Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Knott's Employees, June 1970

I have a small group of 35mm slides from Knott's Berry Farm, circa 1970. They're pretty fun, but among my favorites in the batch are photos of some of the employees (I doubt Knott's uses the term "cast member"), looking suitably 1970-ish.

This fellow looks pretty sharp in his striped coat and string tie. I swear I had teachers that looked like this (well, maybe not so stripey)! I wonder what he did at Knott's? I believe that the sign on that wooden structure behind him advertises the Bird Cage Theatre.

Now those are some impressive sideburns. Do they qualify as "mutton chops"? It's another striped fellow, next to what I think is the wagon that held the calliope, which was right near the Bird Cage Theatre as well, I'm pretty sure. So maybe he's trying to drum up customers for the next show.

Here's a serious-looking fellow over by the entrance to the "Gold Mine", where folks could pan for real gold. He's wearing a bandolier, so you know he's not messing around. I wonder if he was a security guard? 

And finally, here's a pair of performers, serenading passers-by. Who can tell where they were standing? I hope they were singing "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band. The man could have stepped out of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", but I really like the young woman's blonde bobbed hairdo. She probably spent lots of time at the beach!

Never fear, I have more Knott's Berry Farm photos for you!


Nanook said...

It appears our "mutton-chopped" friend in the second image is using the same microphone we saw used in Storybook Land, back in February, 1963 - a Turner SR70D handheld microphone.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

It's interesting how different the male grooming standards were between Disneyland and Knott's. It's kind of jarring after seeing so many Disneyland photos from the period, but this look works perfectly with the Old West theming of Knott's (or, at least the movie version of the Old West; if you look at historical photos of Bat Masterson, you'll see that longer hair for men was not universal).

Nanook, I find it odd that both parks shared the same microphone. I can see them trading it back and forth during the off season when they were closed on alternate days, but in the summer it would have been a real headache.

TokyoMagic! said...

Awwwwww! Where are these people today?

That was the nice thing about Knott's vs. Knott's, you were allowed to have a mustache. I had one for most of the years that I worked there.

Major, I think you are right about that second guy being a "barker" for the Bird Cage theater. I think even the first guy might have something to do with the Bird Cage theater, but that's just a guess. The "barkers" would stand on various corners of Ghost Town (as far away as the porch of the Gold Trails Hotel) and try to direct people down the street to the theater when a show was about to start.

I'm not sure exactly where that couple is performing, but that pinkish wall in the background, looks like it's part of the original wall that went up around the park in 1968 (when they started charging admission). There is only one small section of that original wall still standing today, and it's located just outside the exit of the park.

I always liked the song, "Afternoon Delight," but as a kid in elementary school at the time, I had no idea what it was about!

Stefano said...

It's the Fastest Gee-tar in the West, in the last photo; and boy is he fast: he has two red garters on his arms. I remember the CanCan Show in the Calico saloon, the dancers would throw a garter out to some lucky male in the audience, mildly risque fun.

Knott's and Disneyland were at their zenith in 1970, and aesthetically I wish they could have stopped there. Thanks Major, happy photos!

DrGoat said...

TM, I think I know where these people are today. They're 70 or so and in the same boat I am.
Stefano, right about now I would settle with just going back to 1970. I need a break.
I wore sideburns similar to that in the 60s, early 70s. It went with the long hair, Buffalo Springfield style I guess. They had a return from 1995 till about 1999. Found this selfie we took in the park around '96 I think. I'm on the left with Peggy and our friend Tom. Everything went all gray about 8 years later.
Really nice pics, that was a great time to be a Park and Farm hopper.
Thanks Major.

Melissa said...

The girl in green could double for Doris Day. I shall call her Doris Doubleday.

zach said...

I read lips and I think they are singing 'Aaah'. I don't know how long they could hold that.

I was looking through my 'box' yesterday for something else and found my circa 1950's Knott's stuff. Today completes my trip down memory lane.

Thank you, Major P


JG said...

What Chuck Said.

These folks fit right into the theme, but Doris’ hair looks too modern. She and Alice are quite a pair.

I have no idea what any of them are doing other than singing.

Dr. Goat, thanks for the pic.


Grant said...

I always thought of mutton chops as sideburns that connected to the mustache. At least that's what I called them when I had big bushy ones in the early 70s.

The good Dr. Goat and I were stylin' back in the day. Now we're just greying old farts. :D

Melissa has it right. Double your pleasure, Double your fun with Doris Doubleday. ;)

A side note: In 1970 my dad and I were sitting court side ad a Lakers game. Doris Day was sitting a few seats away from us. My dad had a huge crush on her. He spent more time watching her than the game. LOL

What song are Doris and the guitar player singing? Hmmm... 1970 acoustic... maybe something off Working Man's Dead? Or a Graham Parsons song? :)

Sombrero guy walks around the Farm saying "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!!

Great pics Major. I love old Knott's photos almost as much as Disneyland ones.

Anonymous said...

Disney standards of the time? Well, I recall when I was told by my JC foreman...probably around '72, that we could now have sideburns to the bottom of the earlobe. I didn't believe him and asked to see the written notice. No kidding! KS

Anonymous said...

"Doris Doubleday" wins the comments!
I wish I could remember more about Knotts, but all I really remember was Independance Hall and watching The Brady kids sing. I might remember the log flume a little...
By the way, I looked it up and the Brady Kids were there June 17-22 1973. So my visit had to be one of those days!

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
Doris Doubleday - definitely today's winner-!! [Although I'm uncertain if Doris would be caught wearing that hat. But you never know-!] Do you suppose it matches her shoes-??

Bu said...

I can kind of see why Walt wanted the clean cut, "short back and sides" kind of employees...maybe I am just old fashioned- I certainly turned into a big hairy monster after I left the park! I remember seeing guys coming back from vacations with beards and mustaches as they wanted to hold on to them for the final moment in the locker room where they ended up in the sink. Live ammo...well, that is also a look....probably not too in-fashion today. I didn't visit Knotts until I was an adult- I was looking for Boysenberry bushes without much luck. I did see Elvira live though during the "Scary Farm" thing...she sang "Valley Ghoul" and "Monster Mash"...we saw the show right before the public times in Buena Park! I worked a block away at Medieval Times later in life, the horses were un-gelded and when the horsies down at Knotts had their "lady time" the Stallions would go a little crazy as they could smell them. The owners wanted their horses to be aggressive...and they were.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, are you saying he stole it?!?!

Chuck, I agree; while I can understand Walt Disney’s desire to keep Disneyland neat and pretty, it always seemed funny to me that he didn’t allow mustaches, because… well, you know! He said it made men look like “city slickers”. Ooookay. And yes, when you look at people such as Buffalo Bill Cody, or Wild Bill Hickock, or other Bills, they had very long hair. Longer than even those degenerates, the Beatles!

TokyoMagic!, it sounds like Knott’s had trouble filling the Birdcage Theatre? Maybe guests didn’t know if was there, or that it did actual live shows. I don’t even know, is it used for that purpose anymore? It might be kind of fun to see one of those old-fashioned “mellerdramas”. They should put a brass plaque on that one surviving bit of the original wall (seriously). Make it a feature. I thought “Afternoon Delight” was about napping??

Stefano, that guy is playing another Eddie Van Halen solo, much to the annoyance of his partner. “Dude! We’re singing ‘She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain’!” There is nothing more naughty than a garter, and I am blushing just thinking about it. Knott’s and Disneyland were pretty fantastic right around 1970, you aren’t kidding!

DrGoat, imagine how weird it would be to somehow magically transport back to 1970, knowing what you know now! Not that it wouldn’t be great. Just weird! We used to see older kids (the surfers) in Huntington Beach with some pretty crazy sideburns, but I actually don’t remember seeing men with really long hair until some years later. Thanks for that link to the photo, you’ve got sideburns to envy!

Melissa, ha ha!

zach, hmmm, they could be singing “Aaaah”, maybe they just forgot all the words to every song? Fun that you found your own Knott’s memorabilia! If it is worth big bucks you can give it to me! (joking of course).

JG, Doris’ hair is modern, but I still think it’s very cute. Probably pretty daring for its time.

Grant, well maybe my definition of “mutton chops” is wrong, but I didn’t think that they needed to connect to a mustache. I could be completely mistaken, though! The great thing about L.A. is that you will run into celebrities when you least expect it, although a Laker game is also a good spot to increase your odds. The singers could be working on a cool Graham Parsons song, or an uncool “Archies” song (“Sugar Sugar”, which I actually like). Glad you liked these!

KS, ha ha, “I’ll need that in writing!”. Sounds like you’d been burned a few times before!

Stu29573, you saw the Brady Kids at Knott’s? That’s a pretty neat bit of history! Were you grooving in the audience? ;-) “Marsha! Marrrssshaaaa! I love you, Marsha!”. That’s what I would have done, anyway. Nice research, kind of cool to know when you were at Knott’s.

Nanook, Doris Day was cute and stylish, but sometimes ya just gotta wear a silly hat.

Bu, maybe Disneyland had such strict rules about hair and mustaches because they knew that young men would try to bend the rules if they could get away with it. Funny how returning to Disneyland was like returning to the Army. Lose that hair, mister! Maybe that guy could have Nerf bullets in his bandoleer today. They did have Boysenberry bushes on property early on, but at some point those were removed. You’d think they’d leave a few just because (kind of like I’d think that Disneyland would leave at least one or two of the original orange trees). I never saw Elvira at Knott’s, but I shared an elevator with Cassandra Peterson at a building in Burbank years ago. She really didn’t want to be recognized and would not make eye contact! “It’s OK Cassandra, I’m not crazy!”. Wow, working at Medieval Times must have been an experience.

DrGoat said...

Grant, Old, graying and all the noisy things that happen. My short term memory comes and goes too. Had a good time getting to this state though. A bit of accelerated decrepitude going on.

Irene said...

Just to answer a couple of your questions regarding Knott's now - they do currently have boysenberry bushes planted there. They are over where the the big lake and church used to be. They have a sign up and everything talking about their history.
Regarding the Bird Cage Theater - up until the shut down the theater was in use. Every Christmas season for many years they put on two rotating shows, A Christmas Carol and The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Their last season, in 2019, The Gift of the Magi was replaced by a play written in house. I can't remember the name but I liked it very much. Also a few years previous they started doing a melodrama in there about Boysenberries and pies for the fair. It featured the usual cast of characters - evil villain (boo, hiss,) fair maiden (sigh), hero (hurrah), and temptress (hubba-hubba,wolf whistle). It was really good. I had heard they were going to bring back one of their original and very popular melodrama's and then of course everything shut down. They have also used the Bird Cage for drawing classes during the Peanuts Celebration and when Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (aka Billy Hill and the Hillbillies) started at Knott's they were in there for several years. Now they perform at the Wagon Camp Theater in the evenings. Also magic shows during Scary Farm. I have heard that some refurbishment has gone on inside during the closure. Perhaps a good thing, just so long as they don't do away with it's old time charm and character. Looking forward to its reopening but have not heard a date as of yet. Got to get some actors hired and also go into rehearsals.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, “noisy things”! As for short term memory, mine has been useless for years.

Irene, thanks for the info about the boysenberry bushes! I’m glad they still have some. They’re easy to grow as long as they get water, so why the heck not. Thanks also for all the info about the Birdcage Theatre and the shows, they both sound like a lot of fun. Let’s hope they bring the live performances back and that audiences can enjoy booing and cheering and hubba-hubbaing! You sure know your Knott’s stuff, almost as much as TokyoMagic! Hope you are doing well.

DrGoat said...

Major, noisy things being grumbly stomach, creaky neck and joints, and especially that low frequency, shake the windows in your car if you're close to them in traffic, loud thumping they call music.

"Lou and Sue" said...

DrGoat, not only is that photo of you, Peggy and Tom cool(!), but what makes it extra cool(!) is that each of you have a different Disney attraction on your head.

Love today's comments! There are days when you really need a laugh, and today was one of them. Thanks, Major and all!

The Retro Dad said...

NICE! Especially the guy with the Bandolier! Not sure if that getup would fly today for a couple reasons. Of course, neither would the Indian Chiefs. Man, I need to look for an old pic with me and my brother & the Chief. I'll post it if I find it.

"Lou and Sue" said...

The Retro Dad: Yay! and welcome!