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The DeLorean time machine is mistaken for a flying saucer by the Peabody family.

" Sherman, curled up in his bed reading the latest issue of Tales from Space comics, saw the rapidly moving vehicle first. He knew immediately by the shape and flashing lights that this was no ordinary Earth machine. True, he had just finished reading a story entitled "Space Zombies from Pluto" which dealt with aliens in radiation suits who enslaved human females and traveled around in a modernistic car with gull-wing doors. That may have made him more susceptible than usual, but Sherman was extraterrestrial all the time. Space was his hobby and now his hobby seemed to be coming true. Grabbing the comic book, he rushed down the stairs. "
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 70 and 71)
"That ain't no airplane. Look!"
Sherman Peabody upon discovering the DeLorean time machine in his family's barn.

Flying saucer was a word mostly to replace the abbreviation UFO (Unidentified Flying Object), as a stereotypical UFO appears to be a large, flying disc.


Sherman Peabody called the DeLorean time machine a flying saucer after his father called it "an airplane without wings".

Dr. Emmett Brown remembered the scene from the 1951 black-and-white science-fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still where Michael Rennie's character, the humanoid alien Klaatu, first stepped from his flying saucer onto Earth, when he got out of the DeLorean, clad in a radiation suit, on meeting Marty McFly at Twin Pines Mall on October 26, 1985.

Behind the scenes[]

  • On page 70 of the novelization (see Quote above), Tales from Space reads the grammatically incorrect 'Tales From Space'; as 'from' is a bridging word, it should be lower case and not capitalized. Also on the same page, no ordinary Earth machine reads the grammatically incorrect 'no ordinary earth machine' as in, say, A bulldozer is a machine for moving earth rather than referring to a machine that comes from the planet Earth. These errors have been corrected here.


See also[]