Rerun of The Honeymooners in 1985.

" Dad, the last to be seated, tuned the television to an old Honeymooners rerun and put papers instead of food in front of him. Marty noted angrily that he had already started started doing the "homework" Biff Tannen had so ungraciously assigned him. / For a few minutes, Marty and Dave amused themselves and each other by reciting the Honeymooners' lines one beat ahead of the TV actors, a routine that finally got Mom's goat. / "All right," she said. "We know you've seen it a hundred times. But your father wants it on, O.K.? So let him enjoy it in peace." / Marty and Dave shrugged. "
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 34)
"Now we can watch Jackie Gleason while we eat!"
—Sam Baines
" The commercial break was over and The Honeymooners began. Marty recognized the segment immediately as the classic "Man from Space" episode. Almost without realizing he was doing it, he began saying the show's lines a split second before the actors said them. Everyone at the table regarded him with varying degrees of amazement. Lorraine laughed every time he did it; her father scowled. / "How come you know the lines?" Milton asked. / "Because I've seen this one before," he replied. / "What do you mean, you've seen it?" Milton asked. "It's brand new." / "I saw it on a rerun." / "What's a rerun?" / "You'll find out." / "O.K., smarty," Milton persisted. "Tell me what happens next." / "Sure," Marty said. "This is a good one. Ralph dresses up as a 'man from space.' " / "Quiet!" Sam ordered. "I want to see this!" "
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 108)

The Honeymooners was a black-and-white television sitcom that aired on CBS in the United States and ran for a total of only thirty-nine episodes from October 1, 1955 to September 22, 1956.


The show starred Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, Audrey Meadows as Alice Kramden, Art Carney as Edward Lillywhite "Ed" Norton, and Joyce Randolph as Thelma "Trixie" Norton.

Marty McFly was watching a rerun of the show with his family on October 25, 1985, the night before he traveled back in time. When he had dinner with his mother's family on November 5, 1955, the family was watching the very same episode, but it was being shown for the first time.

Behind the scenes[]

  • As many fans of The Honeymooners have pointed out since the release of Back to the Future, the clip that is shown in the film is from an episode called "The Man from Space". This was a case of artistic license, as devotees of the show who knew the precise airdates of each episode were quick to point out, as early as 1985, the "mistake", in that the episode was not telecast until December 31, 1955. Most moviegoers never noticed.
  • The Honeymooners was an obvious choice for a show that was telecast in 1955, that aired on Saturday night, that was still being watched in reruns in 1985, and that was familiar even to viewers who weren't fans.
  • The selection of "The Man From Space" was consistent with the rest of the film. When Marty had arrived in 1955, wearing a yellow radiation suit, he had been mistaken for a man from space by the terrified Peabody family.
  • The episode that was actually shown on November 5, 1955 was "The Sleepwalker".
  • On page 34 of the novelization (see first Quote above), a misprint resulted in the line tuned the television to an old Honeymooners rerun reading 'turned the television to an old Honeymooners rerun' which doesn't really make sense. This error has been corrected here.


See also[]