- " Marty watched, fascinated, as a surgeon stepped out of an operating room, lit up a cigarette and began speaking to the audience. "After facing the tension of doing three lung operations in a row, I like to relax by lighting up a Sir Walter Randolph. I know that the fine tobacco taste will soothe my nerves and improve my circulation..." / "That's incredible!" Marty said, in spite of himself. He had never seen a television commercial advertising cigarettes and couldn't quite comprehend the brazenness of it. / Sam Baines thought the young man was commenting on his excellent job of fine tuning. He beamed as he said: "Yep. Look at that picture... It's crystal clear. You're right, boy, it's incredible all right." / "I meant the cigarette commercial," Marty replied. / "What's so incredible about that?" Lorraine asked. / "The way the doctor is advertising it. Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. How can he do lung operations and then puff a cigarette? It's crazy!" / "Well," Sam muttered, "they ain't proved anything yet. Don't see why a doctor can't advertise cigarettes if he wants to." / "Because it's immoral." / "Don't be silly." / Sam's self-satisfied tone irritated Marty. "Well," he said, "it'll be outlawed someday. That's how silly it is." "
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 106 and 107)
Sir Walter Randolph was a brand of cigarette in 1955.
When Marty McFly was watching television and eating dinner with the Baines family on November 5, there was a commercial break before the start of The Honeymooners, which featured a commercial for the brand in which a doctor endorsed the product after performing three consecutive lung operations.
Marty had never seen a cigarette commercial on television, and was amazed to see a lung surgeon endorsing cigarettes. Marty and Sam Baines, being from eras thirty years apart, had different viewpoints about the health risks of tobacco; when Marty pointed out that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer, Sam didn't believe him and said he didn't see why a doctor couldn't advertise cigarettes if he wanted to.
Behind the scenes
- This scene appears in the Part I novelization, but not in the final version of the film. Although the novelization was based on the script, it is not known whether this was in footage cut from the scene of dinner with the Baines family, or if it was ever filmed at all.
- The commercial part of the scene was announced as a deleted scene for the first DVD release, but was later removed. However the scene was found to be left on the disc between the "Pinch Me" and "Doc's Personal Belongings" deleted scenes. The doctor in the commercial is played by John McCook. Later releases removed the scene.
- Cigarette advertising on television was banned after January 1971, with the final ads shown during Super Bowl V. Marty, who would have been two years old at that time, probably did not remember having seen a cigarette commercial before.
- "Sir Walter Randolph" is likely a parody of Sir Walter Raleigh, the English explorer who popularized tobacco, and whose name is used for a brand of pipe tobacco.
- This scene was possibly removed because of the fact that cigarette advertising in the United States is now illegal, and that having even a reference to a cigarette ad could possibly, unintentionally, get more people to start smoking.