||The Gamble House · 4 Westmoreland Place · Pasadena, CA
Unfortunately, Marty's quest to track down Doc Brown is interrupted by an encounter with the grill of a '53 Chevy. (I still cringe every time I hear the sound of Marty's head hitting that pavement.) But, after that and a disturbingly Oedipal encounter with his mother-to-be, Marty finally finds Doc's house.
I've already mentioned this in covering Doc's 1985 residence, but I'd like to point out again Marty's well-directed reaction to discovering that the building in which he has always known Doc to live was once the garage adjacent to the beautiful Brown family mansion.
The great thing about this location is that you can visit it yourself almost as easily as Marty did in the film. It is a National Historic Landmark and is open regularly for tours. It is known as the Gamble House, named for David and Mary Gamble (of Procter & Gamble) who had it built as their retirement home in 1908. They commissioned Charles and Henry Greene, architects whose designs were prominent in the area and who would be extolled as two of the most important influences behind the American Arts and Crafts movement. The Gamble House is perhaps the most admired and is, to me, the most interesting of the California structures known as Greene and Greene's "ultimate bungalows."
Although David and Mary died in the 1920s, the house remained in the Gamble family for years. After some time, Cecil Gamble (the Gambles' oldest son) had decided to sell the property, but when it was being shown to prospective buyers, one woman was heard to comment on how dark the house seemed, prompting her husband to assure her that they could paint over the mahogany interiors with a brighter color. It was then that the owners realized that the house must be preserved and in 1966, handed it over to the University of Southern California, who operates it today.
Photography is not permitted inside the Gamble House, so in order to experience the beauty and genius of its design, you will either have to buy a book or visit it yourself. I recommend the latter. I'll admit, calling the building a mansion may be a little overstated in terms of magnitude, but with its harmoniously designed furniture and exquisite detail, it really is deserving of the majestic "mansion" status. I recommend putting this one on your must-see list for Southern California.
Don't leave your camera at home, however. Even though you can't use it inside, you can take as many pictures as you want around the scenic grounds. I would show you quite a few photos, myself, if it weren't for the fact that my camera decided to take its own life the minute I stepped onto the property. I suppose it may have been trying to tell me something back at Universal Studios, but I just wasn't listening. Luckily, I had my backup friend Canon Elph Jr. to save my day.
By the way, the no-photography-inside rule was extended to the Back to the Future crew, a decision which probably had more to do with the potential damage inflicted by equipment and too many shuffling feet. So, the interiors of Doc's house were filmed in another Greene and Greene creation, the Blacker-Hill House. (Those interiors were recreated later on a soundstage for Part III.)
A tour guide at the Gamble House told me that some filming did occur inside the Gamble garage, now a bookstore, although she wasn't sure for what scenes. My guess is that they filmed only the scene in which Doc runs frantically inside the garage and Marty recounts the story of how he came up with the flux capacitor. The actual interior of the garage simply appeared too small for anything else, due to the fact that approximately the rear third is taken up by separate rooms. But, that area may have been partitioned off more recently, so I can't be sure.
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