For some reason, I thought Ed "Big Daddy" Roth had created the Weird-Ohs, those hot rod driving, goggle-eye, leering monsters clutching oversized shiftsticks. I had several Weird-Oh models when I was a kid. Turns out they're the handiwork of William "Bill" Campbell.
After a number of years I felt that the model companies had produced everything they could. In order to keep Hawk moving forward I came up with a new concept. I did some way-out thinking, drew some sketches, and proceeded to create rough models, using wire armature, balsa, marble dust, sculpting putty, and miscellaneous kit parts. The results? Digger,a dragster; Davey, a cyclist; and the unproduced General Fritzgruber Luftwaffle in his Sturmgrupen Eindecker, an airplane pilot. I presented these to the people at Hawk in 1963. They took one look and said, 'Let's produce them.' They asked me what I called my creations, and I told them 'Weird-ohs.' The name stuck, and Hawk prepared them for the annual model kit manufacturers' convention held in the fall of 1963 at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago. "Hawk presented five or six different Weird-ohs at the convention, and the models were the hit of the show. They went off like gangbusters! I heard that they wrote orders for 246,000 kits in a few days. The factory had to go into overtime to fill all the orders. The kits were on the shelves by November."
Reader comment: Allen Varney says: I wrote a 1997 column for a magazine about non-sports trading cards that describes the set of Weird-Ohs bubblegum cards Fleer issued in 1966:
"Pedestrian" figures in two senses, the crudely sketched and flatly colored Weird-Ohs cards lag far behind Roth's work and a later imitator, Donruss's popular 'Odd Rods' series (1969-73). The Weird-Ohs really lose the race with their back copy, tedious stream-of-consciousness paragraphs that taunt and demean their subjects. Take drag-racer Digger: "Sometimes this idiotic jack rabbit ends up tailing his own dragster. Trouble is, he needs a tune up between the ears. It's probably much safer for us pedestrians this way (card #54)." "Us pedestrians?" Try saying that at a custom car show!