09 March 2012

Hanging Out With Bob Gale

Ah, the famous Hoverboard Chase scene in Back to the Future Part II.  Well, it took a while, but Mattel is making the famous hoverboard that Marty McFly used to hover around Hill Valley in 2015.  You can pre-order yours at MattyCollector.com, until 20 March.

Mattel showed a prototype of the board at New York Toy Fair last month.  Since then there has been lost of buzz.  This is a unique situation where everyone knows what we are doing.  Most of the time, the industry is very secretive regarding projects in progress.  The hoverboard is essentially 'out', everyone has seen it, and there are countless replica prop builders out there that have made their own boards.

I am proud to be a part of the team that is making this happen.  I serve as 'technical adviser' on the project.  There is a huge team of about ten people on this one project including design, engineering, electronics, sound design, package design, legal, licensing, marketing, etc.

On 8 March, we had a meeting with Back to the Future Writer/Producer Bob Gale, Special Effects Supervisor Michael Lantieri, and assistant to Mr. Gale Mary Anne Lantieri (also Michael's wife).  I spent the better part of the day hanging out them.  The meeting was documented by Beyond the Marquee, and there will be a video of it soon, possibly next week.

You can see more pictures from the meeting at the MattyCollector Facebook page.  Unfortunately, I have the skill of sitting in places where I am either not in facing the camera, or totally out of focus.  I assure I was there.  Here are some pictures I took during Bob Gale's visit to Mattel.

Close up of one of the screen used hoverboards
This is one of the many screen used boards, made of foam.

Some dork with the board
Proof that I was in that meeting with Bob, Michael, and Mary Anne.  And, I got to touch the boards. 

Michael Lantieri and Bob Gale
Michael Lantieri and Bob Gale sharing stories from the Back to the Future trilogy.  On the table, you can see the Pit Bull and a plywood version of Marty's board.  Wood was used for strength and durability, this was a 'stunt' board that Michael J. Fox and his stuntman Charlie Croughwell

Bob Gale with Mary Anne Lantieri

On the table, a little piece of the Pit Bull, Mattel's Toy Fair prototype, screen used wood board, screen used foam board.  You can see wired feet holding up the foam board creating the 'floating' effect.  In front of Bob, you can see my San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Back to the Future Time Machine box.  Yeah, that is pretty awesome.

Presenting original concept are for hoverboards
Along with sharing fun stories of production, Bob showed us original concept art for the hoverboards that were hand drawn by John Bell.  He also read some fan mail that we kept for over twenty years.  Kid would write to Universal  (and Mattel) about the hoverboards, usually asking for where to get one or just straight up asking them to send them a hoverboard.  Each letter was answered by Bob and Mary Anne, some were sent pictures of hoverboards.  One kid got a Pit Bull key chain.

Working with Dave Strom, getting the measurements correct
 After our question and answer session, Bob signed a bunch of stuff for everyone.  Lots of DVD's and Hot Wheels Time Machines...yeah, you know it.  I waited until later to get my stuff signed.  We also gave Bob, Michael, and Mary Anne a tour of Mattel's 'top secret' Design Center.  Not really top secret, everyone knows where it is, but not everyone gets to go inside.

I showed them my messy cubical.  Bob Gale was in my cubical, that makes it a historical landmark!  Bob noticed that I had a box of DeLorean sign sheets, I gave them a small stack and they had me sign it.  I personalized Bob's with, "You other friend in time."  Here I am waiting to get my stuff signed and Bob, Michael, and Mary Anne asked me to sign something for them.

Bob signing stuff...on my car
Once the tour was over I walked them outside to my car.  Bob Gale is one of the reasons that I have a DeLorean.  I asked Bob to sign a bunch of stuff.  Of course, I had the good stuff.  Bob was shocked that I had all three Back to the Future Japanese movie programs, he signed all three.  I had him sign a hand painted cell from the animated series.  I had a few more things signed  by Bob, I will post pictures of these later.

Signing my car
One last thing I wanted Bob to sign, my car.  This is all sorts of awesomeness!  He personalized it "Drive at 88!"  How cool is that?

Needless to say that it was an unforgettable day for me.

1 comment:

PerryPie said...

Seriously, coolest nerd ever.