Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Random Souvenirs from Buena Park, CA

Somehow, little Buena Park in Orange County, CA, became the city where you should build your amusement park. Unless you were Disneyland, in which case you built it practically next door. 

Anyway, I love me some vintage souvenirs, sometimes the cheesier the better! Like this "bullet pencil" from the California Alligator Farm (across the street from Knott's Berry Farm). Bullet pencils were a popular souvenir for many years, I have one from the 1933 World's Fair. The colors and graphics on this tiny item are part of what makes it so fun.

I generally don't collect decorative charms, the kind you might hang on a bracelet or necklace. But I like this one! Shaped like the state of California, it has a generic design enameled (real glass enamel, not plastic!) on one side. I've seen this same charm with only the one design, the other side being blank. But this one has a second design, for the Japanese Village and Deer Park. Souvenirs for this little park are uncommon.

Knott's Berry Farm had a number of flesh and blood characters that inhabited the Ghost Town, but Sad Eye Joe in the local jail was something of a mascot for the park in the earlier years. When you peeked into his cell, Joe would speak directly to you... as a kid I was sure there was somebody hiding in the room that we couldn't see (turns out it was done with mirrors and microphones). Anyway, I love this little souvenir charm because of Joe's frowning visage.

And finally, here's one more Knott's souvenir featuring "Whittles", a friendly prospector who first appeared in Knott's print material around 1960. Eventually he showed up on a few souvenirs, and was even a "walk-around" character for a while. I think this bank is pretty great!


K. Martinez said...

I love old souvenirs based on the Knott's characters like Sad Eye Joe and the Prospector. Does anyone know if they ever sold souvenirs based on the Boysen Bear-y and Girlsen Bear-y characters from Knott's Bear-y Tales era?

Anonymous said...

I'm envious Major - those are neat collectibles.

How cool would it be if the Alligator Farm pencil had big incisor tooth dents all around the piece, like a 'gator had been chewing on it?

Bill in Denver

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I have not seen any Knott's Beary Tales souvenirs, but some MUST exist.

Bill, that would be cool, although I used to chew my pencils until they looked like an alligator had been at them anyway.

Douglas McEwan said...

I visited the Aligator Farm once. It was fascinating to see those beasties up so close.