Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Check Out This Vintage Bob's Big Boy Training Video From 1947

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

Ah, the optimism of postwar America. In Southern California, where the sun was always shining, the outlook was bright. Everyone had a car, and having a job in the restaurant business seemed to be something to aspire to.An instructional video from 1947 dug up by a Facebook group—Please Flash Lights For Service "The Golden Age of Drive In Restaurants"—is classic mid-Century Americana. In it, a young Eve Kennedy is dissatisfied with her office job and applies to be a car-hop with Bob's Big Boy. At the beginning of the video, she interviews Bob Wian, the founder of the classic drive-in chain.

It's fun to watch how the film treats the drive-in as a novel concept. It opens with a scroll that reads in part:

The drive-in restaurant is a comparatively new phase of institutional eating... it is a unique aspect of the ten-billion-dollar-a-year restaurant industry... calling for somewhat different demands in its management... and from its personnel.
Support for LAist comes from

Young Eve will eventually make so much money as a carhop at the Bob's in Glendale that she goes on to make enough money to buy a house and a car! Imagine that. And older generations today say that millennials act entitled!

Bob's Big Boy would expand nationwide, and still has several dozen locations in Michigan and Ohio, but today it's mostly a classic relic remembered mainly for their logo. They only have six locations remaining in their native Southern California.

As for the writer and director of Car Hop, IMDb has an entry for an Alfred E. Smalley, with his sole credit as the writer of an obscure biopic about songwriter Stephen Foster.

[h/t: Los Angeles Magazine]

Related: Photos: This 1950s Drive-In Used Conveyor Belts To Serve Food