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Go back in time with ‘Back to the Future’ at The Hollywood Museum

by Jeff DePaoli

Sitting near the famous corner of Hollywood and Highland in Hollywood, Calif. is The Hollywood Museum, which opened in 2003 in the former Max Factor Building. It has been restored to its grandeur but now serves a different purpose displaying tons of costumes, props, set pieces and more from all over the showbiz spectrum — this time, from the “Back to the Future” trilogy.

back to the future
Photos by Jeff DePaoli

Currently on temporary display, the “Back to the Future” exhibit features many costumes, props and yes, even a couple of DeLoreans used in the fan-favorite movies. This is the first exhibit of its kind in the United States to show memorabilia from all three films.

the hollywood museum

The original film turns 35 years old this year, yet its impact seems to be as strong as ever. There’s now even a “Back to the Future” stage musical on London’s West End that screenwriter and producer, Bob Gale, was involved with creating.

Speaking of Gale, he had a lot to do with the display at The Hollywood Museum, but it wasn’t all his doing. The collection came from many different “Back to the Future” collectors and are on loan to the museum.

One of my favorite displays was a line-up of all the different newspapers used in the films. You’ll see the “Gang Jailed” newspaper with its “Youth Jailed” counterpart, as well as the “Emmett Brown Commended” newspaper with its “Emmett Brown Committed” counterpart, along with all of your other favorites used throughout the films. They even have the in-between newspapers missing the photos and headlines so that they could transition from one to the other using special effects.

back to the future

If you’re a fan of costumes, you’ll get to see Marty McFly’s famous life-preserver jacket from the first film and the automatic size-adjusting jacket from “Back to the Future: Part II.” You can also see Doc’s long gold robe, several of the western costumes from “Back to the Future: Part III” and so much more.

the hollywood museum

There are a few really fun props with behind-the-scenes stories related to them. Fans of the first movie will remember the scene when Marty McFly first arrives in the year 1955 and looks Emmett Brown up in the phone book. Marty quickly rips this page from the phone book for his keeping. Unfortunately, the prop master spelled Emmett Brown’s name incorrectly, writing “Emmet” with only one “t” instead of the proper two.

back to the future

In the second part of the trilogy, we end up in the futuristic year of 2015. I’m still waiting for those flying cars. Heck, I’d take the dehydrated pizza. In any case, when we visit the McFly’s future home in 2015, we see a photo from Marty and Jennifer’s wedding day at the “Chapel O Love.” This photo is on display at the Hollywood museum, but apparently actor Michael J. Fox was busy on the day this photo was taken as you can clearly see that his head was glued on top of a stand-in’s body.

the hollywood museum

The final piece that I really enjoyed isn’t seen in one of the movies, or, not in its current state, anyway. When shooting was wrapped and Mr. Fusion was no longer needed on set, the film’s mechanical effects supervisor turned it into a desk lamp for Bob Gale. This very cool souvenir is currently removed from Gale’s desk and is instead on display amongst a plethora of other “Back to the Future” treasures.

But it doesn’t stop with the films. If you’re a fan of merchandising and toys, The Hollywood Museum has a nice display of these items that you may just remember (or perhaps even own) from your childhood. And theme park fans should keep their eyes out for a small mention of “Back to the Future: The Ride.”

back to the future

Overall, as a die-hard “Back to the Future” fan, I’m very happy to see all of these items that aren’t normally available for public viewing currently on display at The Hollywood Museum during this temporary exhibit. The Hollywood Museum is located at 1660 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood, Calif. You can buy tickets and learn more at TheHollywoodMuseum.com.


Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your free gift of “America’s Hidden Mickeys: Lesser Known Disney Destinations Around the U.S.A.” at DizneyCoastToCoast.com.

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