Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

The Creator of The Batmobile Rides Off Into The Sunset

12196268_10206214266173181_8515861607308820250_nThe PopCulteer
November 6, 2015

We begin this week’s PopCulteer on a sad note. Early Thursday morning, legendary car customizer, George Barris, passed away at the age of 89.

Barris was most famous for creating the first offical Batmobile in late 1965 for the Batman TV show, which premiered on ABC in January the following year. While his transformation of the one-of-a-kind Lincoln Futura into the only car with a legitimate claim to be the first Batmobile was his signature moment, he created and customized dozens of other legendary cars for films and television.

Fans of the movies, “North by Northwest” and “The Time Machine” and TV shows like “Knight Rider,” “The Munsters” and “The Beverly Hillbillies,” were treated to the imagination and craftsmanship of this automotive and artistic genius.

DC Entertainment released the following statement:

George Barris was a true creative genius and we are saddened to learn of his passing. George’s design contributions to the legendary 1966 Batmobile thrilled fans of the classic “Batman” TV show, left an indelible mark on Batman legacy and lore, and is still recognized as one of the most iconic vehicles of all time.

“Growing up I wanted to fight crime just so I could drive George’s Batmobile,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee. “It was my great honor to get to meet him in person recently and to thank him for his contributions to the world of Batman, and there was no greater thrill than getting to sit in that Batmobile from my childhood.”


12191318_10153111978856825_2739722966534016094_oThat original Batmobile sold at auction in 2013 for a record-setting $4.62 million. It’s now available for purchase again for $5 million. Over the years many cars have turned up, being billed by their owners as having predated the Barris car in an official capacity but those claims are easily disproven, and those cars are long forgotten. Despite the efforts of others to downplay his contributions, nobody can deny the innovation and pure genius of George Barris.

With the passing of Barris this week and the death of Dean Jeffries in 2013, Tom Daniel is the only survivor of the “Big Three” custom car designers of the 1960s. Over the years PopCult has often held up the George Barris Batmobile as a true icon, a symbol of everything that coolness embodies. We had to take a moment to salute a fallen hero. Rest in peace, Mr. Barris, and thanks for all you have given us.


Stuff To Do

The big thing this weekend is The Mountain State Pop Expo. Check out the flyer below and read more about it HERE.


The other big thing to do Sunday night is Mark Hosler, of Negativeland, appearing Sunday at the The Empty Glass. Mark Hosler is a founding member of the American audio visual collage group Negativland. Since 1980 Negativland have been creating records, video, visual art works, radio, and live performance, using appropriated sound, image and text. Taken mostly from corporately owned mass culture, Negativland re-arranges these found bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In doing this kind of cultural archaeology and “culture jamming” (a term they coined way back in 1984), Negativland have been sued twice for copyright infringement.

Negativeland was “sampling” before most people knew what that meant, and they were the ultimate 1980s underground musical collective. Hosler will perform at the Empty Glass, with Sign of the Fig in support.



This is your last weekend to catch these two great shows:



Live Music

Here’s your guide to the late-night music scene, including a couple of flyers featuring clip art by Mitch O’Connell!













That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for our regular features and look for us at The Mountain State Pop Expo.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Nice tribute to George Barris, Rudy.

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