Thursday, April 08, 2021

Knott's Berry Farm, February 1969

It's time to take a break from Disneyland and head about 4 miles to the northwest - to Knott's Berry Farm! 1969 style. It's the Chickeniest Place on Earth™. 

First up is this lovely view of Calico Square, as seen from the Calico Mine Ride. It looks so inviting! The Ghost Town and Calico Railroad is resting, emitting puffs of steam (is the whistle blowing?) next to the water tower that is actually filled with boysenberry juice. I love old views of Knott's when it still had so many big trees - their removal is a real loss, although Eucalyptus trees are known for dropping large branches when you least expect it. Widow makers.

Here's a look at the General Store, where you had to be a General to shop there. It seems like a bad strategy, but it worked. I don't think I ever really noticed the ruined upper stories of some of the buildings, but I sure like seeing them in these photos. Angela Lansbury (to the right) likes it too.

And no set of Knott's photos is complete without seeing Handsome Brady and Whisky Bill. The ladies love 'em, it is plain to see. Even the little girl in pink can't resist Whisky Bill's curly hair and wavy beard. Grandma just remembered something that happened between her and Bill years ago! 

I need to post more Knott's photos.


Nanook said...

The wonderful Knott's Berry Farm is even more-so with the spectacular color from these images. Wowie.

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Why are those buildings gutted on the 2nd floor??
TokyoMagic!, you know everything about KBF, so please fill us in...

Although Eucalyptus trees are known for dropping large branches when you least expect it."
That means cute little koala bears must be dropping down, too, huh?? Very sad.

Nice images - beautiful day at KBF - thanks, Major!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Sign in 2nd image: Carb____ Syru___ ??
Am assuming the second word is syrup, but what is the first?

"Lou and Sue" said...

Oops, one more question for Major:

Whatever happened to Robert the Robot's picture? Am looking forward to seeing it...


Sue: Knott’s is a Ghost Town so several of the buildings were built new to look like old abandoned structures that had worn away or suffered from severe weather and age damage - one was even done to look like there had been a fire on the upper floor: all things that a actually happen to old abandoned structures. Today that structure was re-built to feature what looks like a complete upper floor - and the bank building still has a worn away upper floor but the charred timbers and window frame details are long gone - probably for ease of maintenance.

Like an imagineer on Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion interior ; “ it takes a lot of special care and maintainence to keep a building looking old and rundown!!”

TokyoMagic! said...

That little girl in pink, is actually looking to see where Whiskey Bill hides his whiskey! It's not under his hat, little girl!

Sue, since Mike answered your question about what happened to the second floor of the General Store, I will answer your question about that sign. The sign reads, "Carbonated Syrups." No, it really does:,-117.9999573,2a,75y,140.8h,95.45t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soJIP1RyA7TsddqDZ10OGpg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Anonymous said...

Wow, that really does look like Angela Lansbury! She's thinking, "This sure doesn't look like Cabot Cove... No more wine spritzers right before bedtime for me!" She then turned in to a teapot and scurried away.

Andrew said...

1969 was probably one of the biggest years for Knott's, with Fiesta Village and the Calico Log Ride, with the magnum opus, Gypsy Camp, yet to come.

It's impressive that those signs are still on the building next to the General Merchandise Store.

Thanks, and yes, please post more Knott's pictures, Major!

Stefano said...

Handsome Brady looks about ready to mash on the lovely lady. A neat swing of the arm and she can bop him with her purse.

I loved that General Store Dr. Faust sign as a kid, it was diabolical. Older photos indicate the product originally advertised was Butterine, a repulsive-sounding butter substitute.

Eucalyptus and Pepper trees added so much to the Knott's atmosphere; the Eucalyptus also seemed essential to the appeal of MGM's backlots, which they encircled. I don't remember the building to the left of the water tower, and wonder if it was removed shortly after the pic was taken, to give a better vista on the soon-to-be opened Log Ride.

Thanks Major, splendid photos!

DrGoat said...

Nice Knott's photos Major. Every time I see a pic of Knott's Berry Farm, I think of that little devil out front that turns the crank and fires up the volcano. Anybody have any info about that thing? I've found only one very bad photo of it online.
Good old Eucalyptus. We use the term "self pruning" here. I just had one trimmed to about 10 feet from it's original 55 feet of debris producing splendor. When my parents planted it, it was about 3 feet tall, which was about 6 inches taller than my height at the time.
Thanks Major.

JC Shannon said...

Check out the high waders on the two guys in the Angela Lansbury shot. Was that a thing in the late 60s? I remember a lot of great days at Knott's, panning for gold, running all over with my brother and friends. Happy days indeed. Great scans today Major, thanks.

MRaymond said...

When I was a kid I noticed how small the Disneyland locomotives were compared to the Knott's locomotives. My dad, a train nut, clued me in. He always wanted to sit in the car behind the tender so he could watch the engineer and fireman. Oh, to be a kid again and hang out with dad.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I am happy to report that I have a few gorgeous Knott’s slides - among many that are “the usual suspects”. I look forward to scanning those extra nice ones!

Lou and Sue, you know the answer… teenagers! Listening to their rock music, and smoking those funny cigarettes. Plus, they are just rude! One of them called me “Pops”! Why, I’ll show them. If a koala bear drops on you, you are legally allowed to keep it as a pet.

Lou and Sue, it says, “Carboniferous Syrupmania”. Don’t ask me WHY it says that, it just does.

Lou and Sue, I didn’t get home until 10:30 last night (being gone all day), so I was too tired to process DrGoat’s photo of Robert the Robot (which he DID send to me). Stay tuned for tomorrow - I told DrGoat that people will enjoy it just as much on a Friday as they would on a Thursday!

Mike Cozart, I think it was kind of a stroke of genius that Walter Knott allowed his Ghost Town to look as run-down as it did in places. I’m not sure Walt Disney would have let that happen (see: The Haunted Mansion). Walter Knott had actually lived in rough mining towns and knew what was authentic. Similarly, I thought it was kind of a mazing that pious, conservative Mr. Knott allowed a brothel to be in his Ghost Town! Good old “Goldie’s”.

TokyoMagic!, if you look carefully, you can see that the girl in pink is holding a Q-tip. She wants to clean Whiskey Bill’s ears, which is kind of gross - but mighty neighborly too. “Carbonated Syrups”?? I like my answer better!

Stu29573, who knows, maybe Angela took a day off of glamorous movie-making to head over to Knott’s! Cabot Cove might have been a charming little seaside town, but MAN, they sure had a lot of murders.

Andrew, now I am crying hot tears of shame because I did not put these 1969 photos into historical perspective. Thanks a lot! ;-) It IS impressive that those very same signs are still around all these years later.

Stefano, if there’s one thing Handsome Brady knows, it’s how to appeal to the ladies. He wasn’t handsome for nothing. Every time I see that Dr. Faust sign, I think of “Sweeney Todd”, which used the same artwork on at least one of its LP covers. Butterine is made with real axle grease! I really do miss those old Eucalyptus trees; they even have some on the Disney Studio lot, though many of them have wires attaching branches to the main trunk so that if they happen to give way (on a windy day for instance), they won’t come crashing down on unsuspecting animators. I believe that the train depot (the building to the left of the water tower) remained after the Log Ride was added, but I’ll have to wait for TokyoMagic! to say for sure.

DrGoat, yeah, I loved that little devil turning the crank. He seemed to be related to the “Roasty Toasty Men” at Disneyland, turning those popcorn cylinders. I think I have seen two photos of that devil, one in black and white, and one in color, if I can find them I will email them to you. My grandpa paid to have a gigantic eucalyptus tree removed from a neighbor’s backyard (with their permission of course) when it started to lean toward his house! And speaking of big trees, my grandparents had a huge oak tree in the back. I mean MASSIVE. And we have photos from the 1950s showing it as a skinny sapling. Amazing.

Jonathan, I think we called them “floods” when I was a kid. I was just going to ask, was that the fashion for that time? It’s funny, I have a friend who loves Disneyland, and he says that he never cared for Knott’s. As far as I’m concerned, Knott’s was TONS of fun, completely unique from Disneyland, and I am very happy I spent so much time there during a few sweet years.

MRaymond, it really is striking to see how relatively large the Knott's locomotives are compared to the toylike Disneyland locos. I wonder if Knott's ever let people sit with the engineer, and maybe blow the whistle?

Nanook said...

@ TM!-
And here I felt certain that sign read Carbureted Syrups. What was I thinking-??

@ JC Shannon-
I think those fellas with the 'flood controls' were part of a dance troupe; otherwise, the only "thing" it could be was simply inattention to sensible dressing.

Irene said...

Boy did my eyes light up when I clicked on your site just now and saw Knott's Berry Farm! Coincidentally, that's where I will be tomorrow for the Taste of Boysenberry Festival! They have done an excellent job, leaders in fact, of holding this kind of event during this time.

I too miss the old look of Knott's with the trees and all but on the other hand I can understand the need to take them down and clean the place up. Eucalyptus trees can be very, very messy! And they really are rather dangerous.

When Cedar Fair took over from the family changes were afoot - and not for the better. I am forever thankful that clearer heads prevailed (many of whom worked for Disney at one time) and kept the charm and history. And now here we are in 2021 about to celebrate 100 years (a year late) of Knott's Berry Farm!

Yes, major - let's see more photos of the Farm.

DrGoat said...

Off post comment. Forgive me but I had to share.
Disneyland tickets are going on sale April 15th, and David from Freshbaked is in 7th heaven. Stick with it at least till the train pulls in to the Disneyland station. The unabashed joy and enthusiasm is a wonderful thing to behold.
Thanks everyone.

JG said...

I'm sure that my family and I are in these pictures somewhere. Beautiful shots, Major.

In photo 1, the the elevated viewpoint is from the Mine Train queue, the little shingle roof over the ticket taker is visible in the extreme left. I think the blue (or green) building by the juice tower is still there.

One of our neightbors had a big grove of eucalyptus trees right on our common fence line. There were two hawks that nested in one every year. They would follow me as I drove the tractor since mice and such would be flushed out by the machinery. I could whistle at them and they would call back sometimes.

I think Knotts did a better job than Disney of making up the raw feel of a western town, maybe his experience and owning Calico helped with that. Disney theming was impeccable, but everything was always a little too well-cared for to be real. The only exception I can think of was the restroom shanty on TSI, which really looked like it would be full of spiders and have a hole-in-the-ground privy with a Sears catalog, like some of my neighbors still had at that time.

I think Doris Day is following Angela.

Somewhere I had a picture of me sitting with Handsome and and Whiskey Bill, but who knows where that went.

Dr. Goat, I have some photos of the little devil and the volcano, borrowed from some online source. I will look for those for you.

Major and everyone, thanks for these lovely photos and the brief trip back to 1969.


JG said...

Oh, the short legged pants those guys are wearing were called "high-waters" by my Mom, and an individual wearing them was called "High-Water Ike". Must have been a character from a movie or cartoon. I can hear her voice saying that now.

Thanks for the reminders.


Alonzo P Hawk said...

Wasn't there a gauge (like for measuring fish) etched to one of the posts in Ghost Town. You could stand next to it and if your pants came up to one level they were "floods" or "high waters" but if they went a little too far they were classified "clam diggers".

Nice pics today Major. I always love seeing vintage Knott's.

Chuck said...

Such dazzling color in these slides! They do a fantastic job of demonstrating just how hideous that paint scheme looks on that locomotive. [shudder]

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you have cars on the brain! I still wonder if the “floods” were briefly in fashion, sort of a riff on what surfers wore (“clam diggers”)?

Irene, I’m glad you liked these! And amazing that you will be going to Knott’s tomorrow, I hope you give us a trip report. I can understand needing to remove eucalyptus trees, but… why not replace them with some other kind of tree rather than *nothing*? I think a lot of Disney Imagineers are big fans of Knott’s (Tony Baxter certainly is), it makes sense that they would try to save as much as possible.

DrGoat, I have to admit that seeing the train come by (and hearing it) was pretty great! I wish I could go to the park without 50,000 other people there, but that my never be possible again I suppose.

JG, yes, I think that not only was the photo taken from the Mine Train queue, but it could have been taken right around the loading area. Cool about the hawks in the eucalyptus trees, I want more hawks and owls and other raptors in the world. Last week when I took my mom for a walk at the local park, I heard a noise and turned to see a hawk (red-tailed, possibly) carrying what I believe was a small rabbit, though it could have been some other varmint. It moved away from us so fast that it was hard to get a good look. I think Disney was going for something quite different with Frontierland… they were going for more of a Hollywood version of The West, although even Hollywood tended to make things a bit grimier. It’s almost like an MGM musical version, really.

JG, “High-Water Ike”, that’s a new one to me! I wonder if that was a real cartoon character? It kind of sounds like a Li’l Abner character, but could be from anything. I just got a vintage pinback button with a comic strip character I was unfamiliar with, “Ozark Ike”, he was popular for decades, and seems to be forgotten now.

Alonzo, I can’t tell if you are kidding about the gauge for high-cuffed pants!!

Chuck, ha ha, I am used to that weird paint scheme, but objectively it is pretty bad. I wonder how they came up with that combo of colors? Could it have been based on any real historic locomotive?

Chuck said...

Major, I have no idea wht sort of fever dream could have induced them to paint it like that.

I never actually saw it operating in the striped scheme during my childhood visits in the '70s. We always visited in the off season and ended up riding the Galloping Goose rail bus that they ran on slow days. I also never actually vomited at Knott's, either. There may be a correlation.

Fortunately, it was restored to the historic glory of its original Rio Grande Southern paint scheme by the time I started visiting again in the early '90s. And that's how Handsome Brady and Whisky Bill saved Christmas!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, Mike and TokyoMagic! for answering my questions. And, Major, too, regarding the koala bear info.

DrGoat, that Freshbaked video was enjoyable to watch...definitely put me in the Disneyland-mood, with the music playing and beautiful sunshine...I'd love to be there when they open.

Thanks, Major, and everyone - fun post!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I would love to know the story behind that milk-chocolate brown, yellow, red, and black color scheme. It IS weird, although I confess that I kind of love it for nostalgia’s sake. I don’t pretend it’s beautiful. But it goes back to the 1950s. I think I have a black and white photo (from a negative) that shows that train before it was painted those colors, though I’ll have to check to make sure. I’ve never been on the Galloping Goose, but I also love that weird vehicle… because it’s weird! I’ve never vomited at Knott’s but it’s on my “bucket list”. Pun intended! I’m glad that the paint scheme has been restored. I’ve wondered about the rectangular number badge (whatever it’s called) on the front, is that also historically accurate? I always think of them as being round.

Lou and Sue, if you have any questions about the natural world, please feel free to ask. I am also well informed about international law. I am very curious to see the videos of the first day or reopening, I’d expect it to be a madhouse!!

Chuck said...

Major, while I haven't been able to find a photo of RGS #41 in its original livery as Denver & Rio Grande #409, photos of its sisters as delivered show round number plates. This particular locomotive was sold to the RGS in 1916 and renumbered and repainted for the RGS in February of 1918, when it received the "new" rectangular number plate. Its sisters who remained with the D&RG eventually received rectangular number plates as well.

While the locomotive is authentic and dates to 1881, it has undergone quite a few modifications over the years that are technically out of place in its current Old West setting (for example, the straight smokestack, the rectangular number board, and the onboard arc reactor). That's never bothered me at Knott's, as it's not trying to evoke a specific year, just a general era, and I'm good with that. It helps me sleep at night. Well, that and melatonin.