Monday, July 04, 2022

Melinda Goes to Knott’s Berry Farm

Melinda is back in time for the July 4th celebration with more images from her June 1980 trip to Southern California! This time, she has shared photos from her family’s visit to Knott’s Berry Farm. Once again, I will rely on my better-informed readers, as Knott’s is definitely not my area of expertise! As for the photos themselves, they were shot by Melinda “…with my little Kodak 110 camera of some sort.” Even her recollections of Knott’s are a bit cloudy:

I only have vague memories of riding the log ride at Knott's, and really nothing else about that park. We must have gone there last of the three [theme parks] as there are hardly any photos of it, so we were probably finishing off our last rolls of film for the trip.

Anyone else out there recall the joy of having a few photos that needed to be shot to be able to take the roll to the camera shop to be developed? The first image shown is of the Timber Mountain Log Ride, the one attraction Melinda remembers. The attraction itself looked pretty much the same when I photographed it in October 2014, other than the monstrosity on the right:

I’m going to make a guess that these next two were from the Fiesta Village:

Melinda and family pose in front of the Denver & Rio Grande narrow gauge train from the Calico Railroad:

The train was still running when I last visited Knott’s in August 2021:

I’m not sure what this attraction is, but it’s my favorite photo of the batch; you can just feel the centrifugal force as everyone is joyously pushed to one side of their ride vehicle!

Looks like the Flying Ace attraction from Camp Snoopy:

I am assuming this is Knott’s, but another area I can’t identify:

The next three are from a marionette show; Bob Baker, perhaps?

This last one showing an 18' high reproduction of Michelangelo’s Statue of David was from the nearby Movieland Wax Museum, also in Buena Park. It was sold off in 2007 with the rest of the now defunct museum’s holdings. Nope…it wasn’t made of wax. It was actually carved from marble!

Here’s a 1967 ad from Vacationland Magazine for the Palace of Living Art at the Movieland Wax Museum, where the David replica was featured:

See more Knott’s Berry Farm photos at my main website.


Chuck said...

Yay! More of Melinda’s trip!

I well remember waiting agonizingly long periods finding the right events to shoot up the last few frames of precious (and relatively expensive) film before getting it developed. Sometimes, the wait could be six months or more. The record for the old 126 Instamatic was five years (1871-1975) between frames, and on my grandfather’s Kodak Reflex, a whopping 41 years (1962-2003).

I can help with a few of the captions…

Picture 3 - the Sky Jump parachute tower. This was actually located in the Roaring ‘20s Airfield area in the NW corner of the theme park rather than Fiesta Village.

Picture 4 - the Happy Sombreros in Fiesta Village. This was a “whirl-n-hurl” ride similar to Disneyland’s Mad Tea Party.

Picture 7 - the Whirlwind, a Mack Rides Himalaya, located in the Roaring ‘20s Airfield. It may have been known as “Greased Lightning” at this point in its history; hopefully TokyoMagic! will stop by and leave a clarifying comment (or correct anything I got wrong).

Picture 8 - now known as “Flying Ace” and located in Camp Snoopy, this was originally known as the “Red brown” and situated on the west edge of the theme park in the Roaring ‘20s Airfield next to the Airfield Eatery hangar.

Picture 9 - this is an aerial view of the Corkscrew taken from the Sky Jump. It sort of approximates my view on my first Sky Jump ride when I was seven, except I was looking straight down at the ground through the mesh of the cage, terrified to look up at the scenery. My sister, who was four, collapsed to her knees as soon as the cage started to lift up and spent the entire ride with her eyes closed, clutching my dad’s legs for dear life.

Thanks again. Melinda and Dave, and I look forward to the next installment!

Janey said...

This is incredibly ironic! I was just at Knott's Berry Farm today and the Bob Baker Marionettes were performing in Fiesta Village with the SAME EXACT puppets! They even were wearing similar outfits, however their shirts today were red, not blue. I suggest reaching out to them for further information.

Picture 3 is the Sky Jump, which ware part of the Roaring 20s Airfield, while Picture 4 is indeed from Fiesta Village. Originally called the Happy Sombrero, it is now called the Hat Dance.

Janey said...

An update on the puppets! I just shared this with a friend who was one of the puppeteers today. He informed me they came by these marionettes by way of Rene's Marionettes, so perhaps this photo is from a time when Rene's Marionettes did a performance, prior to them ended up in the hands of Bob Baker. But still the irony and round about-ness of it all is delightful!

Chuck said...

Noticed a serious Autocorrect fail above compounded by poor proofreading on my part. The ride in Picture 8 was originally called the “Red Baron,” not the “Red brown” (although ironically Canadian RAF Captain Roy Brown was officially credited with shooting down the real Red Baron).

Cool coincidence, Janey! What’re the odds?

Bryan said...

My thanks to Chuck. Nailed it with the info! Very cool input from Janey for just getting back! What timing.

I kind of preferred the Happy Sombreros over the Mad Tea Cups because of the theming, and the sombrero roof over each one. There was also a Tijuana Taxi ride that was more similar to Disney's Midget Autopia in track layout and ideas. Not pictured, but I wished it were, Bob Gurr's "Wacky SoapBox Racers" which was the real "car ride" to go on if you went to Knotts.

Totally agreed with Chuck on the sky jump. Same experience, 7 yrs old and up in those parachute things because my parents said it was a good idea. I had never suspected my own family's judgment would be the cause of my death until that moment. Ironically that ride was fine and mostly trouble-free, I don't recall any history of accidents on it. I like the spellcheck of "Red Brown" better. The planes are red, and since the ride scared some of the smaller ones... I'll leave that there.

Bud Hurlbutt sure made that place. Any ride that's considered iconic was probably his, especially the log ride and the mine train. It's no secret that the Walt's talked to each other and that Walt D. rode Walt K.'s mine train several times before "borrowing" the idea for his park. ( "Borrow" = Tony Baxter term for "I'm totally stealing your idea." )

I have lots of good ( and questionable ) memories of the Hollywood Wax Museum as well, including a framed pic taken there in 1980. It's hanging in front of me as I write. Too much to say and it would only detract from this post so I won't, suffice it to say if you were going to Knotts and making it a 2-day trip, you probably went here as well. ...and the alligator farm on the west edge of Knott's property, now a parking lot.

Melissa said...

I'm pretty sure of you look up "whee" in the dictionary, you'll see that 7th picture next to it. What a beautiful capture of the moment.