Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Knott's Pitchur Gallery

Here are two more "fun photos" from Knott's Berry Farm's "Pitchur Gallery"! I'm always looking for more examples of scenes that I don't have, but it's been a while since I've found any unique versions.

First up is this happy picture. I've never seen another one like it. It's a bit larger than most Pitchur Gallery prints, and it doesn't have the usual rubber stamp on the back indicating that it is from Knott's, and listing prices for additional copies. Maybe it isn't from the Berry Farm at all, but somebody wrote "Barbara and Benny, Knott's, 1962" on the back, so I am taking them at their word. Sort of. Benny is tickling the ivories of that upright piano ("Tom Dooley"), while Barbara is... well, I'm not sure what exactly she is doing. I guess she's real proud of her stockings.

From the 1950's comes this picture of an adorable girl on the back of a horse that looks like it might be from an old merry-go-round. She and her horse have been riding through the vast desert, traveling mostly at night to avoid the scorching heat, and resting by day under creosote bushes. Her name is written on the back, but it's hard to read, it looks like "Berge". Is that a name?! Maybe she's from France or somethin'.

Stay tuned for more photos from Knott's Berry Farm's Pitchur Gallery.

Warren Nielsen found his vial of Knott's gold! I'll share them all. Send them to meeeeee!


TokyoMagic! said...

The overflowing beer mug is going to leave a mark on that piano!


That first portrait gallery vignette doesn’t seem to have the same painting quality that other Knott’s vignettes tend to have . It makes me doubt it’s really of Knott’s Berry Farm /Place origin but you never know!

I remember my first vile of Knott’s Berry Farm gold!! It was in a bag that my grandma put in her purse - every like 20 minutes I wanted her to take it out of the bag so I could check on it and make sure the gold was still in the vile. At the time I thought it was incredibly valuable!!!! The other thing is I can DISTINCTLY recall overhearing my older uncles talking to the employee helping me Gold Pan and telling my uncles that it was REAL gold brought to Knott’s from Alaska . I was too young to know what Alaska really was , but figured it must be just up the hill where the water flume was coming from.

P.I. said...

I really miss these simple but fun photo opportunities. I also miss photo booths, which you could find at many theme parks and malls.

Does Knott's still have these types of photo ops? Also, does Knott's still sell vials?

FYI - When I was a kid, I thought Don Knotts owned Knott's Berry Farm.

c said...

Congratulations on finding your vial, Warren! Haven't seen mine for decades.

I remember two different bottle cap styles. Our older ones were metal, while the newer ones were plastic. Those came from trips in 1975 and 1976, so the transition must have happened during that time unless they just used different suppliers at different times. I also think that one of the metal ones had a black cap while the other had a white one.

The water eventually evaporated out of ours, too. Either that or the gold absorbed it like a sponge.

Chuck said...

"c" is for "Chuck." It's also for "cookie," and that's good enough for me.

Andrew said...

Only slightly related - I remember singing "Tom Dooley" in music class. It's a pretty memorable (sad) song.

I like that vial, Warren. Maybe if I look hard enough around my house I'll find one.


Andrew: that’s an interesting point about the piano’s sheet music : Tom Dooley .... the song has origins to the 1860’s .... but in the early 1960’s - the date of that picture the Kingston Trio’s 1958 rendition would have still been very very popular. Even Disneyland’s own “Kingston Trio”, THE YACHTSMEN recorded their version of Tom Dooley. When I was in kindergarten my teacher had us sing songs by The Kingston Trio , Peter, Paul and Mary ..... etc..... all kinda deep themed songs for four and five year olds.....but I don’t think we had any understanding of what we were really singing about ....

Stu29573 said...

On my one trip to Knott's in 1973, I know I MUST have panned for gold, but if so, the gold (and memory of the experience) are long gone. All I remember from Knott's is Independence Hall and the Brady Kids in concert.
Mike, I remember singing "Black and White" by Three Dog Night and "Close to You" by the Carpenters in 4th grade. I guess those music teachers were hipper than we thought.

Chuck said...

Mike & Stu, I grew up listening to the Kingston Trio, the Brothers Four, Peter, Paul & Mary, Pete Seeger, etc., and I remember singing a lot of their music in school and Sunday school. Still enjoy it today.

I loaned my copy of Carpenters: the Singles 1969-73 (my first pop album) to our school music teacher when I was in first grade (1975-76) so we could sing "Sing." My mom had to go with me to the school to get it back. It came back with a scratch on it.

DrGoat said...

Mike & Chuck, Peter, Paul and Mary were the local favorite in our house.
I actually met Pete Seeger when I was 5 or 6, but I have no memory of it. There was a semi-local folk singer here in Tucson by the name of Clyde Appleton. Evidently, they had some sort of folk singing hootenanny up at my uncle's house and all us kids were there. Pete Seeger showed up so it must have been a real wingding. Sure wish I could remember it. I remember the music but nothing else. My sister remembers it as being a really good time, with lots of laughing. Funny the things you remember.
Lost my vial of gold dust a very long time ago. Shucks.
Chuck, a scratch happened every time I loaned an album out back then. I never could understand why other people didn't take care of their albums like you did. Okay, I scratched a few myself. Put a divot in my Steppenwolf album that completely took out side B.
Thanks Major, fun Knott's (or not) pics.

zach said...

I was impressed that the 'hole' the girl on the horse had her head through was hard to see. I eventually figured it out. Again, I've got that 'where is she today' feeling.

Did anyone else hold their breath when using these gallery photo ops? It creeped me out a little as a kid. I would never do it today with all that's going on.

My vile is gone too, waiting for someone else to strike gold!

Thanks Major


Warren Nielsen said...

Chuck and Major,

Yeah, the water vanished years ago. It's too bad that it wasn't absorbed by the gold. Seems like that would have made those flakes bigger. And us richer! (But it's really the memories that these little vials evoke that make us rich)

The name Berge rings a bell with me major. My parents had a friend who they referred to as Berge. I really don't know if that was her full name or if it was a shortened version of something else, like Liz for Elizabeth. Listening to them talk was a kick, as the conversation would flow from English to Swedish and back again without a pause.

RE: the Brothers Four. They got their start while attending the U of Washington in the late 50s. I had a music/english teacher in grade school who was so proud of them, because she had taught at least a couple of them when they were younger. Miss DelMonica DelDuca, Whittier Elementary, Seattle. Weird how some names just stick in the brain for so long.

Thanks Major.


zach said...

Warren, ever heard of folk singers Reilly and Maloney? They started in Seattle in the 70s or so. I grew up on folk music in the 50s and sixties. (I did NOT complain, though, when Dylan picked up the electric guitar)

My wife introduced me to them. They are on our traveling mix-tape.


Anonymous said...

These photo op places sure must have been popular.

My Dad had a photo of Mom on a stuffed horse, much like photo 2. He carried it in his wallet all his life, I still have it. She would have never gone near a real horse, I'm sure.

Warren, thank you for sharing your gold stash, so glad you still have it. You are right, the value is in the memories. If memories were real gold, GDB would move the market.

Thank you Major and everyone.


"Lou and Sue" said...

JG, I agree!!!!


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, Benny is a real son of a bi***!!

Mike Cozart, I agree that this doesn’t look like the typical Pitchur Gallery image, but I wonder if this could be at Knott’s, but NOT the Pitchur Gallery? Disneyland had several “fun photo” spots around the park over the years, including the Art Corner, the Main Street Gallery, the Opera House, and those setups near the Red Wagon Inn. Perhaps Knott’s had a different setup that only lasted a brief while. I’m sure that I was like you and was convinced that my molecules of gold were worth a fortune - I do remember buying a bag of dirt “salted” with gold dust at Calico (out in the desert), and bringing it home to pan in a metal tub in the backyard. There was one particularly long nugget, which I promptly dropped in the grass, losing it forever!

P.I., it’s funny, you could sometimes even see those old photo booths at shopping malls. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen one, now. I’m sure if such a thing exists at all, the whole thing is digital now. I don’t believe that Knott’s has a Pitchur Gallery anymore, though as you’ll see in a future post, they sometimes put setups around the park for special events. (Are you saying Don Knott’s doesn’t own Knott’s Berry Farm?).

c, I wonder where all of the lost vials of Knott’s gold go? Some magical place I hope. I actually have three or four different bottles, shorter ones, longer ones, plastic bottle with metal cap, glass bottle with plastic cap (!), and even a very old one that has a tiny cork in it. Collect ‘em all! Gold is valued for its water-absorbing qualities.

Chuck, cookie cookie cookie start with “C”.

Andrew, my dad listened to the Kingston Trio, who did their hit version of “Tom Dooley”, I can hear it vividly in my mind right now! I hope you find lots of vials full of good in your house.

Mike Cozart, you’re right, 1962 would have been right about when the Kingston Trio’s version of “Tom Dooley” was a hit. Little did they know that the Beatles were going to be on Ed Sullivan in just a couple of years, and then everything would change forever. My music class was taught by a guitar-strumming hippie, we sang “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore”, “Kumbaya”, “Puff the Magic Dragon”, and other folksy classics. I’ve mentioned it before, but this music teacher told our class about how some of the effects were done in the brand-new Haunted Mansion, I think it is one of the reasons I became so interested in Disneyland!

Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, aw, bummer that you have forgotten your gold-panning experience. I would think it would be something that would “stick”, since it was a sensory thing… the cold of the water in the trough, the weight of the pan, the hope that you did it right…! We didn’t sing “Black and White”, but we did sing “Joy To The World”. Not sure we did any Carpenters music.

Chuck, my dad liked all that stuff. Also the Chad Mitchell Trio. Never loan records to people, they don’t respect them!

DrGoat, wow, your uncle had a genuine folk hootenanny, what a guy! Pete Seeger is a legend, and I believe he lived to a ripe old age. Clyde Appleton, whatever happened to him? I wonder if he went psychedelic when that became the thing? My younger brother borrowed my copy of the famous Haunted Mansion story album to take to his friend’s house one Halloween, and I never saw it again. So I got another one, and my brother borrowed that one (without asking of course) the next year - he lost that one too.

zach, I would guess that the photo of the girl is probably from the mid-1950s, so it’s possible that she is still on this Earth, but the fact that this photo wound up on eBay doesn’t bode well. Why did you hold your breath? The experience appears to be pretty low-stress! Knowing me, I would have been nervous, though.

Warren Nielsen, I think that most of those vials didn’t have their water for very long. It definitely magnified the gold inside for a few weeks at least, very sneaky. “Berge” is a new one on me, I guess I could have Googled it to see if it popped up as a girl’s name. But that requires effort. I’m not familiar with The Brothers Four right off the bat, though I may have heard them at some point.

zach, my Mom and Dad listened to lots of different stuff, so I feel lucky. The Beatles (my Mom loved “Sgt. Pepper”, the Dukes of Dixieland, Andy Williams, Carpenters, Beach Boys, and we had boxes full of 45rpm singles featuring all kinds of radio hits. Tony Orlando and Dawn! Helen Reddy! Paper Lace! Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods! So much fun at the time.

JG, the only thing we have like this is a photo of my Grandma and Grandpa at some place in San Francisco in the 1940s. The “fun photo” makes it look like my Grandpa has lifted my Grandmother’s skirt for a gander at her legs! Pretty saucy for that era.

Lou and Sue, I was wondering where you were.

Nanook said...

As Mike Cozart pointed out, 1958 was the year Tom Dooley was a #1 hit for the Kingston Trio. I would suspect the song's continued popularity into the 1960's was of the renewed interest in folk music on the Pop Charts, due in no small part to Peter, Paul & Mary - and their first Top 10 Hit, If I Had a Hammer (a Lee Hays/Pete Seeger song). Then, the Kingston Trio's own popularity in 1963, with Greenback Dollar and the Reverend Mr. Black, assured airplay of former hits from them.

Kathy! said...

Oh boy, Knott’s Pitchurs! A new collecting hobby of mine thanks to you, Major. I can say that the first one is from the Pitchur Gallery because I have one of the same scene with the back stamp. I can send you a scan if you’d like. I also have decided to collect the bucking bronco one with different horse, umm, hides on the same mount (sorry to be gruesome, I know of 3 different horse patterns/colors!)


For any of you making a list of the Knott’s Gold Panning vial variants I had the following :
1) short plastic bottle , white metal cap , white label with gold printing ( 1972/73)
2) long plastic bottle, black plastic cap , white label with black printing ( 1976/77)

In the early 80’s my family went on vacation through the California Gold Country .....that trip remains one of my most favorite and I’ve been to many parts of the world. We went real gold panning ...... my sister and I were so excited ... it was 101 degrees out , you could smell the pine trees in the heat of the dry air .... and we ran to the creek with our pans .... the water was ICE COLD FREEZING!!!!!! We expected the water to be refreshing but is was almost impossible to stand in the Sierra Nevada run off for more than a few minutes!!How on earth did the real miners stand it!???

MAJOR: I got a bag of ore also salted with gold from CALICO GHOST TOWN in San Yermo around 1974-1975. I thought for sure MY souvenir sack held the big mother load gold nugget inside!! And I never questioned why Calico , California’s biggest SILVER camp ... had bags of gold ore to the tons!! Lol!
That makes me think of one of my most favorite Disney movies; SNOWBALL EXPRESS (1972) as the family drives to the near ghost town of SILVER HILL, Colorado they pass the towns population sign :

Now entering the town of SILVER HILL

Disney fans can spot in the movie Captain Nemos triple back parlor couch from the Nautalis in the lobby of the abandoned Grand Imperial Hotel , And the hotel’s entry doors are reused from the Biddel Mansion’s doors from The Happiest Millionaire!!!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Kathy, you and the Major are probably bidding against each other for the same pitchurs! ;)

"Lou and Sue" said...

...on Ebay, that is.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I didn’t bother to look “Tom Dooley” up, but 1962 sounded like it was in the ballpark so to speak. I wonder when the folk craze died out? Was it when Dylan went electric? Just wondering out loud, not expecting you to look it up for me!

Kathy!, awesome, thank you for the confirmation on that first photo! No need to send a scan, I definitely believe you. Wonder why mine didn’t get the usual stamp? The bucking bronco is a good one, I have maybe two of those. TokyoMagic! mentioned that the horse had to be replaced periodically, interesting that you actually have evidence of 3 different versions.

Mike Cozart, I am ashamed to admit that in my mania to combine several bottles’ worth of gold, I lost several different vials. I might have even (gasp) thrown them away! I do have a little plastic bag with several different vials, but they’re in a drawer at my mom’s house, so I can’t give a rundown of the differences. My mom had two big copper pans that we used to try to find gold, but never got so much as a flake. And YES, the water was always freezing! That snow melt right from the mountains, I guess. Chances are that all of the riverbed that we stood on had been mined using hydraulic mining techniques 100 years earlier, they got it all. Even today I can see myself dropping my Calico gold nugget (thin and maybe 1/4” long in my memory) into the grass, and frantically trying to find it. My mom came out to help, but it vanished into the thick lawn. I’ve never seen Snowball Express! One of many Disney films from around that time that eluded me somehow. Interesting that Captain Nemo’s furniture shows up in that hotel!

Lou and Sue, it could happen, though I am not bidding on any more of the bucking broncos at least. You should see the competition for good Disneyland slides lately, there must be new “players” in the mix, anything unusual or interesting goes for more than I am willing to pay.

Kathy! said...

You may be right, Sue! :) I'm most on the hunt for the ones with the knitting cats and Sad-Eye Joe.