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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 06/13/2006

Back to the Sneaker

By Liz Kelly

Today we take a look at the other end of the celebrity spectrum: the extreme fan. Maybe you know one -- your husband has a curio cabinet bursting with Simpsons action figures or your brother has criss-crossed the country following the Dead or Phish. (I draw these examples completely out of my backside; they have no relation to my family at all. Really.)

Still, no matter how many examples I can produce, they are reduced to non-committal hobbies when compared to one man's quest for what he describes as the "holy grail" of movie sneakers: The McFlys.

The McFlys. (Courtesy Al Cabino)

So far, Canadian Al Cabino has collected over 19,000 virtual signatures on his petition asking Nike to reproduce the sneakers worn by Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future II."

"I coined the term 'sneaker activism'," boasts Cabino.

And we believe him, having never heard it before. We do wonder, though, if we'll ever hear it again.

Who knows. The self-described "sneakerographer" has parlayed his passion into a snowballing grassroots publicity stunt and not the first one: last fall he made minor waves across the Web when he produced a pair of chocolate sneakers.

Half a year into "Operation McFly," Cabino says he's been approached about helming a sneaker magazine and that book and movie deals are in the works. So far, though, the only spin-off seems to be a MySpace page.

Still, for Cabino, the offers are just gravy... or polish.

"It's all about the shoes," he says.

Several bold face names have signed the petition -- including Nicole Richie's ex-fiance Adam (DJ AM) Goldstein -- but, as yet, no one associated with the "Back to the Future" movies.

Original sneaker sporter Michael J. Fox is "Canadian royalty," says Cabino. (Universal Studios)

"We're actively trying to contact Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), Tom Wilson (Biff), Robert Zemeckis, Alan Silvestri, Bob Gale, Max Spielberg and Steven Spielberg," Cabino said. "Elijah Wood was also in Back to the Future 2, he played one of the video game boys in the Cafe '80s, it would be incredible if Elijah signed, too. If some celebrity publicists are reading this interview, please contact me at"

If successful, Cabino plans to keep busy with future sneaker campaigns. Next up may be the "super rare Apple sneakers," says Cabino. He's already sent out a depth-charge in the form of a posting on blog Gizmodo to test the waters.

Keep up with Operation McFly at Cabino's blog.

Know an extreme fan? Help feed his or her mania by contacting me at

By Liz Kelly  | June 13, 2006; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Extreme Fans  
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