Creator of the anti-Mickey Mouse cartoon monster Rat Fink, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth (1932-2001) was an artist, hot-rodder, custom-car builder and merchandiser with a lasting impact on popular culture. If it were not for Roth, we may well all still be wearing plain white T-shirts. Roth developed the painted T-shirt for California car clubs and weather too hot for wearing the club jackets. "Big Daddy" was also a pioneer in the use of fibreglass in building customized cars, and, working with Mattel, he helped turn kids onto not only building hot rod models, but toy monsters.
With a bold and innovative mix of eye-popping animation, archival footage, hot rods and customized cars, indie maverick Ron Mann tells the story of Roth, hot-rodding and custom-car building. Pushing the boundary between fiction and documentary, the late Roth narrates (through the voice of John Goodman) his own fascinating life story, and several of his cars, now in museums and private collections, also provide commentary. While tracing the rise and fall of custom-car building in the 1950s and 1960s (when guitars replaced cars in the garage), the film also offers insight into the imagination of an outsider who ultimately helped shape our popular culture.
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