In 1943, George Barris was a high school senior in northern California, still years away from designing custom cars like his original Batmobile for the 1960s Batman television series.
As Barris approached graduation, his San Juan High School principal triumphantly announced the names of his classmates who would be future doctors and lawyers. But the principal told Barris — who quit his metal shop class dissatisfied over making drain pipes — that he would be “the least [likely] to ever succeed.”
Nearly 70 years later, San Juan High School invited Barris back in 2012.
“Who do you think they called in to be the guest of honor?” he joked.
Now 87, Barris’ career building custom cars for television shows, movies and celebrities, has made him a legend. And these days, he readily shares his advice with others: “If there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said. “Do it.”
On Saturday, organizers of the Downtown Burbank Car Classic will give him a lifetime achievement award for his work at 7 p.m. on a stage near Orange Grove Avenue.