Well, Rodney got his due last week and now another living piece of California's Gold; George Barris will have a street named in his honor this week. In case you think don't know who the King of Kustom is...trust me, you know his work.
Start with the Batmobile, The Munster's Coach & Dragula...and then I'll let you have fun doing your own google-fest.
Here's the 411:
TOLUCA LAKE – Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge is pleased to announce a very special ceremony on Friday, March 23 honoring the King of the Kustomizers, George Barris, and the Barris family business, Barris Kustom City. Please join Councilman LaBonge and Master of Ceremonies Fritz Coleman as they unveil and christen George Barris Place, and as they honor the most famous kustom auto designer and builder of celebrity cars in the world.
Expected to attend the dedication will be some of the stars Barris created cars such as Bo Derek, John Corbett, Adam West, John Schneider, Nancy Sinatra, Dan Haggerty, Karen Kramer, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), James Barren and Mamie Van Doren, just to name a few. Paul Casey, official Elvis of Las Vegas and two-time Entertainer of the Year, will perform Elvis’ greatest hits as a tribute to Barris, a long time personal friend of Elvis Presley. Barris built several movie cars for Elvis. The dedication will take place at 1 p.m. at Barris Kustom Industries, 10811 Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.
Aside from fiberglass fabrications, Barris is also known for his Boss paint jobs. The "Barris Gold" is his signature color, and he's most renowned for his "scallops" rather than his flames. A scallop follows the line of the body and ends in a sharp point.
One of George's most legendary scallop jobs could be found on the back of a Porsche Spyder that was owned (and fatally un-owned) by the original Brad Pitt...a guy named James Dean.
Below is a shot of "The King and I" taken by Hal Lifson at his first "1966!" book signing at Bookstar in Studio City. At that signing we also had Batman himself: Adam West present along with Barris to sign some books (L.A. locals will sadly notice our dearly departed Sav-On in the background) You shoulda seen the look on the local policemen's faces when they saw the '66 Batmobile parked out front of the store, it was right out of a Candid Camera episode!
I went to High School with Brett Barris, George's son...this comes in handy when you just happen to need an original Batmobile on short notice...Thanks Brett & George!
One of my favorite Barris creations (also my all-time favorite movie poster seen above) is the ZZR surfmobile from the (1966 of course!) film "Out Of Sight" dig this -
Also of note to Beach Boys fans, George did a little something for the guys too (below)
BELOW: Beach Boys Buggy Kustom Cars Sticker #38
Text description written on back of the card:
From one of the biggest national contests Capitol Records ever has evolved 22 Kandy striped mini Coppers for the Beach Boys. Hub caps are made of their gold records. Red and white Kandy striped fur interior, top and curtains make this Barris special a real eye-opener.So there ya go.
Be there or be aware! I won't be posting much for the next coupla months, it's time to start on Brian's 2007 tour book and I'll be buried under e-mail's, photos, coffee and deadlines.
Until then, keep it real! ~ ML ~
In memory of our beloved Tower Records on the Sunset Strip, which went the way of Wallich's Music City this year, here's my moment from 2004. A sight that all album designers and bands throughout the years used to look forward to seeing. I'm proud to have been a part of that tradition...and just in time!
photo by Dennis Loren