August 11, 2013

Toys in the Attic - The Wacky Wonderful World of Weird-Ohs

Time for another self indulgent 'Toys in the Attic' trip down memory lane for this baby boomer...so enter The Wacky Wonderful World of Weird-Ohs...Monster and Hot Rod history was made back in 1963 when the Hawk Model Company unleashed the Weird-Ohs. They were freaky little drag fiends, and they caught on like a plague! Toys, records, trading cards, and Halloween masks were soon to follow, and the strange little twerps created by Bill Campbell became legendary. 


I can't remember how many of these things I built, blew up and built again but I do know I spent countless hours on my paper route earning money so I could get my hands on the next kit in the wacky in the world of Weird-Ohs, hands down my favorite models from the early 60s. Who was your favorite Weird-Oh? Endsville Eddie was mine followed closely by Daddy! 
 Daddy built in 1964 by yours truly! 


A brief history of the Weird-ohs:
The Hawk Model Company, founded in 1926, produced a staggering variety of car, plane, and boat model kits during the 50’s and 60’s.  But by 1963, William “Bill” Campbell, a free-lance artist who illustrated many box-covers for Hawk, felt that the car model market was saturated.  He dreamed up some ‘monsters in hot rods’ along the lines of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s popular T-shirt designs.  He made up some prototypes for his monster models using wire armature, balsa, marble dust, sculpting putty, and miscellaneous kit parts.  As Campbell recalled, “I brought my little monsters into Hawk one day. Dick and Phil said, ‘They are interesting Bill. We’ll think about it.’ I had been around operations long enough to know that this is the friendly kiss of death. So I left my models with them and went back to illustrating the next box art. Somehow these models ended up on the conference room table where Hawk would host distributors. On that day they were courting a group through the workings of the plant. Upon arrival in the conference room, they saw my little monsters lined up on the table and they went nuts over them. That is how the Weird-Ohs were given the nod for production.” The designs were rushed into development for the upcoming model trade show in Chicago. Following a successful debut at the show where these new freaks on wheels received over a quarter million advance orders, Hawk released the original three Weird-Ohs ‘car-icky-tures’: Daddy, a commuter; Digger, a dragster; and Davy, a biker.  The response was phenomenal and a run-away fad began.  Even working overtime, the company could not produce enough kits to keep the store shelves stocked.  Additional Weird-Ohs followed, all with Bill Campbell’s distinctive box-art.  Weird-Ohs sport wild, blood-shot eyes, shark-like teeth, dangling tongues, and a broad range of putrid skin colors.  The cars have over-sided slick tires, flaming exhaust, and bizarre accessories (like Endsville Eddie's anchor and Drag Hag's baby bottle shifter).  Each kit has additional props (like Daddy's martini and Leaky Boat Louie's swimming area float) to add to the fun. There was no toy on the market like them back then, and there have been few comparable items since.  It was so unique the Weird-Ohs brand was extended to games, Halloween masks, bubble gum trading cards, a record entitled ‘The Sounds of the Weird-Ohs’, special ‘Weird-Ohs’ paints, puzzles, nutty mads and notebooks! Campbell created two more series of model kits called Silly Surfers and Frantics to mine the popularity of the Weird-Ohs but more on those in future Toys in the Attic postings. In the late 90’s, a computer animated series based on Weird-Ohs was seen on Fox Family but it was thankfully short-lived. The Weird-Ohs have been reissued several times over the years. The late 60s/early 70s Hawk issued them as glow in the dark kits, They appeared under the name Grodies in the 1980s which were produced in Mexico by Testors. In the 1990s Testors again reissued them in new packing and finally when the Hawk brand was purchased a few years ago the new owners reissued them with the original box art. They even attempted to revive the craze with PVC figures and a reissue of the trading cards. 

And here they are…

A. Daddy - The Way Out Suburbanite, B. Digger - The Way Out Dragster, C. Davey - The Way Out Cyclist, D. Drag Hag - The Bonny, Blastin' Babe, E. Freddie Flameout - The Way Out Jet Jockey, F. Leaky Boat Louie - The Vulger Boatman, G. Huey's Hut Rod – The Way Outhouse Bomb, H. Killer McBash - The Dazzling Decimator, I. Endsville Eddie – The Short Stop Stupe, J. Francis the Foul - The Way Out Dribbler, K. Sling Rave Curvette - The Way Out Spectator, L. Wade A. Minut - The Wild Starter

Weirdsville Customizing Set

Weird-Oh Crazy Cool Colors Paints 

Weird-Ohs Game by Ideal









Weird-Ohs Puzzle: Daddy, Davey, Digger and Freddy each had one. 

Weird-Ohs Bubble Gum Cards by Fleer


The Sounds of the Weird-Ohs  Record Album

Weird-Ohs Helmet by Ideal

Weird-Ohs Davey Halloween Mask
Weird-Ohs Carry Case by Kaboom
Weird-Ohs Binder by Kaboom
Weird-Oh Nutty Mads by Marx. Eddie, Digger Drag-Hag, Daddy, Freddie & Davey were produced.


My well worn copy of Monster Make-Up featuring the weird-ohs.
Late 1960s Box for Glow in the Dark kit


Grodies Box 1980s

Testors Box 1990s

2 comments:

  1. Nice modelling job on Daddy! I had that model when I was about 7 or 8 and loved it. For years I always thought he was called "Daddy Wierdo".

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