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Big or small, sometimes performances can just stick. There’s a certain magic to them, an enthusiasm that can be hard to teach and a power tough to recreate. Recently, we learned that Elsa Raven, the actress in Back to the Future that pleaded with Marty McFly to “Save the clock tower!”, had died. Now, Michael J. Fox has shared a little story about how the franchise really meant something to her and to the fans.
Michael J. Fox needs no introduction, as the award-winning Hollywood star was the pivotal lead in Back to the Future. Yet he recently recalled how Elsa Raven's small, but crucial performance carried on for decades in the minds of fans everywhere and remained important to her throughout her life. Michael J. Fox told USA Today that she had an enthusiasm for the part long after making the movie:
It took me a long time to go to any of those Back to the Future conventions or Comic-Con conventions, and when I finally did go, she was there. It was so great to see her, and she was walking through the crowd and saying, ‘Save the clock tower! Save the clock tower!’
It would be nigh-impossible for a Back to the Future fan to not hear Elsa Raven’s voice in their heads when reading those words about saving the clock tower. Not only was her part important to the story -- foreshadowing Marty McFly and Doc Brown using it as a way to propel their time machine into the future -- but her delivery made the line of dialogue so memorable.
Michael J. Fox expalined that her enthusiasm and love for the role echoed the culture of the film as a whole. Back to the Future carries on today because of its timeless story, characters, and performances. That meant something for Elsa Raven, and Fox later said:
She was a big part of it. It still meant something in her life, and it still meant something to the people around her. And that’s kind of the movie in a nutshell: It’s just, you have this life, it carries on and it carried on in her. And she really celebrated it. It was a good thing.
Michael J. Fox isn’t the only Back to the Future alum to remember Elsa Raven. Iconic screenwriter Bob Gale also paid tribute to the actress, saying:
She was one of those A-list performers who could turn a small role into a memorable one. Although she is on screen for probably less than a minute, everyone remembers her. And casting her is an example of director Bob Zemeckis's philosophy that every role is important and can be made memorable.
Along with talking about Elsa Raven, Michael J. Fox has also recently opened up about his time on the Back to the Future set. One of the most notable scenes he spoke about was the iconic prom sequence, which sees Marty McFly play "Johnny B. Goode." Like many of the franchises other major moments, it took some time to pull it off.
Back to the Future has so many memorable lines, jokes, scenes, and characters that there's almost too many to list. But other than Elsa Raven's memorable performance, what other small characters from the movie stood out for you? Let us know in the comments!