Offbeat L.A.: Happy 88th Birthday to Custom Car Legend George Barris!

George Barris gets birthday wished from "Marilyn" (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

George Barris gets birthday wishes from “Marilyn” (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Barris Kustom Cars on Riverside Drive in Burbank (Photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Barris Kustom City on Riverside Drive in North Hollywood (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

As we think of the many offbeat subcultures that have sprung from the creative loins of our beloved City of Angels, one that has reverberated worldwide has been Custom Car Culture. After all, Los Angeles came of age with the automobile and customization is a natural outgrowth of our need to see and be seen.  A passion for hot rods and drag races became stereotypical of 1950s to mid-1960s L.A. and chalks up right along side surfboards and movie stars as something emblematic of our city.

The Munster Koach designed by George Barris (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Munster Koach designed by George Barris (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Mixing in the movie industry, which often requires one-of-a-kind specialty autos for use onscreen in films and TV shows, has brought notoriety and fame to a few of the genre’s most talented creators. At the top of that list is car designer George Barris, whose most famous creations include the original Batmobile for the ’60s TV show Batman and the Munster Koach for the series The Munsters. George opened his custom shop, Barris Kustom City, on Riverside Drive in North Hollywood in 1961 and over 50 years later it occupies the same location.

A Batmobile cake for George Barris' 88th birthday (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

A Batmobile cake for George Barris’ 88th birthday (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

George is still extremely active in the custom car community as both owner of his shop and for his annual George Barris Culver City Car Show held each spring. His 88th birthday party this last Sunday at the Kustom City shop, brought out celebrities, car aficionados, friends and fans of his work to celebrate his iconic genius and to personally give him greetings on his special day. Party guests were treated to Mexican food, an Elvis impersonator and a chance to see many of George’s custom cars in person.

The author and Mamie Van Doren (photo by Thomas Kreuzer)

The author and Mamie Van Doren (photo by Thomas Kreuzer)

 

 

While a DJ played Dusty Springfield, the Beach Boys and ’60s girl groups, George made the rounds posing with party guests such as the iconic 1950s blonde bombshell Mamie Van Doren and The Partridge Family mom Shirley Jones. It was truly a memorable party and here’s hoping George has many more…

Barris Kustom City: 10811 Riverside Drive, North Hollywood, CA 91602; www.barris.com

Barris Kustom City (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Barris Kustom City (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The author and Shirley Jones (photo by Thomas Kreuzer)

The author and Shirley Jones (photo by Thomas Kreuzer)

 

 

Nikki Kreuzer

About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for over 30 years. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring & photographing the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written 110 Offbeat L.A. articles, published at the Los Angeles Beat. As a journalist she contributes regularly to LA Weekly, Blurred Culture and The Los Angeles Beat and has also been published by Oddee.com, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also a mosaic artist, radio DJ and published photographer. Her photography has been featured in exhibit at the Museum of Neon Art, in print at the LA Weekly and is part of an upcoming show at the Neutra Museum in Los Angeles. She has recorded with the band Nikki & Candy as bassist, vocalist and songwriter, directing and appearing in the 'Sunshine Sunshine Santa Claus' music video for the band. She co-hosts the monthly radio show Bubblegum & Other Delights on Dublab.com. Her acting credits include a recent role in the ABC-TV show 'For The People', 'Incident at Guilt Ridge', 'Two and a Half Men', the film 'Minority Report' and 'Offbeat L.A.', a web series, written and hosted by Nikki Kreuzer. Her writing, radio and video portfolio can be found at OffbeatLA.com, her photography work @Lunabeat on Instagram and her music history posts @NikkiKreuzer on Twitter. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes, Amazon or at NikkiandCandy.com.
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1 Response to Offbeat L.A.: Happy 88th Birthday to Custom Car Legend George Barris!

  1. Pingback: Photo Essay: George Barris Kustom Kars in North Hollywood | The LA Beat

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