The following is an editorial on Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. It is a conglomeration of information that I have merged together with some of the information being taken from other sources that have followed Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's life. There will be an acknowledgement section that will provide links to other Ed Roth and Rat Fink related websites throughout the world. We would ask that you bookmark our pages for future reference so you can always find us for up dates.
I hope that you enjoy our website. If you have any questions please let us know by
Jeffrey W.R. Hillinger A.K.A. Moldy Marvin
My parents first introduced me to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth in the early 60's. My mother and father were both of German decent and grew up as Hot Roddin' beatnik type teenagers and members of various car clubs in southern California. Before I was born my father had owned several hot rods that included a couple Harley Davidson Hogs. I remember both of my parents using the term Rat Fink or Rat or Fink in their daily vocabulary along with other terms like cool daddy, crazy, etc.
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth was a pretty popular artist and builder during that period. My mother's maiden name was Roth (no relation that I know of) and I think that is what held her interest in Ed "Big Daddy" Roth himself. I remember my mother liked building models of all types and this is how I was introduced to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's creations. As a young adolescent I ended up with a whole collection of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's merchandize, models, collecting cards, key chains, t-shirts and record albums. In fact, currently I have given my father the assignment of checking his basement for my junk boxes. I'm pretty sure that I still have some of that cool "Big Daddy" Roth stuff.
Throughout the years I have truly become a big fan of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. He has definitely become part of Americana art history. As a car collector and now a dealer of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's merchandize my three teenaged children have now come to appreciate and have become fans of Roth's creations. Yes there is a new generation of Roth fans out there which proves that his artwork is timeless.
He could even be considered Ed "Big Granddaddy" Roth to some.
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth March 4, 1932 - April 4, 2001
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth was born in Beverly Hills on March 4, 1932. He grew up in a German speaking household with a younger brother, Gordon. In school Ed learned to speak English and he liked to draw. Ed was able to do his homework and keep up with the rest of the class while he drew pictures of airplanes, hot rods and monsters. His father Henry was very strict with the brothers and kept the two out of trouble by supplying them with tools and a workshop. Ed's dad was a German cabinet maker and it was in the workshop where Ed learned how to build crazy stuff out of wood.
Ed purchased his first car in 1946 shortly after WW II ended. It was a 1933 Ford Coupe. He graduated high school in 1949, and went on to college majoring in engineering so he could advance his knowledge in automotive design. He started with his '33 Ford. Ed did pretty good in college but got bored with his engineering and physics classes cuz they just didn't have anything to do with cars.
Ed joined the Air Force in 1951 and went to bombsight school in Denver where he learned how to make maps. He became an expert barber on the side. He was stationed in Africa for awhile and then transferred to South Carolina for 4 years before coming home. Ed was honorably discharged in 1955.
By that time he owned several vehicles, he was married and had 5 children, all boys. Ed began working at Sears in the Display Department and started pin striping cars after work.
As his family grew so did the bills. In 1958 Ed went to work full time with "The Baron" and his grandson Kelly. Using junkyard parts and a newly developed product called fiberglass, Ed created automobiles in his garage. Ed's first car was called the "Little Jewel" and then shortly after that came the "Outlaw", which showed the world that anyone could design and build a car without being some kind of certified automotive engineer. All you really needed was imagination, some motor head know-how, a lot of elbow grease and gumption.
Presto! His garage became his studio where other creations came into light which include the "Beatnik Bandit" and "Rotar".
Ed's Racing Billboard from the 60's
Ed became Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, a hot-roddin' gear head, mad scientist and struggling artist who financed his inventions by selling drawings and t-shirts at drag events, fairs and car shows. Ed would draw cartoons of monsters that he created and pictures of cars. But when he personally airbrushed t-shirts with the monsters driving the cars, people went crazy and would line up at his booth.
People Still Line Up To See Ed
Ed signing autographs @ Route 66 San Bernardino, CA September "99"
Ed's most popular monster was Rat Fink. Rat Fink started as a drawing that Ed had put on his refrigerator. "BiG Daddy" was a genius at designing cars but it was Rat Fink that brought him fame. By 1963, teenagers across America were buying Rat Fink model kits and mass-produced Rat Fink T-shirts.
When Ed got so busy that his garage couldn't handle the work, he moved his operation into a new larger shop in Maywood, California. Ed had to hire several employees to help him build and produce more custom car and t-shirts. Revell American produced model car kits that featured the "Beatnik Bandit" and " Road Agent". Other model kits included "Rat Fink" and the gang a group of hot rodding monsters. Here is a very interesting Note: During 1963 Revell paid Ed a one cent royalty for each model sold. Ed brought in $ 32,000 that year in royalties, now figure out the math, that's how popular Ed's creations were.
The Gang included: Rat Fink, Drag Nut, Mother's Worry and Mr. Gasser. They soon became heroes to young kids across the nation who could relate to the stories and themes of the gang.
There were also several record albums produced. The band was called Mr. Gasser (featuring Ed Roth) and the Weirdos. The songs featured on these records told descriptive stories about the gang and their favorite pastimes like hot rodding and surfing. The general message intended was that being different or weird was o.k. and being a Fink or a Weirdo was cool. It was a lesson some of us never forgot.
Rat Fink and the gang driving their hot rods have become rock-art icons. Originally they were adopted by surf musicians and today the gang can be found everywhere. A number of punk and alternative bands have used Roth's images on LP's and CD's such as: Birthday Party "An Australian Band" with Junk Yard cover 1981 and current releases by the Voodoo Glow Skulls Cover Artist "Marco Almera". There is even a band called Rat Fink.
Other Roth fans and enthusiasts include the Cramps and Rob Zombie of White Zombie. Rob Zombie is also an extremely gifted artist claiming that "Big Daddy" is his Daddy. Zombie currently has a whole line of sportswear and hot rodding swag that he manufactures.
Ed Roth's artwork can be found throughout the late 80's and mid 90's in underground comics produced by Roth and Sloane. You can also find Roth's artwork in tattoo parlors and in art galleries. Yes, many of us consider Roth's work fine art. You can also find Roth's creations on concert posters by other American cult artist Frank Kozik and Coop.
Today Ed "BiG Daddy" Roth lives in a quiet community in Utah and is still a very active artist, designer and inventor. He's currently working on new automotive creations and ideas. Ed's newest creation The Stealth 2000 showcased at the American Institute Of Graphic Design during the month of October 1999 in Las Vegas.
Ya can go to 'r' events page To find Ed's current Schedule for the year 2001.
We lost our big guy on April, 4th 2001 the doctors said it was a heart attack. Ed Roth's genius has created a timeless monster. Rat Fink and the Gang will still reach the diverse demographic appeal of the young adults of today and us baby boomers of the fifties. Rat Fink and the gang will continue into the new millennium capturing a new group of Finks young and old for decades to come.
Richard Reesman / Rumpsville USA: Richard
is an independent contractor/web
developer/graphic artist extraordinaire. Check out his Website site at www.reesman.com. Richard has also developed and dedicated a website for the continued education of the Americana car and Kustom Kulture called Rumpsville USA . He has written some wonderful articles about the masters that include photographs and bios of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Von Dutch, Norm Grabowski and George Barris. I have to give Richard a lot of credit for his work. He is one of those that has truly inspired me. To go to Rumpsville click the Rumpsville image below.
Big Daddy's Web Site
"Birthday Party" The Band, See full size images of album cover and history
Rat Fink The Band
"Big Daddy" Ed Roth Wagen Meister Cyberspace Photos
Robert's Rat Fink Web Page Lots of Fink Pictures.
Back to the Ed Roth Memorial Directory
|Hot Rods by Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth:
Ed Roth, Tony Thacker (Contributor) / Paperback / Published 1995
|Ya can find this one in our on-line B@@K Store.|
|Kustom Kulture : Von Dutch, Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth,
Robert Williams and Others
Ron Turner(Compiler) / Paperback / Published 1993
|B@@K Store Price $ 29.00 + S+H. Check it out !!!!|
Good luck tryin' ta find this one ya might try yer local library:
Confessions of a Rat Fink : The Life and Times of Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth by Ed Roth
Here's a good one............
Juxtapoz, is a monthly magazine that features work by new artists carrying on the tradition of Ed Roth and Robert Williams. In fact Robert Williams is the Founder of Juxtapoz, You can get Juxtapoz from our Book Store or Kulture Shoq Studio, the mag sells for around $ 5.00 + Postage you can call (800) 880-6567 ta get your copy.
(Ed "Big Daddy"
Roth, Rat Fink, Beatnik Bandit, Road Agent, Outlaw, Mysterion, Tweedy Pie, Stealth 2000,
Surfite, Wild Child,
Angel Fink, Robin Hood Fink, Mothers Worry, & Dragnut are all trademarks of Ed Roth (C) '99)
This Page Last Up Date 04/04/01
Rat Fink name and device and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and "Moldy Marvin"
are trademarks of Ed Roth © 1999/2000/2001 Rat Fink device © Ed Roth 1984/89
Bookmark our Website and Check Out Drive Magazine on line for some great articles by "Big Daddy" Himself
Copyright 1999/2000/2001 @utomated Entertainment Burbank CA 91510