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A Randy's Donut location in Inglewood, California.
|Predecessor||Big Donut Drive-In|
|Founder||Russell C. Wendell|
|Headquarters||Inglewood, California United States|
Randy's Donuts is a bakery and landmark building in Inglewood, California, near Los Angeles International Airport, in a style that dates to a period in the early 20th century that saw a proliferation of programmatic architecture throughout Southern California. This style had its heyday from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. By the 1950s however, the trend of designing structures in the shape of the product sold there had changed to focus on signs rather than architecture itself. Randy's is represented by a giant doughnut on the roof of an otherwise ordinary drive-in that is a dedicated doughnut bakery. The building was designed by Henry J. Goodwin.
There are actually two different sized doughnuts. Most locations used a 32 1/5 ft (9.8 meters) -diameter version that straddles the building and is aimed at the intersection. In Roadside Giant by Brian and Sarah Butko, the Weintraubs climbed on top of the doughnut with a tape measure and confirmed this for the authors. The Bellflower and Reseda locations, however, feature a small version of the doughnut on a pole out in front the building. This may be 23 feet (7 meters) in diameter, as is widely reported.
Randy's was built in 1953 (and first appears in the 1954 edition phone book) as the second location of the now-defunct Big Donut Drive-In chain by Russell C. Wendell, a doughnut machine salesman. There were 10 locations, built over the course of the 1950s. At least four other Big Donuts survive: they are Kindle's Donuts in unincorporated Westmont (this is the original location, built in 1950), the Donut King II in Gardena (3), Dale's Donuts in Compton (5), and Bellflower Bagels in Bellflower (8). Each features the distinctive giant doughnut constructed of rolled steel bars covered with gunite, a material used in swimming pools. Five Big Donuts have been demolished. They were located in Culver City (4), North Hollywood (6), Inglewood (on Imperial Hwy, 7), Van Nuys (9) and Reseda (10).
In the 1970s Wendell sold off the individual stores to concentrate on his Pup 'N' Taco chain (which he sold to Taco Bell in 1984). Robert Eskow purchased the Manchester and Normandie locations in 1976 and named them "Randy's Donuts and Sandwiches" after his son. In 1977 a baker named Gary Kindle purchased the store on Normandie, which is still operating under the name Kindle's Donuts. In 1978, brothers Ron and Larry Weintraub, cousins to the Eskows, purchased the Randy's on Manchester and kept the name; they own it to this day.
Similar to the Big Donut chain is The Donut Hole of La Puente, California, the last of a chain of five stores featuring two 26-foot-diameter (7.9 m) drive-through fiberglass donuts on either side of a small bakery building. A number of Angel Food Donut stores in Long Beach also feature over-sized doughnuts; these appear to have been manufactured out of metal duct work.
The iconic Randy's Donuts sign alongside Space Shuttle Endeavour as it is ferried through the streets of Los Angeles on Friday, October 12, 2012.
Actor and comedian Jimmie Walker with brothers Ron and Larry Weintraub
- "LA Conservancy, Randy's Donuts". Retrieved 17 April 2015.
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