THUMB ep 6
"Go Fly a Kite"

Back to the Future: The Animated Series




6 (6 in series)


Randy Gale, Michael Zimbalist, John Loy & John Ludin


October 26, 1991

Episode chronology
Previous episode

"Roman Holiday"

Next episode

"Time Waits for No Frog"

"Go Fly a Kite" is the sixth episode of the first season of Back to the Future: The Animated Series, and the sixth episode overall. It first aired on October 26, 1991.

Brief synopsis[]

Jules taunts his brother Verne by saying that Verne must not be a biological member of the Brown family because he isn't as smart as Doc and Jules, doesn't resemble either parent, and does not have a baby picture. Verne uses his father's photo invention to find a picture of himself, and erroneously concludes that Benjamin Franklin is his biological father. Taking the DeLorean back in time to September 2, 1752, Verne interferes with Franklin's experiment and the discovery of the nature of electricity. When all of the electricity goes out in present day Hill Valley, Doc concludes that all electrical devices will be erased from existence if the timeline cannot be repaired. In Philadelphia, Doc saves Verne from falling off a clock tower. Verne realizes that Doc is his biological father. Doc adds that, although Verne isn't adopted, Doc would love Verne just as much if he were adopted. Before departing Philadelphia, Doc and Marty use smoke, water and static electricity to create a simulated thunderstorm so that Franklin will repeat the kite-flying experiment. All the electric power restored in the 20th century.


  • The episode includes footage from the trilogy of the lightning striking the Hill Valley clock tower, and pays homage to the same scene later. Doc and Verne are hanging on to the hands of the clock on Philadelphia's colonial Assembly Hall (which would later become Independence Hall).
  • The building that would become Independence Hall was under construction in 1752, and completed in 1753. Verne and Doc are able to climb to the top of the not-yet-occupied structure.
  • Doc also interferes with the original construction plans when he accidentally puts a crack in the bell that is being carried toward the tower. Although the Liberty Bell on display now was cracked in 1846, history records that the first bell was indeed "delivered to Philadelphia in late August/early September 1752" [1] and was cracked while being rung the following March.
  • Though sometimes mistaken as an apocryphal story similar to Washington chopping down a cherry tree, Franklin proposed flying a kite in a storm to gather electricity in a paper published in 1750. Historians disagree about whether he did the experiment in 1752, but agree that he was the first to discover the principle of "conservation of charge" and was the inventor of the lightning rod and many other devices. Conservation of charge, of course, is the basis for Doc's later invention of the flux capacitor, and he has a portrait of Franklin in his home in the 20th century.
  • September 2, 1752 was the last day of the Julian calendar in Great Britain (which included Pennsylvania at the time), as the country adopted the Gregorian calendar on that day, thus skipping 11 days, as the day was immediately followed by September 14, 1752.
  • This episode marks the second (and last) time that Verne ever attempts to run away from home. In this, the sixth episode, and in the first episode, "Brothers", 9 year old Verne was seen starting a car and driving away at 88 miles per hour, something that most parents, in Hill Valley or in the television viewing audience, would find unacceptable. Ever after, Verne would let an adult (usually Marty) do the driving.
  • As with all of the animated series episodes, Christopher Lloyd, as Doc Brown, would introduce each one as a story, to be recounted in animated form. The opener to "Go Fly A Kite" has Doc explaining that he once had the honor of meeting Benjamin Franklin, but that the story started "here in Hill Valley" many years later.
  • Cartoon elements Produced and directed by BTTF co-creator Bob Gale, the series combined clever writing, a faithfulness to the characters, and lessons in science and history... and, in the retelling of a story to children, things that could happen only in a cartoon. Thus, a lightning bolt instantly reduces a tree into a pile of ashes, and Einstein is imagined as piloting the time train.
  • In the science experiment at the end, Doc Brown and Bill Nye explain positive and negative electrical charges, protons and neutrons, and static electricity... using a pair of socks and some balloons.
  • There is no analogue to Biff in this episode, and Biff himself appears only as a hologram. However, as with all the first season episodes, Biff himself appears in an ending joke. Also, this is the only episode from the first season where Biff shows up elsewhere (albeit as a hologram) besides in an ending joke.


"If it weren't for lightning, my pal Marty would have been trapped in 1955 forever! Or at least... until 1956. Let’s see that footage again. (Short video from the movie) my challenge was to harnessed this lightning thank goodness for Ben Franklin and his invention the lightning rod. "
—Doc Brown

(After being taunted by his older brother)

Verne: "Take that back or I'll punch you out!!"
Jules: "You and what body of organized servicemen?"
Clara: "Aren't we forgetting something?"
Doc: "Yes, yes, I should launder the epidermal surface of my forelimbs' terminal components, using a perfumed block of rendered animal fat!"
— Doc washes his hands before supper
Doc: "Does every family have a kid that always runs away from home?"
Clara: "Yes. But most of them stay in the 20th century."
Clara: "Heavens To Betsy Ross!"
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Dramatis personae[]

New continuity[]

New individuals[]

New dates[]

New locations[]