1985 Doc’s Lab / Burger King
Editor’s Note: this text is from the old version of BTTF tour – we’re going to be revising these articles in the coming days. The photos and screenshots from these articles will all be down below for the time being, instead of thumbnails within the text. Thanks for your patience, and visit us again when everything’s tidied up!
This location is the one that opens the film. After Marty blows up Doc’s amplifier, and after a great opening sequence that has a 1.21 gigatons of rich foreshadowing in it… Marty races out of the front of Doc’s house, out of a Burger king parking lot, and down… Victory Boulevard?
Yep, the real life location is right smack dab in Burbank, California! In fact, this is the only Burger king around for miles. Doc’s house/lab was only a facade set up in the parking lot between the Burger King dumpster and Toys ‘R’ Us, but you can still view the spot today! You can even do what I always do when I visit, and skateboard in the ‘footsteps’ of Marty McFly!
It still amazes me how much this facade created for the film looks exactly like the real life Gamble House Garage (which stood in for Doc’s Mansion in 1955). But more about the Gamble house later!
This site is the kind that makes me glad I bring my Laptop and a copy of the DVDs with me! With enough screen reference, you will be able to figure out exactly the right spots that the facade and fence stood. Before the Toys ‘R’ Us (striped building in the background of the film) closed, even as late as 2000, the support holes in the asphalt were still visible, but in the last eight years alone this Burger king has undergone two facelifts and had the parking lot resurfaced at least three times. This location is constantly changing (albiet slightly), making me very glad that the first time I visited, it looked nearly the same as in the film.
One of the main differences you will find where the facade stood is a big streetlight, which now stands at what would have been the back of the facade. Yeah, that’s right, the BACK. Every website I’ve seen which even mentions this location annoys the bejeebuz outta me, because they misplace Doc’s house as being slightly behind the current concrete projections that seperate the Burger King and (former) Toys R Us parking lot.
In the third screenshot on the photos page, notice that the Facade was set to the FRONT of the dumpster enclosure. Still don’t believe me?? Examine the second screenshot… the wide shot showing the entire facade… You can clearly see that the facade is built along the yellow house to the left, NOT behind it.
Also, the key piece of evidence is the blatantly obvious – Burger King allowed them to film in(as opposed to behind) their parking lot for free because of a promotional contract with Universal, which is why they chose Burger King in the first place. (And as of 2005 this was still one of the closest to Universal. Certainly the closest that could have served this purpose…)
Therefore the set was constructed within the boundaries of Burger King’s parking lot. With the BACK of the set, or facade, against the back of the Burger king parking lot. In the Third Screenshot below, notice that the drainage ditch touches the front left portion of the facade.. and how much space there is left on the right hand side. Also, in the fourth screenshot below, you can clearly count the number of parking spaces from the sidewalk facing Victory Blvd, as well as noticing in all screenshots of the facade that the left “concrete” curb is projecting out of the middle of a parking space, when in real life, the parking spaces begin against the curb…
The best piece of evidence we had based our assumption on were the patched up holes in the asphalt that used to clearly mark where the facade stood, but these are gone now. Carefully examine the film again, using freeze-frame, and you will see that BTTFtour.com is correct on this one. We wouldn’t steer you wrong!
Everything else is oriented the same, and the telephone pole and the yellow house you can see in the back left of the 2nd screenshot below are still standing, (though slightly obscured by the tree growing there) – making a quick reference easy.
Other than Burger King itself being remodeled, not much else has changed along good ol’ Victory Boulevard itself, so you can easily identify the buildings in the background (see photos and comparison screenshots in our archive here), and there can be no doubt that this really is the place.
ADDRESS: 535 N VICTORY BLVD, BURBANK, CA
COORDINATES: 34°9′5.62″N 118°9′38.88″W