‘Arrested Development’ writer Jim Brandon buys ‘Back to the Future’ house in South Pasadena

The charming Craftsman features a tree out front that Crispin Glover's character climbed in 'Back to the Future.'
Built in 1910, the charming Craftsman features a tree out front that Crispin Glover’s character climbed in the 1985 film “Back to the Future.”
(Susan Pickering)

Jim Brandon better get used to unexpected visitors. The writer-producer, whose credits include “Arrested Development” and “Mixed-ish,” just paid about $2.2 million for a South Pasadena home with a special place in “Back to the Future” lore.

The 1985 hit doubles as a tour of L.A. County in many ways, with landmarks such as Griffith Park and the Gamble House popping up throughout the film. Another pivotal scene is set in Brandon’s new yard, where Marty McFly stumbles upon his father being a peeping Tom in the tree out front.

According to the home’s previous owner, filmmaker John McDonald, fans of the movie regularly make the trek to South Pasadena to pay homage — and climb up — the now-famous tree to re-create the scene.


Set on a street lined with century-old homes, the 110-year-old Craftsman boasts another bit of L.A. history — it was once owned by Edward Warren Hoak, the chief designer of Union Station, real estate records show.

Overhanging eaves, tapered brick columns and wood shingles bring Craftsman charm to the exterior. Past a covered front porch, the two-story home opens to wood-covered spaces with stained glass, pocketing doors, casement windows and built-ins. The moldings, beams and wainscoting are all made from Douglas fir.

Highlights include a cozy library, living room with a brick fireplace and primary suite with a sitting room. It has four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in 2,166 square feet.

The property is designed for entertaining; the basement features a media room and recording studio, and the two-car garage has been converted into a pub with a pull-down movie screen and wet bar. The leafy backyard adds a lawn, fountain and fireplace.

Carol Majors of Coldwell Banker Realty held the listing. Tim Durkovic of Douglas Elliman represented the buyer.