Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
My wife and I just got back from our trip to the Hollywood Star Cars Museum located right past light #8 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Let me tell you what, that place was awesome. Today was a special day at the museum. Today, Mr. George Barris was there to take pictures and sign autographs.
To be quite honest with you, the only reason we even bothered visiting the place was because Mr. Barris was there. If you're not knowingly familiar with any of Barris' work, let me enlighten you. Barris has been customizing cars for the last 6+ decades. He is the original car customizer and has built cars that you loved growing up. Still don't ring a bell? What about these examples: the 1966 Batmobile, Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters, the Flintmobile from the Flintstones movie, the Batmobile from Batman Returns, the Coach and Drag-u-la from the Munsters, the Jalopy from the Beverly Hillbillies, Kit from Knight Rider, and a slew more. He also has built cars for Hollywood celebrities as well.
I'm a car guy, and love customizing cars so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet the guy who is credited with starting it all. It was a blast for me, and I'm very glad I was fortunate to make it happen.
I've been by this place probably a 100 times and never had any desire to go in. I figured they only had a couple of cars there from the movies and it was going to be a complete waste of money. I just assumed they put a few cars out front to sucker the tourists out of their money and everyone left disappointed. I was wrong.
After having to pay $8 to park, we made the short walk to the front of the museum. Admission was $11.99 plus tax per adult. At first I felt this was expensive, but worth it simply so I could meet George Barris. But after completely the tour of everything they had on display, I was very pleased and I am comfortable in saying that it is worth $11.99 a person, assuming you like cars or movies.
We paid admission and made our way past the gate and was greeted by a museum worker named Charlie. Charlie was a nice older gentleman that explained to us what the museum had to offer. He also took pictures of us by the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard as well as our picture while we were sitting in the Flintmobile. Very nice and courteous, Charlie was everything you'd want in a tour guide while on your vacation.
The museum offers two floors of cars on display. I believe they currently have 40+ cars that you can view. I won't get into too many specifics about the cars here, because I have added many photos below of what was there. Shortly after arriving at the second floor, you get to watch a short movie about George Barris and the cars he has built for Hollywood. Very entertaining and worth the watch. After the film finishes, you can continue on to look at all the cars.
All the cars had information about the movie or show they were from and also had interesting tidbits about each car, such as how many were wrecked while filming, how it was filmed, etc. Again, this is very interesting, not only for the car guys but also the movie buffs.
After looking at all the cars, we headed back down in an attempt to meet George Barris. I really wanted to get his autograph, but I didn't have anything with me that could be signed. My only option was to hit up the merchandise counter to see what they were offering. Boy was I in for a treat! The museum allows customers to purchase pictures of you in just about any car they have on display! So, my wife and I paid to have our picture taken in the Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters (I was a huge Ghostbusters fan growing up).
I was so thrilled. Not only was I able to have my picture taken in the actual car from the movie, but I was also going to be able to have the man who built the car sign the pic. I couldn't have been any happier (however, I do not think my wife got nearly the same amount as excitement as I did).
The picture prices are kind of high in my opinion, but since we were in a tourist trap, I guess I should have expected that. They charged $16.95 for a 8"x10" and $6.95 for a 4"x6". I sprung for the big one, but only because I knew Mr. Barris was going to sign it. On any other occasion, I would have went with the little one, or simply not bought one at all. We got our picture and headed over and met with the legend. He signed my Ghostbuster picture, and even let us take pictures with him afterward. He was a great guy and it was a pleasure to meet him. If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.
I've attached some pictures below that we took while we were there. I hope you enjoy them. Please feel free to leave any comments that you may have!