Our guest is Hot Rod historian Pat Ganahl. This show, Pat talks about his friend, hot rod, pop culture artist, and creator of the Rat Fink, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Pat was friends with Big Daddy and has a unique perspective on this most colorful of all hot rod artists.
Hot Rodding is a uniquely American form of motoring. Part speed machine, part old car, part drag racer, and part custom car. The delightfully quirky nature of the hobby naturally attracts delightfully quirky people. Ed Roth, aka, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and the father of the infamous RAT FINK, was arguably one of hot rodding’s quirkiest characters.
Roth was a unique mix of rebel, car guy, car nut, visionary, sculptor, designer, and culture-creative artist. His cartoon character RAT FINK was his alter ego. Having grown up in the Los Angeles area, he was there for the explosion of Disneyland mania and had an immediate visceral hatred of Mickey Mouse.
So he started sketching his own version of a cartoon mouse – the anti-Mickey Mouse. Roth’s mouse would be fat, hairy, dirty, smelly, sweaty, with sharp teeth, bulging bloodshot eyes, with flies always buzzing about – flies that he would sometimes eat! The word “fink” was already in the lexicon and James Cagney made the expression “You dirty rat!” a popular expression. Roth combined the two expression with his anti-Mickey Mouse character (it was really Ed) and RAT FINK was born!
Ed Roth went on to become a hot rod pop culture hero with kids and anti-establishment types. Ed passed but his wonderful RAT FINK character is still with us.
Pat’s book, “Ed “Big Daddy” Roth – His Life, Times, and Art” is presently available on Amazon.
Not only is Pat Ganahl a hands-on hot rodder, he’s been a writer all of his professional life, as well as the editor of Hot Rod Magazine, Street Rodder Magazine, and Rod & Custom Magazine. Pat has authored over 20 books on the topic of hot rodding. He has covered the history of hot rodding, many how-do books, and personality books about Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and pin stripping legend, Von Dutch. Pat is also a contributor to the beautiful, Rodder’s Journal publication.
Here’s a clip from the movie, “Tales of the RAT FINK.”
And check out our Ed “Big daddy” Roth YouTube channel, HERE.
Pat Ganahl’s book, “Lost Hot Rods” is available, HERE.
And “Lost Hot Rods II” is available HERE.
“Tales of the Rat Fink” is available on NetFlix. Here’s the movie poster…