William Dozier’s 1966 landmark television series Batman saw the creation of numerous icons. From Adam West‘s slow, methodical line delivery, to Burt Ward’s iteration of Dick Grayson prefacing his exclamations with “Holy!”, to a Batsuit that had eyebrows; these elements from the series have influenced a generation of Bat-fans and left their mark on the entire Batman mythos.
However, one aspect of the series has arguably become more iconic than any other: the bubble domed Batmobile. Sadly, the Batmobile’s creator, George Barris, has passed away.
In response to his passing, DC Comics Tweeted a photo of Barris next to arguably his most iconic creation. Reports on his death indicate he passed in his sleep sometime in the early morning on Thursday, November 5, 2015. Barris worked prolifically on Hollywood films of his era under the direction of such icons as Alfred Hitchcock. The gig of creating the Batmobile for ABC catapulted him to legendary status among filmmakers and he would go on to create numerous other vehicles for famous TV series, such as The Munsters and Knight Rider.
To create the iconic vehicle, Barris bought a 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept Car from the Ford Motorcompany for a mere $1 and proceeded to spend 3 weeks — and $30,000 — heavily modifying the car. Much like the Caped Crusader’s utility belt, the car featured seemingly unlimited gadgets that were suitably tailored to any and all situations that Batman and Robin happened to find themselves in, such as: Bat Ray Projector, Automatic Tire Inflation Device, and Bat-tering Ram. Prior to the 1966 series, live action versions of Batman had typically driven normal street cars around on their adventures with very little flare or gadgetry involved. Barris’ work brought the fantastical nature of The Dark Knight’s favorite ride off of the page and into the real world.
The influence of such an accomplishment cannot be understated, as now every live-action iteration of Batman has a different and unique version of the Batmobile to set himself apart. These range from the sleek Burton Batmobile, to the aggressively neon Schumacher Batmobile, and most recently the bulky yet practical Tumbler from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Zack Snyder’s Batmobile from the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice seems to be a return to form for the legendary vehicle by adopting a sportier look that would arguably not exist without the work of Barris.
Barris’ wife Shirley passed away in 2001, but he is survived by his two children — as well as by the adoring love of Batman fans all across the world — he was 89 years old.
Source: DC Comics