Part III Minute 28 – The Wok Tower

Marty explores the sights and sounds of downtown Hill Valley in 1885.

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One thought on “Part III Minute 28 – The Wok Tower

  1. Okay, you joked about the clocktower being built just so the Hill Valley-ians can finally know what time it is BUT YOU’RE KINDA RIGHT:

    I just read a book about the standardization of time, which came about because of…the railroads. Every town used to have its own solar noon, that is, 12’o clock was when the sun was directly overhead. It was different in every town. This was manageable when people rode horses/walked from place to place, but then trains. You could suddenly travel very quickly through many towns, and had to figure out when your train and your connecting train would depart/arrive, local time. Supplies and people and ideas started coming and going on trains. Business picked up, the exchange of ideas and goods became more immediate, and life in general just started moving faster. People had to actually start *keeping track* of time. Time became a much larger part of Americans’ consciousness. That’s probably why they’re building the clock tower; nobody really needed to know the precise time before now.

    On the other hand, timezones were instituted in the U.S. in 1883, two years before this scene. When you consider that, Hill Valley is behind the times. Especially because they have their own railroad station. Before the standardization of time, how did passengers getting off at the Hill Valley station know *when* they were? (I like that idea, that Hill Valley is always slightly outside of time. During Part 1 you talked about how the movies/songs playing in 1955 Hill Valley weren’t formally new, but were new to Hill Valley, because it had taken a while to reach them).

    On the other, other hand, maybe the railroad station just recently opened, and Hill Valley decided it would be good to have a public clock to keep up with the coming of the railroad and the changing times it would bring.

    It’s really appropriate that a time travel movie takes place in this period, when time was up in the air, in flux, and becoming a larger part of peoples’ lives. Also appropriate that the machine that propels Marty into the future is (wow metaphor) A TRAIN.

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