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Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth [Paperback]

Pat Ganahl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 15 2011
Who was Ed Roth? The answer depends on whom you ask, and when they knew him. To some, he was a counter-culture, greasy-fingernailed, renaissance man of the mid 20th century. To others, he's the creator of Rat Fink and builder of some of the most creative custom cars to ever get a coat of candy paint, cars like the "Beatnik Bandit", the "Mysterion", and the "Outlaw". Some knew him as a devout Mormon, others recall a Harley-riding hellion with a devilish glint in his eye. He was a force of nature and a creative genius whose work had a profound influence on popular culture and helped spawn numerous subcultures.

Ed's rise to fame began in the '50s, and peaked with the custom car boom of the early '60s-every kid in America knew who Rat Fink was, and many built models of his custom cars and wore his "monster" T-shirts. As custom cars went out of style, Ed turned to other pursuits, but a growing interest in hot rod history in the '90s brought him back to the fore, and he was more popular than ever. To say his life was interesting is an understatement-and this book covers it all, from art to custom cars, monster shirts to VW-powered trikes, and the wild life that brought it all together.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Emanating from southern California's hot rod and surfing scenes, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's art captivated the nation--well, young breeder males, at least--in the years around 1960. Ganahl's coffee-table biography is a cornucopia of facts and color reproductions, including tee-shirt shop and county fair perennial Rat Fink and plenty of Roth's wild, customized vehicles. Rat Fink may have been created "to show what Mickey Mouse's father . . . looked like," but as underground comics god and former Roth staffer Robert Williams says, "It was the cars that made Ed." Roth rivaled George Barris in flamboyant hot rod designs, and his were "the first," Ganahl avers, "to take the automobile . . . into the irrational world of abstract thought." With their fanciful lines, monstrous motors, and palpable attitude, early triumphs like Outlaw and Beatnik Bandit attracted attention at auto shows. When plastic model kits of Roth cars and characters appeared, he became famous, and Rat Fink became a pop-cultural icon. Ganahl's text occasionally wanders, but as a pictorial archive, this package is peerless. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story on Big Daddy and his creations Dec 31 2003
By Pard
Format:Hardcover
I was the primary audience for Roth's work back in the '60's -- my friends and I would have sleepover parties where we'd read car magazines and build model cars all night long. Roth's creations were just so outrageous at the time and they brought a lot of excitement to the hot rod scene. I remember first seeing the "Rat Fink" and thinking how over the top it was, and wondering what my mom would say if I brought home a Rat Fink model or T-shirt.
I had to get this book as soon as I saw it and I'm glad I did. It brings back so many good memories of those times. While not a true biography of Big Daddy, it does a great job of covering his life and has plenty of detail on all of his cars and other works. The book also has lots of great photos; the author spent a lot of time gathering as many existing photos of the Roth empire as he could. The author also interviewed as many people as he could find who were associated with Roth, and they have some funny and interesting stories to tell.
If you're at all interested in hot rods or hot rod history and the effect that Roth had on the culture, this book is recommended.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A real renaissance man of the 1960s Feb. 8 2004
Format:Hardcover
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth was a real renaissance man of the 1960s: creator of Rat Fink, builder of creative custom cars, and a Mormon beatnick who refused to fit in anyone's mold. Ed "Big Daddy" Roth: His Life, Time, Cars, and Art is an engaging and informative biography that charts his rise to fame in general and his skills building custom cars in particular, and comes from an author who met Ed in the mid-1970s and regularly covered his exploits. Nearly 300 photos - many new to this collection-charts his creations and his art, and will appeal to any who know his name.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story on Big Daddy and his creations Dec 31 2003
By Pard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was the primary audience for Roth's work back in the '60's -- my friends and I would have sleepover parties where we'd read car magazines and build model cars all night long. Roth's creations were just so outrageous at the time and they brought a lot of excitement to the hot rod scene. I remember first seeing the "Rat Fink" and thinking how over the top it was, and wondering what my mom would say if I brought home a Rat Fink model or T-shirt.
I had to get this book as soon as I saw it and I'm glad I did. It brings back so many good memories of those times. While not a true biography of Big Daddy, it does a great job of covering his life and has plenty of detail on all of his cars and other works. The book also has lots of great photos; the author spent a lot of time gathering as many existing photos of the Roth empire as he could. The author also interviewed as many people as he could find who were associated with Roth, and they have some funny and interesting stories to tell.
If you're at all interested in hot rods or hot rod history and the effect that Roth had on the culture, this book is recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but the writing is not great. July 25 2011
By Renegade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to reading this book; and while it was interesting, I think the book falls short in two ways. First, the writing is somewhat sophmoric. The author writes as one would talk, and there was not a clear chronology. He jumped around and sometimes repeated information. Secondly, I was really looking forward to seeing photographs of Roth's vehicles, but there were limited photographs of some of the vehicles. I understand that maybe not many photographs were available from Roth's family's archives, but certainly, there were other sources for the photographs of the cars that appeared at major shows. I would recommend this book to Roth fans, but there may be other better books out there.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real renaissance man of the 1960s Feb. 8 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth was a real renaissance man of the 1960s: creator of Rat Fink, builder of creative custom cars, and a Mormon beatnick who refused to fit in anyone's mold. Ed "Big Daddy" Roth: His Life, Time, Cars, and Art is an engaging and informative biography that charts his rise to fame in general and his skills building custom cars in particular, and comes from an author who met Ed in the mid-1970s and regularly covered his exploits. Nearly 300 photos - many new to this collection-charts his creations and his art, and will appeal to any who know his name.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Trip Back May 27 2007
By Marty Oster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For me, a guy, who lived and breathed the hot rod, surf and music scene of the 60's, this book brings back a necessary component of the time. Relive and remember the essence of the time through Ed Roth who's artwork and cars seemed to be on the tip of everyone's tongue. We all knew the "Rat Fink" and we all knew "Big Daddy". Now he lives forever in this definitive work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed "Big Daddy Roth": His Life, Times, Cars and Art Sept. 14 2009
By D. Mosher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Great book, with lots of interesting bio notes and great pictures of Ed Roth's art and automotive masterpieces...brought back a lot of memories of building models of them as a kid in the 60's and 70's. And who can forget Rat Fink?!? It was a birthday present for my brother, and he loved it.
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