Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Knott's Berry Farm, 1980

It's time for more family photos from Warren Nielsen! This time he is sharing some great pictures from Knott's Berry Farm, circa 1980. 

There's Warren's wife Kai, along with their 11 month-old son Erik, enjoying some quality time with Marilyn and Cecilia, the two friendliest showgirls in the west. 

Whoa there, Erik... I appreciate your enthusiasm, but if I've learned anything in life, it's that you can't do what you are doing! 

The next four photos are fun, and somewhat scarce - featuring the much-missed "Henry's Livery" attraction. Or maybe it's the "Tijuana Taxis"? That one is much-missed too! I admit that I never rode either, and am not really sure of the difference. (Major Pepperidge sadly drives to City Hall and turns in his blogging license).

Whichever ride it is, it looks like a lot of fun. There's Kai and Erik. It's nice that Kai is letting Erik steer - it always surprises me when I see an adult and child on the Autopia, and the kid is the passenger.

More driving! Rumor has it that Kai and Warren let Erik drive home later that night.

Heading over a bridge is always exciting, especially if you close your eyes and gun the motor like I do. 

And finally, how about this beautiful twilight shot of the Timber Mountain Log Ride? Just seeing the image makes me wish I was there, plunging down that 42-foot flume on a pleasant summer night.

Many thanks to Warren Nielsen for sharing these great photos!



That’s the TIJUANA TAXI ride. It’s a Arrow Development system called a “merry go round antique auto” it requires no steering or “gas pedal” - it’s starts at Point A and returns to point A - the passenger just enjoys the trip.

HENRYS LIVERY attraction used homemade gasoline powered free steering automobiles - that riders had to STEER and give it gas. There was no center rail or power rail to keep cars and drivers “on the road” the pathway did have fences, hedges and other barricades to show the drivers where to go.

The Arrow system used by the Tijuana Taxis was a early “antique auto ride” the company offered - smaller than the later ones used by Santa’s Village, Kings Island , New York World’s Fair and Knott’s GASOLINE ALLEY. The larger version offered a “model T” , a “Cadillac”, a “French Taxi Renault “ , “Stutz Racer” and even a “1905 Race car”

The Tijuana Taxi cars were smaller autos and offered “model Ts” and “Maxwells” - Those are Maxwells in the photos.


That’s a awesome shot of Timber Mountain - I’ve NEVER seen one taken in such “moody” lighting before.

Anonymous said...

Love the Tijuana Taxi photos, and the shot of what would have still been the Calico Log Ride at that point is also a gem. Thanks Warren and Major P!

Patrick Devlin said...

Well heck, Major, Erik is just preventing any wardrobe malfunctions from occurring. Maybe that's the thing to say if ever in a similar situation.

Thanks for the info Mike Cozart regarding the two different attractions. I was all ready to chime in with my experiences on Henry's Livery but since I never rode the Tijuana Taxis I think you've covered any bases I might have... well played.

TommyTsunami said...

Speaking of Henry's Livery, here's a short video showing my brother, Mike Devlin and my dad riding the aforementioned gasoline powered, free steering automobiles. Funny how they ran right along the Beech Boulevard traffic.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

These are some great photos of a rarely seen attraction. Thanks to Warren for sharing and Major for posting. Great era for theme parks before they were over played with thrill rides.

p said...

Kind of an interesting cut there Tommy, it makes it look like Balboa Park is actually in Buena Park...

Melissa said...

“I got five splinters, but it was totally worth it!

That Eric has such an expressive little mug! I love his serious little “Don't bother me, I'm driving” face.

And how lovely is all that unspoiled scenery around the antique car ride? You'd never guess you were inside a busy theme park!

Thanks, Major, Warren, Kai, and Erik. You, too, log flume jazz hands lady!

Stefano said...

Thank you Major and Warren, for this look back at the Knott's I loved: mostly low-key, mellow and warm. Happily Bud Hurlbut's charming auto ride is still in operation at Castle Park in Riverside, with new but scaled-down buildings and scenes completely in the spirit of the original version.

Jonathan said...

Oh how I do love Knott's. It was the place to go to celebrate a kid's birthday and it was Knott's or Disneyland if you lived in the San Fernando Valley as we did. Alonzo hit the nail on the head, these great old pics harken back to a time when a family could have a great time without several near-death experiences. Grand parents and toddlers alike. These are wonderful examples of a relaqxing day with the fam. Thanks Major, for the memories.

Anonymous said...

Huh. A log flume ride with a tall drop from a cavern. Now where have I seen that before. Hmm.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, thank you - I had the feeling that this was the Tijuana Taxis (which is why I hedged my bets in the post) - I was pretty sure the Henry’s Livery was the one that ran along Beach Boulevard. As always, you are full of great information!

Mike Cozart II, yeah, that one is a beauty.

Anonymous, I have several hundred photos of vintage Knott’s, and own maybe ONE photo of either of the car rides - so they are definitely not common. Meanwhile, I kept thinking that the ride was called the “Calico Log Ride”, but every reference I saw called it the “Timber Mountain Log Ride”. I should have stuck with my instincts.

TommyTsunami, thank you for the link to your video! Is the little train the one that used to run near the lake?

Alonzo, amen!

P, ah, I am gathering that we see more than one park in that brief video…

Melissa, this is when Knott’s was truly a wonderful place. As much as I loved Disneyland, I was always happy to go to Knott’s, and truth be told, I think we actually went there more often.

Stefano, I suppose that amusement parks are prone to the same problems as movie sequels. If you do something, it must be bigger, louder, and more “in your face” than the previous examples. Otherwise, who will pay any attention?

Jonathan, I have mentioned this on the blog before, but my brother and our respective friends would be let loose in Knott’s, and we would have the run of the place. We were little kids too, not teens! But it always felt safe. Great times.

The Disney Dudebro, keep in mind that Knott’s Berry Farm’s flume ride opened in 1969, two decades before Splash Mountain opened at Disneyland!

Patrick Devlin said...

I just talked to TommyTsunami and he said that yes indeed, Major, that's the train that ran around the lake across Beach Blvd. from the main park. I had gotten it confused with the miniature train that ran in Balboa Park down here in San Diego. I think the paint job on the passenger cars is what had thrown me off.

Anonymous said...

Knotts was so great, once upon a time. These pics are glimpse into the era that I never visited, nothing looks familiar here except the flume ride, but what a great shot of the flume ride!

Thank you, Warren and Major.




So it looks like the Knott’s log ride is sometimes called CALICO LOG RIDE and sometimes TIMBER MOUNTAIN LOG RIDE ....it looks like the Timber Mountain is used by the late 70’s on.

I wonder if it’s to compete with the crowd draw names of SPACE MOUNTAIN, MATTERHORN MOUNTAIN etc.....,during the same time period....

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, what? You know Tommy Tsunami? I have all of his albums! I admit that when I saw the small train, I was not sure if it was the one at Knott’s. Often, family films will transition from one location to another with no ceremony.

JG, Knott’s really was a special place, as so many people here can attest to!

Mike Cozart, that is an interesting theory, and sounds very plausible! Disneyland’s mountains were very well-known to locals of course. I’m glad to have the confirmation of the old name, though, because I figured I was just mixing it up with the Calico Mine Train.

Sunday Night said...

Welcome to GDB After Dark
I loved Knott's and especially riding the log ride after the sun went down. You would be out in the cold night air and then "inside" running through those static "outdoor" scenes...and then one more pull up the final ramp and blam...back in the cold night air and the plunge down at the end. Even as a kid I knew it was incorrect to compare Knott's to Disneyland. I loved them both for very different reasons.