The Mysterious Connection between Indy 4 and Back to the Future!

But first, here’s a look at the finished Indy 4 Fan Shirt. Indy 4 the Movie was a disappointing failure on a variety of levels, but the Indy 4 Fan Shirt looks terrific!

Merry, my printer on these shirts, once again did an incredible job; and she’s great to work with. It seems I’m always on a tight deadline, I always have last minute changes; and she is always there to get me through it. Thanks Merry! And even though the movie wasn’t very good, you can still get the wallpaper version of my Indy Fan Shirt. You’ll find it on the sidebar under the pages heading.

Now, for the Mysterious Connection Between the flaw-filled Indy 4 and the flawless Back to the Future.

If you’ve seen Indy 4, then you remember the sequence of the film where Indy found himself in the fake town set up at the heart of the nuclear testing and has to hide in a lead lined refrigerator to shield himself from the blast?

Well, about five or so years ago, I read an early draft of the screenplay for Back to the Future, back before the Bobs, Zemeckis and Gale, had conjured up the storytelling solution of the lightning bolt, the clock tower and the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to power the DeLorean.

In fact, the time machine wasn’t even a DeLorean in this version. It was a refrigerator and it was nuclear powered. Doc and Marty have to get the refrigerator to the only place where nuclear power is available back in 1952; the nuclear testing site out in the middle of the desert, where the military has set up…you guessed it, a fake town; complete with mannequins, to study the effects of an atomic blast. Marty has to climb into the refrigerator/time machine to get sent back to the future. There’s even a moment when Doc Brown is worried that it won’t work and hopes that the leadlined fridge will be enough to protect Marty from the blast…sound familiar?

Zemeckis and Spielberg are buddies, so I’m sure that it’s no coincidence, and it’s interesting to see an idea that wasn’t used get recycled twenty years later. And as I’m writing this, it occurs to me that they may have talked about this previous version in the behind-the-scenes extras on the DVD set…

Of course the clock tower and bolt of lightning are a much more elegant solution for Back to the Future. The clock tower, after all, gives them a visual representation of time; as abstract a concept as there ever was, and since Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies, it’s good to know that it wasn’t formed whole; that the Bobs had to write and write and rewrite to pound out such a beautifully flawless flick.

I wonder if there’s any other cinematic examples out there of unused ideas getting recycled into later films? I seem to remember a dream sequence that went unused in the first Toy Story, only to be revived for the sequel. That’s the beauty of working on a project, you soon have more ideas than you can use; allowing you to recycle your own stuff…

Anybody else have any examples of creators recycling their own ideas, cinematic or otherwise?

Adios.

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