How Did Marty and Doc Brown First Meet?

backtothefuture.jpgOver at Mental Floss, a question was posed yesterday that's plagued fans of the Back to the Future films for years: "Is it ever explained why Marty hangs out with Doc Brown?" Before long, an official-ish answer surfaced, courtesy of BTTF co-writer Bob Gale. The answer won't shatter your world, but at least it puts those suggestions of inappropriate older man-teenage boy relations to bed.

I suppose any nutty BTTF fan could have logged into the thread as "Bob Gale" and posted their wackadoo theories as to the origins of Marty and Doc Brown's friendship, but the answer might then have been way more insane than this reasonable-sounding response:

"Okay, from the horse's mouth (yes, I'm the horse -- er, co-writer, co-creator): We never explained it in the movie. But the history of the characters that Bob Zemeckis and I created is this...

For years, Marty was told that Doc Brown was dangerous, a crackpot, a lunatic. So, being a red-blooded American teenage boy, age 13 or 14, he decided to find out just why this guy was so dangerous. Marty snuck into Doc's lab, and was fascinated by all the cool stuff that was there. when Doc found him there, he was delighted to find that Marty thought he was cool and accepted him for what he was. Both of them were the black sheep in their respective environments. Doc gave Marty a part-time job to help with experiments, tend to the lab, tend to the dog, etc.

And that's the origin of their relationship.

- Bob Gale"

Sounds peachy by me, but if you'd like to read the more esoteric guesses posted to the original question, head here. And of course, sound off below and tell us if you buy the totally wholesome story of a red-blooded American teenager becoming fascinated with the dangerous older man down the block.

[Mental Floss via First Showing]


  • metroville says:

    I don't know about this "Bob Gale (in quotes)", but I seem to recall a very early draft of the script wherein Marty was among a group of ne'er-do-well teens who were vandalizing Doc Brown's home; Marty got caught and the friendship was born from there.
    Or I might be making that up.

  • casting couch says:

    Well, it's one of those things I never asked about the movie. I just accepted they knew each other somehow. It didn't really matter in the context of the story.

  • The WInchester says:

    Doc Brown was Eric Stoltz's friend first, but then that damn Marty kid came and took him away.

  • Mike the Movie Tyke says:

    My theory would have been that local inventor Brown was invited to the school at some point, but his presentation went awry (explosion, fire, screaming kids.) and he was deemed the town crackpot but became an object of curiosity to a kid like Marty.
    No charge, Gale.

  • Fred says:

    Doc would have first met Marty in 1955 when Marty knocked on his door. Marty would meet doc some time in the 80's. Of course Doc would form a friend ship with Marty having known him from the past.

  • Peter Voth says:

    I'm going to stick with the "inappropriate older man-teenage boy relations" explanation, because I'm a pervert.

  • Meh... says:

    my head just exploded.

  • Jen Yamato says:

    I mean, really. It makes much more real-world sense.

  • Nope says:

    That's not how time travel in BTTF works. If it was, none of the films would've been made because Marty's dad would've already been a cool and confident dude and not in need of a lesson in being a man from his son.

  • metroville says:

    I need time to rewrite this homework in my own handwriting.

  • J K says:

    Emmet Brown and Marty McFly. Walter White and Jessie Pinkman.
    Intergenerational co-dependancy doesn't have to be sexual, my friends.
    Although there is certainly fanfic for that.

  • Titee Twister says:

    Maybe Doc Brown is actually Marty's future infant son by his clone wife returned from the future Apocalypse timeline that he will later be sent to to cure his techno-organic infection. That's why he had all them amps.

  • J K says:

    Jack Harkness is clearly a gene-spliced offspring of Marty and Doc. This is how "non-traditional" lovers will reproduce in the future technopolis.
    Now if future Granpa Biff and young teen Biff get some cane action going on back in the fifties... I don't know if you can be convicted of molesting yourself. Although this temporal paradox does explain Biff's meta-douchebaggery across all possible timelines.
    Only Rufus knows, and his phone booth has gone on to be excellent to the great beyond.

  • Andrew says:

    Time travel makes that more complicated... In one sense, the time machine hasn't been invented yet, so the article is correct about the first time they met. In another sense, they each met the other for the first time... at different times.
    Doc met Marty for the first time in 1955. Marty met Doc for the first time when he was 13 or 14 and broke into his lab.

  • Jadan says:

    Who the f**k suggested it was inappropriate? I know lots of people who have seen the movie literally dozens of times, and no one has ever suggested that. It is not like Marty was a 10 year old and Doc was Michael Jackson. Some older teens like cool gadgets.

  • Mark says:

    I agree with lolchack. I've seen all the movies several times and not once did it ever cross my mind that their relationship was inappropriate. I'd like to know where Jen Yamato, the author of the article, got the idea that people thought is was inappropriate. Ludicrous!

  • Denial says:

    I always figured that Marty was a hired assistant to Doc -- i.e. it was a part-time gig for Marty to run errands for Doc, assist him with his lab stuff, etc..

  • J K says:

    Whoa! Sense of humor alert! Someone order up 10cc's of lighten up, STAT!
    Of course these non-exstant fictional entities were perfectly innocent. This was a Spielberg production for goodness' sake!
    And besides, Doc Brown quite clearly made Jules and Verne with his beloved Clara, thus ending all entertaining speculation.
    Geez. I thought my comments were loony.

  • Titee Twister says:

    Clara was just his beard :) And, hey, its not like this series wasn't a psychosexual circus. Marty's mom's hots for Marty. His dad's peeping tommery. Biff's rapey-ness. I believe the cracked people already covered this:

  • L4UR3N says:

    That's the best reason I heard ever and I take it as the real reason. All those made up ones about a sexual relationship between them aren''t exactly my cup of tea. The real origin is like the kind of relationship of me and a kindergarden girl I know on my school bus, we always sit next together and read stories to each other, drifting off into obscure conversations.

  • Marcintosh says:

    I've heard that reasoning from Bob Gale before, but it always presented another problem for me. How come Marty didn't know Doc was building a time machine out of a DeLorean? I mean Doc's been working on it for 30 years, right? It would be kind of hard to hide a DeLorean from a someone you hired to "help with experiments" and "tend to the lab." He must have been modding the car for years. And he must have tested it at least once without Einstein before the events of the film.

    I just try not to think about how they met. Everything just falls apart.

  • I'll go with the co-writer's explanation. I'm not sure if NAMBLA members are trolling this board, but I don't think Doc had a sexual appetite whatsoever. He was married to his experiments.

    Secondly, the plot of this movie is.. Mom wants to bang son, so the son tries to get his mom to bang his dad. This movie is full of sexual overtones, but Doc... nothing. He would sooner sleep with a piece of paper with the time travel formula.

  • Jake Grainger says:

    I do believe it happened slightly a different way. Marty had the band "The Pinheads" and they needed a place to practice. As seen in "Footloose" and other movies from the 80's, rock bands were not a neighborhood hit. So being told that they were too loud, they looked for a place on the outskirts of town. They found Doc's garage, asked if they could practice there in exchange for Marty to document Doc's experiments. The friendship was formed when the band needed electrical equipment repaired or built, Marty would ask Doc for help since he was a scientist. For all you that are perverse in the head. .I..
    Also, get a life!

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