Wednesday 26 October 2016

Back To The Future fans turn town into Hill Valley

Published 23/10/2015 | 02:16

Back To The Future fan Gray Bright, of Santa Monica, California, rides down Fillmore's railway tracks, recreating a scene from the third movie (The Ventura County Star/AP)
Back To The Future fan Gray Bright, of Santa Monica, California, rides down Fillmore's railway tracks, recreating a scene from the third movie (The Ventura County Star/AP)

For one day only, a picturesque town 60 miles north of Los Angeles has been transformed into Hill Valley, the fictional home town of Back To The Future's Marty McFly.

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During the five-day We're Going Back event celebrating Back To The Future Day, traffic was banned from the streets of Fillmore, California, as fans dressed as characters from the beloved sci-fi film series participated in hoverboard and DeLorean rides.

Back To The Future Day marks the date - October 21 2015 - that the characters Marty McFly, Emmett "Doc" Brown and Jennifer Parker famously journeyed from 1985 to 2015 in the trilogy's second instalment in 1989.

"Back To The Future to some people may just be a movie, but to me and everyone that's come here, it's a religious experience," said Brandon Hillock, who arrived dressed as a futuristic McFly.

"When things are going really crappy, I can turn the movie on and instantly feel better."

Oliver and Terry Holler, owners of a DeLorean resembling the time-travelling vehicle from the trilogy, provided rides to fans who made a donation to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

But they were not transporting passengers to the past or future. Their DeLorean was retrofitted to ride back and forth on the railway tracks in the middle of town, similar to the vehicle's Wild West journey in Back To The Future Part III.

"This car has flown in airplanes, been shipped in boats and driven over 600,000 miles - and now she's a train car," said Terry Holler. "It took the work of wonderful volunteers, craftsmen and mechanics who understand what it takes to put train wheels on a car."

Across the tracks, a sign welcoming visitors to Hill Valley was erected in the town's Central Park, while a beauty salon was made up to look like Roy's Record Store from the original film.

An antique shop's window was filled with 1980s memorabilia, resembling Cafe '80s from the second instalment. The Flux Capacitors band performed on stage in front of city hall, which was festooned with a giant clock for the occasion.

The original stunt team that coordinated the hoverboard chase sequence from Back To The Future Part II drew the largest crowd, allowing those who paid 200 dollars (£130) a ticket an opportunity to make like McFly and glide across the town's park on a hoverboard suspended from a crane.

The actors who played nefarious Griff Tannen's gang members - Ricky Dean Logan, Jason Scott Lee and Darlene Vogel - were also on hand to pose for photographs, sign autographs and provide fans tips on riding a hoverboard for the first time.

Vogel's advice was simple. "Don't fall off," said the now 52-year-old actress, who played Leslie "Spike" O'Malley in Back To The Future Part II.

The actual Hill Valley town square set where the trilogy was filmed still exists on the Universal Studios site.

Fillmore was selected for Thursday's festivities because of its resemblance to the exterior town square set and proximity to Los Angeles.

Other planned activities include an Enchantment Under the Sea dance at the Hollywood United Methodist Church on Saturday and a Sunday screening of the original film in the car park of the Puente Hills Mall, where McFly famously blasted off in a DeLorean.

For many fans, their passion for Back To The Future will not diminish just because the future is now the present - according the film's mythology, anyway.

"It's iconic," said Logan, who played Data in Part II. ''I have a 17-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son now. They're fans and their friends are fans like it came out yesterday.

"I think it'll just keep going. I don't think it'll ever stop. We might be here in another 30 years, but I might be on a wheelchair hoverboard by that point."

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