve
Note the center diagonal stripe in the lot in both photos.
Marty skateboards past a Burger King restaurant,
then hitches a tow off the back of a passing truck.
That Burger King was real, and better
yet, it's still there! It's located in Burbank, the city
which is home to NBC Studios,
Walt Disney Studios and Warner
The address is 535 N. Victory Blvd.,
in Burbank (just north of W. Cypress
When we see the truck tow him up the adjacent street,
they are heading north on Victory Blvd.
Below is a photo of that same
Burger King, in 2009. (Courtesy of Steve Mynott.)
Victory Blvd is one of the few real
streets you'll see in "Back to the Future". During the
skateboarding scene, the movie abruptly switches to a fake street in 'Hill
which is really large outdoor set on the back lot of a nearby movie studio.
That set is
now nicknamed "Courthouse Square".
(They made the 'town' look dingy and run-down for 1985, then spruced it
up for 1955.)
The good news is that even though the neighborhood isn't real, you
can still visit it!
Courthouse Square is one of the large, permanent street sets at
Universal Studios Hollywood,
and you can see it up close when you take the Universal studios tram
tour (which is free with
admission to the Universal
Studios Hollywood theme park). Over the years, it has been used
as a small town set for many movies. (On my 2006 visit to USH, the Courthouse
given a very different look for the TV series "The Ghost Whisperer".)
The shot below is from later in the
film, when Marty returns to 1955 Hill Valley,
when the town is newer and cleaner. Same set. Note the brighter colors
and the blue sky..
Marty then heads to school.
"Hill Valley High School"
is an actual high school,
but it's located about 30 miles away from the Burbank/Universal area. In
it's Whittier High School, located
at 12417 E. Philadelphia St., in Whittier,
(Whittier may be best known as home to former President Richard Nixon.
He attended this high school from 1928 to 1930 - some 25 years before Marty's
And here's how the school looks today,
in 2009 (thanks to Steve again).
We see Marty and his group ("The
Pinheads") try out at an audition for
a "Battle of the Bands".
(They are too much or the adult judges, who pronounce them "Just too
This scene was shot not far
from the Burger King, at McCambridge
in McCambridge Park,
at 1515 Glenoaks Blvd,
"Back to the Future" Locations!
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