Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ghost Town: Sad Eye Joe

He's Orange County's longest jailed inmate. He's also probably one of the most visited prisoners, as you can see by the vintage shot below:

Who is he? He's the Ghost Town Jail's Sad Eye Joe at Knott's Berry Farm. The jail out back, seen below, was rebuilt a few years ago.

The figure, carved by woodcarver Andy Anderson, visits with park guests with the help of a hidden voice.

The Sheriff's Office is one of the few original buildings from 1940-41 that is still intact. The poker game scene inside is also by Anderson.

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K. Martinez said...

I love the wood carved figures at Knott's. They posses a certain unique charm. Nice job capturing how they look today. Nice captioning too. Thanks, Dave.

JG said...

I vividly remember the visit where my Dad prompted me to speak to Sad-Eye Joe and how weird it was to have him respond to my conversation (not just a recorded script) and call me by name. He even knew my birthday. Really creepy to a six year old kid, especially since he was prominently billed as a desperate murderer.

Years later, Dad told me the story of how he could pay the attendant to make Joe speak and showed me the periscope where the attendant could watch me react and pick up clues like shirt color, or shoes etc.

The periscope is visible on the side of Goldie's, in the first vintage black and white picture. It is the structure with the shed "birdhouse roof". In the 2014 color picture, the protrusion extends all the way to the ground in front of the stair. The attendant sat inside Goldie's and could see you standing in front of the jail (albeit from behind).

A brilliant scam using the most primitive techniques. Not everything has to be digital to be fun.

Do they still offer this joke or has it gone the way of the dodo?

Great post, lots of memories here. Thank you, Dave.