Here’s my latest Ed Roth-inspired t-shirt acquisition. Roth-style monster-in-a-hot-rod designs continue to inspire new t-shirt designs: this one for construction workers. Because they’re all about letting out the id; and I guess that after seven or eight hours on a caterpillar you might just feel the impulse to bulldoze an gas station or something.
Everybody knows what a Roth-style car creature means — WILD and CRAZY!
But where do you draw the line? What’s in the Roth mold, and what is not?
Not long after I found this tee, I came across another one that might have qualified: a sheep driving a tractor. The tee was from some additudinal collegiate agriculture club that was proclaiming it’s badassery. They’d simply taken a clip-art image of a sheep and placed (sort of) in the diver’s seat of a clip-art image of a tractor.
But was it Roth-like? I have criteria:
- Is the driver way out of proportion in size to the vehicle? Well, yeah, by its size that would have been a thousand-pound sheep.
- Does the driver have bug eyes? No, just sheep eyes.
- Did it have fangs or snaggle teeth? No, no teeth at all.
- Did it have a maniacal leer on its face? No, just a sheep expression. AKA, no expression.
- Was the tractor popping a wheelie? Nope
- Was the tractor spewing flames or smoke? Nope.
You need at least three out of the six to get into my Roth-inspired t-shirt selection. It failed. I left it on the rack. Sorry guys, so near and yet so far!
Oh, by the way: don’t take this seriously. I’m not that far gone into t-shirt geekdom. Yet.
Don’t forget the Hawk Weird-Ohs monsters. Very similar to and contemporary with Ed Roth’s monster caricatures. Personally I prefer the Roth monsters, but the Weird-Ohs were very popular then and are collectible now. They had bulging eyes, monstrous teeth, a protruding tongue (you didn’t mention the tongue), maniacal leer, and a wheelie-popping, smoking and/or flaming vehicle. I knew kids back in the day who preferred the Weird-Ohs. They also came on bubblegum cards, so they had that going for them too.
Weird-Ohs were definitely cool. I’ve said this before, but my sister built one, for some reason, and did a masterful job. They were a me-too to Roth’s Revell kits, but yes, they were very well liked (and cheaper).
I researched Hawk (the company that made Weird-Ohs and other plastic models — cars, planes, the usual) — and found an article some old-timer had written about working Hawk Models. He said demand for Weird-Ohs blew the top off the company. They worked insane production shifts just to keep up. Of course, the overtime was great if you could stand it. Management called everybody together and said they expected the Weird-Ohs craze and the big money to last about three years, so plan your lives accordingly. They were about right. Not many years later, they sold out to Testors, the hobby glue and paint people. As a young teen I wondered what happened to Hawk and how Testors models came out of nowhere. Apparently Testors has reissued the Weird-Ohs kits from time to time over the years, so they may never die.