Holy tourist dollars, Batman!
To the area that already boasts Billy Carter's tow truck, Buford Pusser's death car and Elvis Presley Cadillacs comes the original Batmobile, which carried Batman and Robin on their television adventures.The Batmobile will be one of the main features of the new Cars of the Stars museum here.
"We'll have nine or 10 cars this year, sort of testing the concept," said museum owner Charlie Moore.
Moore has arrangements to display the Trans-Am that has starred in the Burt Reynolds' "Smoky and the Bandit" movies, the stretch Cadillac limousine of King Farouk of Egypt and cars that have belonged to singers Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Hank Williams Jr.
It's the latest addition to "car wars" in the tourist trade in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
There's already an Elvis car on display at the Elvis Hall of Fame in Gatlinburg. In Carbo's Police Museum in nearby Pigeon Forge, tourists can view the car in which "Walking Tall" Sheriff Buford Pusser died.
The Smoky Mountain Car Museum in Pigeon Forge advertises such vehicles as Al Capone's bulletproof Cadillac, Elvis Presley's Mercedes Benz, Pusser's patrol car, the Cadillac which belonged to Grand Ole Opry star Stringbean Ackeman, and Billy Carter's tow truck.
Moore said he acquired the Batmobile (and the Batcycle too) from George Helms, a Bristol, Tenn., automobile collector.
Both Bat vehicles were designed by Barris Kustom Industries of North Hollywood for the ABC-TV series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.
The Batmobile, liberally sprinkled with bat symbols, has such features as a Batscope, Batray reactors, rocket tubes, a cable-cutting blade on the front and Batchutes on the back that are released by pulling a Batdoor lever.
The Batcycle includes a sidecar with a special quick-release go-cart so that Robin, when accompanying Batman, could shoot out of the Batcycle on his own go-cart to pursue villains.
It also has a computer controlled communications system to communicate with the Batcave.