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One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Batcave

By Shawn Scott Smith| July 17, 2013 | Comments Off on One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Batcave

Article by Robert Carlson
Rob writes about cars, DIY home projects and sports

Charles Keller didn’t start out to build a Batcave. Keller invested in Apple right before the release of the first iPod, and all he really wanted was a Batmobile of his own to celebrate, like the George Barris designed Ford Futura concept car that Adam West drove in the 1960s television series. Originally, Keller’s intent was to keep it to himself and his kids, take it for weekend spins and enjoy his newfound wealth.

1960s Batmobile (FMC)

Photo of the 1960s Batmobile by Jennifer Graylock/Ford Motor Company via Wikimedia Commons

Ultimately, his inner superhero got the better of him, and he decided to loan his new wheels out to the families of sick children (letting the parents actually drive the thing was a tough call at first, but he eventually “caved”).

You’d think that would be enough, right? Give sick and recovering children the ride of their life in an exact replica of the Batmobile, fresh off of Craigslist (you didn’t think he found it browsing cars for sale in Tucson and Phoenix lots, did you?). Everything was going fine, except for one child who kept asking when he was going to get to see the Batcave.

Well, the original Batcave started life as a set for “King Kong,” and who knows if it’s even still standing, so Keller was at a loss, but figured: why not build one?

Browse around his Batcave now and you’ll find the iconic Shakespeare bust used to open the cave via a secret switch (the bust on the show didn’t actually open the door, it triggered a light that told a couple of guys with ropes to open it), and a wild assortment of retro electronic equipment. Rather than building an exact replica of the show’s set, which would be nearly impossible, Keller collects items that have the right look to them by checking out pawn shops, electronics stores, junk shops and junkyards. Old radios, computers, tape recorders, and anything with cool moving parts and blinking lights gets new life in the Batcave. None of these items actually serve much of a real function in Keller’s Batcave, except for convincing visiting children that this is, indeed, where Bruce Wayne does his best lab work.

The original props were all borrowed from other movies and shows, and would probably be impossible to track down by now, but Keller’s junkyard approximations nevertheless create just the right atmosphere of 1960s comic book high tech.

He may not be running out in the street and getting shot at like real life superhero Phoenix Jones, nor did he spend as much on his cave as fellow Batfan Chris Weir, but the good that Keller does from his Batcave would make Batman himself proud.

Charles Keller introduces himself to sick children as Bruce Wayne’s ambassador, a trusted employee who guides families to the Batcave, where they slide down the Batpole, complete with an instant (non-functional) costume change switch, following a ride in the Batmobile itself.

Like Wayne, Keller is a successful businessman and investor who has made it his calling to give back to the world. There must be few feelings in life as gratifying as what Keller must experience when he gets a call on his Batphone and knows that he’s about to give a child an experience of a lifetime.

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