How Back To The Future’s Doc Would Respond To Marty Destroying His Massive Amplifier, According To Bob Gale

Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future, which can unquestionably be called one of the most beloved films of all time, doesn’t waste any time before revealing itself as something special. The opening shot is a stunning combination of cinematography and production design, as the tour through Doc Brown’s home tells the audience everything they need to know about the mad scientist, and there is even some instant action provided by Marty McFly plugging his guitar into Doc’s massive amp and managing to accidentally blow it up.

It’s a fun preview of Marty’s fondness for loud music, setting up his band’s audition at the school dance, and his third act performance of “Johnny B. Goode” – but I have long wondered one thing: what is Doc’s reaction when he discovers that his young friend totally destroyed his home?

Fortunately, I have a job that allows me to directly ask those kinds of questions about my favorite films to the people who made them, and that’s exactly what I got to do a few weeks ago when I had the pleasure of interviewing Back To The Future writer/producer Bob Gale in celebration of the sci-fi trilogy’s 35th anniversary. And per the filmmaker, as you can see by clicking play on the video above, his belief is that Doc would have a bit of an “Oh well” kind of mentality about it.

If you leave a mouse with a piece of cheese, you don’t really have a right to be upset when said mouse eats said piece of cheese, and that’s pretty much what Bob Gale expects would go through Doc Brown’s head when he realizes that he left Marty with unfettered access to his badass musical equipment. Said Gale,

He would probably say, ‘Marty hooked up to the amplifier. I told him not to, but you know, that's Marty – whatever you tell him not to do, that's what he's going to do!’

This attitude could go a long way in explaining why it is that Doc doesn’t berate Marty about the blown amplifier when they meet up later that night at the Twin Pines Mall to run tests for the DeLorean Time Machine. However, there is another funny possibility to consider, and one that I offered to Gale: it’s possible that Doc never actually saw the destruction. He was clearly busy on the day in question preparing for his big experiment, and while he must have ducked home at some point just to get the plutonium in the case under his bed, it wouldn’t be out of character if he was so excited about his big night that he didn’t even notice that his home had been destroyed.

Another interesting wrinkle in this situation: it’s possible that Doc never went home again. Once Marty leaves following his adventure, it’s believable that Doc immediately hopped in the DeLorean himself and took his first ride – maybe leading him to the future where he learned about Marty and Jennifer’s kids. That way of looking at it is perhaps a little too linear for a time travel story, but it’s not impossible.

For those of you now curious about revisiting the opening of Back To The Future, you can do so by clicking play on the video below, which features the first 10 minutes of the movie clipped from the latest 4K restoration:

If you’re loving the picture clarity in that clip, you should do yourself a favor and check out the brand new 4K Back To The Future box set (opens in new tab) that was just released in connection with the film’s 35th anniversary. After all, it’s impossible to watch this brilliant, classic movie too many times, so you might as well watch it with the best quality possible.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.