Saturday, December 09, 2023

Random Knott's Berry Farm

Here's a nice selection of vintage Knott's Berry Farm scans for you!

We'll begin with this one, dated "January, 1962", over near Old MacDonald's Farm. Grandpa and Grandma are riding the old mule-powered merry-go-round with the grandkids. The very late afternoon lighting is warm and inviting, and it looks like everyone is having fun!

From March, 1963 comes this photo of a guest posing with an Indian chief - the chief is clearly loving his job. I get it, the whole business is a bit icky when seen with 2023 eyeballs. 

This next scan is from a May, 1958 photo showing the gentle and patient burros near the entrance to the Gold Mine (where guests could pan for REAL GOLD). A shack like the one pictured here would sell for 1.2 million dollars in L.A. today (how's that for biting commentary?!). 


Nanook said...

The image with the Indian chief is a real beauty. 'Political incorrectness' has never looked lovelier-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

That mule-powered merry-go-round got moved to Camp Snoopy, 21 years later. And one year later in that very same spot, the teens would be rocking out to the sounds of the 80s, at the outdoor nightclub, "Studio K." By the way, Studio K preceded Disneyland's Videopolis.

In that second pic, the building immediately behind the two men is Judge Roy Bean's, where guests could get "hitched" by the judge. That included a ceremony with rings and a hitchin' license. In the nineties, that building was moved over by the Stagecoach loading, and this little area became "Indian Trails." A dance circle with stage and seating, similar to the one in Disneyland's Indian Village, was put in the spot formerly occupied by Judge Roy Bean's, and it still exists today. That building in the distance was the Butterfield Stage Coach ticket office. It's still standing today, but is closed up. And those large "logging wheels" are also still around. They sit out on Grand Ave., next to the entrance to the tunnel under Beach Blvd.

In that same pic....I'm assuming those are trash cans made to look like tree stumps. I don't know if we have seen those here before. I know when I was working there, they still had drinking fountains built into concrete "tree stumps," but they were taller and narrower.

Thanks for the trip to vintage Knott's Berry Farm, Major!

JB said...

The bright yellow babushka (above grandpa's head) caught my eye right away. Must be the late afternoon sunlight that you mentioned, that makes the color really pop. I can't remember, was this carousel still powered by mules, or by a motor?

Not sure if you were being sarcastic Major, but yeah, if the dour chief loved his job any more than he appears to here, he would require a double dose of tranquilizers to keep from doing handsprings and shouting "woo hoo!" like Daffy Duck in his early cartoons. But who knows, maybe he did enjoy the job?

Maybe the mules weren't as gentle as you think, Major. They're wearing muzzles to keep them from biting people. Just a precaution? Or was there a biting incident or two? They do look patient though.

Knice Knott's pics, Major. Thanks.


Tokyo: myself and a friend were invited to the Grand /press opening of Indian Trails … the whole park opened late that day because the day before and that morning there had been several earthquakes…. The bigger of them being the morning of the grand opening …. We had to call ahead and see if the opening was still happening … it did but most of the rest of the park opened late in the day after safety inspections. That morning driving up from San Diego in Irvine I remember a weird “swerve” my car and others did all at once … the radio reported the earthquake pretty quickly. When I got to my friend’s place in Irvine there were a few more tremors then a pretty big shaker … enough so that things were falling off walls and his entertainment center pulled away from the wall and his stereo slid off as well as records and other objects … I remember thinking the house was going to collapse …, and if this was happening in Irvine what was happening to Knott’s Berry Farm !!

JG said...

Lucky grandparents and grandkids. I hope everyone remembered that day for a long time.

Chief can’t wait till Miller time. If Larry from Accounting asks for an autograph next, he will get a knee to the groin.

I think we are seeing a bit of the arrastra to the right in the mule pic. I agree, JB, those mules could deliver a nasty nip and Jasper there is wearing his PPE (Personal Protective Equipment, a term from the construction job site) to prevent him delivering any.

Very much loving the tree trunk trash cans, thanks Tokyo!

Thanks Major, I miss Old Knotts.


Dean Finder said...

I'll take the other side of the argument regarding the chief - unless KBF had him playing some kind of stereotypical "injun," there isn't anything more uncomfortable about a man wearing traditional native garb and talking about his history than somebody dressing up in 18th century costume and talking about life at Colonial Williamsburg.

Andrew said...

The mule-powered Merry-Go-Round looks like much more fun than the Wave Swinger! I saw one of those in Ocean City several years ago, but unfortunately it wasn't operating.

Rough and tumble Knott's Ghost Town is wonderful. The hand-painted signs are simple yet very effective, more so than any computer-printed sign. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, those must have been the "Landers" and the "Big Bear" earthquakes, which were both pretty large quakes, and happened just a few hours apart from one another! I lived in Whittier during the 1987 "Whittier Narrows" quake, and I remember that was the only time that I ever felt like the house was "collapsing." Fortunately, there was no structural damage, but almost every glass item in the kitchen cupboards was flung out and onto the floor and broke. That sound, along with everything else in the house that was being thrown onto the floor, made it sound like the house was "coming down." VERY SCARY!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I wonder if the chief never smiled because the stereotype was to be stoic?

TokyoMagic!, I actually never knew that the mule-powered merry-go-round was ever moved. Kind of surprising, actually! I assume that couples getting “hitched” were not legally married?? Another thing I’d never heard of. I’m really amazed at your depth of knowledge about Knott’s! I remember discussing those logging wheels years ago, maybe from the early days of GDB. I don’t think I noticed that those “hollow logs” were trashcans, and you’re right, if they ever appeared in photos before, I can’t recall them! Thanks TM!

JB, a yellow babushka means “looking for a husband” in the Old Country, and she has clearly caught your eye. Which means you legally have to marry her! She will feed you large meals of mysterious (but delicious) stews, and lots of potatoes. I can’t blame the chief for not smiling, but he looks downright miserable. Like I said to Nanook, maybe he was just trying for the stoic look, but he’s gone too far! I admit that mules can be ornery, and I’m really not sure if they used mules, or burros; burros seemed to be more popular at Knott’s. Maybe burros are nicer?

Mike Cozart, I’ve never detected an earthquake in my vehicle, if there was a shake I would probably just chalk it up to a bumpy road or something. Which earthquake are we talking about, the big Northridge one? That was a doozie for sure, I still remember photos of crumbled buildings and collapsed overpasses. Nature in all her might!

JG, it’s weird, I remember going to Disneyland with my grandparents a number of times, it was always a special day when they could go with us. But I don’t believe they ever went to Knott’s with us. I vaguely remember my grandma telling me about how she and my grandpa drove all the way down to Cordelia’s chicken restaurant, in the days before Knott’s was an amusement park (my grandma moved to SoCal in 1929). I have no doubt that even if the mules (burros?) were gentle, it’s better to be safe than sorry. No biting people! That goes for all the other employees too.

Dean Finder, I agree with you about the chief; it was a way to make some dough, but it probably got old in a hurry. And while I’m sure most guests were nice, there was probably the occasional rude jerk saying something bad. It’s just the way things are when dealing with a large segment of the general public.

Major Pepperidge said...

Andrew, the Wave Swinger looks squarely aimed at young folks, but I’ll bet they enjoyed it (when it was working). I agree with you about the signs, a little thing that makes a surprisingly big impact.

TokyoMagic!, there was an Ann Landers earthquake?? No wonder I preferred her sister! Big quakes are such a bizarre phenomenon, not just the shaking, but the SOUNDS, and then the inevitable hours with no phone contact with your loved ones.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, actually, they were the Judy and Audrey Landers, sister quakes. There was a LOT of jiggling. Speaking of that, "Keep jiggling Peggy, keep jiggling!" (That ILL reference was for Nanook and Sue!)

Major and Andrew, I believe that mule-powered merry-go-round was an antique and moved to Knott's from somewhere else, but maybe someone else can confirm that. It remained in the same spot for decades until Camp Snoopy opened in 1983, when it was then moved over there along with the rest of the Animal Farm, and renamed Pig Pen's Petting Zoo. I believe the ride remained in Camp Snoopy until the entire zoo/farm was removed 20 years later. Again, maybe someone can confirm that. It had a very long history at Knott's.....until they mercilessly RIPPED it out! Now I'm wondering if they just threw it in the trash or if they sold it to someone?

Speaking of mules, the ones in that last pic not only have the muzzles that were pointed out, but they seem to have a strap across their backsides...or just below. I'm guessing those were to reduce the chance of injury to someone, if they decide to kick? They could have skipped the strap and then given the lucky people who got kicked, a special button stating, "I got a kick out of Knott's!" Whaaa-waaaaaaaa!

Major, no....the couples weren't "hitched" for real. I got hitched at Knott's back in the nineties, and I still have the license. The rings are made of a bent "antique" nail. I have a half-completed post about the Judge Roy Bean building and also the Hitchin' Ceremonies. I have dragged my feet on it for years, but I will get it finished and posted eventually. Other post subjects usually come along, and motivate me more. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they still hold "Hitchin' Ceremonies" at Judge Roy Bean's place. At least they were the last time I was at Knott's, which was in 2020.

"Lou and Sue" said...

That Is some ring on the chief's finger!

Haha! TM! I had to google that reference, but definitely did remember that episode, as soon as I saw that portion.

Major, when you referenced the "SOUNDS" of that earthquake, were you referencing the building noises and stuff crashing - or did you hear the earth "moving"? Either way, it sounds frightening.

Thanks, Major, for a trip back to vintage Knott's.


Major … the chief never smiled … but if he saw people throw trash out a car window he would tear up ….

"Lou and Sue" said...

That's going in your file, Mike. Your BIG, THICK, file.


Sue … the sounds of the earthquakes I think are really from
Structures and buildings …. But I’m sure in some cases when the ground heaves there’s noise . When I lived in Fullerton in the early 2000’s there was a quake that I heard first before the Shaking started … I was at work when it happened and I heard what sounded like a heavy cart rolling across the floor in the distance… there was no cart and I turned to my co workers and said “ we are having a earthquake or we are about to have an earthquake !” Everyone looked at me confused …. THEN the shaking began … everyone from California did that thing where you wait and ride it out judging if it’s gonna get worse … then we had some people from Florida and they all ran around frightened and freaking out … lol.!!! While we tried to get them to calm down … . When I got home that evening every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen was open and the pantry had wine bottles that had fallen and crashed spilling wine into the kitchen and laundry room. A few days later I notice a crack going up the inside chimney wall that created the foyer entry wall . My neighbors front door was wonky and you had to really pull hard to get it to open …

Major : hade you ever been driving in heavy cross winds abs you feel the car move or swerve from the string winds ?? It was kinda like that but it was a quick jerk movement and you totally felt your car swerve into the other lane .. but you could see the cars around you do the same swerve movement at the same time ….


Sue : my file should be bigger but YOUR file already takes up so much space ….


Anonymous said...