Harold Dobbs
Class of 1942

Co-Founder, Mel’s Drive-In

San Francisco, CA

Mel’s Drive-In was the first drive-in restaurant in San Francisco. Harold Dobbs and his partner turned Mel’s into a successful chain with locations across Northern California. Mel’s became an icon of mid-century American culture when it was memorialized in George Lucas’s 1973 film American Graffiti.

Harold Dobbs also owned several bowling alleys throughout the Bay Area and a chain of movie theaters in Hong Kong, and he was the founder of two additional restaurant chains called “King’s” and “The Red Roof.”

After graduating law school, Dobbs was hired by the law firm Lillick, Geary, Olson, Adams, & Charles, becoming the firm’s first Jewish lawyer and first Hastings graduate. He remained there until 1956, when he left to establish his own firm with William Ferdon, called Dobbs & Ferdon. After the death of Ferdon, the firm became Dobbs & Doty, then Dobbs & Nielsen, and eventually Dobbs, Berger, Molinari, Vannelli, Nadel & Links.

UC Hastings Activities

Board of Directors (20+ years)

President (6 years)

Alumnus of the Year, 1983


“100 Young Leaders of Tomorrow”, Time Magazine (1952)