QUEENS, N.Y. (CN) – The Long Island town of Brookhaven seized the only and original Batmobile mold, a cherished artifact from the hit 1960s television series, from its owners’ front yard, citing sanitary violations, a lawsuit claims in Queens Supreme Court.
Clou-Top Inc., Joseph Perillo and Andy Perillo say that the mold was custom-crafted by George Barris, the self-styled “King of the Kustomizers,” who also designed Cary Grant’s convertible in “North by Northwest” and the futuristic vehicles used in the film adaptation of H.G. Well’s “The Time Machine.”
They say that it was licensed and copyrighted by Warner Brothers, George Barris, Greenway Productions and Periodical Inc. as one of the original Official George Barris Bat Mobile promotional vehicles.
Needless to say, they think the item is extremely valuable.
“To replace the Bat Mobile Mold would cost in excess of an estimated $330,000.00, due to an un-yielding difficult and timely recreation process, which can only be accomplished with the employment of skilled artistry and copyright permission to do so,” the complaint states.
To make a new mold, Clou-Top and the Perillos say they would need to get the original Batmobile and dismantle it in a process that risks damaging the irreplaceable vehicle.
The plaintiffs say the “Original Bat Mobile” has been appraised at more than $1 million and has been insured by NBC, CBS, ABC, A&E, Speed Channel, History Channel, Disney Channel and The Discovery Channel. It also appears at hundreds of car shows per year, they add.
“If the Original Bat Mobile met an unexpected end, thus there would never be a replacement,” the complaint states.
On April 8, the town of Brookhaven mailed a Notice Before Summons telling the owners that an inspector who searched their apartment weeks earlier found sanitary violations, cited as “Litter throughout property; papers, cardboard, cooler, can, glass, trailer, plastics, pails, ect [sic],” the complaint states.
The notice allegedly warned “that the Property will be re-inspected in five days from this notification. If the Condition has not been corrected a summons may be issued or a Notice of Order executed. If this letter is for a litter violation, a Notice of Order would involve the Town entering upon the Property to remove the litter and charging the costs of such removal on your tax bill.”
But Clou-Top and the Perillos say they first learned about this notice almost two weeks later.
On April 19, the plaintiffs say they asked for and received an extension to clean their property before the next inspection. That same day, their Batmobile mold went missing and neighbors told them they saw the mold being taken.
“Plaintiff’s testimony is that no one received the Notice of Order as is required Under the Sanitary Code of the Town of Brookhaven. … The Town has denied entering the property and performing any clean up,” the complaint states.
Clou-Top and the Perillos say they want their Batmobile mold back and $330,000 in compensatory damages.
They are represented by David A. Bellon of Flushing, N.Y.
A spokesman for Brookhaven did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.