Bob Gale Compares Mattel’s New Toy Hoverboard to Screen Used Props Side-by-Side

Hoverboards Side by Side

Yesterday, the Co-Creator, Writer, and Producer of the Back to the Future trilogy, Bob Gale,  shared with Beyond the Marquee a letter addressed to Back to the Future fans around the world. In it, he expressed his disappointment with the produced Hoverboard prop-replica released by Mattel’s high-end Matty Collector toy division.

This morning, he further expounded on his disappointment with the recently released Hoverboard by offering up some side-by-side photo comparisons of the Mattel replica alongside of his original, screen-used props from Back to the Future Part II.  He also provided his notes and we’re glad to list them here for you.

From Bob Gale:

About these photos, and the hover boards.  The accompanying photos show my two boards flanking the Mattel replica. 

Top of Hoverboards


As far as I’m concerned, the basic design and colors of Mattel’s board are just fine.   

Hoverboard Bottom


Bear in mind the following: for the movie we had several different versions of the hero board, based on how it was to be used or seen in the film.  Every version was a little different, both in color and material.  Neither of my boards have the real lenticular finish that’s seen in some of the movie shots.   One of mine (at left in the 3-shot) is the actual one used in the burning of the almanac scene.  It’s made of foam and has a wire stand on the bottom so that it could be filmed from above and appear to be hovering.  That’s why the middle part on the bottom is bigger than the one that Marty takes from the little girl: to accommodate the stand.  It was never meant to be seen in any other way.  The round rear pad with the velcro strap was lost.  My other board is made of solid wood.  It’s a stunt board, and was used by the 2nd unit.  I have no way of knowing if it was hung from wires or sat on a piece of pipe.  This board has no “magnets” on the bottom or any detail; it too was only to be seen from the top, and only in very wide angle shots.  

Hoverboards Side-by-Side


In the images, you can see how different the green color on the top is between the boards.  Remember too that my boards are over 23 years old, and no doubt, the color has changed a bit over the years.   Furthermore, in the movie, the colors would look different under different lighting conditions, and was again altered by the normal color correction we did in the film.  This is why no one should be troubled by Mattel’s colors.   

I hope that satisfies your curiosity!

– Bob Gale


Does Bob Gale’s further explanation of his less-than-stellar review of the Mattel Hoverboard justify any inconsistencies in color, size and/or detail?  Let us know what you think in the comments below!


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6 Responses to “Bob Gale Compares Mattel’s New Toy Hoverboard to Screen Used Props Side-by-Side”

  1. EctoB says:

    You guys should do a follow-up article about how Mattel has lied about this thing, back-pedaling their claims and regularly deleting critical posts from anyone who points out their lies on their forums. Quite shady.

  2. […] even earned the attention of Back to the Future co-creator Bob Gale, who posted a comparison up on BeyondtheMarquee, this is meant to complement the letter he sent to BTTF fans over the issue:The plastic stand is […]

  3. Charles DeMarr says:

    Interesting. Hover Boards don’t work on water but apparently Mr.Gale can backpedal on one just fine. 😉

    • Shawn says:

      I don’t think it’s so much backpedaling, more like he trusted Matty and they failed, big time. He’s disappointed and worst yet his name is all over the product page and has been used by Matty to promote this thing. Thus he feels kind of responsible for the pile we got ( although in my opinion he’s not) If you read his first letter he wasn’t contacted or given any updates on this item while it was in production. They really should have kept everyone up to date.
      In the end I find it sad that the one person who really wanted us to have an amazing prop and obviously would have put the time and effort into it had be been consulted is the one giving us an apology while Scott over at Matty is dodging question and removing posts that call Matty out as scam artists.

      • So in his first letter to fans he talks about how inaccurate the graphics of the Mattel board are and how it doesn’t have lenticular finish. In this most recent post he goes on to say that no two boards were alike and provides photographic proof that this indeed the case (though the Mattel board seemed to do an admirable job of mirroring the board on its’ left). Also, these are two boards owned by a PRODUCER of BTTF 2 and THEY don’t even have a lenticular finish. Yes, I think Mattel bit off more than they could chew on this and made some idiotic cost cutting measures (namely the lenticular finish) but as a replica of the actual movie props shown above I can’t argue that it doesn’t look pretty damn close to one of them on both the top and the bottom. As for the sounds being hard to hear, does anyone remember them being noisy in the film? It’s not a lightsaber. Also, when you do a review of a product try not to get so liquored up that you forget to even demonstrate the one thing they actually said it could do which is glide on a smooth surface. I haven’t seen anyone in ANY of the reviews so far even try that. I did see some idiot girl actually try to get one to hover on gizmodo and that was good for a laugh but not exactly what I’d call a balanced review of the product. The guys here gave a half-assed attempt to figure out the stand but were frankly far more concerned with being funny than they were with being informative resulting in the inability to achieve either goal. Sorry this turned into a rant but it’s time people start reading the fine print and knowing what they’re buying rather than blindly handing over fistfuls of cash and wondering why the person they handed it to didn’t make all their wildest dreams come true.

  4. jrs87 says:

    Tell Bob that the fans say thank you for being so behind his legion of followers faihful to the film franchise.

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