- " "Save the clock tower!" a grating voice suddenly ordered, causing them [Marty and Jennifer] to jerk apart. / Simultaneously, a donation can was placed between the two teenagers. It rattled hollowly, as if there were only two or three lonely coins inside. / "Save the clock tower!" the voice repeated. / Jennifer and Marty turned to look at the person who had interrupted them. She was a middle-aged church-type woman with prematurely blue hair. Her upper lip, Marty noted with just a touch of revulsion, was covered with nearly enough fine hair to provide an aspiring young man with a decent mustache. Under her arm were dozens of printed flyers. / "Please make a donation to save the clock tower," the woman said, rattling the can again. "
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 20 and 21)
- Clock Tower Lady: "Save the clock tower! Save the clock tower. Mayor Wilson is sponsoring an initative to replace that clock. Thirty years ago, lightning struck that clock tower, and the clock hasn't run since. We at the Hill Valley Preservation Society think it should be preserved exactly the way it is, as a part of our history and heritage!"
- Marty (irritated): "Here you go, lady. There's a quarter."
- Clock Tower Lady: "Thank you! Don't forget to take a flyer. Save the clock tower!"
- — The Clock Tower Lady asks Marty for a contribution.
As Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker prepared to kiss, the dowdy fundraiser interrupted them to ask for a contribution to keep the broken clock tower as is and impede Mayor Wilson in his plans to replace the clock. She was delighted when he contributed 25¢. Marty was frustrated by her uninvited history lesson and appeal for donations, and likely donated the quarter to appease her and get her to leave him and Jennifer alone. However, the xeroxed Clock Tower flyer that she handed to him would later prove to be invaluable. At first, it seemed to be no more than a handy piece of scratch paper upon which Jennifer had written her grandma's phone number. When Marty found himself stranded in 1955, and Doc lamented that one never knows when or where a bolt of lightning would ever strike, the flyer turned out to have the critical information that Marty needed to get back to the future to 1985... because the flyer included the reprint of the newspaper story about how lightning struck (or would strike) the clock tower at exactly 10:04 p.m. on Saturday, November 12, 1955.
Behind the scenes
- Character actress Elsa Raven is among the players identified in the opening credits, and is perhaps the most important minor character in the story. In addition to 1985's top film, Back to the Future, she played a memorable minor role in the 1997 film Titanic. Coincidentally, Billy Zane, who portrayed one of Biff Tannen's friends also starred in Titanic as the wealthy Cal Hockley.
- Given that the clock had still not been repaired by 2015, the Clock Tower Lady and her preservation society friends were successful in the mid 1980s in stopping Mayor Wilson's initiative. In 2015, however, the clock tower would still be under threat of replacement during the term of Mayor Goldie Wilson, Jr., the son of the 1985 Mayor.