Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Special Guest Post! Knott's Berry Farm

Today I am proud to present some fun vintage Knott's Berry Farm snapshots, generously contributed to GDB by Scott Heinz. You may know him better as commenter "Alonzo P. Hawk"! These photos date from sometime around the nation's Bicentennial.  The photos were printed on that textured paper that was popular for a while, and there was some fading, so I have done a small amount of Photoshop stuff to spiff them up a bit.

This first one shows a young Scott (with his Bicentennial visor!) and his father posing with the lovely Marilyn and Cecilia. Scott is getting pretty fresh with Marilyn, but she's seen it all. His dad seems pretty amused. "That's my boy!". It looks like one of the stage coaches is next to them, parked for photo ops.

I liked to get a nice cup of ice-cold boysenberry juice when I was at Knott's, but Scott was not so particular! Never mind that the sign says "Not For People". Did water flow into the trough all the time, or was it flowing because Scott's hand is on the pump handle?

I love this photo! The Calico Mine Train is still one of the most beloved attractions at Knott's (and has happily received a recent refurbishment). Doesn't it look impressive here? Folks are waving from that ore car, but I can't tell if it is Scott and family.

Scott's parents give their feet a rest; I think they are on the porch of Judge Roy Bean's courthouse. Scott was probably inside awaiting his sentencing. (He was later found guilty!).

These next two are great, featuring the attraction known as Henry's Auto Livery, which was at the park from 1962 to 1978. I believe this ride was one of Bud Hurlbut's babies; note that the vehicles did not use guide rails, but instead had "bumper railings" on the sides. Looks like fun!

Scott tries his hand at driving one of the little cars; notice that at some points the ride paralleled actual busy streets (not sure if that is Beach Boulevard in the background? Or La Palma?), which is kind of cool. I know that my nephew would have loved this ride.

MANY THANKS to Scott Heinz for generously sharing these great photos! This was "part one" of Scott's Knott's photos, so stay tuned for more.


TokyoMagic! said...

That open door next to Marilyn and Cecila belongs to the popcorn wagon that used to be parked next to them.

You had to pump the handle up and down on that water pump to get the water flowing.

Scott's parents are actually sitting on the front porch of the Gold Trails Hotel. We can just see a sliver of the Covered Wagon Show sign in the upper right hand corner. That wisteria covered arbor/path in the distance led to Fiesta Village (this is before Reflection Lake was extended over to Camp Snoopy).

That's Beach Blvd. alongside Henry's Auto Livery in both pics. We can see Independence Hall hiding behind the trees in that first Livery pic.

Great Knott's pics today! Thanks for sharing these with us, Scott (and Major for posting them!)

TokyoMagic! said...

I'm still loving....and analyzing the Livery pics. Did the cars have names? I don't really remember that, but it looks like each one has a name painted on the metal covering over the engines.

Chuck said...

What a wonderful set today! They bring back some great memories of the era of my first visits to Knott's.

I never rode Henry's Auto Livery, but they're charming. I also love the use of an actual stop sign in the attraction to signal riders to stop. I wonder how often that got ignored?

Thanks so much for sharing these, Scott!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

If I got my way we parked near Henry's Auto Livery and it was our first ride of the day. Unique as it was outside the actual park (alongside Beach Bl). Separate tickets too I think.

@TokyoMagic, good eye the cars did each have names yet I could never remember what they were.

Great job on the textured finish of the photos Major! Or should I say Mr. Wizard.

K. Martinez said...

I love it when GDB readers share their photographed memories. The Auto Livery images are great. One of the distinguished features I love about Knott's Berry Farm is that many of the attractions were and are built practically right up to the sidewalks and streets of Buena Park with only the slatted chain-link fencing separating fantasy and reality.

I love your bicentennial visor. I also had one exactly like that around the same time these photos were taken. I even remember wearing it to Disneyland and Knott's. Thanks for sharing your memories, Scott. And thank you for posting them, Major.

Unknown said...

Oh, man, thanks Alonzo!

I have such cherished memories of Henry's Auto Livery and yet I've never seen a picture in years or maybe ever. I loved these cars more than Autopia because the freedom allowed by the guide system was so much more free.

And it looks the cars's names are "Katie" and "Rosie".

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I grew up in Buena Park, not too far from Knott’s. If you recall Major, my name “Monkey Cage” derives from an old Knott’s post you had up. I remember those old cars very well. On rare Sunday mornings mom and dad would drag us kids off kicking and screaming to Saint Pius Church, which was just down Beach Boulevard from Knott’s off Orangethorpe. Our reward for sitting quietly and relatively squirmless was breakfast at the Sambo’s right across the street from those cars. All through breakfast I was always stretching my little neck to see them from the window of the restaurant. Now if I recall, that Sambo’s was on the corner of Beach Blvd and Crescent Ave

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, nobody knows more about Knott's than you! Thanks for the additional (and correct) info.

TokyoMagic!, it kills me that I never rode Henry's Livery, especially since I went to the park so much when it was there. I'm not sure I was even aware of it.

Chuck, I wonder if that stop sign is part of the ride? You'd think that the little cars would all go around in the same direction… maybe the sign is for other vehicles?

Alonzo, I probably could have spent more time monkeying with the color, but in a way, the funky colors are part of what I like about these!

K. Martinez, I love it too! It would have been fun to ride an old-fashioned miniature flivver right alongside the real cars that were just yards away. That being said, I wish the train didn't run alongside plywood walls for so much of its length.

Patrick Devlin, you can find photos of Henry's Livery, but they are surprisingly scarce considering how long the ride was there.

Monkey Cage Kurt, your story about being dragged to church rings a bell! After church, my mom and dad would take us to Dunkin' Donuts to get one donut (chocolate cream filled!), and then we could go to the newsstand next door and get one comic book (I got a lot of MAD magazines)! Sambo's… my grandparents used to take us to one, and I always got the pancakes. In my memory they were the best!

Nanook said...

@ Scott-

Yes - thanks so much for sharing your Knott's memories. I do have to say, though, your parents look far too comfortable sitting there at the hotel's porch. Ahhhh, the good life.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I can think of MANY people that know more about Knott's than me, but thanks for the compliment!

That stop sign was actually at the end of the ride. You were supposed to stop there and wait for the attendant to come and get you. In that last pic, Scott is just starting out at the beginning of the route. We can see the attendant behind him that probably just checked his seat belt, etc. Also, that barn looking structure in the background is where they stored the cars and where you bought your tickets. You could also use a "B" ticket from the Knott's ticket books. To see what that ticket looked like, check out Vintage DL Tickets blog here: Knott's Ticket. Henry's Auto Livery is listed at the very bottom of the ticket along with Independence Hall and the Burros which had been moved over to the Lagoon area.

M.K. Kurt, I've posted a pic of the Sambo's on the corner, also a pic of what that corner looks like today, as well as a pic of the corner where Henry's Auto Livery used to sit. The post is here: Henry's Auto Livery. It's a very long post, but you can scroll down to the last four photos to see both street corners. There is also a vintage pic of my brother riding in one of the Livery cars.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

SAMBO’S PANCAKES!!! YES INDEED, they were the BEST!!! I almost mentioned them, but felt my post was getting a bit wordy as it was.

Church for a MAD mag. Not too bad a tradeoff. Almost as good as Sambo’s pancakes.

Thanks Alonzo, thanks Major. Lots of OLD memories unlocked today.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Hey Thanks TokyoMagic. I’ve visited that blog before but never knew you were the Blog Master. It’s a great site! You have some really great shots of some of those little hidden treasures nestled in the nooks and crannies of the old Knott’s shopping area. My sisters worked there back in those days also. I have a LOT of memories from that part of the park. Not often having the money to enter the park, a lot of my neighborhood friends and I would go there just to hang out.

Speaking of which, did you ever hear a story of a couple of teens who one night took a couple hundred dollars worth of coins out of the Log Ride waterfall pond? It was around 1981. Well, that was me and my friend Mark. Now don’t go calling the authorities, we already paid our debt to society: one full year of not being able to step foot onto Knott’s property. I was never really a bad kid, just had a particularly mischievous nature.

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks, M.K. Kurt! No, I never heard that story about the coins! I was hired in March of 1982, so that would have been just before I got there. I do remember some neighborhood kids blowing up the miner and burro statues out at the corner of Beach and La Palma. They were both missing for a while after that. And I remember that some teens used to climb over the fence near the Volcano and would be able to get into the park that way.....if they weren't caught by security.

When I was kid, we didn't always go into the park either. There were many occasions where we just hung around the Lagoon for the attractions over there, and then we would cross under the street to ride the Cable Cars and Henry's Auto Livery.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

It was December 1981. If you recall the park would shutdown at about 6PM, but would open the gates to the public so that people could do some Christmas shopping inside the park. We would get into all kinds of mischief. More than once we walked all the way through the flumes of the Log Ride at night. We never vandalized anything though, that just seem disrespectful to us.

I guess all those Christmases and Easters spent at Saint Pius never paid off the way mom and dad would’ve liked for them to, but I do have the Lord in my heart now, and He just doesn’t seem to think I need adventures like that anymore.

My old friend Mark lives on the East Coast, and I now live in Oregon, we both pine for that warm Sothern California sun and what we refer to as “the old Knott’s days”. Blogs like yours and the Major’s help me to relive those days, without getting into truble.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, ha ha, as I get older, I definitely think that the "sitting and relaxing" photos look pretty darn appealing!

TokyoMagic!, well, I've never met anyone who knows more. Maybe Chris Merritt? Who knows. So the Livery didn't go around in a loop? I'm kind of surprised. Scott sent some scans of some Knott's ticket books (for a future post), but I don't think we can see any of the individual tickets in the books. I know I saw your post about Henry's Auto Livery, but it was great to see it again!

Monkey Cage Kurt, I also remember my brother dipping his french fries in A-1 steak sauce, which I thought was awesome, and I always associate A-1 with Sambo's now.

Monkey Cage Kurt again, sounds like you have some really wonderful memories of Knott's. The coin thing is hilarious. I was just at the Getty Center, and they have a pond that must have hundreds of dollars in coins in it. I admit thinking it would be cool to sneak in and scoop up a bunch! Was it Knott's that didn't allow you in for a year, or your parents?

TokyoMagic!, sneaking into Knott's and Disneyland was always a fantasy for me. "Man, I could climb that fence! And who would even notice?". I'm sure I've mentioned how my mom would drop my and my siblings (and usually a few friends) off at Knott's, and we would have free reign for hours. It was awesome, and I felt like I knew every bit of the park. But I obviously missed Henry's Livery, somehow.

Monkey Cage Kurt, wow, walking through the Log Ride flumes sounds awesome. Almost as awesome as my wish that I could scuba dive through the Submarine Voyage! I'm glad that GDB has brought you some recollections of happy times.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Does every kid fantasize about swimming through the Submarine Voyage? I use to do that too. It was always me and Kelly Parsons from the New Mickey Mouse Club. She was my main squeeze back then.

Knott’s kicked us out for the year. In all actuality, we only “got away with” $176 dollars, a lot of coin for a couple of teenage goobers. Knott’s security said if it went over $200 and one penny they’d have to call the Buena Park Police, and we’d be going straight to jail. But fate was on our side that night, at one point I spilled half a tube-sock of our booty in the bushes. Mark started to scoop it back up into the sock, but I told him just to leave it. It was all covered in dirt, and I remember saying to him “…and besides, let’s not be greedy”. If I had not spilled that half a sock out, we’d have more than just a fun story to tell. And my friend was 18 years old and out of high school, I was only 16 at the time. There are SO MANY details I have to leave out, all of which are off the charts funny.

Incidentally, Knott’s security never even called our parents. I told my dad about it a few years later, he remarked “I didn’t raise you that way”.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, M.K. Kurt! You would "walk" the flume through the entire Log Ride? Too cool! I always had a fantasy about "riding through" it without a log. And this was in the days before water parks. I know they turn off the water in the flume when it's did you slide down the two "drops" in the flume or did you find alternate ways down?

By the way, I remember the Monkey Cage at Knott's!

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

TokyoMagic, I should restate, we walked through most of it via the flumes. It was flippin dark inside that thing, no lights at all. Although we were using their own flashlight labeled “emergency use” (which we always put back in its place BTW), we still had to be VERY careful. We did not take goofy risks like sliding down the drops or whatnot. There were a lot of passageways and stairs throughout the structure, we transverse between them and the flumes quite a bit. I seem to recall that although the flumes were emptied of water, they were not entirely devoid of water. There were still extensive areas where large puddles of water made it undesirable to walk through. At those points we had to get out and find other ways around. Also, to avoid detection, we avoided walking in the exterior flumes (for the most part that is). I will say over all the entire backstage structure of the ride is not much to look at, just a bunch of two by fours and chicken wire really.

We did a lot of other things on those nights also. Climbed all over the Wacky Soapbox Racer ride, walked through the train cars as well as hanging out in the engineers cab of the locomotive (it was warm in there). We also tried to get into the Calico Mine Ride, but it had doors on the entrances with padlocks, and like I said before, we really didn’t want to vandalize anything.

The entire time the park was broadcasting instrumental versions of Christmas songs on a PA system. While we were raking up the coins that one night, I was (as softly as I could) singing along “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” to my friend Mark. it was way too funny.

Overall, it was very fun, being in Knott’s without having to pay, the excitement of being somewhere you weren’t supposed to be, worrying about being caught, the adrenaline rush and all. It was definitely a way to experience Knott’s like few ever had before. But providence was watching over us, and in the end getting caught was the best thing for us. We were getting WAY out of hand, and getting caught put an end to my life of crime, and with very few consequences. I hate to think where I’d be today if we had gotten away with it.

TommyTsunami said...

Here's a short clip from one of my 8mm
movies showing the famous Henry's Livery
cars in action. Enjoy.

TommyTsunami said...

Here's a short clip of Henry's Livery from one of my old 8 mm movies.