Did some researching on the RT style and found this article on Bill Larson here: http://www.pizzamarketplace.com/article/107010/Bill-Larson-founder-of-Round-Table-Pizza-dead-at-73
Which states Mr. Larson learned the style from a pizza place in San Mateo. I later found another obituary in which the place was named "Hambones" in Santa Monica, see:http://www.almanacnews.com/morgue/2000/2000_01_26.pizza.html
Even more searching I found this: http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/history/hillsdale-high-school.htm
Which is someone's recollection of a place called "Hambones" in San Mateo. The description sounds a lot like Shakeys with someone playing piano jazz music. Anyway, either Hambones was a chain and they were in San Mateo and Santa Monica or the almanacnews article has the location incorrect. At any rate, according to that person's recollection the pizza place was in the villa hotel, which was demolished and turned into a retirement apartment living place. http://www.rent.com/rentals/california/san-jose-south-bay-and-peninsula/san-mateo/the-villa-at-san-mateo/677887/
Interestingly, the description mentions that the villa hotel was frequented by Hollywood movie stars. So there is perhaps a link to Santa Monica. I looked at the obituaries for Mr. Johnson AKA Shakey himself and could not find any direct history to Bill Larson. I think the link lies with this parlor called Hambones, but that is way before my time and I don't know the history of this place. Anyone?
This all happened well before Straw Hat hit the scene, Bill Larson learned the style from Hambones probably sometime in the late 50's. (Shakey's was already well on it's way).
Then there is this little bit - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsula_Banjo_Band
of which I am sure Shakey was a big supporter. This group played at Shakey's and Straw Hat. Making these two restaurants probably more linked to each other than RT. Not only did RT have it's own theme, but it's beginnings seem coincidence. I could not find any information on who started Straw Hat, but it shared almost the identical theme with Shakeys but with a more modern twist.
I can see why Shakey chose franchising the brand quickly. It seems everyone was ripping off the style with their own theme. He seemed to put a lot of emphasis on the atmosphere and the experience at the restaurant, not just the taste of the pizza. As for the style itself, this obituary for Mr. Johnson: http://groups.google.com/group/ba.food/msg/a27c389a592c9096
states "They later added pizza, using a recipe Mr. Johnson knew from his childhood, some of which he spent serving as a recipe interpreter between Italian housewives and his mother, who was Swedish"
Clearly the founder of this style and a visionary that created an industry.