Great Scott! It’s finally here: The day you can share the “Back to the Future” date on social media and not be wrong.
For years, Photoshop hoaxsters have been tweaking it so that Jan. 23, 2009 -- no, June 27, 2012 -- no, July 11, 2012 -- no, Jan. 4, 2015 -- is the date to which Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel in “Back to the Future Part II.” (In the original “Back to the Future,” they traveled backward to 1955, not forward to 2015.)
It comes up often enough to merit its own Snopes page.
Since 2013, a Tumblr account has been tricking people by automatically generating a new screenshot that shows that day’s date captioned with “Today is the day Marty McFly goes to the future!” According to the notes, a couple hundred people fell for it every day.
But in reality, Doc and Marty hit 88 miles per hour in their flying DeLorean and arrived at 4:29 p.m. on Oct. 21, 2015. And that’s today.
As an Internet prank, the “Back to the Future is today!!!” meme hits all the notes. It combines nostalgia with virality, and preys on the Internet’s predilection for blindly hitting that “share” button without Googling first. Who doesn’t love “Back to the Future”? And who’s going to fact-check a goofy photo from an ‘80s sci-fi movie?
And like the greatest Internet hoaxes, it provides a platform for that one smug friend to pipe up and explain why you’re wrong. Killjoys.
For the last 26 years, people have been comparing the present to “Back to the Future Part II’s” vision of the future. No, we don’t have hoverboards. (Yet.) And people don’t get fired via fax, like an adult Marty McFly did in the film.
But we do have video calling, Pepsi Perfect, and a blustering casino owner and real estate magnate edging us toward a full-blown dystopia. In a turn of events that was played as a gimmick even in the movie, the Cubs are actually well on their way to winning the World Series.
We’re just saying: Hoverboards can’t be far behind.
Happy Back to the Future Day! Follow all of our BTTF coverage here.
Jessica Roy works in social media at the Los Angeles Times. She’ll be attending the Back to the Future tour this afternoon and Instagramming and Snapchatting it for The Times. Tell her your predictions about the future on Twitter @jessica_roy.