Walter Wisdom
"Put on Your Thinking Caps, Kids! It's Time for Mr. Wisdom"

Back to the Future: The Animated Series




2 (15 in series)


Wayne Kaatz


September 26, 1992

Episode chronology
Previous episode

"Mac the Black"

Next episode

"A Friend In Deed"

"Put on Your Thinking Caps, Kids! It's Time for Mr. Wisdom!" is the second episode of the second season of Back to the Future: The Animated Series, and the fifteenth episode overall. It first aired on September 26, 1992.

Brief synopsis[]

Mr. Wisdom, host of a children's scientific show and Verne Brown's biggest hero, is broadcasting an episode from Hill Valley. Verne and Marty McFly go to meet Mr. Wisdom in person and they end up bringing him to Doc's laboratory. Doc angrily confronts Mr. Wisdom and drives him from his home. Using "a very long flashback", Doc tells the story to Verne and Marty that Mr. Wisdom had been Doc's college roommate (Doc recalls the school was "The American College of Technological Sciences and Difficult Math"). Walt Wisdom had stolen one of Doc's inventions to win a science fair, leading to his fame and fortune.

Wisdom subsequently steals the DeLorean, traveling to Ancient Egypt at 127 A.D. After realizing that he's being pursued by the Time Train, he goes to Krakatoa on August 27, 1883, to lure the Doc, Jules, Verne, and Marty through the volcano as it erupts and lava spews. Returning to 1992, he tries to sell the DeLorean time machine for $999,995. Meanwhile, the Doc, Jules, Verne, and Marty, who had survived the intense heat from lava because they had been wearing oven-mitt like body suits, have foiled Wisdom's no-good plans and he is exposed as a fraud. The four return home to see Clara and Einstein again.



  • In the episode, Mr. Wisdom refers to "Emmett Lathrop Brown". Marty replies "Lathrop? So that's what the "L" stands for!"
  • 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 the episode has Doc, dressed as an astronaut, explaining that he is on a space mission to repair a communications satellite in return for free cable service. "This isn't the first experience that I've had in the field of television broadcasting. It all started when Marty was studying for his astronomy class..."
  • 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 game show set seems to appear out of nowhere when Doc Brown and Mr. Wisdom face off on a pirate television broadcast.
  • The series had some great sequences created by animation directors John Hays and Phil Robinson. The interval where Doc puts on the memory helmet lasts only five seconds, but is a blur of surrealistic images.
  • In the science experiment at the end, Christopher Lloyd and Bill Nye manage to explain inertia, gravity, centripetal and centrifugal force, geosynchronous orbit, and Newton's First Law of Motion... with coins, a baseball, string, and a paper tube. "Be careful!" Doc warns, after a passerby is hit when inertia takes over from gravity. "You should try this experiment outdoors, and make sure nobody is standing nearby!"
  • No Tannens appear in this episode.
  • Mr. Wisdom says that Emmet Brown's Dream was a Flux Capacitor, Although he didn't come up with the idea intill 1955.
  • This Episode is also the second time Marty McFly was seen barefoot. The first time was "Time Waits For No Frog."


"Ah yes. Now I remember. Now I remember. Now I remember. M.A.R.I.E. allows you to recall any memory, such as the importance of wearing oven mitts when handling anything above 50 degrees Celsius. AAAGGGHHH!!""
—Doc's neurons are fired up by his "thinking cap"
TV announcer: "It's time now for Arsenio!!!"
Einstein: "Woof! Woof!Woof!"
— -A very dated joke from 1991
"So that's M.A.R.I.E. (gasp) I've should have known if it one of Emmett's kooky inventions."
—Clara Brown


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