October 21 is Back to the Future Day

 “We’re descending toward Hill Valley, California, at 4:29 pm, on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.”

back to the future day

Fire up the DeLorean and put the pedal to the metal. You’ll need 1.21 gigawatts of power at 88 miles per hour to get back to the future or, in this case, the past.

back to the future day
Today is Back to the Future Day. In the second film of the series, Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel to October 21, 2015. The movie franchise inspires the adoration of fans all over the world. It is also a model of the early days of product placement and two brands, in particular, made the most of it.

back to the future day

PepsiCo ad execs imagined a futuristic drink called Pepsi Perfect and paid for its screen time with free soda for cast and crew during filming. In the 1980s, product placement was a relatively new practice, one not yet recognized as the cash factory it would become for marketers and the entertainment industry.

To honor its role in Back to the Future Part II, Pepsi produced 6,500 bottles of Pepsi Perfect and sold them on October 21, 2015, for $20.15 apiece. A year later, you can snag one of these bottles on eBay for $75.00 and up. Though the movie’s beverage was nutrient-enriched, the soda in these bottles is just regular Pepsi.

back to the future mcfly nike mags

In 2011, Nike produced and auctioned off 1,500 pairs of Air Mags identical to the ones worn by Marty McFly except for one crucial element: power laces. Although prop men achieved that bit of movie magic by pulling on cables to “lace” the sneakers, Nike turned the concept into a reality four years later when it delivered the first self-lacing pair to Michael J. Fox on October 21, 2015, just in time for a tie-in (get it?) with the movie’s anniversary.

back to the future day

10/21/15: Fox tries on first working pair

Nike has since manufactured a limited edition of 89 pairs of the sneakers, awarding most on October 17, 2016, in an online draw. The cost per entry was a $10 donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which raised $6.75 million. Two small real-world auctions were conducted as well. In London, a pair fetched $65,000. In Hong Kong, the winner paid $104,267.  The final pair will be auctioned off in New York City on November 12, 2016.back to the future day hoverboard

One thing that has yet to catch up with the movie is the hoverboard.  The Omni works like a helicopter with rotors under a rider’s feet. It holds the Guinness World Record for longest distance traveled by a hoverboard: 905 feet, 2 inches, but the battery is too light to last for more than a couple of minutes. There is also the distinct possibility of dicing a bystander with the blades when landing.

The Lexus and Hendo hoverboards use magnetic fields and will only levitate over a specially made conductive surface, meaning you won’t be able to zip down a street, let alone skate over water. On October 15, 2015, Arx Pax issued a press release announcing it would unveil the Hendo 2.0, designed with the input of skateboarder Tony Hawk, on Back to the Future Day. Sadly, it didn’t materialize.

Most “hoverboards” available today don’t hover at all and could best be described as self-balancing scooters. The batteries of many models can overheat and burst into flame. Owners are cautioned not to leave them unattended while charging, which might be an acceptable risk for someone who gets to fly around on a hoverboard afterward but not so much for the person juicing up a silly-looking skateboard/Segway without handlebars.

back to the future day mcfly chicago cubs

A “prediction” screenwriter Bob Gale added as a joke came closer to fruition than anyone could have guessed. In Back to the Future Part II, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. In reality, on October 21, 2015, the Cubs played the New York Mets in the fourth game of the National League Championship Series. (The Major League Baseball schedule has changed since the film came out, so the timing of the World Series is a bit off.)

If the Cubs had beaten the Mets and gone on to win the World Series, it would have been the team’s first pennant in 70 years and first World Series win since 1908. It didn’t happen, though. The Mets won all of the first four games, obviating the need to continue the seven-game series.

In the movie, the Cubs beat Miami, which had no team in 1989. Gale says, “People don’t automatically realize when they watch the movie today, but we were predicting there would be a major league team in Miami.”

Love for the Back to the Future trilogy reaches back decades. The movies continue to attract new fans and inspire companies to pursue their vision. Who knows what the 50th anniversary will bring? Until someone soups up a DeLorean, we’re all going to have to wait to find out.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

September 22 is Hobbit Day

Today is Hobbit Day, the longest-runniHobbit Dayng holiday celebrated by fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth Cycle books, The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings. It originated in 1973 after Tolkien’s death on September 2 of that year.

It honors the birthdays of characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, which occurred on the same date in 2890 and 2968, respectively. There is some disagreement among readers about the specific date.

The Gregorian calendar would place it on September 14, but Tolkien once stated that the Shire calendar is ahead by about ten days, depending on the month.

In 1978, the official date of the Long Awaited Party was fixed as September 22 by the Tolkien Society, which also happens to fall one day after  was published on September 21, 1937.

It is part of Tolkien Week, observed on the calendar week containing Hobbit Day. Festivities around the globe include feasts, costume parties, reenactments, exchange of gifts and cards and fireworks.

Happy Hobbit Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays


April 26 is Alien Day

alien dayToday is Alien Day. The date 4/26 pays homage to LV-426, the planet where Ripley and her expendable crew set down and take on a stowaway that no amount of Pepcid-AC can overcome. By the time the monster surprises Dallas with a gesture that looks suspiciously like jazz hands, it’s clear that the entire crew will indeed be expended.

Ripley and Jonesy, the luckiest cat in the universe, escape after a run-in with the alien, who has hidden in a shuttle so inefficiently designed that it has wasted space in the exact proportions of a slavering hell creature.

In the sequel, Aliens, Ripley returns to LV-426–as an advisor, that’s all–with the Colonial Marines and Burke, Carter J., a company man and (spoiler alert) not an okay guy, after contact is lost with the Weyland-Yutani employees working there. Suffice it to say there are problems and a few deaths are involved.

Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection take place on a penal planet and the USM Auriga spaceship, respectively. Prequel Prometheus occurs on LV-223, another moon in the same star system.

Director Ridley Scott’s sequel to his prequel will be called Alien: Covenant and is scheduled for release October 6, 2017. Scott has issued this description:

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

At the end of Prometheus, David and Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) survived. What’s happened to her? The films have always had a strong female lead. We hope Scott’s planning to keep it that way.

Meanwhile, Neill Blomkamp has been working on Alien 5, but that’s only the working title, since it appears that he plans to dropkick Alien³  and Alien: Resurrection and pick up where Aliens left off.

Many fans of the early movies are happy about this prospect. Unfortunately, Scott has “asked” Blomkamp to delay his movie until after Alien: Covenant opens.

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Blomkamp has been sharing concept art since last year which shows Hicks and Ripley very much alive. He released this pic of Newt this morning in honor of Alien Day.

alien day

Can fans trust him to bring the series back to life? Will we get the director of District 9 or the one who made Chappie? Will Scott’s wishes put Blomkamp’s plans into permanent hypersleep? Stay tuned and have a happy Alien Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays