“Absolutely,” smiled Flattery. “You have to keep the turbine in the back.”
“By the way, that turbine was just a five dollar paint can,” Barris added, speaking of his Adam West-era Batmobile. “I wanted it to be a car for the people, not a movie car. It had to have charisma.” He said he read the script with the “BANGS” and the “POWS” and decided, “If they’re going to do that with the actors, I’m going to do that with the car. I’ll make oil squirters. I’ll make it go bang and pow. I’ll make a car the people like. You like Adam? You like Burt? I’ll make you like the car as if it were a person. People come up and look at the car and notice the oil squirters and say, ‘Hey, George — that’s just like a water sprinkler off of my lawn,’ That’s right — I went down to the hardware store and bought an old sprinkler and made it an oil squirter. But you people got a kick out of it. You never forget it!”
“George, I grew up with that vehicle,” Dunham said. “I love that vehicle. But it is the white trash of Batmobiles.”
According to Barris, the ’66 Batmobile was originally straight black and white, but when they filmed it coming out of the Batcave, it looked dull. In searching for a solution, Barris “bought some orange paint and black gloss, put Adam back in there, and pow, it became the Batmobile.”
When asked how much money he actually had to work with, Barris answered, “I was given fifteen days and fifteen grand.”
“Hey Andy, how much were you given for the tumblers in the ‘Dark Knight’ films?” asked the moderator.
“Two and a half million,” Smith replied after a pause and a smile. “But that was for five vehicles.”
“But he didn’t have ejector seats,” Barris added with a laugh.
The panel concluded with most in agreement that for nostalgia’s sake, the George Barris Batmobile is the best. However, when it comes to feature film Batmobiles, there is not a clear winner. “My favorite is whichever one I’m currently watching on the screen,” Dunham stated.
“Inside the Batmobile” will release as an extra on the “Dark Knight Rises” Blu-ray and DVD this fall from Warner Home Video.