A few years ago, I could not find out anything about the original Bob's Big Boy. Now, I stumble across information all over the internet. Technology is wonderful, except when it's toxic.
This picture is of the original Bob's Pantry Restaurant, started in Glendale in 1936. Robert C. Wian, the original Bob, had two years of restaurant experience when he sold his car to pay for this 10-seat lunch counter (then abandoned) on Colorado Blvd.
After six months, some tipsy band members stopped by in the evening and wanted Bob to make them something "special." He split a bun in half the hard way and invented the double-decker burger.
In 1949, the Bob's Big Boy at 4211 Riverside Drive was built. Wayne McAllister designed it, and Bob Hope was a regular. That place is now the oldest Bob's Big Boy around, and it's made screen appearances in Heat and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. (this picture is from Wikipedia.)
Not that this matters so much to L.A. historians, but according to the FindaGrave website, Wian's fishing boat made it into the movies, too. It was featured in The Wackiest Ship in the Army, starring Jack Lemmon.
By the time Wian sold his chain of 600 restaurants to the Marriott Corporation in 1967 for $7 million dollars, he'd become notable for a few firsts: the first double burger, the first restaurateur to offer health insurance and profit sharing to his employees. In fact, when he incorporated Bob's Big Boy in 1946, he offered his employees stock in the company at $10/share. Some of them became millionaires.
Just for giggles, Wian was also elected Glendale's youngest mayor (age 34) in 1948.