Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Roaring 20's, October 1975

It's time for more photos from Lou and Sue, featuring Knott's Berry Farm - specifically "The Roaring 20's" area - from October 1975. I have a decent collection of KBF photos, but not that many of the Roaring 20's, so these are a lot of fun for me.

We're looking at that "Hello Dolly!" fountain again, while in the background we get such delights as Knott's Bear-y Tales, and that wonderful "shooting star" sign that I have always loved. I seem to recall see photos of the sign in pieces after its removal.

Here's a nice detail showing the modest little ticket booth for the Bear-y Tales attraction, as well as the "Wheeler Dealer", which is bumper cars (still there, I believe). Notice the ramp up to the Bear-y Tales ride.

Why do I have such a negative reaction to "funny" store names such as "D. Birdie" (some sort of photography establishment)? It gets my dander up! Dander, do you hear?? Disneyland has been guilty of this trend too ("Chester Drawers"), when I saw that one I was actually hospitalized from rolling my eyes too hard. 

It's a genuine antique movie advertisement, for the 1927 film "Love", with John Gilbert. The graphic style makes it look like two alien creatures trying to devour each other.

Here's a title card; you can see the photo that the artist used for the poster. Garbo played Anna Karenina in this silent film.

The Buffalo Nickel Penny Arcade must have been full of all kinds of cool games. Maybe air hockey! Or Pong! Pinball, Ski Ball, and other games of chance/luck. No "Asteroids" though, that wouldn't come along (for arcades) until 1981. 

Looking back toward the old Ghost Town (with the Calico Mountain to our left) we can see the train depot and water tower. Any idea what that red and white building is to our left

This one is so odd to me, I don't remember "The Palms" casino at all. You can see it in the distance in today's first photo. Was it a restaurant? I suppose it fits in with the 1920's theme, where flappers and dudes wearing raccoon-skin coats (and playing ukeleles) would go to have lobster and a sloe gin fizz.

MANY thanks to Lou and Sue! There are more Knott's Berry Farm photos from them - all the rest are from the good old Ghost Town.



I loved these pictures! I really did like Knott’s Roaring 20’s! The PALMS CASINO was a facade and part of the arcade. Most of the time the 1925 taxi cab was parked out front and the sedan in front of Lindy’s Restaurant - but the street vehicles are vacant in these pictures - where are they? The Palms Casino building is still there today - in the 80’s it became a Kingdom of the Dinosaurs shop - and lost it’s pink 20’s nightclub exterior in exchange for a Art Deco storefront. Today it’s an extreme ride store. The upper part of the facade above the pink first floor is exactly the same in 2020. I have 1975 blueprints to build the Palms Casino building signs.
The movie poster graphic was part of a larger series of 1920’s movie stars and films mural below the GoodTime Theater facing MEMORY LANE ( street) it was the seating for the Hollywood Beanery Restaurant ( “ where the elite meet to eat!”) the restrooms near the restaurant are the last in area to feature the original flapper and knickerbocker ROARING 20’s bathroom signs.

The real Roaring 20’s has a revival in the mid 70’s ... most likely because of the 1974 film The Great Gatsby and the 1975 Bugsy Malone. Lawrence Welk , Mitzi Gaynor , and several other variety shows did Roaring 20’s TV specials in 1975 and 1976. Even Disneyland and Walt Disney World did special shows at the Golden/Diamond Horseshoe Revues call the CLASS OF ‘26. Ford authorized a Canadian company to make modern reproductions if the 1929 Model A - and produced them till 1980. The 70’s also saw the revival of the midi sailor blouse, narrow pleated skirts , ladies low drop sweaters , men’s 4-button coats, 8-panel caps for men and oxford baggies ( bell bottoms )all fashions from the1920’s !

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, we saw that red/pink and white building (second to last pic) in the last set of Roaring 20s photos, from Lou and Sue. It's the backside of the Calico Mine Ride show building. And the little structure up on stilts is the Ride Operations office for the area.

The Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars are still there, but unfortunately they got rid of the cool vintage looking vehicles and replaced them with modern looking vehicles.

That "D. Birdie Photos" location looks like it has a bunch of those flat plywood "photo ops" with holes cut out of them, for guests to pose behind. I would love to see a close-up of those. When I worked at Knott's in the eighties, that space had been walled-up (except for just a couple windows) and ice cream cones were sold out of them. Now those windows have been walled-up, as well.

Mike beat me to it about the Palms Casino being an extension of the Arcade. That part of the arcade had more adult-type games. I remember some non-electric, table-top games of skill in there, but I don't know the names of them. I also remember the center of the room having a "dime toss," where guests threw coins into fancy colored glassware that was all stacked up. I can't remember if you won the glassware that your coin landed in, or some other kind of prize.

Today, the shop space that replaced the Palms Casino is still connected to the arcade. After being converted to the "Dino Digs" store, it became "Ride Warriors" and then "Nautilus," after the ride upstairs became "Iron Reef," five years ago. During Halloween Haunt, the shop would also temporarily become "Elvira's Boo-tique" and Elvira would appear in the shop nightly, to sign autographs (only for a limited number of people, who purchased over a certain dollar amount in Elvira merchandise). This summer, the store was slated to become the headquarters for the park's official "100th Anniversary" merchandise, but we all know what happened to get in the way of that. Now, management has announced that the 100th anniversary of Knott's will be celebrated next year.

TokyoMagic! said...

I forgot to add that I really love early pics of the Roaring 20s at Knott's. Thank you, to Lou, Sue and the Major, too!

Oh, and the windows to the right of the Buffalo Nickel Arcade (third to last pic) were a part of Lindy's Cafe (Johnny Rockets, today). You can see the neon "Lindy's Cafe EAT" sign above the building, with an arrow pointing downward. To the right of that is the red and blue striped awning over the "Whirlwind" ride.

I didn't know that Greta Garbo ever let any of her male leads get that close to her. I thought she always, "Vanted to be alone!" ;-)

TokyoMagic! said...

Should I have mentioned that the "Whirlwind" ride was a "Himalaya" style flat ride?

K. Martinez said...

Wow! Not much left to say since it's been covered in the comments already. The experts have covered it all.

I will say that I LOVE these photos of the Knott's Roaring 20's. Thanks, Lou and Sue! Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I first saw this area in January of 1975 from the train, and my lasting impression from that initial view is that it was a huge, bustling dirt and girder construction site with lots and lots of activity. It's simply amazing to me that by October it was open to the public - parking lot and Gypsy Camp to fully-realized, immersive theme area in less than a year. That beats Disney's parking lot conversion timeline, and they didn't even have to evict a bunch of wagon-bound nomads.

Thanks again, Lou and Sue (and Major, too)!

stu29573 said...

My one trip to Knotts was before any of this was there. It was 1973, I think, and all I really remember is Independance Hall and seeing the Brady Kids in concert. I still have the 8x10 handout photo. On that trip we went to Knotts, Disneyland, and The Queen Mary. I have very few memories of most of it...And no pictures...

Andrew said...

The Knott's experts have already provided all of the great background info today, so I'll just give a few links. Here's a view of the Nautilus shop today, and here are four photos of the Roaring 20's neon sign in pieces. I looked those up some time ago after reading about it here, and they are sad.

Thanks, Lou and Sue, for more awesome Knott's pics!

Nanook said...

Yes, the experts have definitely chimed-in. Thanks to them, and Lou & Sue.

@ Chuck-
“... and they didn’t even have to evict a bunch of wagon-bound nomads”. Very clever; and as Chevrolet made a Nomad station wagon, you’ve managed to work-in two jokes, as it were. Touché.

Thanks, Major.

Irene said...

Great photos and great, detailed comments! Pretty much covered it I'd say :) Looking forward to the Ghost Town photos, my go to area to hang out. Gosh, I can hardly wait until they reopen! It was said to see the four picture of the sign in pieces but it looked pretty rusted.

Anonymous said...

The shop in question was actually C.D. Birdie (the joke, such as it is, doesn’t work without the “C”) and did indeed offer photography of folks poking their noggins out of cartoonish ‘20s flats. The shop also sold cigarettes, film (obviously), and (not so obviously) aspirin.

Fun photos of a great period at Knott’s!

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, Since these photos were taken not long after The Roaring 20s opened, it is possible that they hadn’t put those vehicles in front of the Palms Casino or Lindy’s yet. I’m not surprised that The Palms is gone after all these years, and I guess in a way it makes sense that it was actually part of the arcade. I like the idea of the series of old movie posters, I just wish that they’d been executed a little more nicely. I remember ads for the Queen Mary that were very much in a 1920’s style “Oh we’re dancin’… on the Queen Mary…”. Wow, I didn’t know there was a company making Model A reproductions! I wonder how they are regarded by gear heads. Thank you for the great info!

TokyoMagic!, I wrote both of the Roaring 20s posts months ago, so reading this morning I realized that you’d already answered my question about that building! I’ll have to look at see what the old Wheeler Dealer cars looked like - I usually think of bumper cars as looking about the same. And yes, I wish we could see what those plywood cutout scenes looked like! The whole “100th Anniversary” of Knott’s is very strange; I guess they are going back to the opening of the berry stand? Wikipedia does list the opening of Knott’s as 1920 but I don’t think there was much there. Even the opening of the chicken restaurant would be more “in the ballpark”.

TokyoMagic!, is there still a Johnny Rockets at Knott’s? I thought they were all gone, the stand-alone restaurants that used to be around me have all closed. And Andrew will probably appreciate that the Himalaya was a flat ride!

K. Martinez, glad you liked these!

Chuck, I have vivid memories of my first time seeing The Roaring 20s, and being so excited to ride The Corkscrew. Such a smooth ride, and that sensation of going upside-down (now so common) was amazing. I’m sure I would have gone on it five more times if the line hadn’t been so long. I don’t think I ever saw the Gypsy Camp, sadly.

stu29573, we used to go to Independence Hall for school field trips, I still remember them pointing out the finger impressions in the hand-made bricks. I went back a few years ago, and it was so quiet and lovely, I was the only person there except for the woman (in Betsy Ross attire) working there. Bummer that you have no pictures from that trip!

Andrew, thanks for the links! The Nautilus Shop looks nice from the outside, anyway. I’ve seen other pictures of the Roaring 20s sign in pieces, such a shame that nobody wanted to save it as an Orange County landmark. Maybe it was just too big.

Nanook, now I’m imagining pioneers crossing the plains in Chevy Nomads.

Irene, I’ve watched so many videos of car restorations, the rusty sign could have been made pristine again - but of course it would have been a lot of work and cost a lot of money. Have they announced a date to open Knott’s yet?

Anon, ah, I can see the “C” now. “D. Birdie” still works, I “got it” even with the missing letter, but I admit that it doesn’t work as well. Are we seeing The Corkscrew reflected in C.D. Birdie’s window??

Omnispace said...

Even more thanks to Lou and Sue for these fantastic pics! It's wonderful to see everything so fresh. The Roaring 20's and the Airfield were probably the start of one of the best periods for Knott's. It had just the right balance of new rides with the original portions of the park. The bumper cars were the best!

I wish they had a larger budget to install a proper ride system for Beary Tales. Not that they missed-out on a proposed free drop into the forest, but that having no synchronized ramp made the cars difficult to board and I recall multiple efforts to correct it through car spacing, etc.. I remember in the arcade you could really hear the rumble of the ride above.

So does anyone know if the sign was actually discarded, or did it end up with anyone? ..possibly MONA? I honestly haven't been by their gallery since they were Downtown.

Stovk said...

Hey. Do you have those blueprints in digital format, and would you be willing to make them available? I ask, because I am a modeler and I like to make 1/24 and 1/48 scale dioramas of various buildings and such. I am currently in the planning stages for making the bayou cabin from Pirates of the Caribbean. Anyway, for future projects, I would like a copy of the "Palms" sign. It would be a great project.

Kathy! said...

Thanks Lou and Sue and Major, I enjoy some good Knott's photos. I'll be glad when the Ghost Town ones are posted too. It's probably been talked about many times before, but what's the reason that the Buffalo "Nickle" arcade is misspelled? In the last picture, next to Stripey Shirt Man, is a woman whose shirt looks likes postcards or travel photos all over it. I can almost make out a ferris wheel or boardwalk, and a city skyline. I probably just haven't been outside enough lately and am seeing recreation areas everywhere, like starving Warner Bros. cartoon characters seeing their friends turn into chicken legs.

Melissa said...

What do they sell in an “extreme ride store?”

“Nickle,” as far as I’m aware, is just an alternate spelling of “nickel” that used to be more common in olden days.

I like a good (bad) pun name as much as the next gal, but yeah, they tend to be overused in theme parks. OG California Adventure was a particularly egregious offender.

I love all these pictures; they have a real You Are There quality. And I learned so much from the description and comments my head is going to fall off.

Melissa said...

At first look, I totally missed the red babushka on the blonde lady pushing a stroller out of the Palms Casino.

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, thanks for the Google "street view." If we continue on in street view, over to where the "C.D. Birdie" photo location was, we can see how the opening to that location has been bricked-in. The outline of the original doorway is still there.

Major, that window isn't reflecting the Corkscrew. Someone just did a really cool window display with twisted track. I'd love to see a close up of that too!

And yes, Knott's counts it's anniversary, back to the date that they first started selling produce. I remember when Disney had a special advertising supplement in the Los Angeles Times for their 25th anniversary in 1980. Shortly after that, Knott's put one out for their "60th" anniversary. I wonder if that was the first time Knott's decided to pick a year for marking their anniversary? I had never heard of them celebrating an anniversary, prior to that. And as far as I know, they haven't made a big deal of any of the anniversaries that have followed. The 100th was going to be a pretty big deal for them.

I remember that "vintage-y" commercial for the Queen Mary and also the song. They played it all summer long.....and often! I just looked for it on YouTube and unfortunately, I could only find a very abbreviated 18 second version of it.

Major Pepperidge said...

Omnispace, this really was a fun time for Knott’s; of course I loved it before The Roaring 20s too, it had a charm that completely different from Disneyland. I didn’t know that there was once a free-droop planned on the ride, not even sure how they would have done that. I’m sure if they’d had Disney money it could have been done, but Knott’s was always dealing with smaller budgets. I’ll await an answer about the sign from somebody else, since I don’t know.

Stovk, I’ll ask him if he has the blueprints and would be willing to share them. Sometimes there are copyright issues of course.

Kathy!, oh my gosh, I didn’t even notice that “nickel” is misspelled on that sign! Unless there is a good reason for the “alternative” spelling. How funny. I can’t quite tell what’s going on with that woman’s shirt - only that it’s kind of ugly? Even though you (and many of us!) are going nuts, I think it is still prudent to exercise a little caution about going outside or anyplace where there will be crowds.

Melissa, I wondered the same thing! Barf bags? I never knew that “nickel” was ever spelled “nickle”, and figured it was another sign gaffe. I don’t know why pun names for shops bother me so much, maybe I’M the problem.

Melissa, oh yeah! Babushka time.

TokyoMagic!, I wonder if that twisted track had some sort of vehicle that could run on it? I used to have some toy that you could build with track that could even go up walls, it was cool. I just didn’t have enough track to do much with it, and I guess my mom and dad could never find more to buy. I feel like Knott’s really wants to drive home the fact that they were “American’s first theme park”, which is debatable, but OK, I don’t mind giving it to them. I suppose a 100th anniversary is a big deal for just about anything! I remember that particular Queen Mary commercial so vividly, it must have been just at the time when my brain could still absorb things easily.

Chris Merritt said...

So cool! And you guys are gonna LOVE the new book I'm working on right now... ;)

"Lou and Sue" said...

"negative reaction"
Major: That didn't slide by unnoticed! ;)

Yea, Chris! :)

I really enjoyed all the interesting and FUN information everyone shared today! Thank you!


Chuck said...

This year was going to be a big one for Cedar Fair - 2020 is the 100th anniversary of Knott's and the 150th anniversary of Cedar Point. Both ceebrations have been pushed to next year due to COVID-19.

Irene said...

No date for reopening has been announced yet. Many of us Knott's Nuts were quite excited earlier this past week when a lot of testing of the rides took place. Those that live nearby could hear the train whistle and the sounds and see the ones that go up in the air - going up and down. They have also installed some strung lights and a large light tower so it would appear they are getting ready. There is a camera that is functioning where you can see the train and the Mine Train Ride and another camera that is in the Boardwalk section of the park. Here is link for anyone that is curious.

Also earlier in these last two weeks they replaced the old K sign that is on top of the Sky Way Ride with a new one. The old one had not been working since the 90's and very expensive to repair. So a new one which looks almost identical to the previous one has been put up and apparently uses LED lights and it will do a whole lot more as far as lighting is concerned. It has not been lit yet and people speculate that they are waiting to light it up for the grand reopening.

Yes, the 100th Anniversary was going to be a very big deal and yes it all goes back to when Walter Knott came to Buena Park to grow and sell berries. A lot of history has been published about it lately. They also published a new cook book that has a lot of history in it. It is very well done and can be purchased online. A lot of their stuff can be purchased that way.

One more thing - yes Johnny Rockets is still there. There are still some around including one at Universal City Walk that was remodeled last year.

Chuck said...

There's a Johnny Rockett's at Six Flags St. Louis, which reopens for "members" (Six Flags' name for their premium annual passholders) tomorrow. I was planning to go, but my workload just isn't cooperating. We're now planning on going Friday, when it opens to the general public.

Reservations are required, as are social distancing and masks. Will be interesting to see how much fun it is in a mask and 90 degree temperatures with our Mississippi Valley humidity.

And Nanook - I only wish I were that clever.