Thursday, March 31, 2005


Cartography as it is defined in the Pointmeister's Dictionary (see Blog No. 44, "Fractured Etymology No.3" dtd 2/21/05) is the shape of an automobile. Though not as easy as it was in the 50's and 60's, the shape of a car is distinct and can be easily identified as to make, model and year.
* In several chats, especially with fellow blogger, blue ( we have discussed cars, usually the boss muscle cars. While on that subject, invariably there would be references to well known vehicles featured on television programs. In some cases we agreed that those cars were actually the stars of the shows.
* Surfing the net recently, I came across information on one George Barris. Barris, you could say is the godfather of custom cars. If you have watched even a little TV over the years, chances are good that you seen one or more of his creations. Most of the well known television rides were designed and built by Mr. Barris. If you were to name an iconic automobile from a TV show, it was almost certainly from his shops.
* Both TV Guide and TV Land came out with their lists of the Top 10 TV Cars of all time. George Barris's products were prominently represented on both lists. In fact, he held nine of the top ten from the TV Guide list.
* One of his first designs was the jalopy used by The Beverly Hillbillies. On another creation, he put together the bodies of three separate Model-T's to create an 18-foot car with coffin handles and spider web metal work. This of course was the Munster's Koach from the TV show The Munsters. Remember The Monkees? They rode around in Barris' Monkee Mobile. A Dodge Charger was used to become General Lee for The Dukes of Hazzard . Souping up a Ford Torino, he presented to the studios the car that would be used by Starsky and Hutch.
* Why not give the viewing audience a talking car that could drive itself? Barris did just that, supplying David Hasselhoff with a black '82 Pontiac Trans Am named KITT. With a flashing strobe light and capable of hitting 100 MPH in 3.5 seconds, this car was the star of The Knight Rider, allowing Hasselhoff to flex his muscles.
* Barris has also created memorable automobiles for the big screen. There was the possessed car that tormented James Brolin in the film, The Car. His first choice being a German-made GM Opel, how could we have loved Herbie? Since the Opel didn't look amorous enough, he chose a classic Volkswagen Bug to be The Love Bug. How could've John Goodman and Rick Moranis as Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble made to work with out a car? Yes, the Flint-Mobile was a Barris creation from the Spielberg movie, The Flintstones. How could The Ghostbusters save the world without Ecto-1, a converted ambulance? Christopher LLoyd and Michael J. Fox could not have attempted time travel in the Back to the Future trilogy without Barris' De Lorean?
* Voted the most recognizable car in the world, Barris took a $250,000 concept car, a 1955 Ford Futura, spent $15,000 to modify it, and gave the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder one slick set of wheels. Of course the reference is to the original Batmobile! Both TV Guide and TV Land had the Batmobile at the top of their lists as the greatest TV car of all time.
Besides information found at the sites for TV Guide and TV Land, and, additional facts were found in American Media Inc., a special publication Vol. 5, No.2 dtd Mar '05 "Where Are They Now?" Also used was
No. 91

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