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    Big Boy is a restaurant chain started in 1936 by Bob Wian in Glendale, California as Bob's Big Boy. Marriott bought the chain in 1967. One of the larger franchise operators, Elias Brothers, purchased the chain from Marriott in 1987, moving the headquarters of the company to Warren, Michigan, and operating it until declaring bankruptcy in 2000. Following the bankruptcy, the chain was sold to investor Robert Liggett Jr., the current company CEO, who renamed the company to Big Boy Restaurants International, and kept the headquarters in Warren, Michigan. The company is the franchiser for more than 455 Big Boy Restaurants in the United States, Canada and Japan.

    The chain is best-known for its trademark chubby boy in red and white with suspenders holding a double decker hamburger. The inspiration for Big Boy's name, as well as the model for its mascot was Richard Woodruff. When he was 6 years old, he walked into the diner as Bob Wian was attempting to name his new hamburger. Wian said "Hello Big Boy" to Woodruff, and the name stuck. Ben Washam sketched Woodruff's caricature, which became the character seen on the company logo. This character would eventually also be featured in a Big Boy comic book, produced as a promotional givaway for children visiting the restaurant.

    Besides its namesake Big Boy hamburger, the chain offers other burger combinations along with cakes and pies.

    Regional Franchises

    In addition to the Bob's Big Boy name, the "Big Boy" concept, menu, and mascot were originally franchised to a wide number of regional franchise holders, listed below (with approximate original territory in parentheses). Of these, only Frisch's still maintains franchise rights to the "Big Boy" name, and many of the other former franchise owners (Shoney's, for example) have now expanded into areas that used to be regional territory for another franchise holder, and the current Big Boy Restaurants International has been expanding its Bob's Big Boy name into territories formally held by franchisees.

    Unlike most modern franchises, the various restaurants differed somewhat from one another in terms of price level and menu offerings.

    . Abdow's (Massachusetts, Connecticut)
    . Azar's (Northern Indiana, Colorado)
    . Bob's (California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Northeastern Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania turnpike and airport locations operated in several states by the Marriott Corp.)
    . Eat'n Park (metro Pittsburgh) dropped Big Boy in 1976.
    . Elby's (West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio) owned the Big Boy rights to northern West Virginia, originally through Shoney's and quickly expanded Big Boy into bordering Ohio counties, subfranchised through Frisch's, and later expanded through Pennsylvania. A trademark battle with Frisch's over Ohio operations caused Elby's to drop Big Boy affiliation, to be followed by Shoney's et al.)
    . Elias Brothers (Michigan, Northeastern Ohio, Ontario, Canada)
    . Franklin's (Northern Pennsylvania)
    . Frisch's (Ohio, Kentucky, S. Indiana, Florida until the early 1990's) the Cincinnati restaurant chain and first franchisee, began serving Big Boy hamburgers in 1946; Frisch's now operates 88 Big Boys & franchises 32 Big Boys to others. They also franchise Golden Corrals in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
    . JB's (Utah, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Washington, New Mexico, Kansas, Rhode Island)
    . JB's (Canada) (Ontario and Alberta in the 1970's)
    . Kip's (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas)
    . Lendy's (Western Virginia)
    . Mady's (Windsor, Ontario, Canada)
    . Manners (Northeastern Ohio)
    . Marc's (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois)
    . McDowell's (North Dakota)
    . Shoney's (Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, southwestern Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Missouri), founded by and named after Alex Schoenbaum, no longer displays the Big Boy Statue, because it dropped its relationship with Big Boy in order to expand to other states where others owned the trademark, in 1984. It was the second Big Boy franchisee and subfranchised to Elby's, Lendy's and Yoda's).
    . TJ's (New York)
    . Tops (Illinois)
    . Vip's (New Mexico)
    . Yoda's (Western Virginia)


    . Filmmaker David Lynch ate lunch at Bob's every day for 7 years. He has said the combination of caffeine and sugar from the chocolate shakes and coffee he ordered gave him many ideas for his films. He also recently held a contest on his website where one fan could win a free meal at Bob's with him.
    . In the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Dr. Evil and his cat Mr. Bigglesworth make their escape in a cryogenic rocket that is the shape of a statue of Big Boy. Additionally, an alternate ending to the film which was scrapped to allow for a sequel had the Big Boy rocket crash back to Earth due to a malfunction, with Dr. Evil suffering amnesia as a result and subsequently becoming the night manager of a Big Boy restaurant in El Segundo, California.
    . Scenes from the 1980 cult classic film Midnight Madness were filmed at the Los Angeles coffee shop Johnie's,[1] whose "Fat Boy" mascot is clearly modeled on Bob's. One character provides laughs by inadvertently duplicating the Big Boy pose.
    . The same owners as above also installed their "Fat Boy" mascot at Johnie's Broiler in Downey, California
    . Syndicated radio personalities Rick and Bubba had a Big Boy statue outside their former studio, located on a mountain overlooking Birmingham, Alabama. In on-air and Internet promotions, the site was referred to as "Big Boy Bluff." (Ironically, such statues haven't been seen in Alabama for more than two decades because of Shoney's disaffiliation with the trademark.)
    . In December of 1993, syndicated Los Angeles radio personalities Mark & Brian attempted to launch a (borrowed) Bob's Big Boy statue, painted with an Evel Knievel jumpsuit and dubbed "Elvis Bob", over the fountain at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. The launch device was a spring tension contraption looking much like a green steel bedframe. The attempt fell about 10 feet short and into the water, sending Caesar's general manager into an obscenity-laced tirade, as Elvis Bob broke part of the fountain. "Elvis Bob" has been used over the years for various other events throughout the L.A. basin, repainted as Vegas Elvis, complete with chains and shades. [2]
    . Big Boy was parodied by Frank Miller in his Give Me Liberty comic book series as the Fat Boy restaurant chain, a fast-food franchise that had grown so powerful that it was at war with the United States government.
    . Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, MI has a Big Boy Statue done in mosaic on display.
    . "Lard Lad Donuts" on The Simpsons is modeled after Bob's Big Boy.
    . In the 2004 animated film Shrek 2, Bob's Big Boy was parodied as Friar's Fat Boy.
    . The Bob's Big Boy Restaurant in Burbank, CA has a table in the back where the Beatles sat. There was a plaque for many years commemorating this. The plaque is no longer there, as according to store employees, it was being stolen and replaced often.
    . In the film I Am Sam, Sam Dawson is persuaded to visit a Bob's Big Boy instead of their usual IHOP but, in the end, doesn't like the Big Boy's menu.
    . In the Futurama episode Leela's Homeworld, Leela, Fry & Bender are chased through the sewers past a "Big Mutant Boy" restaurant (featuring a mutated Big Boy-esque statue).
    . In 1999, the head of an Elby's Big Boy statue was stolen from a Pittsburgh-area restaurant. It was found a few days later relatively unharmed.


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