Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Knott's Berry Farm in the 80's!

I love looking at photos of Knott's Berry Farm from the 1950's and 1960's, but I really like today's images from the 1980's too! 

This first one is from June 25, 1983. The slide is labeled "Rosemary and Snoopy, KTLA picnic". KTLA is a local station (Channel 5) in Los Angeles. Rosemary looks like a fun gal! Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" characters started roaming the streets of Knott's Berry Farm in the Fall of 1982, while a whole new land ("Camp Snoopy") would open just a month after this picture was taken. Just behind Snoopy is Woodstock.

In the background is the beloved and much-missed "Knott's Bear-y Tales" attraction, designed by former Imagineer Rolly Crump and his staff. I never experienced that ride, much to my dismay.

This next photo is from July 10, 1982; I assume that the man next to the Gold Rush Camp sign is Rosemary's husband, though we don't get his name. Obviously this was another annual KTLA (and radio station KMPC) picnic. I don't know anything about the Gold Rush Camp, is this where Camp Snoopy was built?


Jenn said...

Gold Rush Camp is one of the picnic areas east of Beach. There are two picnic areas that can be seen along the walkway to Independence Hall. Gold Rush Camp is behind them, and can only be seen by walking through the parking lot and peeking through the slats in the fence.

Thanks for sharing Knott's photos! My family spent much more time there when I was a kid than at Disneyland; Knott's photos bring back great memories for me!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, the Gold Rush Camp was/is a picnic area that was built across the street at Knott's Lagoon. Jungle Island would have been just a little to the right of this entrance sign. In the picture, you can see how the walkway slopes downward. Also, to the left of the sign, you can see how there is a raised area with palm trees and in front of them is a sunken area that looks like it was a lake or waterway that has been drained. This is the area where Bud Hurlbut was going to put his "Fur Trapper" boat ride and he got as far as even digging out all of the waterways, but as far as I know, the channels were never filled with water.

When the Roaring 20's was built, the Burro attraction was moved across the street to the Lagoon and the route they followed was through these dry waterways. Some years later, Knott's built the Gold Rush Camp on the far eastern side of this area and to get to it, guests had to walk through a portion of the dug out waterways.

The last time I checked, the Gold Rush Camp was still there, but the dug out channels were filled in and most or all of the original landscaping was gone.

K. Martinez said...

That distinct look and feel that is Knott's is unmistakable. One of the things I love about reading comments here on GDB is the love and enthusiasm for Knott's Berry Farm. So many times I read comments from others sites in the fan community comparing Knott's to Disneyland and bashing it. Not everything has to be like Disneyland and sometimes after the hyped up over produced experience that is Disneyland, a place like Knott's can be refreshing and relaxing. Even though it has changed tremendously through the years, I still love the Farm to this day. There's still Ghost Town, Calico Mine Train, Calico Log Ride, Railroad and Stagecoach to enjoy. Thanks, Major.

MRaymond said...

Comparing Disneyland with Knott's was something we did when I was a kid. I'll admit, I liked Disneyland better but I would never turn down a trip to Knott's. The Log Ride was always the first ride of the day.
As Knott's started turning into Roller Coaster Central, I didn't like it as much since I can't ride many roller coasters, but a trip to Knott's still brings a fun time.

Major Pepperidge said...

Jenn, thank you for the info! Is the Gold Rush Camp now permanently closed? Or is it available for company picnics, kind of like in my photo?

TokyoMagic!, it would have been cool to see those channels, knowing what they were supposed to be at one time. I remember seeing artwork for the Fur Trapper ride in Chris Merritt’s book, it sounds like it would have been very cool and very “Disney”. I want to look at a Google satellite image to see the area as it is today.

K. Martinez, I certainly loved Knott’s when I was a kid… Disneyland was my favorite, but Knott’s was the place we went to the most (I guess it must have been a lot cheaper?). I really want to take my niece and nephew there, but they hear the word “farm” and don’t want to go. I have to convince them that it is a cool place!

MRaymond, Knott’s probably had to add more thrill rides to survive, since roller coasters attracted so many customers, and received a lot of publicity; even Disney felt the pressure to go with more thrills (didn’t Walt originally not want to do coasters?). It’s just the way of things, these days. But, like you, my favorite things about Knott’s are the non-coaster attractions, like the train and the Log Ride.

Chuck said...

Comparing Knott's to Disneyland is like comparing apples to pears. They're both fruit, they both contain the same two vowels, and they're both delicious, but they're very, very different. And I love them both for that.

There are things at Knott's that would be out of place and jarring at Disneyland, like the Scary Farm at Hallowe'en or the brothel in Ghost Town. And a castle or a rocket ship wouldn't fit in well at Knott's. We need them both.

Some companies go out of their way to dominate a market and drive their competitors out of business, daring anyone else to encroach on "their" territory. It's nice to reflect that the two Walters didn't feel that way, and actually cooperated to an extent with things like staggering their off-season, mid-week closures to reduce competition and ensure both businesses could survive, and I am grateful for that.

Patrick Devlin said...

Our annual trips to Disneyland were free (Dad was an MKC director for his company) but once in a while the folks would spring for a trip to Knott's. I have nothing but fond memories of those.

Knott's always had a freer, looser feel to it and I loved the Calico Mine Train (with Pick-happy Amos!) Does anybody remember the "volcano" that was sort of a pinkish concrete cone with volcanic rocks set all over it and a little devil turning a crank in a box? I'm never sure where my old memories stop and fuzziness begins...

Melissa said...

She can call herself "Rosemary" all she wants, but that is plainly one Miss Florence Jean Castleberry, and Snoopy is about to be instructed in the fine art of kissing his own grits.

I've blown up the picture as much as I can, but I can't figure out the print on the fabric of her outfit. Sometimes it looks like a photo of a young girl, but sometimes it looks a bit like Darth Vader.

Chuck said...

Patrick - your memory is correct. That volcano, constructed in 1939, was one of the first themed elements that Walter Knott built, designed to hide a 12-foot-high concrete pipe that was part of the farm's irrigation system and visible from the restaurant's dining room windows. It was removed in 1998 during the construction of the "Ghost Rider" roller coaster.

Nanook said...

I'm with Melissa on this one. "Rosemary", is no more Rosemary than I. Va-Va-Va-Voom-!

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

That is SO funny Melissa, I saw Darth Vader also!!!

There’s not much I can add to all that has been said regarding Gold Rush Camp, except that I did eat there once at my friend Sharon’s company bar-b-que. Like Jenn said it was over by Independence Hall, between it and the Lagoon area.

It was also the perfect rendezvous point for my friend and I when we were having our teenage criminal exploits. The ones I had confessed to all the GDB readers a few months ago (if you recall). It was a very isolated location, kind of hidden way in the back. There was a whole big area back there with the donkey trails, Jungle Island, and whatnot. At nighttime security ignored it all for the most part; they were more concerned with the park itself. It was kind of the perfect hole-in-the-wall type hideout for a couple of rambunctious teenage outlaws.

Nancy said...

I have not been to Knott's Berry Farm and on my next trip to Disneyland I plan to do so, but I have the feeling that most of the things I have seen here that I would like to see are no more :-(

Still, I am looking forward to visiting there someday. :)

Hoping I will meet Snoopy, too!

K. Martinez said...

When I was a kid, a trip to Southern California for our family was a vacation. Disneyland was always the destination and places like Knott's, Magic Mountain and Universal were the side trips. I have way more exposure to Disneyland than Knott's and the others, but I thoroughly enjoyed those side trips.

Patrick, I remember that volcano, but for some reason to my little-kid mind it was weird and disturbing to me.

Melissa, I loved that show. Flo and Vera were great.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

My very oldest memories of that volcano were also very disturbing, especially with that creepy little devil dude hand-cranking that thunder sound effect device.

I’m not sure if that is Flo or not, but I sure have no trouble at all imagining the phrase “kiss my grits” flowing out of that woman every once in a while.

Hey I’ve never heard of the “Fur Trapper Boat Ride” at Knott’s before now. Does anybody know a good link for more info?

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, oh if only there was a brothel in Disneyland. Maybe just a window on Main Street. Near the penny arcade, that seems about right! It really was nice that the two Walters were friendly with each other and respected each other. I love the story of how Knott’s’ attendance soared on Disneyland’s opening day. It was good for everyone!

Patrick Devlin, some of my favorite memories were of visits to Knott’s with my brother and our friends; at the time I felt like we knew every inch of that park, although I have since learned about things that we never saw. I definitely remember the volcano and the little devil!

Melissa, I had to reread your comment, because I thought you were going to say something about Flo kissing Snoopy, which is icky. He has dog germs, you know. You get some sort of prize for knowing Flo’s full name, which I had completely forgotten until seeing it today! I zoomed in on Rosemary’s clothing, and still can’t decipher what the pattern is. It looks like repeated figures wearing patterned costumes - bit it is really hard to tell. If you need an enlargement, let me know and I’ll add one to the post!

Chuck, the volcano was removed, but the magma still sits (under enormous pressure) beneath the park, ready to blow!

Nanook, I think Rosemary looks like a nice girl. She only gets tipsy on pink champagne on New Years Eve!

Monkey Cage Kurt, you and your criminal past! ;-) I actually envy your experiences, sneaking around the park after it closed. What kid wouldn’t want to do that?

Nancy, at least the Ghost Town is still there, and it looks great. There are some old-time things to do, but you’d better like roller coasters if you want to make a full day of it. I hope you go!

K. Martinez, I wonder why the volcano disturbed you; maybe you could sense the little devil turning that crank endlessly. (The devil is one of those awesome details, I wonder if Walter Knott came up with it).

Monkey Cage Kurt, the Fur Trapper Boat Ride first came to my knowledge in Chris Merritt’s book; he shows two neat pieces of concept artwork, but I don’t think that there was much to write about, since the ride was never built. There is also an aerial photo from the early 60’s in which you can clearly see the channels where the boats were supposed to go.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I always assumed the Golden Horseshoe was a brothel.

Regarding the Fur Trapper Boat Ride again: Over by Gold Rush Camp there was a donkey trail ride that had VERY high tree covered berms between VERY serpentine trails. Could this have been the original site for the Fur Trapper Boats?


TokyoMagic! said...

M.C. Kurt, You are correct.....as mentioned in comment #2, the Burro trail followed the path of the dry channels that were intended to be used for the Fur Trapper Boat Ride.

I remember that area so clearly even before the Burros were moved over there because it always looked like it was supposed to have water around it. As a kid, I just assumed that at some point, it had been filled with water. When riding the burros through the channels or even when walking through it to get to the Gold Rush Camp, it always felt like we were going through a "dry" version of Disneyland's Jungle Cruise. I bet Bud Hurlbut's ride would have been awesome if he had ever completed it. Maybe a few more "E" ticket (or in Knott's case, "A" ticket) attractions over in that area would have saved the Lagoon from being bulldozed. :-(

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Thanks TM! That was an awesome explanation. Yes indeed, I also felt that same Jungle Cruise inkling wile my friend and I would walk through there.

You are always an amazing wealth of theme park knowledge TokyoMagic. Thanks again!

So, what do you know about the Golden Horseshoe brothel? I heard it was an E ticket too.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, thanks Monkey Cage Kurt! I don't know anything about the Golden Horseshoe being an E-Ticket brothel....haha! I only went in there once back in the days of the old Revue, but I did take a pic of the show and I kept my reservation ticket from that day: 1981 DL Trip Report

Jenn said...

Back to the themed picnic areas--I've never seen one in use, but I'm not there that much. The Polynesian-themed area that is most visible has stacks of plastic chairs in it, ready for use. I like to imagine that the lack of use means reasonable prices, but I have yet to call in an inquiry about a fake event to find out more. I'd definitely want my fake event to be in the Gold Rush Camp, which has covered wagons in it.