Saturday, February 08, 2020

Scenes From Knott's Berry Farm

It seemed like a good time to share more vintage photos from Knott's Berry Farm!

This first photo shows two girls enjoying the "Merry Go Round Auto Ride" ride as it wound its way through a miniature countryside. This little car ride debuted in 1958, and went through several name changes, such as the thrilling "Antique Auto Ride", and in 1976 it was renamed "Tijuana Taxi". The ride was eventually removed in 1986; it was moved to Bud Hurlbut's "Castle Park" in Riverside.

I wonder if Walt Disney ever checked out this attraction? 

Speaking of Bud Hurlbut, here's a photo of his masterpiece (in my opinion), the Calico Mine Ride, which opened in November of 1960. Sure, I love the Timber Mountain Log Ride too, and on another day I might tell you that it is Bud's masterpiece. But for me there's just something about those little locomotives, and the way the trains wind their way up the track, passing scenes such as underground waterfalls and steaming geysers, glowing caves of stalactites and stalagmites, And miners in the gigantic "glory hole" scene. 

Gold. GOLD. GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLD! That's right, I've got gold fever, so it's a good thing we're panning for real gold. The chill of the water, the weight of the pan with its scoop of sandy dirt, trying to not look like a fool while swirling the pan in the trough, and the joy of seeing a few flakes of "color", and finally getting your tiny water-filled vial with your valuable treasure - what could be better!


Nanook said...

The only thing better than the Calico Mine Ride would be if a troop of Girl Scouts was waiting to ride it. That, and a fabu-looking gal with cool, white-framed sunglasses. (@ TM - on her they look good; on me - not so much).

And that unfortunate towheaded lad with a typical 1950's hair massacre-! Bonus points, though, for that great mid-century patterned tee shirt he's sportin'.

Thanks, Major.

walterworld said...

Went to Knott's one day in Summer, 1980...sure wish we would have panned for gold! Thank you Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, I think you could make those sunglasses work....especially if you pair them with a purple speedo.

Is that Nicholas Cage, working the Pan For Gold attraction?

Now I want some Tagalongs®

"Lou and Sue" said...

Pajamas with babushkas, and purple speedos with white sunglasses . . . we are the best-dressed bunch around, aren’t we?! ;)


JC Shannon said...

What a great description of the gold panning experience. Major summed it up perfectly. I wish I still had my gold vials, but alas, they are all lost. Great memories of Knott's, great photos today. Thanks Major.

Andrew said...

It's lucky that those Girl Scouts were at Knott's... with "Panning for Gold" so close, they had their "Gold Award" in the bag! (That's like the Eagle Scout award for Girl Scouts; I should know b/c all three of my sisters are members.)

Also, what are the two people doing with that train with the red boiler covering? Adding it onto the track? Thanks for the side-trip today!

Chuck said...

Careful, Major - my current malaise started with gold fever before progressing to the flu.

Thanks, everybody, for already noticing everything I would have pointed out. Saved me a lot of work when I don't feel up to it. It's very kind of you.

Thanks again, Major, for another bunch of well-needed smiles!

Melissa said...

Come on the Merry Go Round Auto Ride with us, Danny - forever and ever.

K. Martinez said...

Really love the Auto Ride/Tijuana Taxi pic. I rode it at both Knott's Berry Farm and Castle Amusement Park. I don't know if Walt Disney checked out the Knott's Auto Ride, but he did visit Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to inspect the Autorama as he was interested in adding the center guide rail to Autopia.

During the Boysenberry Festival last year was the first time I panned for gold at Knott's. The Pan For Gold guy helped me quite a bit along the way as it was obvious I was a novice. In fact I think he did most of the work. And now I have my vial of shiny flakes

MRaymond said...

That red cover on the locomotive is a saddle tank. Some small locomotives carried their extra water over the boiler instead of the tender. All of the Calico Mine trains have saddles.
Trivia time, when Disneyland found the Ernest Marsh (locomotive 4) it was wearing a saddle.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I would have felt much safer on my ride through the Calico Mine knowing that there were a bunch of girls who could make splints and such. And don’t sell yourself short, you have to wear those white-framed sunglasses proudly! I’ll bet the towheaded kid’s mom loved his curly hair, even if it meant extra unsnarling.

walterworld, panning for gold is one of my most vivid sense-memories (as you can probably tell from my text)!

TokyoMagic!, it looks like Nicholas Cage, but I would expect more frothing at the mouth. He’s plum loco! I have a box of Thin Mints in the freezer.

Lou and Sue, I’m picturing somebody wearing all of those items at once. It’s a look.

Jonathan, the funny thing is that I have a gold vial that holds the combined contents of at least four or five other vials, and it STILL looks like a measly amount of gold!

Andrew, three sisters! I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I guess if they’re Girl Scouts they are probably not meanies.

Chuck, at least you didn’t start with boogie fever, or else things would be much more dire now. I hope you feel better soon!

Melissa, have you seen “Doctor Sleep”?

K. Martinez, I’m not sure I knew that Walt Disney went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! That’s pretty cool. Somewhere I have a 60’s-era photo of the Autorama - it’s not a great photo, but hey, it’s what I have. Thanks for the link to the blog article. When I was a kid, the “prospector” working the gold pan attraction would eventually come along, commandeer your pan, and do the work for you, presumably because a little kid would be there all day and would still manage to dump his/her gold out.

MRaymond, I wonder why they chose saddle tanks for all of the mine trains? Of course in their case it was merely decorative. Bud Hurlbut probably just liked the look of it, since it made the little locomotives more chunky and substantial.

Warren Nielsen said...

Major and all,

Always loved Knott's, great memories come leaping back thru these pics. Are the girls in the green runabout twins or do they just look like it? For me, it's a toss up between the mine train or the log flume. Both are great, classic rides. Girl Scouts are a plus. My wife was a Scout, but she never had a picture of herself in uniform. Hmmm, regret that a bit. And I still have a small vial of gold flakes stashed in a box in the back of a closet from when our kids did the gold panning thing. Almost need a magnifying glass to see them, but they're there. Tiny, but real.

Great stuff today. Thanks.


Nanook said...

@ TM-
Sorry - never any Speedo’s-!

I was thinking of the ‘older’ boy’s haircut as being a disaster - if not the style of the day.

Melissa said...

My guess is either fraternal twins or "twins in all but birthday" like my sister and me - close identicalin age, identical clothes and haircuts, rhyming names, everything possible together and the same. (Heck, we even celebrated our birthdays on a single date in between the real ones). Some of these pairs are, like us, children of a twin who doesn't know any other way.

Irene said...

Always love me some photos of Knotts! I really miss the old location of the panning for gold. Walking through the dark tunnel to get down there. I'm glad they moved it close to the old location, but ... I still have a vial or two of gold. Also one that my mother did up in Alaska on a trip we took. Love the Mine Train. It one of the few rides I can do anymore because it's not fast and I don't have to climb into anything like the log ride. Last time I went on the log ride I was able to use the handicap side and with the help of the young lady employee I got in the log OK. Getting out was a chore but again she helped. Wouldn't have been able to do it otherwise.

Chuck said...

That dark tunnel scared the mess out of me as a six-or-seven-year-old (a lot of things scared the mess out of me as a six-or-seven-year-old). But I got over it.

Thanks for bringing back that memory, Irene (both the tunnel and the eventual feeling of victory).

Anonymous said...

That little train is pulling up to the load queue, which you can see a little of to the left.

The Mine Train was the best. I loved that ride.

Still have my gold flakes. Had to stop to watch the little devil turning the crank in the volcano too.


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