1955 DOC BROWN’S MANSION EXTERIOR
Brown Mansion Location from “Back to the Future”
Located in Pasadena, California
See the end of this article for location and visiting information!
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!
After Marty has a creepy encounter with his Mother and her family in 1955, he foots it across town over to Doc Brown’s, only to discover that the house Doc had been living in in 1985 was merely the left over garage of his former mansion!(If you pay close attention in the film, you’ll notice that Doc Brown’s mansion burned down on Wednesday, August 1, 1962. Now that’s a bit of trivia for you!)
Although the Gamble house looks similar to the house in the movie “Zathura,” no part of the Gamble house was filmed in that movie! It did, however, provide some inspiration for the house in that film.
In real life, this beautiful mansion lies just off the route of the world-famous Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. In fact, this house is quite famous of it’s own accord. It’s called the Gamble House, and it’s extremely interesting location from a historical and architectural point of view. This building used to be the summer home of David B. Gamble (of the Procter & Gamble company) and was built by the famous architects Greene & Greene in 1909. A hallmark of California Craftsman architecture, the house is now owned by the city of pasadena and operated by the architecture department at USC. This site is easily accessible and you are allowed to walk freely on the grounds, although they do charge a fee for tours of the interior.
Due to the historic nature of the location, the Back to the Future film crew was not allowed inside the Gamble house itself, so the location was only used for exterior shots of the house, driveway, and garage. All of the interior shots, including the close up shots of Marty standing on the front porch, were filmed several miles away at another famous, but privately owned, house built by the Greene and Greene firm. That house has another page to itself located here.
As of the last revision of this article, The Gamble House is still open most days for guided tours, conducted by volunteers. However, these do cost money. It’s definitely worth supporting the ongoing restoration efforts at the Gamble House, but if you’re pressed for time this might not be the tour for you. If you do decide to come during business hours, you can visit the Gift shop inside the garage where you can find more information.
It’s also the closest thing you will get to being inside of Doc’s garage, since the movie version was filmed completely on a soundstage and no actual filming took place inside of the Gamble garage. If you don’t have the time, be assured that as of this writing the grounds are open as long as the sun is up, and you can even walk right up to the front porch. Two USC students live here full time to protect the property, so please try not to disturb them, but this is public property on the National Register of Historic Places and is completely free to visit, at least on the outside!
For MUCH more detailed information about the History of the Gamble house, as well as excellent directions and visitor information, visit their website at GambleHouse.org
ADDRESS: 4 WESTMORELAND PLACE, PASADENA, CA
COORDINATES: 34°9′5.62″N 118°9′38.88″W
1955 Lorraine’s House
“…He’s a peeping tom!”
Lorraine’s House Location from “Back to the Future”
Located in South Pasadena, California
Stepping onto Bushnell Avenue, like many streets in south pasadena, is almost like going back in time yourself. It’s the street the latchkey generation wished they could have grown up on. Nice houses, great lawns. It feels like you’re in 1955.
And that’s exactly why Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale picked this location for Lorraine’s 1955 house! Watch the movie closely, and then come to this site. You can walk the street where Marty looked up, and caught his future father in the act – of peeping!
Every time I see an actor from a movie in person they seem so tiny. With the Bushnell Avenue locations you get the opposite feeling. These houses are much bigger looking in person than they are on film. Not only that but the neighborhood is far more upscale than you’d expect.
So here you are in 1955. And of course this house is most familiar to those who remember George McFly peeping at Lorraine from the branch of a tree, and Marty realizing with surprise and disgust that, “He’s a peeping tom!”
Some have reported, though I am not sure why, that the tree branch George peeps from was not real. While I’m sure that in this shot Crispin Glover is not in the tree, (he’s probably on some kind of makeshift platform to allow the camera to line up the shot properly) he is shown in a real tree across the street and that tree branch IS there. I’ve spoken with several friendly neighbors who witnessed the filming and confirmed this. One nice older guy showed me some photos of production (mostly crew) but wouldn’t allow us to copy them. Because of the angle of the over-the-shoulder shot filmed on a platform people get confused. They look for a tree branch pointing directly towards the window when the actual tree branch points south west of it (to the left side).
You can see from the other screenshots below, and other shots in the movie, that George McFly is up in a tree, and with enough time spent figuring it out, you will realize the branch is there, it’s very real, and yes, it’s easy to climb! I’m not sure if the tree is on private property, and we assume no liability for you injuring yourself by climbing trees, but we like to comemmorate each visit by watching the world-famous Tony P climb the tree. Unfortunately Tony P died a few years ago, but we’ll never forget the time he climbed halfway out on the branch and was stuck in the tree for at least an hour.
If you try it out yourself, just make sure the people across the street don’t think you’re peeping in their windows!
Visiting Tip: George McFly and Biff’s (part2) 1955 houses are on the same street! Update: The homeowner in the house behind this tree doesn’t want anyone climbing in ut, but he said this while videotaping me awkwardly trying to climb the tree, and laughing, for liability purposes. So, go ahead and climb at your own risk, but he’s not going to pay for your medical bills.
ADDRESS: 1727 BUSHNELL AVENUE, SOUTH PASADENA, CA
GPS COORDINATES: +34.105691, -118.141549