" At the front of the room stood Strickland, ten Walkman units lined neatly on the desk next to him. Those who had been through it before knew what was about to happen next, a fact which did not make it much easier. / "Now..." Strickland smiled sadistically, "we are going to see how we deal with those who violate our 'no Walkman' rule." / Gently, almost reverentially, he lifted one of the units and placed it in the jaws of a woodworking vise mounted on the corner of the desk. He then began tightening the jaws until the set broke in half, the sound approximating that of bones breaking. As bits of plastic and mangled parts trickled to the floor, one student winced as if the pain were being inflicted on his own body. Strickland, well aware of which unit belonged to which student, smiled wickedly at the horrified young man. / "Now then, Stevenson," he said. "You may come up here and claim your stereo." "
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 12)

A woodworking vise was a tool with a screw mechanism attached to a workbench, which was used during woodwork classes at Hill Valley High School in 1985.


The vise was supposed to be used to hold an object while it was being worked on during woodwork. However, principal Stanford S. Strickland preferred the tool as a means to crush and destroy any Walkmans he confiscated during detention for those foolish enough to bring such a thing into school — after which he would invite the owner of each unit to come up to the front of the room and claim the shattered remains.

Mr. Strickland made use of the vise to destroy ten Walkmans during detention on October 25, the fourth of which belonged to Marty McFly.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The detention room scene was to have appeared in Back to the Future, but was only filmed with Eric Stoltz as Marty and not Michael J. Fox. However, the complete sequence was reinstated by George Gipe for the novelization.
  • In British English, 'vise' — as in the woodworking tool — is spelled 'vice'.


See also[]