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Featured CED VideoDisc No. 37 - Summer 2005


Back to the Future


Back To The Future CED The coming July 4th weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Back to the Future, so it was selected as the featured CED with that in mind. But the movie has another interesting tie-in to Capacitance Electronic Discs (CED's) - the flux capacitor in the movie that makes time travel possible. The dictionary definition of flux is "constant or frequent change," so the flux capacitor is basically a capacitor whose value is constantly changing. As those familiar with CED Technology know, a CED VideoDisc is itself one plate of a capacitor, and the constantly changing depth of the groove cut into the disc creates a constantly changing capacitance that re-creates the video signal stored on the disc. Of course, the mythical flux capacitor in the movie looks nothing like a CED VideoDisc, as this picture of actual CED media confirms.

The following two pictures, captured from the CED movie, show Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) pointing a flashlight at the flux capacitor in the DeLorean automobile and Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) holding up the paper schematic of the flux capacitor.

Flux Capacitor Inside DeLorean Flux Capacitor Drawing

Another interesting aspect of "Back to the Future" (1985) and its successor "Back to the Future Part II" (1989) is that the character of Jennifer Parker is played by different actresses in the two movies. Claudia Wells was unable to reprise her role in the second movie due to health reasons, so Elisabeth Shue took on the part. Since "Back to the Future Part II" starts with the last scene from "Back to the Future," the scene had to be re-filmed. This re-enactment was pretty accurate, so when I saw "Back to the Future Part II" in the movie theater, I believed it was the same scene with the same actress. It wasn't until I saw a back-to-back broadcast of these two movies on television that I realized the closing and starting scenes were different. I thought it would be cool to do a side-by-side comparison of the two versions of the scene, so the remaining pictures in this CED feature provide seven such comparisons. A lot of subtle differences can be spotted, like Marty's watch and the stickers in the windows of the house.

Back to the Future, End (CED VideoDisc)
with Claudia Wells as Jennifer
Back to the Future Part II, Start (TV Broadcast)
with Elisabeth Shue as Jennifer
Claudia Wells Back To The Future Elisabeth Shue Back To The Future Part II
Claudia Wells Michael J. Fox Back To The Future Elisabeth Shue Michael J. Fox Back To The Future II
DeLorean Car Back To The Future DeLorean Automobile Back To The Future II
Christopher Lloyd Back To The Future Christopher Lloyd Back To The Future 2
DeLorean Time Machine DeLorean Time Machine
Claudia Wells Elisabeth Shue
John DeLorean Car John DeLorean Automobile


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