'Back to Future II' writer discusses Cubs prediction
The Chicago Cubs just knocked the St. Louis Cardinals out of the 2015 postseason and are on their way to the National League Championship Series. And Bob Gale, a lifelong Redbirds diehard, is still one of the happiest baseball nuts you'll find in the past, present or, wait for it …
As in "Back to the Future," the movie-turned-franchise that Gale wrote along with director Robert Zemeckis, spawned two sequels, itself into the American pop culture lexicon for 30 years.
One of the off-the-field storylines that started to creep up throughout the summer and has now exploded into October is the eerie, prescient and hilarious fact that when Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in Doc Brown's souped-up DeLorean time machine from his Hill Valley, Calif., home in 1985 all the way to October 2015 in the 1989 film "Back to the Future Part II," he finds out that the Cubs have won the World Series for the first time since 1908.
Now the Internet is alive with people thinking Gale and Zemeckis are a pair of modern-day, soothsaying Nostradamus types.
"Part One takes place in October 1985, so we're going to jump ahead to 2015, and there's no bigger sports event in October than the World Series, and there was no more insane, outrageous, unbelievable thing to have happen than to have the Cubs win it," Gale says with a laugh. "Now, of course we had them beating Miami, and we got the team name and league wrong there, but this is 25 years ago. There wasn't even a Miami franchise! We've got to get some credit for that, too.
"But for us, there was no doubt that it had to be the Cubs. I mean, what could be more insane than that?"
It doesn't seem so insane anymore.
Led by a barrage of home runs from young stars such as Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, buoyed by a resilient pitching staff, and helmed by the eccentric and charismatic manager, Joe Maddon, the Cubs dispatched the team with the best record in the regular season and are moving on to the NLCS for the first time since 2003.
The "Back to the Future Part II" prophecy is alive and well. And people all over the world who have long been enamored with hoverboards, flux capacitors and the legendary villain known as Biff Tannen have been all over this story, and not just this year.
"Every time the Marlins got in the World Series, and that was in 1997 and 2003, somebody created the Internet hoax that our prediction came true," Gale says. "All that proved was that some people had a hazy memory of 'Back to the Future Part II.'"
But a lot of people remember it word for word. Gale pointed out that the word hoverboard, which they created in "Part II" to allow Marty to float above ground while skateboarding in the future, is now in the Oxford English Dictionary.
"That's pretty awesome," Gale says.
Also awesome for Gale and Zemeckis is a "Back to the Future" comic book coming out Oct. 20 that promises "untold tales and alternative timelines" based on the movies, plus concert performances at major music venues such as Radio City Music Hall in New York in which live music is played during a screening of the film.
Gale also said there will be a coffee-table book coming out to commemorate the movie series that still resonates with so many.
And no matter what the Cubs do in the next round, Gale will be happy. And he insists that Zemeckis, a Chicago native, will be, too … even though Zemeckis is a White Sox fan.
"If the Cubs win it all, it came true," Gale says. "If they lose, our joke is still a joke, and it's funny."