Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Knott's, January 1960

A curious crowd gathers to watch Doctor Mal de Mer's Medicine Show in this great photo from January 1960. There must have been a chill in the air judging from all of the overcoats.The Doc appears to have recruited a lovely assistant to sing the praises of his snake oil. In the darkness just to the left of her, you can see an arm holding a banjo, so music was involved at some point. If only a vintage recording of this show survived!    PS.... hats!

A smaller group mills around down in the pit where you could pan for real gold. I'll bet that water was cold! Red jackets were "in" for boys at that time... wonder why? It looks like some fake ice or snow was scattered about for the Christmas season. 

Here's another angle taken at about the same time (looks like some of the same red jackets down there). Maybe the kids were on their Christmas school break; Knott's would be a great place to go to keep them entertained!


TokyoMagic! said...

That snow is interesting. I didn't know they did that. Maybe it's ash from the "real" volcano that was located on the other side of that hill!

K. Martinez said...

Awesome trio of Knott's images you have today! You're mentioning a vintage recording of the Medicine Show reminds me of how the non-Disney theme parks really have no vintage audio recordings or extensive older film footage of their attractions like the Disney parks do.

Nancy said...

Nice pictures today, so clear and pretty!

In the second image I see what seems to be the entrance to the "mine" on the left. Was there more to this area than just the panning for gold and buying the souvenir?

I love the Steak House up on the hill. I can imagine they have good cake in their dessert case! We had a great little amusement park here called West View Park (closed in 1977 :*( and they had the best vanilla cake in their cafeteria. I miss it! Thanks for that memory, Major!

Connie Moreno said...

Great pics! Sadly, I never got to eat in that steak house. Hey, there is somebody on the balcony in pic #1!

Anonymous said...

So nice to have the reverse angle on the Gold Mine. I remember going down there every visit, but have had trouble re-orienting myself as an old man. These two helped a lot.

I have those vintage Disneyland soundtracks, I put them all in a big playlist and play them all day in the office sometimes. Its almost like a trip to Disneyland. Good thing I work alone.

Thank you Major, another little piece of youth restored.


Chiana_Chat said...

Delightful pics Maj. Imported snow works well with imported volcano eh?

Connie - I've eaten the the Steak House. Like most true steak houses it is relatively expensive, but if you like "hearty mid-century American dinners" it was (is?) great. The only problem was I was always going on vacation so I had to choose between it and the Chicken Dinner Restaurant; I chickened out near every time hehe

Chiana_Chat said...

PS Connie the interior of the Steak House was very dark, dark wood etc, with a subdued Old West cattle ranch art motif. Not sure about it in more recent times.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, the volcanic eruption has caused a global winter!

K. Martinez, you are so right, it is a real shame that so much stuff from the past is just gone forever without even a real written description, much less an actual recording. I found a description of the medicine show online, and it sounds like it was pretty fun… but still, no recording.

Nancy, as far as I can remember, the mine to the left was really just a dark tunnel that you could walk through to get to the gold pan area. I vaguely remember my mom asking a nearby Old Prospector if it was scary, because we (as little kids) were afraid to walk into the tunnel.

Connie, I think it was pretty common for people to be out on that balcony back in the old days.

JG, I'm glad you have your bearings at Knott's… I never do, for some reason. And there was a time when I knew that park like the back of my hand.

Chiana, I went to Knott's many MANY times when I was a kid, and yet I don't remember eating at any of the restaurants back in those days. Not even the famous chicken restaurant!

Dave said...

Ahh,my favorite Knott's memory,the medicine man show. Early 70's, my Dad get picks out of the crowd for the baldness cure (Ol Dad had quite the bald spot). The "cure" involved a gorilla mask, and then the gun fighter comes in to break up the shenanigans, "Hey! That's my brother-in-law up there!" (standard line). Well,the gun fighter was my Uncle Leon (at the time a high school math teacher who moonlighted at Knott's as a stuntman). After the show, Leon and Dad are talking with the "medicine man" and Leon says "You're not going to believe this, but Homer really IS my brother-in-law!"
Oh yeah,my dad's name was Homer, and I'm quite glad my folks named me David.