George Barris

Custom Car Designer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, George Barris (1925-2015) talks about his early years customizing his own cars as a teenager and describes his participation in the street racing youth culture of the late 1940s in Los Angeles. He discusses the craze in low budget Hollywood films to depict this culture thus leading to his work in film and television. Barris describes in great detail, the custom cars from various television series for which he is best known, including the "Batmobile" from Batman, the "Munster Koach" and "Drag-u-la" from The Munsters, the family car from The Beverly Hillbillies, the red with white-stripe Ford Torino from Starsky and Hutch, the "General Lee" from The Dukes of Hazzard, and K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider. He also talks about his contributions to such feature films as "Ghostbusters," "Back to the Future," and "The Flintstones." Additionally, Barris discusses his role as a pioneer of custom designing cars and talks about his extensive celebrity clientele that included Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, Redd Foxx, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Karen Herman conducted the interview on April 21, 2004 in North Hollywood, CA.

"If you said you were bringing a Batmobile for a car show, the show would just absolutely be mobbed with people who wanted to see the car. It was a major contribution to the popularity of a film that you had the people taking a picture next to the car. That was a thrill. We made that car be a star on film as well as in real life."

Highlights
Custom car designer George Barris on designing and building cars for The Munsters
07:47
Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Monkees
03:11
Custom car designer George Barris on his work for Knight Rider
01:50
Custom car designer George Barris on his work on The Dukes of Hazzard
05:29
Custom car designer George Barris on making prop police cars street-legal
02:47
Custom car designer George Barris on designing Bob Hope's golf cart
02:19
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and interest in cars; on his first jobs modifying cars for Hollywood celebrities

Chapter 2

On his work in the 60s; on setting up his own shop; on working on episodes of Dragnet, Route 66, 77 Sunset Strip, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and The Munsters

Chapter 3

On the start of merchandising; on My Mother the Car; on The Beverly Hillbillies; on Batman ( including a story about Michael Keaton and Tim Burton racing Batmobiles during the filming of a Batman feature film)

Chapter 4

On creating cars in the '60s and '70s; on working with car manufacturers; on The Green Hornet, The Monkees, Mannix, Sid and Marty Krofft shows
14:11
On The Partridge Family, Bearcats, Starsky and Hutch, Hill Street Blues and Knight Rider
12:50

Chapter 5

On his work on Knight Rider (continued) and The Dukes of Hazzard
09:07
On some of his film work including Back to the Future and Ghostbusters; on customizing private cars for Redd Foxx, Bob Hope, and Elvis Presley; on the craft of car design and customization
19:40

Chapter 6

On how he works with his staff; on recent projects; on his advice to aspiring professionals; on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

Batman

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on Batman (including the Batmobile)
17:29

Bearcats!

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for Bearcats
01:38

Beverly Hillbillies, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on The Beverly Hillbillies
03:36

Bugaloos, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on working on Sid and Marty Krofft shows
01:31

Dragnet

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for a Dragnet episode
03:20

Dukes of Hazzard, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on The Dukes of Hazzard
05:29

Extreme Makeover

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Custom car designer George Barris on customizing a car for an episode of Extreme Makeover
02:45

Flintstones, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on the 1994 live-action feature film of The Flintstones
02:53

Green Hornet, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Green Hornet
02:07

H. R. Pufnstuf

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Custom car designer George Barris on working on Sid and Marty Krofft shows
01:31

Hill Street Blues

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Custom car designer George Barris on making prop police cars street-legal
02:47

Knight Rider

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for Knight Rider
01:50
Custom car designer George Barris on his work on Knight Rider (continued)
03:38

Mannix

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for Mannix
01:53

Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for a Many Loves of Dobie Gillis episode
01:05

Monkees, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Monkees
03:11

Munsters, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on designing and building cars for The Munsters
07:47
Custom car designer George Barris on the start of merchandise licensing in television
01:42

My Mother the Car

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on My Mother the Car
02:26

Partridge Family, The

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Partridge Family  (including the bus)
02:01

Route 66

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for Route 66
01:55

Starsky and Hutch

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for Starsky and Hutch
03:43
Professions

Custom Car Designer

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Custom car designer George Barris on making prop police cars street-legal
02:47
Custom car designer George Barris on the craft of customization
03:17
Genres

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Custom car designer George Barris on making prop police cars street-legal
02:47
People

Tim Burton

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on Batman ( including the Batmobile)
17:29

Bill Dozier

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Green Hornet
02:07

Fred Gwynne

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Custom car designer George Barris on designing and building cars for The Munsters
07:47

Bob Hope

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Custom car designer George Barris on designing Bob Hope's golf cart
02:19

Bob Kane

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on Batman ( including the Batmobile)
17:29

Michael Keaton

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on Batman ( including the Batmobile)
17:29

Sid Krofft

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Custom car designer George Barris on working on Sid and Marty Krofft shows
01:31

Elvis Presley

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Custom car designer George Barris on designing for Elvis Presley
06:29

Jack Webb

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for a Dragnet episode
03:20

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