Randy's Donuts, Los Angeles, California

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sky
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Postby sky » Fri May 07, 2010 7:00 am

From the previews, it looks like Randy's Donuts has a role (or perhaps roll) in Iron Man 2.

I liked the original Iron Man even though I generally don't like special-effects, actions flicks. Nor do I generally like sequels ... but I do like donuts, so maybe this is the excuse I need to see Iron Man 2.

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Postby deanna b » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:35 am

Gnomus wrote:This is the location that breaks the "donut angled toward intersection" rule. Would anyone out there know which location this is?
http://i274.photobucket.com/albums/jj26 ... s_los_.jpg

The Valley Relics group on Facebook seem to think that's the Magnolia and Laurel Canyon location.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... 2041429462
They also have a Big Do-Nut baker's hat:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... 2041429462

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Postby Gnomus » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:13 pm

Nice finds, Deanna!

I should see if I have any other unidentified photos and let people take a crack at locating them.

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Postby Gnomus » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:50 pm

I've gone through the photos I've collected and it turns out there's only one I can't ID.

Image

Kindle's and Dale's both have the same "donut oriented to the left." Or it could be one of the demolished ones: Culver City, the second Inglewood location, or Van Nuys. You'd think with a snappy all-you-can-eat restaurant named the "Chuckwagon" in the background, someone would be able to nail this one.



EDIT: As reported below, the granddaughter of Royal Stearns--co-owner of the Big Donut chain--has identified this as the Compton location, now Dale's.
Last edited by Gnomus on Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby deanna b » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:38 am

Here's a full shot of the Reseda & Sherman Way location:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... 2041429462

So it was a pole donut like Bellflower Bagels, rather than a roof donut.

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hannah
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Postby hannah » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:11 am

What a trip down memory lane. I went to Jr. High and High School in Gardena and drove past the one on Western ALL the time. My family was a Winchell's Donut family - so I don't remember actually going to the one in Gardena.

I LOVE the toy you have of it!!! I NEED one of those!!! (the first pic)....
It may not look like it, but at the molecular level I'm actually quite busy.

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Postby Gnomus » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:34 pm

Deanna,

I've been contacted by one of the people who posted on that Facebook page. Her grandfather, Royal Stearns and a man named George Wilson owned 33% of the Big Donut Drive-in chain, and Pup 'n' Taco. Royal Stearns ran the Compton, Inglewood, Van Nuys and Reseda locations. Stearns' brother Paul ran the North Hollywood location.

Royal Stearns died of a heart attack in 1970.

Hannah,

The toy is a resin-cast model from Pine Canyon Scale Models. They make models for railroad enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it's no longer available. But if you contacted them and expressed interest, the owner might be persuaded to create a new mold and make more of them.

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Postby hannah » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:29 pm

OMG - Pup 'n' Taco! I'm going to have to Google images now! The best of both worlds - Taco Bell meets Der Wienerschnitzel!!! :P

I'd forgotten all about them...

Thanks for the info on the Donut model. It's very cool.

Dig it, a Pup 'n' Taco MUG!!
http://www.zazzle.com/pup_n_taco_mug-168976561728227046
It may not look like it, but at the molecular level I'm actually quite busy.

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:57 pm

Here's that Reseda shot that Deanna linked.

Image

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Postby deanna b » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:43 am

http://jpg1.lapl.org/00085/00085568.jpg
Photograph caption dated November 14, 1959 reads, "Big Do-Nut In Glamorous Opening -- A steady flow of Valley residents, including numerous leaders in civic, business and club affairs, enjoyed the hospitality of the management of Big Do-Nut Drive-In, on the occasion of the opening of the firm's newest drive-in at 7149 Kester Ave., corner of Sherman Way and Kester avenue, Van Nuys. In addition to refreshments a gala program of entertainment was presented. Left to right, Russell C. Wendell, president; Royal Stearns, treasurer of the company, with comely Jan Richards, Miss Van Nuys, and Nels LaVally, representing V.N. Chamber of Commerce."

Yeah, but what's the point of photographing the opening of a Big Donut stand and not showing the Big Donut?

Gnomus wrote:I've gone through the photos I've collected and it turns out there's only one I can't ID.

http://i274.photobucket.com/albums/jj26 ... gDonut.jpg

Kindle's and Dale's both have the same "donut oriented to the left." Or it could be one of the demolished ones: Culver City, the second Inglewood location, or Van Nuys. You'd think with a snappy all-you-can-eat restaurant named the "Chuckwagon" in the background, someone would be able to nail this one.

I posted a link to that photo, and the same person whose grandfather was part owner who contacted you, contacted me to say that it's the Compton stand #5 that's now Dale's. "15904 S Atlantic Ave, Compton. Photo by William M. Graham, 01 Jan 1965"

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:17 am

That's a great find, even if it doesn't show the building. Also, the caption gives us the opening date of another location. And I've edited the mystery photo to reflect her new info. Thanks!

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Postby deanna b » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:56 pm

This aerial view of 405 construction in Culver City, May 1958, has a familiar round shape on the bottom right.
http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserv ... 002~1?v=hr

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Postby deanna b » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:49 pm

The current Donut King II

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics17/00008009.jpg
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics17/00008010.jpg

Angel Food Donuts shop with giant donut on top of roof. Shop is located on the northeast corner of Western Ave. and Compton Blvd. in Gardena. Date of photo is Oct. 1974.

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Postby Gnomus » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:02 am

Another mystery photo, from the book "Bizarre Architecture" by Charles Jencks, 1979, and found on a University of Minnesota webpage by Kathy, granddaughter of the co-owner of the Big Donut chain.

Image

Jencks told her that he thought it was Randy's, but it's obviously not. That appears to be a freeway in the background. Only two locations had freeways running behind them, #4 Culver City and #7 Inglewood (Imperial Hwy).

Calling out to all you eagle-eyed donut fans to help identify this.

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Postby deanna b » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:14 pm

Most definitely Sepulveda and Washington Blvd, Culver City. The building seen behind it is still there, mostly unchanged. I can't get the right angle with Google Maps, but I used to go by there twice a day for years (post-donut, alas) and recognized it immediately.

Street View: http://tinyurl.com/4fvubhw

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Postby Gnomus » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:40 pm

Thanks, Deanna!

This next mystery photo is kind of small. If anyone has a better copy, please share.

Image

Also, we've seen four different designs: with the donut oriented to the left, with the donut aimed to the right, with the donut running along the long axis of the building, and with the donut on a pole out front.

If anyone remembers location #7 on West Imperial Hwy in Inglewood or #9 on Kester Ave in Van Nuys -- do you know what design they were? Knowing this might help with future mystery photos.

#1 and 5 have the donut to the left, 2, 3 and 4 have it to the right, 6 has it aligned, and 8 and 10 have the donut on a pole.

I have one other mystery, this one from David Ferdig's contribution to RoadsidePeek.com. The photos are small, but they're the best I have.

Image

Image

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Imperial Hwy location in Inglewood had once been known as Donut King. Anybody know anything about this?

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:48 pm

The Santa Monica Public Library has a copy of Charles Jencks' 1979 book, "Bizarre Architecture," and I just got back from taking a look at it. Ahh, I miss the days when you could write just about anything and someone somewhere would publish it...

Most of the buildings in the book barely qualify as unusual, much less "bizarre." Jencks equates programmatic buildings as being the punch lines of very short jokes. "The buildings in the shape of hot-dogs, brown derbys, big donuts, pianos, or dinosaurs, that is iconic buildings, can be too quickly dismissed because of their obviousness."

The caption underneath the photo reads: "Anon, Big Donut Drive-In, Los Angeles, c. 1954. There used to be ten of these giant donuts, now there are only three left. Sugary-brown, twenty feet tall and made out of plaster, the thing might appear as a lost 747 wheel without the written sign."

Wow. In two sentences, he managed to get just about every fact wrong except for the number of locations in the chain.

He also has a photo of The Donut Hole and writes, "As far as I know the car wash doesn't serve donuts." The photo, featuring a car at the serving window, doesn't show any car wash equipment (and is obviously too narrow to include an automated system). What's this guy on? Did someone once use The Donut Hole as a hand wash?

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Postby Gnomus » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:26 am

In the sake of thoroughness, here are two Zippy comic strips featuring the five extant Big Donuts. I started contributing photos to Bill Griffith to use for the strip in late 2005; these appeared in 2006 and are typically... odd.

Image

Image

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Postby Gnomus » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:55 pm

A couple more finds from Kathy.

Dennis Stock took this photo of the Culver City Big Donut in 1960:
Image

And then, seven years later was shooting stills on the set of Planet of the Apes and returned to that same intersection to shoot this:
Image

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:42 am

To answer my own question: I was at the LAPL yesterday, pestering the librarians about the Big Donut chain. One of the California Indexes had a card with a statement to the effect of "Do people in other places wash their cars inside a donut?" So it appears that the Donut Hole may have been used as a car wash. I think the card had a date of around 1980.

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Postby nichols » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:04 pm

The Donut Hole in La Puente was, is and always has been a donut shop. I've been going there since the 1970s. However, there were other "Donut Hole" model stores. Perhaps one of these became a car wash. There is still one operating on Grand Avenue in Covina as a restaurant.

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Postby nichols » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:38 am

Former Donut Hole, now Taqueria Poncitlan
Built 1972
4710 Grand Avenue, Covina
Image

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:00 pm

I thought there were other locations to the Donut Hole chain (4 others, if I remember correctly), but the one in La Puente was the only one with the donuts framing the entrance and exit...

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Postby Gnomus » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:08 pm

The Valley Relics group on Facebook previously identified this as the North Hollywood location:

Image

However, in this photo, notice the Chuck Wagon in the background:

Image

These matches place the Chuck Wagon directly behind the North Hollywood Big Donut:

Image

Was there more than one Chuck Wagon? If not, then it would indicate that the original photo has been misidentified. And if it isn't the North Hollywood location, then it can only be either the Van Nuys or the W Imperial Blvd, Inglewood location. All the other buildings have been identified through new or vintage photos.

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Postby deanna b » Fri May 13, 2011 2:00 am

In the Facebook game "Cafe World," where you run a virtual restaurant, this is one of the roofs you can buy for your building:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/ ... ddonut.gif

(Sorry, I clicked "No," but I had to at least see what it looked like with that big donut sitting on the top.)

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Postby deanna b » Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:31 am

Big Donut #2/Randy's is distant in this photo, but I like how the gesture looks like he's saying "Behold the Donut!!"

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... e=1&ref=nf


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