Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Those who recall my post on Santa Anita's Yummy Donuts may think I am a bit obsessed with the scrumptious little circular treats. Actually, I couldn't resist snapping a photo of the giant donut as I headed along Century Boulevard on my way to the track last weekend.
Kindle’s was the first location in a chain of ten Big Donut Drive-Ins built in Los Angeles in the early 1950s by donut machine salesman Russell C. Wendell. Sitting atop the building and visible for blocks is a 32-foot donut made of rolled steel bars and gunnite.
It’s a wonderful example of the architectural movement of the period known as “programmatic” architecture – including restaurants designed around larger-than-life representations of the food they sold. Other examples include the giant hot dog of the Tail O’ the Pup, and the famous Brown Derby restaurant built in the shape of an enormous hat. Southern California boasted a good number of examples of programmatic style architecture, thanks to its burgeoning car culture and concentration of movie and television studios in the mid-20th Century.
Early advertisements for the Big Donut Drive-Ins announced “You don’t have to get out of your car!” Motorists could simply drive through and grab a cup of coffee and their choice of glazed, jelly, twist, or old fashion cake donuts. Sounds like the perfect stop on the way to the morning workouts!