Big Boy Statues

The Big Boy restaurant chain was founded in California in 1936, but was soon franchised across the country under different names such as Bob's, Kip's, and Vip's. Outside of each diner stood the trademark statue of a rotund boy carrying a cheeseburger (actually a caricature of a real boy named Richard Woodruff, who also inspired the name when the founder affectionately called him "Big Boy"). Over the years, many of the statues suffered the indignity of being temporarily "kidnapped" by pranksters. Now, most are gone forever, victims of remodeling and modernization; sightings these days are a rare glimpse of a bygone era.




Tempe, Arizona

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I photographed this Big Boy statue on display at the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park.
Directions: 1600 N. College Avenue (admission fee is charged).
Last Visited: January 2008.


Cincinnati, Ohio

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I found this somewhat slimmer Big Boy outside of a Frisch's Big Boy restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio. Probably an older vintage, because Cincinnati was the location of the first franchise.
Directions: Corner of Station Ave and Spring Grove Ave.
Last Visited: May 2008.


Calimesa, California

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This extra-big Big Boy stands outside of a Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Calimesa, California.
Directions: 540 Sandalwood Dr. (south side of Interstate 10 at Calimesa Boulevard, exit 88).
Last Visited: July 2009.


Signal Hill, California

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This Big Boy stands outside of a Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Signal Hill, California.
Directions: 1898 East Willow Street (just west of Cherry Avenue).
Last Visited: October 2010.

Update May 2011: This photo was used on a coaster manufactured by Around Town Coasters of East Brainerd, Tennessee (click to see larger image).

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West Covina, California

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This Big Boy stands outside of a Bob's Big Boy restaurant at the West Covina Parkway Plaza Shopping Center.
Directions: 100-A S. California Avenue (southwest corner of Interstate 10 and Vincent Avenue).
Last Visited: October 2010.


Torrance, California

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This Big Boy stands outside of a Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Torrance.
Directions: 24021 Hawthorne Boulevard (1/2 block north of Pacific Coast Highway).
Last Visited: March 2011 (statue reported gone Summer 2012, restaurant changed from Bob's Big Boy to Black Bear).


Downey, California

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This Big Boy statue is one of two on display at Bob's Big Boy Broiler in Downey. In the 1960's the building housed Harvey's Broiler; the blue "Fat Boy" sign (now on display at the rear of the parking lot) stood on the roof in that era.
Directions: 7447 Firestone Boulevard.
Last Visited: March 2011.

Other views (click to enlage):

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Temecula, California

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This Big Boy is in front of the Temecula Bob's Big Boy restaurant.
Directions: 27313 Jefferson Avenue (from I-15, Winchester Road Exit 61 west, then 1/2 mile north on Jefferson).
Last Visited: October 2011.


Norco, California

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There are two Big Boy statues in front of the Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Norco ("Horsetown USA"), one sporting a cowboy hat and cowboy boots.
Directions: 3521 Hamner Avenue (1/4 mile south of 6th Street/Norco Drive, off of I-15 exit 100).
Last Visited: July 2012.



Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.


Revised: November 1, 2012
Copyright © 2008-2012 Joe Orman
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