Friday, May 11, 2007

The Making of the Bat Boat

So since I've been showing off some "off the wall" Batman stuff this week in honor of our special guest from LOG, I thought I would go out with a Bang, Biff, Pow!

For your viewing pleasure the 1960's Bat Boat or rather a company brochure for the Bat Boat. Now, I do not have a lot of older pieces in my collection and I certainly do not have a lot of catalog, brochure, magazine pieces, but being a designer I am drawn to paper products and older advertisements. It's just something about that era. So I do have a copy of this brochure. Why just a copy? The owner didn't want to part with the original, and since we had a color copier at work, he was more than happy to loan it to me to make a copy for my collection.

So here's the story. I guess I should proceed this with the following, you never know where you'll find Batman stuff. Okay having said that, I was the art director for a waterpark ride manufacturing company for a few years in the early 2000's. We developed water "rollercoasters", slides, and tons of what we called water toys. Those were giant hippos, elephant slides and what not. Nine times out of ten if you have been to a water park, indoor or out, you've been on one of the slides we developed. So this manufacturer is smack dab in the middle of Texas, probably fifteen minutes away from my house, outside of town. It was the best drive to and from work I have ever had, in the three years there I was in maybe a total of three traffic jams.

Well one day in the Spring I decided to check out a local hobby store at lunch and while I was in there I found the Polar Lights model of the vintage Bat Boat. I bought it just for the package art. Well on my return to work I decided to take my new prize in and show the art team what I had found, and when I was finished showing off my latest trophy I sat it on top of my monitor to gaze at while I worked the rest of the day. The building which we occupied was once the Texas branch of Glasstron Boats, more precisely their engineering and development branch, and to take it a step further our head engineer and our park layout designer both used to work for Glasstron.

So now the park layout designer worked for me and when I showed him the boat he launched into a spill about how Glasstron used to build boats and they even built that boat. Of course I didn't believe him, I've heard one to many of his fish stories, so he rang the head engineer. David, the head engineer, comes down to the Art Department and starts telling me about the Bat Boat he helped design. David is a very straight shooter, there was now doubt in my mind that he was speaking the truth. He told me about testing it out on a local lake, doing the float test in the factory, and trying to make this thing look like a Bat Boat and still be able to run like a regular boat. Now my Park layout guy starts chiming in about blue prints and David says they are long gone, moved with the company files, but he still had a brochure. He brought in the next day for me to see and make a copy and now it's up here on the blog. All in all it was a great couple of days to be a Bat Fan. I scored a cool model with an even cooler box, and got to listen to war stories of the good ole' days of making Batman's trusty Batboat. It was like I was there on the lake chasing down the Penguin, quick where's the Bat Shark Repellent!


Legions Of Gotham said...

holy CRAP Batman! What a wicked piece to have in your collection..even a scanned version.

I had no idea who actually made the bat-boat. Absolutely fantastic!

chunky B said...

That's exactly what I thought too.

David was more of the behind the scenes guy and I think he liked being the engineer that did all the testing, he had even helped set the charges to blow up a few boats in one of the older James Bond Flicks.

Jay Amabile said...

That was a really cool story. I'm a huge fan of the '60s show and that bat-boat is one of the best vehicles not only in that show but also in Batman history.