The Batmobile is hands-down the most famous vehicle on planet Earth. Seeing this amazing replica of Batman’s car displayed during XCONWORLD will make superhero fans think they’ve slipped into the Batcave.
Fans can even channel their inner superhero while sitting inside the 1966 replicar and have their photo taken with the iconic machine.
Batman’s first appearance in “Detective Comics” no. 27 in May 1939 makes no mention of a crime-fighting car. It wasn’t until issue no. 48 in February 1941 that the Dark Knight drove a powerful red convertible the narrator refers to as the “Batmobile.” Over the next 71 years, comic book readers saw more than 100 different versions of Gotham City’s rolling arsenal, each representing cutting-edge technology and styling for the period. Comic artists were not always designing from scratch. That first Batmobile looked exactly like a six-year-old Cord 810, and later cars resembled a Studebaker, a few Jaguars, two or three Porsches, several Corvettes, a Mustang Mach 1 and even a Lamborghini.
Its first depiction on the silver screen was not memorable, owing to extremely low budgets of the 1943 and 1949 Columbia movie serials. In the first installment, Alfred the butler ferried Bruce Wayne around Gotham in a factory-stock 1939 Cadillac Series 75 convertible with the top down. When danger threatened, Robin chauffeured Batman around in the same car, but with the top up. The second movie featured the same Batman/Bruce Wayne, top-up/top-down carpool act but with a 1949 Mercury convertible.
The Batmobile spectacularly came to life with the debut of the 1966-’68 television program starring Adam West as the Caped Crusader. “Batman” producers hired California car customizer George Barris to build a fully functional vehicle on a near-impossible deadline. To meet their request, he transformed a retired Lincoln concept car from the 1950s into the Batmobile. This was the beautiful 1955 Futura. So popular was the TV series (and 1966 feature-length movie) that Barris made three Batmobile replicas to tour the country while the original stayed on the set.
Recently the #1 Batmobile from the 1966 TV series sold at auction for $4.2 million dollars. The sale included many memorabilia items from the George Barris collection.
When Michael Keaton wore the cowl in 1989’s “Batman” and 1992’s “Batman Returns” films, his Batmobile looked like a combination battering ram and land-speed-record challenger. Like the TV version from two decades earlier, it was powered by a jet turbine; unlike its predecessor, it could jettison its fenders and travel in a narrow “Batmissile” mode. Director Tim Burton wanted the car to represent strength, mystery and the kind of technological prowess a billionaire like Bruce Wayne could muster.
When director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale restarted the entire Batman history in 2005 with “Batman Begins,” production designers imagined a new Batmobile free of any previous influence. To complement the gritty urban conditions of Gotham City in the 21st century, Nolan suggested the Batmobile combine the durability and weaponry of a military tank with the agility and silhouette of an exotic sports car. Special effects trickery would give the bat-black car a pair of autocannons, a rocket launcher, downforce flaps and jet propulsion, but Nolan wanted a real vehicle able to race through streets and perform stunts for the cameras. Once the computer-aided engineering plans were approved, a 30-person crew built six functional cars at a cost of a quarter-million dollars apiece. Batman drove the “Tumbler,” as it was nicknamed, in “Batman Begins” and 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” but the bad guys managed to steal several of the military-grade Tumblers for their own misdeeds in the 2012 blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Adam West is a true American icon. From his humble beginning on a wheat ranch in Walla Walla, Washington, Adam skyrocketed to fame in Hollywood, pursuing an extraordinary career in entertainment that has spanned half a century. His role as Batman in the classic television series and feature of the same name continues to be seen throughout the world more than 40 years after its debut. While Batman, and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, remains his signature role, Adam has a multitude of motion picture, theater, and TV credits to his name.
He has made nearly 50 movies, including starring or co-starring roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous, The New Age, The Young Philadelphians, An American Vampire Story, Soldier in the Rain, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Nevada Smith.
He has had starring roles in several TV series other than Batman, including The Detectives, The Last Precinct, and The Clinic. His theater credits include Volpone at the Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center.
Adam West has also lent his voice to animated characters in such well-known series as Family Guy, The Simpsons, Rugrats, Batman, Animaniacs, Jonny Bravo, Spydogs, The Super Adventure Team, and many others. His voice-over work in animated film includes the roles of “Ace, Hollywood Chicken Little” in Disney’s Chicken Little, and “Uncle Art” in Disney’s Meet the Robinsons. In 2000, he also contributed the voice of “Leonard Fox” to the animated short, Redux Riding Hood, which went on to win an Academy Award nomination.
Adam West is the author of two books, Back to the Batcave and Climbing the Walls. He lends his support to numerous charities and won $250,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, on behalf of an organization supporting underprivileged women and children in Idaho. Adam splits his time between homes in Palm Springs, California, and Ketchum, Idaho.
More than 50 years after starting his career in Hollywood, Adam West continues to work consistently in TV and film. His most recent work includes a guest starring role on the hit series 30 Rock and a viral video for Funny or Die. His undeniable talent and unique brand of humor have become truly iconic in entertainment and he continues to entertain fans around the world.
At the age of 20, Burt Ward auditioned for the part of Robin. After beating out over 1,100 other kids for the part, Ward was cast alongside Adam West in the title role, and the two would go on to become pop culture icons. First airing as a mid-season replacement, Batman took the ratings – and world – by storm with its vivid colors and larger than life villains, played by some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
The series went on to produce 120 episodes and a full length feature film. The multi-level appeal of the show made it a life-long favorite for fans young and old. The show still airs today in 50 countries worldwide. Burt Ward and Adam West quickly became household names and remain that way today.
Today, Burt and his wife operate the largest giant breed dog rescue in the world, Gentle Giants Rescue. Over the past 18 years, they have rescued over 14,000 dogs. Having dedicated his life to saving the lives of thousands of dogs, it really shows that Burt Ward has gone from the “Caped Crusader” to the “Canine Crusader”.