I have always fancied that the end of the world will be when some enormous boiler, heated to three thousand millions of atmospheric pressure, shall explode and blow up the globe. ... [the Americans] are great boilermakers. — Jules Verne, Five Weeks in a Balloon
INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY 1
A WEIRD FLICKERING WHITE LIGHT strobes the screen, accompanied by PROJECTOR NOISE and an OFFSCREEN CONTROL VOICE.
The light becomes brighter as we pan over to
MARTY MCFLY, 17, a good looking kid wearing Porsche mirrored sunglasses. The
mirrored lenses reflect the MUSHROOM CLOUD of an ATOMIC EXPLOSION.
Marty McFly doesn't end up watching an atomic bomb blast in the final version of Back to the Future, but is instead facing a giant speaker which blows him and everything around him straight back as if he were hit by such a blast.
By now everyone in the sync community, as well as many normal people, are familiar with just about every aspect of the BttF trilogy, including the references in it to other movies, such as: how the audio equipment Marty jacks in to has on it a label which directly references the controls used to drop a nuke from the bomber in Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This and other sync community finds indicate both intentional references to fears of a potential world war as well as unintentional references to the event which took that place in history.
Marty's bomb-like blast occurs at 8:25AM, ten minutes later in the day than the atomic blast over Hiroshima, Japan, which was at 8:15AM. It would be nice if these were the same time, but it's close enough to warrant the mention.
In the draft of the script quoted above, Doc Brown, Marty's scientist friend (and owner of the blown speaker), is described as one of the world's greatest nuclear physicists. In the movie, Doc's truck has a bumper sticker which reads "one nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day."
Going through Back to the Future trivia, I discovered that early on, the time machine, or at least the version required to send Marty back to the future, was originally conceived as a refrigerator driven to the site of a nuclear test. If this sounds familiar, it's because this exact scenario plays out in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Without the time travel, that is.) Oddly enough, the DeLorean arrives freezing cold after time traveling, and Doc even builds a refrigerator in 1885.
Marty is, of course, The Atomic Kid referenced on the movie marquee in 1955 Hill Valley, seen below.
Down the block at the Essex theater there is a movie starring pre-presidential Ronald Reagan: Cattle Queen of Montana. (An actor in this film is said by the writer to have influenced his Doc Brown character.) Reagan popularized the phrase "morning in America" which we hear in the Cafe 80's of 2015 Hill Valley. In a more dilapidated 1985, the theater is showing the porn Orgy American Style, which stars the same actor who plays Red the bum of Hill Valley, George Buck Flower. In fact, George plays a bum in pretty much every movie which has ever required one, such as Wishmaster and They Live. The latter film mocks Reagan's slogan of "morning in America" when a deadish Ghoul gives an optimistic speech on TV. Reagan is also known for allowing cocaine smuggling into the US and trying to put nukes in space during the Cold War.
The themes of nuclear armageddon are as heavy as plutonium in these films. Both Doc and Marty wear radiation suits and when 1955 Doc sees the video of 1985 Doc wearing it, he says "Of course! Because of all of the fallout from the atomic wars." A recent news article reveals that at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in late October of 1962 both sides had nearly launched their nukes. Undoubtedly, young Robert Zemeckis was influenced by Cold War fears of a looming apocalypse.
1985 Doc's dog is name Einstein (or "Einey") after one of Doc's scientist idols who we see portraits of in his 1955 home; though his dog there is called Copernicus, hinting at his interest in astronomy which we see explored in 1885 where he and his girlfriend bond over a mutual interest in Jules Verne. Poor Einey (the scientist) was given a little too much credit for the atom bomb, though perhaps he should be credited for inspiring Doc's hairstyle.
Below, Doc and Marty react to the bright flash of the nuclear powered time machine and gunpowder flash of their picture being taken in front of the clock components.
In fact, seeing Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy together like this in front of the exposed clock internals at the end of the BttF trilogy brought to mind the classic images of the Trinity nuclear test site:
Marty and Doc take their picture at 8:08
The bomb was known as Christy's Gadget. We might see the plutonium powered DeLorean as Christopher Lloyd's gadget. Anyways, check out that clock tower. The circular opening can be seen as both an eye-like circumpunct and the symbol for a hydrogen atom (hydrogen bomb?). Remember that crazy clock tower lady? Old four-eyes is standing in front of the Third Eye bookstore where two eye-in-triangle symbols can be seen. The "third eye" (in-a-triangle) is of course the clock tower, as seen on her button.
save the third-eye!
because synchromysticism, or some shit
Speaking of Indiana Jones (we were, weren't we?), he gets nuked in his refrigerator (time machine concept) in a model city. Doc Brown makes a model Hill Valley to demonstrate how the lightning strike will power the DeLorean's trip back to the future. Just this week I was going through my dads old record collection and found the Supertramp albums, Crime of the Century and Breakfast in America (eat your heart out, Ronnie). Both Doc's model and the Supertramp model use various household objects, all painted the same color. Syncheads are aware that by flipping the album horizontally, we reveal the "crime of the century," that is: 9/11 and the Twin Towers.
As now famously pointed out in the mockspiracy video Back to the Future Predicts 9/11, various clues apparently point towards the events of 9/11, especially when Marty is actually sent back to the future. Below we can see a glowing 9 and a flaming 11. The clock tower has just been struck, and the flaming pole is probably a genuine reference to the liberty torch seen in BttF2, which places this scene symbolically in New York.
As the above scene unfolds, Marty writes a letter to Doc, 30 years from then, warning him about Arab terrorists. The aforementioned video points out that Marty apparently appears 30 years later in another Zemeckis film, The Walk, where an equally diminutive Joseph Gordon-Levitt dresses almost identically as BttF2's Marty. Though, to be fair, almost everyone in BttF seems to be wearing a red undershirt.
Taking it one step further, Joseph Gordon-Levitt also stars in Looper where his older self dresses in a similar fashion. His older self happens to be the end of a 30-year time loop, the same time-frame in which Marty is warning Doc about the terrorist attack. Some more synchromystic fodder can be found in Halloween H20 where, only 20 and not 30 years after Halloween, Joseph Gordon-Levitt appears following the tune of Mr. Sandman, the same song which plays when Marty visits 1955, as well as when he re-visits 1955 dressed in the black and red of Joseph in The Walk. *WHEW*
When he arrived in 1955, the first comment made about Marty's gull-winged vehicle is that it looks "like an airplane, without wings." Marty McFlies between two pillars (read: towers) on his way to the future. At the end of BttF, Doc arrives from the future with a now flying DeLorean. The airplane comment was made by Mr. Peabody whose prized twin pines become the symbol of the city and the name of the mall where the time machine is first used. Marty drives away from Peabody's Twin Pines ranch running over one of the titular pines, causing the future to change to reflect this now lone pine situation.
writer bob gale's father would have been 33 on november 5th 1955
Much has been made about duality and singularity in human existence. Generally we live in a dualistic world, where the ideal path is the singular middle ground between extremes. (Speaking of one (LONE PINE), Ein (Einey) in the language of Einstein (German) means: one (God I love parentheticals!)!)
The Twin Towers have been immortalized in sync research as a stargate of cosmic consciousness. It helps that the Millenium Hilton bordering ground zero was designed to look like the monolith-stargate from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Another twin, the show Twin Peaks, includes a gateway to another dimension hidden in the forest among several non-pine trees. Ever aware of parallel themes, I found it interesting that in the apocalyptic landscape of Grave of the Fireflies, two children expect to meet their mother at the twin pines. She dies soon after and is buried under a lone tree.
Marty, in his radiation suit, is surprised to see that his entire housing area is all gone.
Speaking of parallel themes in anime (we were, weren't we?), I noticed some similarities between Back to the Future and Cowboy Bebop. Specifically between Emmett "Doc" Brown and Radical Edward.
they even have matching goggles
When the character Edward is first introduced in Bebop, she flies the Bebop ship by remote. When Emmett is first introduced, he drives the car by remote.
operation northwoods planned to fly planes by remote.. just sayin'
Ein, the dog in Bebop, is the result of an experiment to turn him into a data dog, and he is therefore extremely intelligent. Einey in BttF is probably of average canine intelligence, though he is the world's first time traveler.
I find it interesting that a dog is the first to open the time portal. Keep in mind that, symbolically, dog are psychopomps who help the dead cross-over, and are guides in the spirit world or the land of the dead. Take for instance the small dog in BeetleJuice who is actually responsible for the couple's death by removing his weight from the plank of wood that kept their car balanced above the river.
man's best friend
Fans of Cowboy Bebop have speculated that the crew is actually dead and in purgatory. The whole crew has suffered some sort of past (fatal?) injury and trauma which they need to correct before they can move on. In the post-show wrap up for episode Toys in the Attic, where almost the whole crew becomes deathly ill, Ed says that all but her have died and that the show will now be called "Cowgirl Edward." (In the next episode everyone is fine again.....*pause for impact*...) Moving on, the Black Lodge found in the woods of Twin Peaks is a similar limbo-like weigh-station. And Marty, who can see dead people in The Frighteners, is identified as a space zombie from Pluto when he arrives in 1955. I should remind my readers (or did you all move on?) that Pluto is the god of the underworld, and that zombies are dead things.
and he pissed off nerds by calling himself darth vader from planet vulcan
We learn in BttF that in the normal unaltered time-line Marty gets into a car accident because he couldn't back down when called "chicken." Even Marty's foolish father is killed in BttF2. Doc is killed almost instantly as well. The limbo theme is not supposed to be taken literally, however, so we don't have to see them as actually being dead. (They are.)
When Marty McFly first time travels he starts to freak out and tries to calm himself by saying that it's all a dream: "Okay, McFly, Get a grip on yourself! It's all a dream! Just a very. Intense. Dream." In BttF, Marty watches The Honeymooners episode The Man From Space with his younger past family.
the original darth vader from planet vulcan
However, the episode Marty would have actually seen airing on that date in 1955 would have been one titled The Sleepwalker. (It's all a goddamn dream, dammit!) In it, the radical character Ed Norton is sleepwalking due to an unconscious desire to find his dog which went missing when he was a boy. The dog is pulling him walking into the land of dreams. The subsequent episodes never revisit this and we're left to wonder if he keeps sleepwalking.
Cowboy Bebop, the Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door has a pretty obvious title about the crew's situation when it is read literally. They are dead and trying to get into heaven, but they have some issues to work out before they do. It may be figurative since physical life is considered death or sleep of the spirit. Aboriginal people of Australia believe their "Dreamtime" spirit-world is real while this world is false; like the Hindu concept of maya which says that all is illusion.
Hero of the Bebop series Spike, and his friend-turned-enemy Vicious, come from Mars and it is on Mars where Spike is injured (shot in his eye). There he gets close to Julia while her boyfriend Vicious is fighting on Titan. Interestingly, in Kurt Vonnegut's book The Sirens of Titan, a space explorer falls victim to an anomaly in space and becomes a sort-of quantum figure stretched between the sun and the star Betelgeuse, which is phonetically identical to the movie I mentioned above named BeetleJuice where, according to the script, the land of the dead is on motherfucking Titan! In the Bebop movie, antagonist Vicious is on Titan with equally antagonistic Vincent who is basically a Vicious twin created for the movie to fill in as Spike's dark-half. (Notice that they both have V-names. Clever.) Spike even says that he and Vincent share the same soul. This is another way of presenting the movie trope: "we're not so different, you and I," which hints at the fact that the hero and villain are two sides of the same coin.
"Maybe I died on Titan all those years ago?" ― Vincent, Spike's other half.
In timeline-A of BttF2, Marty finds out that his dad has been murdered. He says "It's like we're in hell or something." Doc replies, "No, it's Hill Valley, though I can't imagine hell being much worse!" I think they're both right, and that once again we're being told that where we exist is the same place as the hell we learn about in mythology and religion.
"Know much about purgatory? It's the place between heaven and hell, where those who were left behind, unable to get into heaven continue to suffer, a place of struggle and pain. In other words, the world that we're in now." ―Vincent
welcome to shell beach
Having themes of death and the underworld actually fits in pretty nicely since Halloween is when the veil between the two worlds is said to be at it's thinnest. Oh yeah, did you notice that although all the dates in Back to the Future bookend the holiday, there isn't any sign that anyone is decorating for it? Seems kinda odd huh? Well, dates and times changed around as the script underwent revisions, but it needed to be close to November 5th (for the writer's dad's birthday) and October 21st hints at the 1.21 gigawatts needed to power the flux capacitor. It probably would have been distracting to include Halloween decorations unless it was part of the story.
Interestingly, the Bebop movie is also set around Halloween, and it is part of the story. Antagonist Vincent, who constantly harps about purgatory and how death is like dreaming, wants to release a virus from Halloween parade balloons.
this looks familiar
He, and anyone affected by this virus, will see golden butterflies as their mind starts to go. Fireflies are used in Grave of the Fireflies (I bet you could have guessed) as a symbol of death and of souls of the dead.
brace yourself, pictures of dust motes catching the camera's flash are coming
Spike gets some old farts to fire up their antique airplanes and dust the city with a vaccine. The city in question happens to have a very familiar looking skyline.
We live in strange times indeed. Sync enjoyed fame on Back to the Future day, October 21st, 2015, when pop culture and mainstream media caught wind of it. At the same time we have Donald Trump running for president whom the writer of BttF claims he modeled his rich Biff character off of. The Simpsons also foresaw this unfortunate possibility. Even Rage Against The Machine predicted a dystopian world where such a thing was a possibility. Trump himself made some predictions in his book about the Twin Towers and bin Laden. And Trump, who famously created Trump Tower in New York, is what you call the face cards of the Tarot, including the Tower Trump card.
"It's like we're in hell or something."
"People always ask me, 'Why do you risk death?' For me, this is life." ― Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit in The WalkTo live is to court death. Each attempt to really live is almost an attempt at death, because when life is finally fulfilled, when the purpose of purgatory is faced and resolved, then we can die to be reborn in the real world; the world where spirit is dominant. Soul death is the fall into the matrix of matter. But it is within the dark soil that the seed sprouts and the tree grows back towards the light.
Jennifer: "What does that mean?"
Doc: "It means your future hasn't been written yet. No one's has! Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one."