A Piece of Fresno Hits Gotham City

July 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
"The Dark Knight," the latest batman film, has already set a record with its opening night debut.The movie brought in eighteen and a half million dollars in just one night. It's a movie filled with action and one of the big, dramatic stunts in "The Dark Knight" came thanks to the help of two of companies from Fresno.

In this behind the scenes view the films director is telling the crew how he wants this truck shot. The battered old Peterbilt was part of one of the films most spectacular stunts.

With the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger at the wheel, the semi screams through the streets of Gotham City or actually, Chicago, on course for a seemingly head on collision with Batman, on his bat-cycle. The 60 foot long truck and trailer is blasted into the air, and flips upside down.

So much for the truck, that was actually one of four that came to this end in Gotham City, by way of Fresno.

Glen Bailes, Bailes Welding, says "Just said we need four trucks for a movie stunt, and they need to be a certain wheelbase and they said, can we handle it and we said, yes we can."

Bailes and his company modified the trucks used in "The Dark Knight" getting them ready for their final haul. "Pretty much had to strip everything out of the rear of the frame rails, and install different suspension, different transmissions, move some fuel tanks around. Mount a fifth wheel and all the air lines to pull a trailer."

They were old logging trucks from Northern California. Action Truck Parts of Fresno sold them to the movie company, after Bailes did the work.

"When we did the job we didn't know what the movie was about, or what movie it was for. And when we found out I said that would be pretty cool you know."

So cool that amateur video of the stunt has appeared on You-Tube. Passersby captured the action on the ground and from the window of an apartment just above the scene.

The fact that the trucks that were blown up in making the movie came from Fresno hardly puts the city on the map, but for Bailes, it's become kind of a big deal. "Yeah my kids were all excited they went to school told all their friends, yeah my dad built the trucks for Batman...yeah, so, it's pretty fun."

So, it becomes part of Fresno movie trivia. Let's see the old Fresno Airport appeared in the last Indiana Jones movie for a second or two, and now a truck from Fresno gets blown up in "The Dark Knight." Who knows what's next.
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