"Back to the Future" - HOVERBOARDING 101
High flying charity event for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research...
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The weather service proved reliable come Monday morning as threatening overnight showers dissipated to reveal a gorgeous day; a day perfect for... hoverboarding? Yes, hoverboarding. In 1989, boyhood dreams of owning a jetpack became dreams of being able to hoverboard ever since Back to the Future Part II hit theaters. On Monday, November 8, 2010, the fine folks at www.weregoingback.com made that dream a reality for many, many fans. Not only were they able to try their hand (or foot) at hoverboarding with the skilled stunt team behind the film, they were also able to recreate the zip-line moment in the first film (and technically the second and third as well) where Doc Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd) zips down from the top of the Clock Tower.
There were a few other surprises in the super secret location in Topanga, CA as two of Griff's original gang members Spike (Darlene Vogel) and Data (Ricky Logan) come to support the event and meet with fans signing autographs. Stunt members Gary Morgan and Richie Gaona were also on hand to lend their talents to the fun filled day.
We spoke to Ken Kapalowski of weregoingback.com at the event to learn a little behind-the-scenes of how this, and the rest of the week, all came together.
Figures.com: Ken, this is an amazing week of events. Tell me, how much of your life has this taken up to coordinate and plan all of this?
Figures.com: And to have something every single day is pretty incredible.
Ken: I did the location tours myself maybe six or seven years ago and I thought, "how awesome would it be for everyone else to do this." And then we had the excuse that was the 25th anniversary and I said, "what the heck, let's get everybody out here to share in the experience." It's been a good two years of planning.
Ken: It's a pretty crazy thing to plan out that's for sure. If we do anything for 2015, it'll probably be a one-day event just to keep my sanity. [laughs]
Figures.com: How has the turnout been so far?
Figures.com: And some of the proceeds go to Team Fox...
Ken: You know, for the days that I want it to be quiet it's been quiet. For the days I wanted it to be busy it's been busy. At the [Puente Hills] mall we've had over 1,000 people show up and here today it's been nice and quiet, keep things calm. We're having about 50-60 people here today [for hoverboarding]. We're real limited to how many people we can fit into some of these venues so it explains two things: why the tickets prices are so high? Because it's such limited space. And also the idea that we can get the real-deal hard-core fans - we've got people from Argentina, Taiwan, U.K, Australia, all over the world.
Ken: ALL of the proceeds that we raise are going to Team Fox, that's the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. We're accomplishing two things. There's Team Fox, which is the grassroots initiative that is small events like this where we raise some money. Then there is the Michael J. Fox Foundation where they raise the big, big money for the grants for the research and everything. Every which way, we're raising a little money but most importantly we're raising awareness and getting the Team Fox name out there. Michael J. Fox hasn't come to any of our events unfortunately but he's aware of them, he knows about them, sends his wishes and he's very thankful that all the fans are so appreciative and still loving the movies after all these years.
Figures.com: It really is a great thing what you're all doing. While someone may say that it may seem steep, it's all for a charitable cause. But getting back to hoverboarding since that's what we're doing right now, how hard was it to get the original stunt team together for this?
Figures.com: This IS really cool because everyone dreamed of doing something like this since the film.
Ken: You know, once I got one of them on board, they all kind of came together because they're like a family. They wanted to come out and participate. It's such a cool thing and they've had a lot of fond memories, short of having metal rods rammed up their butts to get them into the harnesses. They're all happy to be here.
Figures.com: And five years early too!
Ken: Yeah, we're all here riding hoverboards!
Ken: Exactly, exactly, we beat it to market. We only need a big crane to drive around behind you.
Figures.com: Now, originally there was going to be green screen at this event, correct?
Figures.com: Just like in the film.
Ken: We were going to but that ended up not happening because we were at a different venue altogether. That venue didn’t allow us the freedom to allow us to actually move around in an open area. It was literally hanging in front of a green screen and swinging. So you know what? That stinks. I would much rather hoverboard and fly around IN a wide-open area than be stuck in front of a green screen. So movie magic versus real life? Hey, we're riding real life.
Ken: Exactly. And unfortunately Universal wouldn't let us do this in the back lot to ride around Hill Valley.
Figures.com: And of course the schedule is available for all to see on weregoingback.com but tell us a few things you're really excited about coming up.
Figures.com: Well, that sounds fantastic, thanks for talking with us!
Ken: Coming up, we have the Petersen Museum to see one of the only three gold DeLoreans in the entire world. They're bringing that out of storage for us while doing a little school session with Kevin Pike and Michael Sheffe, these are the guys we call them the "fathers of the DeLorean". Kevin Pike was the one who built the time machine physically that we see today and Michael Sheffe is the wonderful artist who created all the concept drawings for a lot of the "future" cars in Back to the Future Part II.
Wednesday we're going to Universal Studios Hollywood to focus on a lot of the original Back to the Future assets.
Thursday we're out in Whittier for the Hill Valley High School. We're going to have a scene recreation in the hallway. And the school will actually be out that day for Veterans Day so it'll be just us in the school. We are going to be having a Q&A with Bob Gale so it'll be really cool for fans to ask nitty gritty questions about Back to the Future.
And Friday of course is the big Enchantment Under the Sea dance at the United Methodist Church in Hollywood. We have a live band; we have the Marvin Berry singing Earth Angel for all of us. We've got a few surprises throughout the night so it's going to be good.
Ken: Thank you, David.
You can still get tickets for some of the remaining events this week but act quick as tickets are going fast: www.weregoingback.com. Or you can donate directly to Team Fox via www.teamfox.org.
Words and Photogaphy by David Yeh