As Paradise falls, so falls Paradise Falls.
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In the western hills of The Capital Wasteland a tall monument can be seen in the distance. The remnants of a commercial shopping center, Paradise Falls is the home of the largest slaver camp in ‘Fallout 3.’ A hulking fast food mascot hovers over the camp’s guard tower and chain-link slave pens, bearing a significant resemblance to a real-world mascot.
The Big Boy restaurant chain began as Bob’s Pantry in Glendale, California in 1936. “Home of the Big Boy Hamburger,” the chain is most recognizable by its trademark chubby boy in a red-and-white checkered pair of overalls holding a double-decker cheeseburger.
The early versions of the statues were huge, measuring up to 14 feet tall. Naturally, the version in ‘Fallout 3’ avoids infringement by eliminating the checkered outfit and replacing the burger with an ice cream cone – that and it stands significantly taller than any of it’s real-world counterparts. At one point in the early concept sketches of Paradise Falls, game designers were interested in having a scaffolding wrapped around the statue with a sniper’s nest atop the sculpture’s head. Time constraints prevented this from becoming a reality.
In recent years, Big Boy statues have come into conflict with local zoning ordinances, and the closing of several locations has seen the dismantling some of the statues. Many of them have been acquired by private individuals, and they appear somewhat regularly on eBay. Smaller versions are still sold today as coin banks and bobbleheads (another theme in ‘Fallout 3’), and vintage Big Boy ash trays, salt & pepper shakers, and wooden counter displays are still floating around out there.
References to the famous Big Boy statue are ubiquitous in popular culture. From Bruce Springsteen lyrics and Austin Powers to The Simpsons (“Lard Lad Donuts”) and elsewhere, the days of Bob’s Big Boy are far from over.
Have a happy holocaust!