Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Going to Bob's Big Boy in the 1960s, Phoenix, Arizona


I never went to Bob's Big Boy in Phoenix in the 1960s, mostly because I wasn't there, and besides I would have just been a little kid. From what I understand, it was the place to be for young adults, and one of the stops along Central Avenue, where the cars would cruise back and forth, seeing and being seen.

Bob's was at Central Avenue and Thomas, where the Navajo Code Talker Memorial statue is nowadays. And that's really all I know, but that's not gonna stop me from going to Bob's in my imagination! Jump into my '57 Chevy (of course!) and let's go!

I must say that you look lovely tonight. Your hair blowing in the wind makes me think that I'm in some kind of James Dean movie. Are you chewing gum? Can I have some? Thank you! Uh, I meant if you had another stick, but that was nice. Is your lipstick bubble-gum flavored? No? Seemed that way to me!

Who are you waving at? Oh, I see, a carload of your girlfriends. I hope they saw how shiny my car is! Yes, and my hair, too. I visited a friend at a garage and borrowed a gallon of oil, right! You don't mind if I sing along to the radio? She's real fine, my four-oh-nine!

Here we are at Bob's. Are you hungry? I'm having a big burger, and a malt! Just a Pepsi for you? Why? Oh, I see - well, I'm keeping an eye on your figure, too! Of course you can have some of my french fried potatoes!

Watch this - I'll scare that carhop by revving up the engine! Ha! That was funny! Yes, it's supposed to have all that black smoke! I think?

That was delicious, can I borrow a dollar? Thank you! Yes, of course I'll pay you back. What did you call that? Mad money? Hey, where are you going?

Image at the top of this post: Bob's Big Boy in the 1960s, northeast corner of Central Avenue and Thomas. From the Duke University Libraries Digital Collections.

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Giving fruit cake for Christmas in old-time Phoenix


Recently as I was paging through the Phoenix newspaper on the Library of Congress site, my eye was caught by a 1919 ad for the Phoenix Bakery advertising fruit cake, which they called the "Christmas Gift Deluxe". I also noted that they had been in business since 1881. And it got me thinking about fruit cake in general.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I've never tasted fruit cake. It's possible that I did when I was a kid, as I do remember seeing them at my grandma's. She also had wax fruit in a bowl, and I may have tasted those, too. If so, I can't imagine that they tasted very different. And I really am wondering now if fruit cake, which is such a running joke nowadays, since as the ad says it "will keep indefinitely" if maybe when they were made in 1919, or 1881, they tasted good back then. Or at least to the people in old-time Phoenix? And so I'm imagining myself in those days.

I really have no idea how unusual it would have been for an ordinary person like me to eat something like a fruit cake in old-time Phoenix. Maybe it was a big deal, maybe people ate them all of the time, I don't know. Based on the ad, it sounds like since it was the "Christmas Gift Deluxe" it wasn't something people ate every day. If your family ate fruit cake every day in old-time Phoenix, please let me know!

By the way, I calculated the fruit cake that "kept indefinitely" if it were made then it would be over 100 years old. It might have kept, but I wouldn't want to taste it! You can have my slice, I'll just have another cup of coffee.

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