Batmobile Creator George Barris Dies At 89 George Barris, who created the Batmobile through his work customizing cars, has died.

Batmobile Creator George Barris Dies At 89

Batmobile Creator George Barris Dies At 89

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George Barris, who created the Batmobile through his work customizing cars, has died.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

While Henry Ford was the father of the mass-produced automobile, George Barris was the master of the custom car. Barris died yesterday at age 89.

MCEVERS: Although he made his name in California, the whole country saw George Barris's cars in film and on TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BATMAN THEME")

UNIDENTIFIED CHOIR: (Singing) Batman.

MCEVERS: In the 1960s, the producer of the TV show "Batman" came to George Barris with a request. They asked him to build a car fit for a superhero. Barris told the story to NPR in 2010.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

GEORGE BARRIS: If you'll remember, that pow, bang, wow was going out throughout his whole script. That gives you an idea of what I had to contend with. I said, well, if you're going to make these exciting sounds and all this zing that comes up, I'm going to do the same thing to the car.

MCEVERS: In three weeks, he turned a Lincoln Futura into the Batmobile.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Barris created a very different kind of custom car for another '60s TV show.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BALLAD OF JED CLAMPETT")

JERRY SCOGGINS: (Singing) Well, the first thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire. The kinfolk said, Jed, move away from there, said California's the place you ought to be. So they loaded up the truck, and they moved to Beverly.

SIEGEL: "The Beverly Hillbillies" called for a real clunker, so Barris slapped together parts of a flatbed truck and a 1921 Oldsmobile to make the Clampett family car.

MCEVERS: Some of the Barris custom cars were designed for legendary stars, like Elvis Presley and Bob Hope. As for Barris himself, The LA Times says he liked to drive a Toyota Prius, custom-built with vertical doors and painted in shiny green and gold.

SIEGEL: George Barris died yesterday. He was 89 years old.

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