In 1955, Marty saw his dad at his own age. Marty did or said several anachronistic things, some catching his not-yet-father off-guard. Next to things like proclaiming Goldie Wilson will be mayor or inventing the skateboard, he even accidentally called George “Dad” a few times.
I believe by 1985 George McFly was able to figure out Marty was his own son from the future. Why him and not Lorraine or Biff? George had an open mind to foreign concepts; he was a fan of science fiction. He almost missed his first kiss with Lorraine to stay home and watch Science Fiction Theater. Certainly the concept of Time Travel wouldn’t be far from his mind.
Of course in 1955, George shrugged off all of this anachronism, possibly thinking Marty was just weird.
Now imagine George going through his life since 1955. He starts noticing things that Marty did or talked about suddenly happening as if they were brand new.
Let’s look at that timeline now:
1958 – Chuck Berry releases “Johnny B. Goode;” does the same Duck Walk as Marty
1963 – Tab soda is invented
1963 – Roller Derby introduces the first mass-produced skateboard
1964 – The Who is formed; Pete Townshend makes famous windmilling his arm to play the guitar as well as kicking over his own amplifier
1966 – Star Trek premieres; introduces Planet Vulcan
1966 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience is formed; Hendrix plays his guitar behind his head
1968 – Suzy Chaffee, bronze medal skier, wore a brightly colored down vest during the Winter Olympics, starting a new fashion trend
1968 – Calvin Klein fashion company is founded
1972 – Van Halen is formed (Eddie Van Halen recently revealed the guitar solo used wasn’t from any of his songs; it was just him playing a bunch of loud noises. So there’s no way George could ever recognize it. While playing Johnny B Goode, however, Marty imitates Van Halen’s tapping style, so that’s something.)
1973 – AC/DC is formed; Angus Young lies on his back to play guitar and kicks off with his feet
1976 – Marty Mcfly, aged 8, sets fire to the living room rug
1977 – Star Wars premieres; introduces Darth Vader
1982 – Goldie Wilson is elected mayor
1982 – Pepsi Free is invented
Each new thing becomes less of a coincidence in George’s mind and further cements the idea that Marty was his own son from the future. He might not follow rock stars or fashion, but the clues are there and seeing any of these should make him think. Watching Star Wars and Star Trek, he also realizes “Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan” was just Marty in a radiation suit.
I can hear you saying, “You wouldn’t remember someone you knew for a week in high school!” That’s usually true, and I can just say that Marty was an exception because of his impact, but there’s proof that George remembered. In 1985, George hands Marty a copy of his new book, A Match Made In Space. You can see from the cover that the story was based on Marty’s involvement in his life in 1955. George then echoes Marty’s advice from 30 years ago back to him, “If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything.” At the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance, George said “I want to thank you for all your good advice. I’ll never forget it.” He kept his word.
In this scene from Back to the Future: The Game, co-written by Bob Gale, George McFly is surprisingly lax about whatever odd thing Marty is up to and is extremely accepting of the “You’ll barely know I was gone.” line Marty gives. He just dismisses it and walks away, confident Marty will return immediately with his Time Machine.
Scroll to the end of the first draft of the script. George McFly looks at a photo of Marty in 1955 and says “Nah. Couldn’t be.” A cheesy cliche line, but definitely shows he was figuring it out.
At this point, my theory based on hard evidence will branch off into another based off conjecture. Just a fair warning.
George McFly wasn’t just a fan of science fiction. He was an author of science fiction. He wrote stories about visitors coming down to earth from other planets. When faced with such a good idea as a son traveling back in time to try and get his parents to meet, of course he would want to write about it. He could possibly even get a movie deal out of it. To protect his family, he could use a pseudonym, Bob Gale for instance. Or if his name were already Bob, he could just change the father’s name to George.
“You’re George McFly!”
I think you know where that’s going. Only evidence I can think of is George never saw the Time Machine and so originally wrote it as a fridge in an early draft of the script because he didn’t know it was a DeLorean.
But now I’m just having fun. The main thing to take away from this is George McFly is a clever character and figured out his son visited him from the future.
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