Thursday, April 07, 2005

Knott's Berry Farm

What are some of your memories of Knott's Berry Farm? I remember my first visit to Knott's was in 1972. My family, along with another family, drove up from San Diego to spend a day there. I remember going on the log ride then, and the mine train. I also remember that haunted shack, where the tour guide plays tricks on your eyes to make you think the place is spooked.

Some years ago, I corresponded with a guy named Dennis Casebier of the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association, regarding the old Calico Ghost Town just north of Barstow. Walter Knott, at one time, owned that ghost town, and donated it to the County of San Bernardino. Dennis believed that Knott took many of the artifacts from Calico to recreate a similar Calico Town within Knott's Berry Farm. I'm wondering if Walter took some of the gravemarkers from the Calico Cemetery, as many of the markers at the real Calico are long gone.

Listed below are some of the e-mails I dug up from the old days of OCThen.com regarding Knott's Berry Farm:

By: Ron Benson, 11 Aug 2002

I grew up in Southern Cal. and went many times to Knott's,like all kids I loved it! I've been collecting menu's from local places and friends give me some. Since I started playing on ebay and buying, I seem to be drawn to Knott's Berry Farm menu's and such. I don't know why, exept for my fond memories. Are there many collectors out there?

By: Pat Swift, 9 Aug 2002

I remember when we would go to Knott's on Friday and Saturday nights to square dance in the old wagon train area. A lot of us from Buena Park were a free show but we had a lot of fun. People would come to sing around the fire. Things have sure changed. I understand they are closeing the animal petting area soon. Remember the seals? There were chickens everywhere. Does anyone else remember the little houses across the street that employees lived in?

By: Ron Kimzey, 23 Feb 2002

Hi There I use to see Buddy Ebsen a lot at Knott's Berry Farm when he was dating Dorthy Knott. He always liked to ride the stagecoach. I really liked him when he and Fess Parker was in Davy Crockett together.Buddy was also Jet Clampett .He is 94 years old and still is married to Dorthy and living in Orange County. Fess Parker is living near Santa Barbara.I always go to Knott's in November because I am a veteran and I get in free which is really nice. Too bad Disneyland does not have a special thing for veterans day to get in free. Glad to be able to go to Orange County's first Park.

By: David Moore, 29 Dec.2001

Mid '60's Knott's was just the chicken restaurant, the Wagonmaster's show, the old West town, and FREE. My dad would take us into the general store, and tell us that we could have all the penny candy we could hold in one hand. We became masters of architecture, building structures of candy in our hands as high as we could make it go. He laughs at that story now, telling us that it still only cost him 25 or 30 cents per hand.

By: Tom Coughran, 5 Aug 2001

My father, Samuel (Sam) (Sammy) Coughran owned the property where Knott's Berry Farm (known then as Knott's Berry Place) is located. He sold the property to Walter and Cordellia Knott. Walter told Dad that he would pay him $1,500 for the land (I don't remember if that was per acre or for the whole parcel). Dad told him, "Walter, you know it isn't worth any more than $1,000." Walter told him he couldn't pay him cash, so Dad told him, "In that case, I guess it's worth $1,500." My Mom (Florence Margaret Inskeep) married my Dad in 1941. Dad still lived in the two story house that was later used by the Knotts as offices. The house is/was located just south of the Chicken Restaurant and north of the one stall firehouse. My Mom was a waitress at the Chicken Restaurant in its early days. On the East side of the property, along what is now Beach Blvd., where the original entrance was located, there is or at least was, a row of Eucalyptus trees. Dad planted those trees in 1918 or thererabouts. He told us that the first tree north of the entrance has an "unnatural" fork in it. He said he had been plowing the field and tied the plowhorse to the young tree while he ate his lunch. The horse must have been humgry as well as it ate the top out of the tree, thus, the fork. My Dad's sister, Alma, owned the property from the south side of Dad's property to the cross street to the south (Crescent?). I believe she owned it even before she married Elbert Carpenter, but not sure. She was three or four years older than Dad.
Please share your memories of Knott's Berry Farm and the Knott Family by click on "Post a Comment" below.

219 comments:

  1. Hi, Steve,

    In a lot of ways, Knott's is an icon of local nostalgia. There's still so much there that hasn't changed, and that makes it special, particularly when you compare it to a plastic-moulded, cartoony kind of joint like Disneyland. That's one of the things I love about Knott's - with the older attractions, most of them are wood and iron. It may be transplanted from somewhere (like the Bottle House) but at least it's real.

    The pan for gold feature used to be a major attraction right outside the exit gates, and not just an overlooked booth in an out of the way place like it is now. It was a big deal back when the ghost town was still a main focus. That train - the big one, not the mine train - is authentic and one of the oldest steam engines in operation - I think I remember that it's the only narrow-gauge steam train left. The 'bandits' who robbed the train used to act scarier, and actually used to take stuff from the passengers, if I'm remembering that correctly and not through a kid's-eye view. Same for the 'bandits' who would rob the stagecoach.

    If you're remembering the haunted shack, do you remember in the old jail cell, there used to be a speaker hidden in there, and a guy was stationed in one of the buildings above or behind it, talking to the visitors as though he was the old mannequin in the cell? It gave everyone a jump - funniest to see some big bear of a tourist jump and shriek when the hidden man started talking to him. High embarrassment and daring for all the girls was to actually chat with the guy.

    One thing I always passed by, but never visited, was the alligator farm across the street, and I wonder if anyone remembers that...

    Pretty neat that you have the email from the gentleman whose father sold Walter Knott the land.

    m.

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  2. Hello there. I used to go to Knott's every weekend after it closed to go dancing back in the 80's. I will always have fond memories of Knott's as a kid growing up in Cypress.

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  3. I used to go to Knotts every weekend when i was in Jr. High back in 1990. We had so much fun. Grandpa would drop me off and give me five bucks to walk down to McD's and get a happy meal for lunch, then the change would be used for the ice cream shop next to the old soap box racers ride. i remember the stagecoach and how "scary" the robbers were... it was so much fun.

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  4. Hey Steve,
    Being an ex-pat O.C.er (born in Santa Ana,raised in F.V./H.B) some of my earliest memories are of Knott's.I can remember as a 4 or 5 year old my Mom taking me to Knott's to feed the seals and put me on the old Model T ride,still free to get in back then...I am 41 now.
    My absloute greatest memories of Knott's is from the early '70's when my uncle Leon was one of the stuntmen working in the ghost town (he was a teacher and did this in the summer and other school breaks).It was all pretty cool,he did the gunfights,(he was one of the guys who'd get "shot" and fall off the roof of the bank building).
    Now,they used to have a Medicine Show where the "snake-oil salesman" would pull a bald(ing) guy out of the audience to ply his trade (he'd close a curtain,put a gorilla mask on the guy,them open the curtain back up),at this point,my uncle would come in,guns blazing,to chase the charlatan off...His line as he came in was "Hey!That's my brother-in-law you have up there!".Well,when I was there with my folks one day,my Dad got picked out of the audience (had a pretty good bald spot my dad did).Here comes Uncle Leon,guns blazing to break up the show,realizes who's up on the stage and still managed to stay in character and finish the show.This was at least 30 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday.....After the show,Leon,Dad and the "Medicine Man" talking....Leon:"You're not going to believe this,but this REALLY is my brother-in-law".
    Great memories all,but probably the best (at least as a ten year old) was when my uncle showed up one morning (I never knew it was coming) to take me to work with him.My god,kid heaven,not only an unexpected trip to an amusement park,but a "behind the scenes" trip to the boot!Leon changing from my uncle to a gunfighter,a trip to the stables (pretty cool for a suburban O.C. boy),and the coolest for me (hell,at 41 it'd still be cool) a tour of the roundhouse and all their real (as opposed to D-land's) RR equipment.I'll never forget it,and Knott's to this day is the one amusement park I'd want to visit if I ever go "home" again for longer than a day....I'm convinced that for me,the "O.C." was a mistake of birth,lived my entire adult life in Nor Cal.Currently 12 miles from the northern entrance to Yosemite...Y'all can keep that mess down there.
    Dave

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  5. I visited Knott's Berry Farm as a youngster (late 1940's and the 1950's) and have fondest memories of the ghost town, the jail (with the "prisoner" who would offer personal comments to you) and the train and stage coach rides that were "robbed" on every trip. I still have a vial of gold that I panned there in about 1951!

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  6. I am goin to be 48 real soon and One of my fondest memmories of Knott's is the benches that have the saloon girls where you have your picture taken with them, and always being amazed when the photos would come back, they looked so real when you first glanced. The shop with the bottles in the walls and of course the haunted shack. I always wondered how they did that and if it was realy hanuted.

    Lindee Brown Montebello, CA

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  7. I have fond memories of Knott's.I used to work there in the 80's(Roaring 20s & Fiesta Village).But as a child,I remember all the chickens walking around and the pond w/paddleboats by Independence Hall.I used to go to Jungle Island and remember all the painted driftwood & the little bridge you'd go across to enter the island.My mom used to take me & my brother there all the time.In Knott's itself I remember the Cowboy show where they'd fall off the roof when they got shot & the scary robbers on the stagecoach & train.The parachute ride was scary but cool & I loved "racing" the other drivers in the soapbox derby.My husband remembers they were motorcycles before they changed to cars.
    Also,I did go to the Alligator Farm once.From what I remember,there were a bunch of cement pits with alligators & the thrill was watching the keeper feed them.

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  8. The chickens running around, the haunted shack, the seals, the mules, the motorcycle racers, the GOOD bumper cars, Corkscrew, the dancers in the Fiesta Village, The model Ts that you could actually drive ... Where did it all go?

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  9. I have an original Knotts Berry Farm restaurant menu. Wish we could all eat today at those early prices!!!

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  10. Hi Steve,

    Knott's Berry Farm is one of the best memories I have of my childhood in the early 60's. I'm 52 now and remember the place like it was yesterday. We lived close by and my Mother would take my brother and I there every day for lunch at The Grill. I use to love the coloring menus they gave out to the kids. A waitress gave one of my (autographed) colored menus to Walter Knott. He wrote a letter thanking us for the 'work of art' and invited my brother and I to visit with him the next time we were there. What a thrill that was for a youngster, we were in the presence of greatness...our tongues got tied and all we could do was stare. He was such a patient, gentle man and made us feel at home right away. He gave us a tour of his office and showed us all the wonderful wood carvings he had collected. I still have the letter he wrote and it always brings a smile to my face.

    Those were the good old days, the farm was not fenced in, free admission, peacocks roamed freely on the grounds...their love calls would echo through the park. 'One Eyed Joe' was incarcerated in that small jail cell...he always remembered my name and would ask if I was behaving myself! The Bird Cage Theatre, The Haunted Shack, The sound of that train whistle blowing, announcing it's departure for a ride around the farm...and getting held up by bandits along the way.

    Does anyone remember a man called INOR? He use to run the trolley and played Santa Claus during Christmas time...we loved that man! My favorite place to be was Old Mcdonalds Farm...chickens would play a minuature piano for food, the sway backed horse, the friendly, hungry seals in the pool outside...I can still hear them barking for food. Walking through a gold mine and panning for gold dust at the end of the trail. Having your picture taken on a bucking horse, blackberry ice cream cones, the best chicken dinner I've ever had and rhurbarb pie with ice cream for dessert. The old Model T cars kids could drive...what a thrill that was for a child. The little white chapel where you would listen to beautiful music and watch the eyes of Jesus open magically...I cry to this day whenever I hear that music...it was such a beautiful time in my life.

    When I was in my late teens I wanted to go experience that magic again, but when I saw the fencing and the new rides in the background, I knew Walter Knott was gone and so was the magic I once knew as a child. The wonderful memories of that time gone by (through a childs eye) will always remain in my heart.

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  11. Wow, what a bunch of great memories. I stumbled on to this site because I was trying to track down the lyrics from the old Berry Tales ride. Remember, the ride came to an end with the wolf being locked up just out of reach of the pie? There was a song that played as the ride came to an end, and for whatever reason, that song gets in my head every now and then and I can't remember the words. Kind of stupid, I know, but I thought I might find an answer out there on the internet somewhere. As for Knott's Berry Farm, I practically grew up there. My entire family worked there before I was born and in fact, at one time our family outnumbered the Knott family. My grandma lasted the longest, spending most of her time in the General Store and the old school house. She even played Mrs. Clause once or twice. Anyway, Knott's is a great place. I'd love to get back there some day just to see if there's anything I still recognize.

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  12. I remember in the 1950's there were stuffed horses that you could sit on and have your picture taken (with a cowboy hat too!) There were also other cardboard pictures you could stand behind and put your head in so the body looked like it belonged to you. Do they still have these things for picture taking? Also there was a stagecoach that a few people could sit in and have their pictures taken. What happened to these? Knotts has changed a lot!

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  13. I remember in the 1950's there were stuffed horses that you could sit on and have your picture taken (with a cowboy hat too!) There were also other cardboard pictures you could stand behind and put your head in so the body looked like it belonged to you. Do they still have these things for picture taking? Also there was a stagecoach that a few people could sit in and have their pictures taken. What happened to these? Knotts has changed a lot!

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  14. I was wondering if anybody knows what happened to the dinosour ride that used to be the Knott's Berry Tales ride? The line for that ride during Halloween Haunt would reach up to 4 hours long. I was also wondering what they are putting in its place. It was somewhat of a relaxing ride and kind of fun. Just wondering.

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  15. We moved to Calif. in 1956 and my parents took me to Knott's Chicken Dinner for my 12th birthday. Remember the little tart that floated on top of the rhubarb? There were no choices; all salad had French dressing, and cabbage came with each dinner. We loved the seals because our Dad would "bark" and imitate them! Remember the old miner that stood at the entrance? What was his name? Remember Mott's Miniatures, the organ grinder with his monkey, the replicas of the Calif. missions and the Church of Reflection. It was the white church that Walter Knott brought to the farm 50 years ago so his employees that had to work on Sunday would not have to miss church. Did you know he taught Sunday School on the train? Church of Reflection has been moved across the street beside Independence Hall to make room for the new ride, but service is still held every Sunday morning at 11:00 with several employees in attendence. There is a core congregation plus tourists and visitors each Sunday. The church is also available for weddings. Nov. 13th we will be celebrating our 50th Anniversary. Come, join us and relive your Knott's memories. The bell rings at 10 mins. til 11:00 and church is only 1 hour. There is a rooster and his "lady" that greet us as they roam the area.

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  16. I remember having a birthday party at Knotts. They had, if I remember correctly, a train car, tree house and gazebo. I also remember the gumball machines that had a little man with a scoop that would scoop the gumball and drop it into the shoot.

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  17. I remember having a birthday party at Knotts. They had, if I remember correctly, a train car, tree house and gazebo. I also remember the gumball machines that had a little man with a scoop that would scoop the gumball and drop it into the shoot. This would have been in the late 50's early 60's.

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  18. I remember ditching classes from western high school and going over to knotts,which was only a few blocks away.Tiger woods also went to western. Do you remember the little church with the portrait of jesus which seemed to come to life after you looked at it awhile? The indian teepees, the old indian by the locomotive? The telescope near the seals, the haunted shack,judge roy beans shed,the bee hive inside the glass case,the wonderful candy store. You could really feel our pioneer past. I shoulda been a cowboy!

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  19. Knotts was my first job. I worked in the buffet line in Fiesta village. I only worked there a couple of months. (At one point, me and my 2 brothers worked there at the same time) When i quit, I never turned in my I.D., so I was able to get in for free anytime I wanted.
    My earliest memory was the pond across the street and the little train that went around it. We would put pennies on the track so the train would smash them. Once the driver stopped the train in the middle of the ride, got out of the train and kicked off all our pennies! He was not happy.
    I also remember the Corkscrew. I went to Walter Knott Elementary School and we would watch the Corkscrew go up to begin the ride. We couldn't wait to be tall enough to go on it. I'm 34 today and luckily I was able to ride on it before they got rid of it (BRING IT BACK!!!!!!)
    The jail cell with the speaker in it is controlled by a man in a window just before you enter the walkway. You can give him a note telling him to ask your friends a question that only they would know. It's funny to see their reaction trying to figure out how some Knotts employee knows about them. HILARIOUS!!
    I'm going today because veterans and their spouses get in free. I go every year. It never gets old! (But I wouldn't mind if the change the stunt show a little bit)

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  20. I'm almost 50 so I have a lot of great childhood memories of the good old days at Knott's. We lived in La Mirada so we were able to go pretty often with free admission. Does anyone remember the fishing pond out in the parking lot? I must have been around 5 or 6 but I still remember because I had my first experience catching a fish there. I remember the drive-em-yourself model T's. They were so much fun with no track. I also recall there was a model T ride on a track that I liked to ride when I was small and it's long gone. What else? The original Old MacDonalds farm. Going to birthday parties in the kids' party area. Feeding the seals fish out of those little paper bags. The mules were probably my favorite ride. I remember the organ grinder with his monkey too. When I was little I must have held on to my penny too long one because the monkey grabbed my hair and wouldn't let go-I was terrified then but now it's funny. Does anyone remember the boats you could actually paddle around in the lake by the chapel? They were there a very long time ago. One last thing that is gone, is the Steak House. I was fascinated with all the furs and relics hanging inside. Looks like that restaurant was sacrificed to fit in Ghost Rider. Now I take my children and thank goodness Ghost Town is still there and the man in jail, the train, the Calico Mine ride, the stagecoach, and a few others that bring back warm memories that I can share with them. The quaintness of Knott's is disappearing. It's sad to see but hopefully the old parts won't totally be destroyed.

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  21. HELLO: I MOVED TO GARDEN GROVE IN 1946 AFTER MARRYING A NATIVE CALIFORNIAN. OUR FIRST CHILD WAS BORN IN 1954 AND WE USED TO GO TO KNOTTS ON THURSDAY EVENING FOR SUPPER ON THE GRASS (PICNIC FROM HOME) AND THEN GO INTO THE PARK AND LISTEN TO THE ENTERTAINMENT. AS CHILDREN WERE ADDED TO OUR FAMILY, IT BECAME A RITUAL TO GO TO KNOTT'S FOR OUR PICNIC SUPPER AND THEN STROLL THRU THE PARK.
    I AM NOW 80 YRS OLD AND MY CHILDREN NOW TAKE THEIR KIDS TO KNOTT'S. I WONDER HOW THEY CAN AFFORD IT, THO.

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  22. I grew up in Buena Park in the 1950's and have many fond memories of Knott's Berry Farm. One of my fondest is when I was about 5-6 years old I strolled down La Palma Ave. Crossed Hwy 39 (now referred to as Beach Blvd) Marched right passed the Gold Miner Statue and into the Park. I just loved watching the carrousel go around and around. The music was loud and upbeat. All of the people seemed to be enjoying themselves, children, as well as adults. Well, I figured I might as well go for a ride too. When the carrousel slowed to a stop, I Jumped up, walked around to the horse of my choice put my feet in the styrups, away we go. Oh what a glorious time I WAS HAVING, THAT IS UNTIL a Man walked up to me and asked me for a ticket. Oh my, I pointed at a nice looking grandmother sitting on a bench and when the ride was over, I jumped off the horse and ran like heck down La Palma, to Dale and then to my house. Mom did not even know I was gone. Whew! Who remembers playing at Jungle Island, across the street from Knotts???

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  23. HELLO, ONE OF MY BEST MEMORIES OF KNOTTS BERRY FARM WAS OF COURSE, GOING DANCING AT STUDIO K AND CLOUD NINE BACK IN THE 80'S. I WAS 15 AT THE TIME BUT THOSE MEMORIES WILL STAY WITH ME FOREVER!

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  24. i remember going to knotts when i was 6 or 7 . there was a old locomotive near the blacksmith shop that was a old mine engine. i used to play on that thing for hours wile my mother and aunt would set on some benches and talk. she said she could leave me there( you could do that in those days with out any worry, not now i guess) and come back and id still be there playing. i hope to go ther again and see if the old engine is still there. that was in the mid 1950's i remember seeing mr. knott walking around then he would alway stop and set with my mom and aunt and talk for a little wile. my father was in the army then and he would always ask how he was. my dad was stationed overseas for nearly a year and mom and i lived with my aunt and uncle who lived about a mile from knotts.we went there 3or 4 times a month. it was a wounderful place that i will always remember. kurt age 57

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  25. I ONCE LIVED IN BUENA PARK,IN 1988,AND 1989, AND I CAN REMEMBER GOING EVERY WEEKEND TO KNOTTS. I WENT TO BUENA PARK JR HIGH, SO SOME DAY I WILL RETURN, TO MY FAVORITE PLACE IN SOUTHERN CAL.

    I LIVE IN OKLAHOMA NOW, BUT WILL RETURN TO HOPEFULLY REUNITE WITH MY OLD FREINDS.

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  26. I grew up within walking distance of Knotts berry farm.on what was known as stanton ave and hwy 39 back in 1955. we lived between orange ave and ball road. walked there many times as a young girl. in 1964 at the age of 14 got my first kiss in the Indian village. they wanted to get rid of us kids so they started charging money to get in.but when walter and cordelia owned the park it was a wonderful childhood dream. they had seals you could feed, and all kinds of free things that could make a young person happy. I never even learned how to cook fried chicken until I was 35 because my mom would always drive a mile down to Knotts and get their chicken. I was quite fond of the gizzards.. the kentucy guy could never hold a candle to mrs. Knotts fried chicken and gizzards.went there with my husband two years ago and was so upset to see a part of Americana turned into such a money making mess. everything was under constuction and the little chappel that would show Jesus was long gone, along with the seals and the indian village and the chickens that would roam around free. I feel sorry for those of you that were not around to see what Mr. and Mrs. Knott gave to all of us as children.Progress is not that good. I am ashamed of what their children did to their beautiful part of Buena Park.

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  27. I went to Knott's in the late 60's and early 70's. I loved the cemetary, Boot Hill, and the one grave where you could stand on it and feel a heart beating through your feet.

    I loved the mule drawn carousel in fiesta village, and the Liger (1/2lion, 1/2 tiger) and I think they had a half zebra half horse too. The candy kitchen with the taffy pulling machine in the window. The stagecoach ride, where, if you stood in the right line and were little enough, you could ride up top with the drivers. But most of all, I loved Jungle Island. You would go out by the chicken dinner restaurant, under the freeway through a tunnel (walking), and come up in the mysterious jungle island, with its wooden animals (weird animals) and witch doctors, and drums playing. There was a limbo bar, and all kinds of wonderful, spooky stuff, and you could just run around and get lost there. I remember once running through the jungle and coming out through some trees and being up on a high hill overlooking a bunch of eucalyptus trees and a freeway, and being so disillusioned--I really thought it was a real jungle! I have had a really hard time getting people to remember this place--I was starting to think I was crazy. I would LOVE to see some photos of it sometime.

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  28. Hey everyone ! I am hoping there are some of you out there that went to Studio K and Cloud 9 at Knotts Berry Farm in Anaheim. I spent the good part of 1987 - 1989 there with a bunch of different friends. Seems every night I was there. I am looking for some photos from either Studio K or Cloud 9 or just hanging out at Knotts. Maybe someone will even remember me or some of the friends I hung with out there. If you would like to take part in the website/tribute, or if you have some photos to contribute, please get in touch with me at slbecker71@comcast.net - Thanks Steve Becker

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  29. I HAVE A GOOD MEMORY WHEN IT COMES TO KNOTTS I STILL EVEN KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MY OLD LINE DANCING FRIENDS.FROM 91-99. IS LINE DANCING STILL THERE? KNOTTS ISNT NOTHING WITHOUT IT LOL ,MONIQUE FROM ANAHEIM PS. I MISS JT AND DUSTY!!!!!!!!!

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  30. Wow, What great comments by lovers of Knott's. I grew up in Anaheim in the 50's and 60's and occasionally was treated to a day at "The Farm" (as it was called by employees)..When I was in high school, a buddy of mine was a bus boy at The Chicken Dinner Restaruant. We would get free food and eat in the employees area. His mom was a waitress. My girl friend (now my wife of 36 years) workeed at Sutter's Grub Stake. When I graduated from high school I landed a job atKnott's as A train robber. Man was I lucky. The other robbers told me I was the only guy ever hired off the street(at that point in time) as a train robber. You had to know someone to get on . A guy quit and they needed someone asap and I was in the right place at the right time. I also learned to operate the Baldwin Locomotives and make some of the repairs on them.. It was the greatest job I ever had. It is not the same anymore. It was a great place for young and old. So long OLD TIMER!

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  31. Does anyone have memories or information on the "wagon train" attraction?

    I remember from the late 60's a theater that showed a wagon train thru the desert and the tales of the familys that were suffering on the way. To this day I remember the child saying "mother... I am so thirsty... do we have any water?"

    Any information would be helpfull.

    Thanks

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  32. Does anyone remember the Knott's Fishing Hole that used to be at the corner of Beach/Crescent? Or the swimming pool that was once were the Independence Hall is now. I grew up across the street from Knott's and would spend weekends chasing/catching rabbits in the rhubarb fields and HUGE wood piles which is where the water park is now.

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  33. Hi Steve,
    Like reading the comments. Used to go to the park alot in the 80's and was facinated by the cowboys......One sticks out in my mind. He was the Bear in The Wild West Show and also was the comic part in the Salon Show. I beleive his name might have been Bob, but not sure. Does any of your readers know of this person?? I haven't been to the Park in years but have many fond memories.

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  34. Howdy, I would like to answer Dave Howland and his story about the medicine man and his Uncle Leon. That was my husband, the medicine man, and I was the assistant. Sometimes I was dressed as an Indian Maiden and others as a Saloon girl. My husband is Harvey Walker and at that time he was known as Professor Peter Perkins of the PALE, PINK AND PRETTY PURPLE PILLS. We also did the Saloon show. I
    Harvey played Banjo and I sang, Mama goes where papa goes or papa don't go out tonight. I actually have pictures of your Uncle Leon. Harvey started working at Knotts as an orginal Wagonmaster singing and playing in the wagoncamp when he was 15 years old. Mr Knott gave Harvey his first Banjo because he said, medicine men didn't play an electric guitar! So, he told Harvey he would buy him a Banjo if he'd learn to play it. When they built the gates and charged admission is when Marion Knott let the Wagonmasters go, this was in 1968. Many years later at an employee's dinner she called Harvey on stage and said that was the biggest mistake she had ever made. Harvey also had a group out there called "The Here and Now" which played the John Wayne theatre five days a week. Harvey went on in several positions and is currently Booking Coordinator in the Entertainment office. He has been at Knotts for a total of 55 years! Our daughters grew up at Knotts, our oldest daughter Brandi danced at Studio K every weekend and eventually went to work at the Birdcage Theatre for many years until the new owners decided to close it, except for holiday shows. She just performed there again this past Christmas for the season's shows. Someone mentioned line dancing with Dusty and JT, I was a part of that group also. They are still teaching out there in Calico Square every weekend. I teach line dancing at Knotts' private parties and functions. There was also a mention of the old guy talking to you in the jail, Harvey did that also from time to time. No one really noticed that the speaker was right next to the entrance of the jail :)Alot of things have changed there and it makes me sad to see the petting zoo, the church, reflections, lake, hotel, peek-ins, all gone. They moved the church across the street or I should say pieces of it and rebuilt it. Someone asked about the wagon train show, that was a story about the Knott family traveling to California, I believe. The new owners choose to gut the hotel and put a store in there. When they did this Harvey found the two cowboys that were leading in one of the trash bins, he took it back inside, had it signed off and it is now on my spare bedroom wall. Another question was about the dinosour ride.....they gutted it and right now there aren't any plans for the space. The question about "Bear" the stuntman, there has always been a "Bear", one of the stuntmen is featured as bear, each time the stunt show is done. Many, many of the stuntmen in Hollywood were trained and worked at Knotts. Dustin Hoffman's stuntman, Toby Keith's, even the past president of the Stuntmans Association was actually the first "Bear". I often wonder what happened to those Can-Can girls/Gypsy Camp from the early 70's when we all shared the same dressing room, sooooo fun!

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  35. Hi, Steve, Well reading this column brought back great memories I am 38yrs. old but old enough to remember my Grandparents taking my family to Knotts Berry Farm on Saturday for a Famous Chicken Dinner. But my Fondest was when I was young and there was no fence around the park, and there was only ticket booths where we could buy tickets we would just park on the dirt lot at Crescent and Western the chickens were running everywhere and between the trees I could see the Big Train "Red Cliff" God would I go crazy when they would blow the whistle My Grandfather would allways take us kids on the train before lunch. How about the erupting Volcano!!! Or the little village and small amusement park on the other side of Beach Blvd , Well I paid a recent visit to the park Christmas Eve 2005 and I was delighted to see that my two old friends have been beautifully restored to there original state Rio Grande Southern #41 and Denver and Rio Grande Western #340 Both Locomotives like other things in the park are our heritage But the trains are Living History of the Old West May there whistles and Bells never go silenced. And for some reason I seem to remember they were using .45 Colts with blanks on the train robberys sure seems like it was way louder than it is now. Thank You, Walter Knott
    J. Lewis

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  36. Wow, what a neat site! I worked at the park in the late seventies & mid eighties and last visited in 1991. I bet there has been many changes. I have great memories like alot of the rest of the "posts" left on this site. I still tell people about the bottle house and the authentic western town complete with cowboys, salon girls, Indians, blacksmith and gold mine, where you could actually pan for gold, train & stagecoach. I hope they still have all this. The rides were lots of fun. What a great theme park it used to be. To the Linda Walker post: I remember Harvey Walker and am amazed he is still there. A very talented man. To the Anonymous post about the cowboy named Bob:I believe I know who you are talking about (think I played softball with him). He was in The Wild West Show, did the Can Can Show and even The part of the Medicine Man if my memory serves me correctly. I beleive his last name was Stanbo. There was also a cowboy named Merrit (played softball with him too) that was really good. The bird cage theater was fun. I think Steve Martin got his start there. Sounds like alot of people have great memories of Studio K and Cloud 9. I am on that list. And what great chicken dinners!!I know times change but memories last forever!

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  37. WOW! I grew up in Buena Park and Knotts Berry Farm to me is as close to perfect a childhood memory gets. My whole family practically worked there. My mom worked in the photo shop where they had that stuffed bucking horse on display to pose on. Just reading all these comments is like being there now.

    Thank You!

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  38. TO ANONYMOUS 04/02/2006 QUESTIONS RE: "THE WAGON TRAIN". IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THAT DISPLAY IS WHERE THE THE CANDY STORE IS (NOW ON GRAND AVE. NEXT TO THE CHICKEN RESTARAUNT). THERE WAS ALSO A BEE HIVE ON DISPLAY IN THE SAME BUILDING.

    T. HOY - BUENA PARK

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  39. If anyone knows where I can get a picture or a poster of the Knott family's house, I'd like to get one for my husband. I can't seem to find any mention of the model of the house they used to have on display when my husband took his little boys there. It would mean a lot to him.

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  40. My family moved from Ohio to Garden Grove in 1967. It was a great place to grow up back then. We'd see the Disneyland fireworks from our backyard.

    I loved going to Knott's when Walter and Cordelia were running it.
    Seems like only the locals liked going to the other side of Beach Blvd/Hwy 39 where they had Independence Hall, Jungle Island, the lake and the carousel. When Mom took us there for a Saturday afternoon, it was a great time. The roosters running loose in the dirt parking lots let us know we were visiting the funnest farm around.
    I might be in a very small minority but I liked going to Independence Hall. Sure it's not a thrill ride but it's Americana and I've always liked that.
    Walter Knott had a lot of pro-American books and pamphlets at Independence Hall, written by himself and other authors that at the time may have reflected a major Conservative influence in Orange County. I still have most of them stored away.

    We'd go to the main park but not as often. I liked the church with the transformation of Christ in Fiesta Village. When I was a child, seeing those eyes made me hide behind the pew. I still have one of the souvenir cards from the church with the opening doors cover and the glowing face of Jesus inside. I remember the gondolas along the pond's edge with the nightlights show outside the church.
    My favorite section was Ghost Town. We'd always have to go to Boot Hill with the mortician's eulogy at the hearse and stepping on one of the graves to feel the heartbeat under your feet.
    We'd go inside the schoolhouse and sit at the old desks and Mom bought a set of Mcguffey's Readers to read to us at home.
    I remember the train depot and the print shop where we'd get the "one holer" Ghost Town dollar bills.

    Last time I was at Knott's was about 1981 but it seems from other people's memories that some of the good stuff is still there.

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  41. I grew up in La Mirada, a few miles away from Buena Park. At three years old I took my first trip to Knott's in 1958. It was wide open, spacious, and you could just walk in. This was how it was for many years after. We would go to feed the seals and ride the mules. The big change to Knott's happened when Walter Knott created The Mine Train Ride. This was HUGE for a kid like me! I believe that the end of Knotts as I knew it came when Russell Knott took over. He created the thrill ride atmosphere,while keeping intact the origional Knott's. As the years go by, more and more of the park-like atmosphere is going away. As the roller coasters and thrill rides continue to be built, i can still vist the old Knott's area, buy a corn dog and sip on Boysenberry Punch. That, is cool.

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  42. Hi... what a great site here. We just went to Knotts for the first time in about 25 years after having lived in Oregon all that time. Grew up in southern Cal and my Dad and/or visiting relatives would take us kids every summer to Knotts. My late Dad loved the Old West and I grew up loving it and still do.

    We met with the stuntmen after the show Friday and enjoyed them. As fans of the Magnificent Seven tv series we noticed one of the stuntmen was dressed like one of the characters so we asked to have our pictures taken with them. Is there a way to write the stuntmen and thank them? We thought of questions we could have asked of them as well since I know some of the people who filmed the tv series.

    We had a blast but sure missed so much of the old Ghost Town :(

    An elderly man in the little museum said he'd been working there for a couple of decades and told me how the Ghost Town will be next to be taken down for more theme rides! He said the Reflection Chapel was so crumbly when they tried to move it that they couldn't save it. I, too, have my little folding Jesus picture card where His eyes follow you no matter which way you turn.

    What are we going to do now that they're taking our old places away for those theme rides? Pouting and mourning. They're taking away the western from movies and tv and now Knotts.

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  43. Hi I went to Kennedy H.S. (class of 87) and I would spend many a weekend nights dancing at Studio K(now where Jaguar sits) and Cloudnine. I spent alot of time before that too just going there as a kid.
    Fast forward to Aug. 2000 when I get a job as a server at Mrs Knotts Chicken Dinner restaurant. It is here that after all that time do I learn teh history of the place and how it all began with the chicken dinners. Well yes they had the farm but on August 26, 1934 to make ends meet friends and family had convinced Cordelia to sell her fried chicken dinner. That night she sold 8 dinners which was served on their wedding china. I fell in love with the history and I am truly sad to say that Ceder Fair LLP (owners) are just ruining a true Icon for America.
    I also found out that across LaPalma Ave where the stables are used to be a shop which 2 brothers owned and they built the Mineshaft Ride and the Logride. they sold tickets back then and leased the space from The Knotts. Back then a certain German decented cartoonist from Burbank used to go to the german enclave of Anaheim to vistit the Wineries. Well he would also stop in to see he friends the 2 brothers who built the rides. I believe that he put 2 and 2 together saw a successful ghost town these rides and his own Mouse cartoon and you get the picture.
    This is what Cedar Fair did while I worked there. They closed the Haunted Shack (it was dilapitated they said) well it was supposed to be that way. They in turn put in a stupid thrill ride that one must pay a seperate price for. They tore down the house which was the offices and original owners place. The oricginal tea and biscuit later restaurant room. This was the breakroom now for us. The treated employees whom had been there some 50 years with a corporate attitude and no respect for what they had put into this Americas 1st Theme Park.
    I could go on and on but it will just Piss me More.....I have my fond memories and thats the best part. Outside of the great people I worked with.

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  44. Hi Steve,
    I was a Knott's yesterday. I can't walk around the place without trying to figure out what used to be here and there and what is missing. I am 55 so I have been going there for many years. I remember Ghost Town being larger and having more buildings. I recall a grist mill that seems to be long gone. I also remember some very cool gumball machines. You would put in your coin and a little man inside would turn a crank to make the gumball come out! I visited the saloon when I was there yesterday. Wow, just like old times. I was surprised to see that in addition to sasparilla, they actually sell real beer! One of the dancehall girls in the show even flung a garter at me. What a trip! Now if they could only find some decent terrain for the narrow gauge train to cross. All you can see out of the windows are back walls of buildings. Oh well, at least the train is still up and running.
    Dave

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  45. Hi Steve,

    What a great site…It’s been fun reading the memories of all the Knott’s attendees throughout the generations; I, also have many fond memories. They start when I was 11, I was on a small clogging team and would dance there every weekend in the summer… That first summer as I recall was 1978, Al Detriech would call a few of us kids off of several different teams and have us dance at the entrance in the 90 degree heat, in the early afternoon…As our feet were flying 90 miles an hour he would take off his cowboy hat and fan our feet as if smoke were rising off of them..(In all actualality it was dust ) but it felt like our feet were on fire, with those black tap shoes YEOW that’s for sure. Anyway we would finish that, and change into our own team outfits and do our shows at night in calico square….Back then, and along into the early 90’s we, and all the other clogging teams would attract a huge crowd… People would buy annual passes just to come in and see the cloggers.. In the late 80’s I met Harvey Walker as he would book our shows with the Sugarfoot Stompers… A few years later around 1991 the line dancers came in.. I met a lot of fun people there as well ( Hi Linda) AKA Kc Douglas.. I didn’t get in on the dancing at Cloud 9 or Studio K cause between our clogging shows I would go 2-step in the barn which is now a store behind the saloon… great memories everyone! Thanks
    Sarah U.

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  46. yeah.. i was one of those kids..86-88 dancing at studio k and cloudnine. very fond memories.we lived right down western ,and could see the big k light up every night. i even did a school report on knott's. rode the corkscrew when it was pretty new, but i was too short for the motorcycles. my dad took me to ride montezooma's revenge when it opened.. my fovorite was the log ride though, well untill ghost rider. a big wooden rollercoaster at knott's was my child hood dream that would never come true.. guess i was wrong. but i really miss all the old stuff... the archery range and the old shooting gallery with the unforgetable sound effects. i'm livid about the haunted shack. makes me want to vomit when i see that separate admission swing thing.
    an earlier reader asked about the wagon train diorama .. it was in the old golden trails hotel, but cedar fair tore it down and rebuilt it as a gift shop. "mama, i'm thirsty'.. "i'm sorry honey, but there's no more water.. look at the poor horses,, they're much thirstier than we are.. "

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  47. oh, and does anyone remember when the original prospector statue got stolen?
    someone hacked him off at his ankles.. swear to god, i can stillremember passing by on the way to the buena park mall and seeing just his feet next to his burro, and how everyone complained that the new one was too skinny and wrong. i also remember passing bud hurlbut's mailbox on western, and also since ed roth, the famous custom car guy worked at knotts painting signs, we'd see him driving around on his three wheelers.
    someone who worked for knotts had a van on which was an airbrush painting of an insane infinate rollercoaster.. i uswed to just stare at it when we passed by. .. wow.. this site has brought back SOOOO many memories, you all might get sick of me bringing stuff up..
    ohhh man,when they took out the motorcycles i was bummed because i was going to knotts for my 11th birthday, but by the time we went the had already opened the soap box racers, which , in my opinion, was an amazingly themed ride on par with anything disney had to offer, when it opened.. oh, gee.. those were some days.. HOT BOILING STEAMIN' mud.., "look out there's some rough water ahead" "mama.. i'm thirsty.. im sorry honey there's no more water.' "clear....dispatch"... can anyone remember the d.j's name from cloud nine?...

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  48. I would be afraid to go to Knott's now with all the changes I have read about. Working there in the 80's was alot of fun while I got thru college. I dug the Western Town and knew alot of the people mentioned in Posts like Harvey Walker. That cowboy mentioned, his name was Bob Stambaugh, not Stanbo. I would also like to know if anyone knows if the Sherriff of Ghost Town, Max Barlow still works there? Do they still pan for gold? I also remember hearing about one of the cowboys who was hurt really bad by attempting a high fall and missing the bag he was supposed to land on. Anyone know anything about his status?I loved the rides back then and have heard they have added many new ones. I bet Halloween Haunt still cannot be matched anywhere else. What a GREAT park it used to be. I guess I should go back and visit sometime....hope I won't be disappointed!

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  49. Thanks to all posts.

    What wonderful recollections which bring back some very fond memories of the mid-fifties. In 1956 my family took a train from OH to CA for my fathers business trip. I have fond memories of Disneyland on that trip however many of us youngsters were "cowboys" or "cowgirls" and Knotts Berry Farm was the real attraction!

    I remember my childhood naive bravado during the train robbery as I wished I had brought my guns (cap guns) with me from home, as I was going to protect the passengers!

    I remember the haunted shack where water ran uphill! The biggest thrill came when I was selected to be put in the chair that rested its two back legs on a wood board that was nailed to the wall. The chair and me were suspended on the wall with nothing supporting the front legs.

    I remember having been tired of chicken from eating chicken all the way from Ohio in the train dining cars. For that reason the meal did not leave a lasting impression on me. However, the honey did.

    When you are a "cownboy" you are not supposed to get scared. I'd be lying if I told you the jailhouse and gunfights in the streets did not have me a tad bit shakin in my boots.

    Thanks again to all for the great posts and a special thanks for the gentleman's story about how the property was aquired.

    mc

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  50. July 31, 2006 Yes, Max Barlow continues to be the Marshal of Ghost town, he has had some health issues lately though. The stunt man you referred to is Jay Mead. He did the water tower jump and his head hit the asphalt not the mat.Harvey eas the first E1 there and held Jay until medics arrived. I'm sorry to say his condition has not improved, he lives in a home for people with brain injuries in Orange, California. God Bless him, I loved Jay Mead. NOTICE: Harvey Walker will be the Grand Marshal at Calico Days at Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California on October 7th and 8th, 2006. KC will be teaching line dancing on those days also. The information should be up and running soon on www.calicoghosttown.com If you come out be sure and introduce yourselves to us!

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  51. Hi Steve!!! It was 1963 when I was at the farm last--I really liked the chicken restaurant-used to take dates there often--I lived in Compton at the time--the crunchy corn flakes really made the chicken taste great--as a matter of fact--I've never had any like that sence--Knott's must have had a secret formula stached away somewhere--but the cook that worked there at that time told me how the chicken was prepared--corn flakes was the secret to all that crunch--boy I would love to have had it one more time in this life time-it's a long way from Ill. to sunny Cal--Bob Kline

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  52. Read all of the posts and did not find what I was looking for. I remember going to Knott's when I was 7 years old in 1954 and newly arrived from Ohio. Perhaps I am the only one that remembers the little old lady playing the dulcimer on the board sidewalk in the ghost town. I have photos taken by my mother of the "saloon girls" and something very precious to me...photographs of my sister and me waving from the back of that stuffed pinto horse and then photos of my sons in the same pose on the same horse twenty years later. Does anyone remember when they broadcast from the wagon camp?
    I am retired and living out of California now and it broke my heart when they made Knott's into what it is today.

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  53. In answer to the last comment.....The old lady playing the dulcimer was named..Aunt Nellie, the two Saloon girls were Cecilia Peterson and Marilyn Hargrove whom were also the models for the statues. They were called The Calico Bells. The first can can girl was JoAnn Burdick, she is 6 foot tall and Mr Knott adored her. My good friend that also worked there during those times, Dave Bourne, is writing a book called...Knotts Berry Farm a Pictorial....Ghost Town and Wagoncamp. His book will be for sale after the first of the year from his web site WWW.Saloonpiano.com There isn't anything there yet about it but there will be. He has collected hundreds of pieces of collections from all of us, which will be in this book. Dave is a walking encyclopedia of the 50's at Knotts. Truly amazing! I have a picture that my mother took of my brother and I, at the ages of 8 and 4 with Chief Red Feather. In the same frame is a picture I took of my girls at the same age with Chief Red Feather. My daughters are now 31 and 35. If you would like to see pictures of the Wagonmasters in the Wagoncamp go to...www.thewagonmasters.com There are many pages to view. My husband Harvey started there in the first group in the Wagoncamp at the age of 15 during the summers. He is still there 56 years later :-) Awwwww the memories. Does anyone remember the high school students make out place? The tunnel to pan for gold :-)

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  54. The name of the miner ( statue) is Seldom Seen Slim.

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  55. Back in the 80's i was in high school and we went every weekend to go dancing at cloud 9.(better alternative music than studio k!)my mom had a huuuuge station wagon and my friends and i would load up and go. i live in Portland now, but some day i hope to go back to Cali to see my old hang outs! i really miss Knott's Scary Farm. i never missed a year!

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  56. I enjoyed reading all the comments. It is interesting to see how many memories Knott's brought to folks. Does anyone know if Red Feather worked there in the 70's & 80's. He was mentioned in a post and I am sure I saw him as a kid and then later when I was older. Also, does anyone remember(Maybe KC Douglas as she seems to know alot of the former entertainers)some of the Calico Dancers from the mid 80's. Specifically, Faye, Julie Owens & Jamie and as to what they are doing these days? Does studio K still exsist? How about the Wild West Stunt Show? Do the Peanuts Gang still wonder the Park and finally, is the Bottle House still there?

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  57. Yes, the Peanuts characters are still there as is the Bottle House.

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  58. Wild West Stunt Show is still there...Studio K is long gone....been Jaguar since 1995.

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  59. To answer the latest questions: Julie Owens is the Entertainment Manager at Knotts and has been for years. Jamie lives with her husband Kevin in Anaheim Hills, in a huge beauitful home. Kevin is very well known in Hollywood and that industry, always working non-stop for someone famous. Can't remember about Faye. Studio K is long gone but the bottle house is still there. Still standing on the spot it was built.

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  60. The Bob Stambaugh that was mentioned as playing the part of "bear" in the wild west stunt show is my dad. We used to go to Knotts all the time to watch him in that show as well as others. I remember that my younger sister and I would scream and cry every time we saw him get shot in the wild west show. Every time our mother had to tell us, "its not real, daddys ok". We have lots of great memories from our times there. We no longer live in CA, but we have very fond memories of all the friends and fun we had associated with Knotts.

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  61. For those of you interested. I am now 40 and we went to Knott's every other weekend. I remember we would park on the grass and the chickens running around all over the park. The sound of the big train, the smell of popcorn and the mules we would ride around the mountain. The chickens would play the piano for food when the light came on. I can also hear the Seal's barking. I was just there this last weekend 9/16. The haunted shack, the missions, the original berry stand (demolished) and the sight of the berry plants (torn out) all replaced by rides. They moved the church across the street. Saddest thing I ever saw. They also tore out all of the beautiful flowers and there are no more trees in the park. This will allow you to buy more drinks in the heat. Very depressing.

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  62. I don't know the original Knott's as it was "back in the day" as many of you have (I was born in 1986) but after having come across this blog and read all these wonderful recollections of the park's past, I'm sad to see how far downhill the park has slid.

    For those that are unaware, the Knott family no longer owns or has any connection to the farm/park other than namesake. The great grandchildren of Walter and Cordelia sold the amusement park and its operations to Ohio-based Cedar Fair (www.cedarfair.com) in December of 1997 for $245 million in cash. I'm sure Walter is rolling around in his grave right now.

    The Church of Reflections was dismantled in 2004 and rebuilt adjacent to Independance Hall with parts that were salvagable from the original building.

    The "Haunted Shack" mystery house attraction was demolished in 1999 due to its deteriorating structure. The "Screamin' Swing" thrill-ride now resides in its location.

    The "Sky Jump" parachute ride was removed in 1999 due to alleged high upkeep and maintenance costs.

    The original Pan-for-Gold attraction was removed to make room for the "GhostRider" wooden roller coaster in 1998. The attraction still exists, but in a new and smaller location in the park and is hardly the same experience.

    Reflection Lake no longer exists at the park.

    The four-lane "Wacky Soap Box Racers" ride was replaced in 1997 with the "Windjammer" racing roller coaster. The Windjammer was then in turn replaced in 2002 with "Xcelerator" - a 205-foot tall roller coaster that accelerates from 0 to 82 mph in 2.3 seconds.

    There are now only two teepees and one totem pole in the Indian Trails area after the "Silver Bullet" suspended-track roller coaster was installed during the summer of 2004.

    The "Kingdom of the Dinosaurs" ride (successor to the "Bear-ytales" attraction) was removed in 2004. The building that housed the ride is currently empty.

    The "Corkscrew" roller coaster was replaced with the forward and backward looping "Boomerang" roller coaster in 1990.

    The Pacific Pavilion (dolphins/seals/sea lions) was demolished in 1999. It was replaced in 2000 with the "Perilous Plunge" - billed as the world's tallest and steepest water flume.

    The "Jaguar!" roller coaster is currently on the spot where Studio K once used to be.

    The "Walter K Steamboat" ride was removed THIS MONTH (9/2006) as construction is currently underway for ANOTHER roller coaster.

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  63. I loved Knotts as a kid. I grew up a few blocks away. My favorites were feeding hte seals when I was real little, then as I got older playing ditchim all day on Jungle Island and the burro ride.

    I think my favorite memory was driving the old cars - you could see them from crescent and beach.

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  64. Hi everyone!
    Gosh, what a TON of memories this brings up--I remember Indian Trails, and Wild Water Wilderness. My best friend Sue Groffman was "Ranger Sue" at the Ranger Station in WWW for many years. I also danced in Calico Square from 1991 to 1999-wish I had never moved, lol. Who else met their life's love at Knott's--anyone??
    Oh well. Is the Ranger Station still around? I am a Licensed Maine Guide now, and I believe my love for the outdoors was born at Knott's and I learned so much there, and made the best friends of my life.

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  65. In response to the person who wanted to know the name of the person who played the Bear Character in the Stunt Show. Here is your answer:
    The Bear was played by
    Bob Rochelle
    Bob Holden
    Bob Stanbough

    You may take your pick, but I would bet on Bob Stanbough for he was one of my best.

    Gary

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  66. Yes, I remember all the saloon performers from 1974 until 1989. I even know what most of them are up to today. I also know Linda and Harvey Walker very well.
    Studio K was torn down some where around 1991 or 92. I built Suudio K and opened it on Memorial day Weekend 1984. She had a good live, what a ride.

    Gary Salisbury

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  67. There were 3 individuals that played the Bear Character in the Wild West Stunt Show.

    Bob Rochelle Late Seventies
    Bob Holden Mid 70's(Short time)
    Bob Stanbough 80's (The best Bear out of all the Bobs)

    To another inquiry Chief Red Feather was at Knotts until the late 70's

    Gary Salisbury

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  68. Wow...a trip down memory lane. I'm 45, and grew up around there. I have told my little girl so many stories about it, and was so looking forward to taking her one day (we live out of state now.) Now I'm not sure if I'd just get bummed out. Poo. Am I crazy, or did the mule ride start by the lagoon and then go under the road and past the Calico Mine ride? That was my fave ride, because I love horses! But my memory may be fuzzy. I'd forgotten some of the stuff, like the jail guy and the seals, but boy it all came rushing back!

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  69. Cheryl "Morris" MonteiroOctober 23, 2006 6:46 PM

    One of the most terrifying experiences I ever lived through was riding the Motorcycle Chase within the Roaring Twenties section of Knott's Berry Farm about 1978 or 79! I was 26 or 27 yrs. old when I was talked into riding it. From the outside it looked like just a cute little ride on a faux motorcycle with only a sash around your waist to hold you on- how dangerous could it be? VERY dangerous, to say the least! After the ride ended I endured whip lash, sore arms from hanging on for dear life, had the shakes for several hours. This ride was the equivilent of riding a roller coster while sitting on a motorcycle; and when the ride finally stopped, I was amazed that I hadn't fallen off! I never contacted an attorney, although I could have. It was an insane decision to have such a ride there, or ANYWHERE for that matter! Through the years I've heard other's talk about how they lived through this ride as well!Knott's closed it down not long after my terrifying ride. Give me the sweet old days of Knott's Berry farm, eating at The Chicken House and enjoying the ghost town. We used to walk in for free each week. It USED to be heaven, indeed! Now they feel they must compete with the major amusement parks. Knott's was NEVER like the other parks. It was special. I miss the old Knott's terribly! Thank's for your time here. Cheryl

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  70. Yes California 1 st theme park, I loved the Toy store in Ghost Town, the paddle boats, the haunted shack can't belive they took that out!!!! Those corprate jerks!! Panning for gold yeah the mine shaft by there too. I still love it but am stuck in the past too I will look for Harvey and Max I think I met Harvey at the stage coach ride last year? thanks Glenn Laughner

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  71. Cheryl, The mule ride actually started at the side of the Mine Ride in Ghost Town. It was moved across the street when the Gypsy Camp was put in in the early 70's. Both are gone now....Gypsy Camp didn't last very long. KC/Linda

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  72. Harvey Walker, Max Barlow, and Julie Owens are all still there. Harvey books entertainment for special events and parties, Julie is a manager of entertainment, and Max Barlow is Manager of Ghost Town and still the marshal,as of this writing in Nov. 06.I hate to hear comments of Ghost Town being torn down. Go by some time and if you look around you will see some things gone but some things have been added also. Cedar Fair is the new owner. The Knott Family didnt have the means to compete with the current amusement park mentality, so it would have probably been sold for its location and condos may have been built. So in fairness to Cedar Fair, I think they are doing a pretty good job.I am there all of the time , and I see them making repairs and replacing what needs to be replaced. You dont throw money at something you are going to tear down. Some say dont change a thing, well Walter Knott himself was changing things all of the time. Take a walk through Ghost Town today, take a look at old photos, and you will find not much has really changed in ghost town, except the trees have grown up and the streets have been paved. The Blacksmith shop still has working blacksmiths there and are great to watch, Sad Eye Joe is there, Pan for gold, the old school house, boot hill, the grill, all still there. Regardng the comment of the trees disapearing in one of the last few writings , Yes a lot of the euclaliptis trees were removed, due to a disease which caused branches to fall...on guests. What would you do? You are bound to step on toes as decisions are made sometimes in the name of progress. Jack Falfas who came with Cedar Fair about nine years ago to run Knotts, came from Ohio, with an energy you had to see to believe. He was making changes yes, but not from his office, behind the desk, but with a shovel in his hands. I saw that. Yeah there have been some things that have been changed or removed, like the haunted shack, and the original location of pan for gold down in the gulch, that was great, send your comments about that and maybe they can be changed. Ive rattled too long. I love Knotts, go check it out. By the way if you love it too, dont stay away and talk about it go there and support it, or it will go away. It would be nice for our kids to enjoy it too.

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  73. There isn't much to really enjoy at Knott's anymore. Judge Roy Beans has been moved, the Pan for gold has been relocated and dressed very poorly. The Silver Dollar Saloon is now an automated shooting gallery, the Calico Saloon severs beer, the wagon camp has a roller coaster that goes over it, the street entertainment is embarrassing to say the least. There really is no entertainment presented at Knott's like before it was sold. The lake is gone and they will be removing the stage coach ride next year.

    Knotts has turned in to a teen oriented iron ride park so that it can survive.

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  74. Wow. So they tear out stuff because it is falling apart. The real Calico dated back from the 1800's still stands. Remove the stage coach? Why not. It does not belong anymore with backdrops of the legs that support the rides. Makes me ill thinking about that. It won't be long and I am sure the wagon camp will be next. Afterall, who can hear anything with the rides over your head. Cedar Fair you should have put your rides across the street. You know, where the seasonal water park is. Like we don't have enough of them in So Cal.

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  75. Anyone out there who may remember hanging out at Fiesta Village in the Summer of '74? I used to play with a rock band, Vern Jackson and Changes and played on the outdoor stage at Fiesta Village. There was a huge dance floor out there.If you by any chance have photos of us please forward them to me.

    It seemed to be a place for local teens to hang out because I used to see a lot of the same faces pretty often. Whoever your are, thanks for making it a great memorable Summer for me.

    Great people worked at Knott's at the time. I made many friends.

    As information, I have sent Steve Johnson a photo of the band taken in front of the train in the Ghost Town. It was the Rio Grande Southern #41.

    Great to read everyone's comments. It's like being there again.

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  76. I guess I should have listed my email address for any Vern Jackson and Changes information/ pictures at Knott's the Summer of '74. Here it is:

    samsteph51@sbcglobal.net

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  77. A Knott's Fan from Long BeachDecember 07, 2006 4:44 PM

    Hi Steve:

    I hope it's not too late to add my Knott's memories to the mix. It's a funny thing, people love to talk about Disneyland, but I much preferred Knott's. Either because it was cheaper for a middle-class family of four, or because it was less crowded, my family seemed to make an annual tradition of visiting the park.

    From my younger years, I most remember the burro ride, the chickens that ran around the parking "lot" (which was really just a dirt field) and the goat in Fiesta Village that ate EVERYTHING you gave him -- paper plates, napkins and even cans! I dont know why I've never seen anyone mention that before, but I'm positive I'm not imagining it. We used to sit in those little "boats" on the lake and eat greasy tacos and beans from goldenrod colored wax paper wrappers. Oh, and don't forget the fireworks after dark!

    I also remember Independence Hall, and being totally confused about where we were. What I mean is, I knew the liberty bell was in Philadelphia, so I couldn't understand how we were seeing it at Knott's. My little 5-year old brain couldn't comprehend that it was a copy. I guess I thought that we were being magically transported to Philadelphia, just by entering the building! Of course, I also believed that the Queen Mary moved and people got shrunk in the Inner Space ride at Disneyland. I know, it sounds crazy, but in those days, kids were more impressionable and naive.

    In later years, I remember the Cloud 9 dance hall and Knott's Beary Tales (where I got my first kiss). And don't forget those cute Miners on the mine ride. As a "teenage girl of the summer, staying at home WAS bummer" (remember the Valley Girl ads of 1982...?), so we would befriend the miners and get signed in for free. We dreamt of getting a job at the park so we could have fun everyday.

    In the end, Knott's had a way of making me believe that everything was REAL, unlike Disneyland, where I knew it was a FANTASY. I truly believed I was visiting an old ghost town, with a theme park built around it. And don't get me started on the dinosaurs in the train ride...How did they send us back in time?

    I miss the old Knott's and am sad to see what it has become. I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Knott's wouldn't recognize the place if they came back from the grave for a visit, and I guess I'm just as happy to know they never will.

    Anyway, thanks for listening. I had a wonderful trip down memory lane -- perhaps I'm melancholy because I turned 40 today? Nah. I'll always be that 5-year old kid, sitting in front of her dad, shooting down the water flume on the Log Ride, and hoping we'd get "good and wet"!

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  78. Does this ring any bells?

    "Weeeelll Howdy! I"m gonna take ya'll down into the Calico mine now, but I gotta remind you to stay seated and keep your hands and arms inside the train. Noooo smokin' -- lots of dangerous gasses and dyanamite down there -- don't wanna go blowin' the place up now, do we?"

    "Take a good long look at Calico Square down there, 'cuz the way I drive, it just might be the last time you ever see it -- ALL ABOARD! TOOT TOOT!

    "....The old miners were following a vein of gold when they broke into this here cavern. Ain't she a pretty one? Just look at all those straaange and beeyooteeful formations. A tiny drop of mineral-bearin' water starts a-fallin', and in about a million years, it forms one of those great big stalactites or stalagmites....

    "Off to the left of the train, you can see the depths of some of these caverns. Why, some of them are so deep, we haven't even begun to explore them yet!"

    That's all I can remember, but at one time, I knew the whole schpiel ;-)

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  79. Jay Mead was mentioned in comments written in July. I just wanted to say that what was written is correct, though I believe he is at a facility in Tustin. His parents live in a trailier park close by so that they are able to visit him daily. He remains in a semi-coma state, some responses, eyes open. I am a second cousin of his and grew up camping and visiting with him and his family often. He had such a fun personality and was always just plain crazy!! I say his parents recently in March 2006 at a family members funeral. He is still in the same state, there has not been really any change since the initial accident, which has been several years ago now. Glad to hear that some of you do remember him.

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  80. I used to go to Cloud 9 and dance too. I used to be in the Disco Mickey Mouse team. Remember them? LOL. Anyway, great times indeed!

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  81. In the early sixties, Knott's Berry Farm was the first stop on a Friday or Saturday night of cruising. A couple buddies and myself would get our early evening rejection from girls we would try to pick up before heading out for an evening of mindless driving and late evening rejection. There was no admission and it was a great place to hang out. When I was younger I was addicted to their "Rock Candy".

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  82. does anyone remember the john wayne theater, which contained, scenes and props from john wayne movies, i think it is now the good time theater.

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  83. FYI, THE TRAIN THAT USED TO BE ACROSS BEACH BLVD THAT RAN AROUND A LAKE IS NOW AT THE CASTLE AMUSEMENT PARK IN RIVERSIDE CALIF.

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  84. Hello all, I was wondering why nobody has mentioned all of the peek-in windows. I loved looking in the windows and seeing the cowboys and indians. I am a little rusty on memory but I remembered it was cooland authentic looking. I happen to own 5 of the old west characters. Three Indians and 2 Cowboys.I dont know of anyone owning any and My friends brother bought 28 of them in a private sale back in 1998.So that tells you how long ago they started dismantling the original heritage of the Ghost town. I love knowing I have some of the last relics of the Old Days at Knotts. Does anyone here have any info or pictures of the peek-in windows and the characters and how they were set up(playing poker)? I would love to hear everyones opinion of seeing those evaporate .I can be emailed at ftk454@aol.com .Does anyone know the fate Of Knotts? Someone mentioned a article thhat was supposedly in a paper about some condos being built. I hope to hear some great stories.

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  85. About the school house:in 1973 the family went to knotts berry farm for the evening, we lived in garden grove at the time, dad mom and all 10 of us kids and familys, we walked around and after a while dad came up missing, so we formed search parties, finally dad came walking down the street from the school house, he said to gather everyone and meet him at the school house he'd be there in a minute, so we did and he did, he came back with an old bell he had always kept around, it was in his trunk, my first thought was he'd lost it and was going to embaress all of us by ringing it in front of the school house, (he always said it cace from a school house from when he was a kid), he always rang it on christmass as he ran through the house shouting merry christmass, merry christmass, funny huh, any way, he says come on everyone ive something to show you, as we walked in the curator at the time seemed to be pretty taken by dad and his bell, she smiled greatly as he let her hold it while he told us all this story,: see those initials on that desk? as he pointed to a desk, CCS was carved on the head board of the desk, my dads name is curtis clayton smith, we were pretty impressed by this, he told about the history of the school and where it came from in kansas, everything in there was as original, the curator did everything except beg dad for that bell, she said , mr smith ask anything and ill see if i can get it , my dad just smiled and said it wasent for sale, that he had promised it to my older brother clayton as an inheritance, the teacher gave it to my dad as a gift for being the best student she had ever had, she was leaving the school at that time, my dad did ring that bell in that school house at knotts berry farm for the first time in that building which i think is not the original building but a reproduction of the real one, my brother has that bell today, he and my older sister ellen say they both at different times have heard it make a small ring on its own once,mac smith.

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  86. I can't remember if it 1966 or 1967, when a group of us regular patrons were discussing the rumor about the park charging for admission. I had this urge to go to the office and ask about it. Just as I was walking in, Walter Knott was comming out of his office. I shook his hand and asked him about the rumor. He said he wanted to keep the free admission but was out voted by his family.

    Bob Knox

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  87. We just got back a few days ago from vacation to S. Cal and took our daughters to Knott's for their first time. We live in Seattle, but I grew up in La Crescenta & Montrose. I've been telling my kids about "Boot Hill" and that beating heart forEVER. I was so happy it was still there. Of course we panned for gold...and all I can say is...Knott's IS my childhood...and my memory of my now passed-away father who LOVED Knott's as much as we kids did! Thank you for having this site. Reading everyone's memories was heavenly!
    Cindy ...almost 44!

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  88. Gosh I'm so grateful for this site; brings back such long-ago memories. I was born in Long Beach in 1960 and grew up in Buena Park just one mile from Knott's. My older sister used to take us kids because she liked to flirt with the cowboys...and yes, Steve Martin was one of them-my sister has a photo of my little brother snatching his hat off! My sister admitted to me years ago she was hanging out with the cowboys and somebody mentioned marijuana...story goes some of them got high but Steve Martin didn't but he said he didn't 'anymore'!

    So I went to the park since before I can remember; but I do remember when they put the fence up. As we got older my older brother took over taking us kids to the park...we beat that fence!!! My brother found a place we could sneak through (it wasn't all the way fenced back then) and came out I think in the middle of the Indian trails; so we still got in free.

    I remember being so young the Calico Gold Mine scared the heck out of me...and later being older and riding it and laughing at the memory. I remember a lot of what was mentioned here, but I had totally forgotten the jungle and the tunnel!

    I remember one time a mule bit my baby sister. My older sister once sat me in the schoolhouse so she could talk to a cute guy; and I was too embarrassed to answer the questions. I must've been five.

    I remember the old ancient carousel and wonder if it's still there and if not, where it might be. I loved how pretty it was, but when I was younger I thought some of the animals looked downright scary.

    I have a memory, I think, of old Punch and Judy puppet shows being put on, and wonder if anybody can corroborate that.

    One other thing, I loved Knott's Berry Farm jellies; my sister told me Mrs. Knott's secret was she put boysenberry in ALL the different mixtures but I don't think they do that anymore. One year you could get in with tops from those jelly jars, and I collected a whole bunch of them and took my little brother and sisters and lied I had to say I was 12 but I was only 10. When the train robbers came by my little brother lifted up his shirt and said "they got me!"..he had a scab on his stomach and everybody on that train laughed.

    I remember the peek-in windows and the dancing girls statues and the volcano but wasn't it a fake volcano that ran on a crank? I remember the candy store too and boy were my little-girl eyes wide. I remember the rock candy too. And the old Indian; he never said a word but looked like a real Indian.

    I moved to Ohio in 1970 and haven't ever been back, but I look up web pages and can hardly recognize the place. I loved it so much; I wish I could buy up the old rides they got rid of and start an "Old Knott's" memorial park.

    Anybody remember the Japanese Deer Park off the Riverside Freeway? Same sister got bit by a deer there; and that's where my brother taught us all to use chopsticks; instructions were printed on the paper covers you opened them like a straw but it was wooden chopsticks inside instead.

    Ah for the good old days!

    Donna K Rogers, age 46-anybody went to Buena Terra in the '60s??

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  89. What wonderful memories all of these comments have stirred! I grew up going to the Church of Reflections every Sunday. The minister was William (Bill) Heath. He and his family were good friends, and moved with the congregation to a new church after Knott's chapel was closed to regular services. They later became missionaries in the Philipines. As members of the church, we were allowed free entrance on Sunday mornings, even after the fence went up.

    I can add a couple more little items... Near the carousel, there were little, stationary, coin-operated cars, old timey ones, with a lever that would make it go "faster" when you held it down. The back wheels ran on off-center cogs, buried in the pavement, so your car kind of bumped up and down. The lever would speed up the cogs so you'd bump faster!

    Also, on Jungle Island, there was a scary woodnik, called the Catawumpus (I can't swear I've got it spelled right), with red eyes that blinked, and it roared from time to time and scared us to death. I have been looking for a long time for pictures of Jungle Island, with no luck. Does anyone have any, or know where some are posted?

    HeatherEG@gmail.com

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  90. I remember going to Knott's Berry farm as a child in 1962 with 50 cents. We spent several hours, riding the carousel, feeding the sea lions, getting something to eat, and buying a huge lollipop on the way out.

    I also remember the black and white commercials for the restaurant on TV--kids eating berry pie and chicken.

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  91. Some of my memories are vague and some are sharp. I have a vague recollection and the one that doesn't get mentioned a lot is that there used to be a mock hillside before the Roaring 20's section was built. I remember just walking up there with my parents and being spooked out especially when it's dark out. Then after that going into the Ghost Town and you've got one scared little kid. But it was great.

    There used to be a sort of whirlwind ride in the Fiesta Village that was powered by a mule. In the same area there were these small models of various California missions on display. The old drive it yourself Model-T cars that ran just outside the park on the south/east portion of the parking lot.

    We used to park in the west parking lot. And when you approached the shop area there was a candy store with big window where you could watch them make the candy. Just north of that was the steak house and then below that was panning for gold. As a kid, I remember I used to be facinated by the small volcano and a display case below that with a devil hand cranking a tumbler.

    During the day, it the park on the east side of Beach Blvd that was a pleasant respite. I remember it being modeled after a old Victorian era type park with a gazebo that would have barbershop quartets or a dixieland band playing. And then there was the merry-go-round. And of course, the minature train ride that would circle the lake and go through a small tunnel. Rowing boats on the lake, feeding the ducks, and also the mule rides next to the Jungle playland. I remember it was like $.40 cents to get in. That whole era was a special time.

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  92. This site is fabulous. I ran across this site on the web while looking for some specific information about the life-size characters displayed at Knotts Berry Farm.

    From the posts on this site, I'm sure someone can assist with the information I am seeking.

    My wife recently purchased a unique 'surprise' gift for me on Father's Day. It is a life-size plaster of paris Ronald Reagan replica. It was purchased at an antique type store and was advertised as coming from 'the original Knotts Berry Farm'

    To most of us, the replica does not not look much like Ronald Reagan but there are similiarities of features (the hair (gray!) is way off, but he's wearing a cowboy hat)..and it's pretty clear this would be a Borax Mule Train host/ actor era Ronald Reagan well before he became Governor and President.

    Anyway, I've checked the sites containing old photos of Knotts Berry Farm (some great sites and some really great old photos!) but can't spot the Ronald Reagan replica who now sits at the bar in my den with a shot a whiskey we've placed in his hand. I was thinking he would have been part of any display at the John Wayne Theater or perhaps the Old Ghost Town as part of a Saloon scene.

    I wonder if anyone posting on this site can recall if there was a Borax Mule Train Host era Ronald Reagan replica at Knotts Berry Farm and, if so, help me locate an old photo of the replica at Knotts Berry Farm? (I've already made a pretty extensive, although not exhaustive, internet search for such a photo).

    Thanks for any information anyone may have.

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  93. Heather,

    You might know that Catawumpus exists today! He guards Ghost Town from the base of the windmill!

    -Bob
    www.bear-ytales.net

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  94. I had the fortune of working as first a train bandit and then as a stuntman for Knotts for several years back in the late 80's and early 90's. I also worked nearly 10 Haunts as either a street character or in the Hanging.. I also got to work with Jay Mead. What a wonderful talent he was. I'll never forget 'Lizard Man' or what he could do with the tassles!!! If anybody has access to Jay.. tell him Robert says Hi!! If he doesn't respond.. point to the tall guy on the "HOT VW" cover we did together.. good times.. great place to work.. too bad it has changed so much!

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  95. Is there any updated information on Jay? I knew him, but have not been back to the park in many, many years.Has anyone seen the new stunt show? If so, what do you think? I read an old post about Max Barlow, is he still there? How about a stage coach driver named Kevin Norris? (Is the stage coach ride even still there?) With reading all the posts, I'm not sure what to think about today's Knotts........guess one day I'll have to go back and see for myself.

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  96. I first went to KBF in the summer of 1955 the same year that the other park opened. I was 6 at the time. Going to KBF was to me the place to go. I panned for gold and was thrilled to get some.I too remember walking past the old miners statue to enter. Unfortunately when the park put the gates up things changed. And when they added the amusement rides it became just like any other park. But when it was just the ghost town it was the best. It was like being in a real west town. Something every kid back then wanted to do. I miss it very much.

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  97. Going down memory lane here. I am 52 and lived in Anaheim, CA., when my dad would often visit Bob's Men's Shop to buy shirts. I would take off to the park, which was then free. I loved the white chapel with the music and the transformation of Jesus. I would sit there and watch it over and over again. We fed the seals, went on the Calico Gold Mine ride, and the went to the Haunted House. I loved the candy shops and the boysenberry ice cream. I truly hold Knott's as my most favorable childhood experience. I live in NC today, but plan to spend my vacation at Knott's this year.

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  98. KC Douglas/Linda WalkerJuly 26, 2007 5:47 PM

    I'll try to answer a few of your questions...Catawumpus is still there Heather but as of last week when I saw it, it's broken. The motion's aren't working either. Max Barlow is in a home now and it looks like, I'm sad to say, he'll remain there. Harvey visited him the other day...not good. As of now, the Stage Coach ride is still there but for how long is anybody's guess, it travels under a roller coaster and caused one of the horses to run into the chain link fence and had to be put down. Kevin Norris is a big boss now, we are good friends with his father, whom is one of the orginal "Champs" of Tequila fame. No change for Jay Mead, he is basically unaware of his surroundings. If you would like to talk to his parents, I will give you their number if you email me privately. Recently they tore down the big candle shop, another roller coaster ride is going in. The man who owns Pioneer Town recently purchased the orginal Berry Stand and several peek ins, which he plans to display in Pioneer Town. You can contact me at kcdouglaslw@aol.com

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  99. I was just out at Knotts the other day and yes Catawumpus is still there in Ghost Town but it's broken and the motion's are no longer working. Max Barlow is in a home now and I'm afraid this is going to be his last stop on the ole road. Jay remains the same and we speak to his parents a few times a year. They have just torn down the big candle shop for a roller coaster that will be constructed there. Kevin Norris is still there but he is one of the big bosses now. We see him quite often...did you know his father Dale is the only living member of the "Champs" of Tequila fame? The stage coach is also still there but I'm not sure how much longer, a roller coaster freaked one of the horses, which in turn hit the fence and had to be put down. The man who owns Pioneer Town just bought the orginal Berry Stand and several peek in's, which he'll be incorporating into his little western town.

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  100. Reading through the posts brings back many memories of old. It was quite interesting to hear updates about some of the folks that worked there in years gone by. I was saddened to hear about Jay & Max. Glad to hear Julie Owens, Harvey Walker & Kevin Norris are still there and are doing well. What about Bob Stambaugh? Is he still there? Sounds like the park has gone through many changes. Sounds like some are good and some not so good. Where is Pioneer Town located? I'm glad there is a site like this where folks can get updates and reminise about the old days!

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  101. does anyone remember the crowd that used to hang out across the street by the stop-n-go? there this one guy that would buy us beer and transfer us in by removing the stamps with hairspray and putting them on other hands??? he would charge you a couple of dollars.... this was around 1985 or 1986... then we would go to the school and drink until the security would chase us out.... those were great times!!!!!

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  102. This site is great; even though we will never again be able to experience many of these memories any longer, the fact that others remember keeps them alive. I used to go Knotts all the time with my family when I was young(I was born in 1983) but I am the youngest of the crew, so my parents and three older brothers all used to go when my parents first got married and moved to Orange County in the 60's. My Dad and Mom used to tell me about all kinds of stuff Knott's had, but there are some distinct childhood memories I have that I wonder who else in my cohort group will remember.

    I remember when the Marketplace extended (no admission) all the way past the birdcage theater and the windmill with the catawumpus underneath. That thing used to scare the crap out of me by the way (lol). Sometimes we would go and eat chicken dinners, but a lot of times we would just go to that bakery now called the Ghost Town bakery and get boysenberry pie or cinnamon rolls in the winter. There used to be a candy shop next to the bakery with a big dog statue in front of it that I used to sit on, does anyone remember that? I also remember that I was too little to see the wedding cakes in the window of the bakery and there was this convenient little step under the window that I would stand on to look in at the cakes. I loved that so much. Probably my favorite memories of Knott's are around Christmas time. It was the best way to experience a traditional Christmas in Southern California. I remember writing out what I was going to ask Santa for when we got to the Crafts Barn and being reaaalllly nervous about it! I also remember my brother Chris getting a really huge caramel apple and rubbing it in that I didn't have one and then promptly dropping it right onto the saw-dusty floor. HA HA HA! I loved the Christmas music, the hot apple cider, cinnamon rolls, funnel cake, and all the crafts and decorations. All the people dressed up, and the carolers! When the pan-for-gold place was where the Ghostrider now is there used to be a dress shoppe over there that sold women's clothing and children's, some of the outfits being the same in both sizes so my Mom and I could have the same outfit. Back then that was awesome. It was also a Christmas Knott's tradition to buy matching christmas jewelry at Virginia's gift shop (even though I don't care much for jewelry. It was fun for Mom...). Does anyone remember that at the Craft barn when you saw Santa they'd give you a ticket to redeem at Virginia's gift shop and you'd get a little prize? I have so many memories. Knott's was like another world to me when I was little. I loved going with my whole family. I still love going to certain areas of it because they bring back such nice memories. I am sad that so much has gone the way of the dodo, but I was just there yesterday and standing on the "beating heart" grave in the Boot Hill cemetary and introducing it to my boyfriend took me back there and made me smile. My prayers are with Jay Mead.... God Bless you all!

    Ashley

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  103. please email wanda
    wanjean2@aol.com if you can tell me about the artist who did the illuminating Jesus
    or how i can get one of those card that were given out for free then
    it would mean .....well.... more than you know...my heart was reborn after my husbands death in 1993, and a nervous breakdown...lead me to the church of the Jesus.....where i visited so much as a child with my Grandmother....I was born in 1949 and my last visit was in 1994 just befor they took down the church i guess. just like all in life you only have your heart and your memories left when you grow older cause you cant take anything with you in the end....thank God for the memories... and the ones shared here brought back soo soo many lovely ones for me

    God bless everyone for sharing.
    wanda

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  104. Well I was raised on Knott's. As a kid my dad took me on the train across the street & to Jungle island. Then as a teen I went to Cloud nine, then I worked there from 86 -91. Now I only go there once a year for the Halloween haunt. My heart breaks every year as something else is gone. Now I just read about the boot hill being bulldozed! No more beating heart! The shooting gallery too, gone! Ghost town is going, it used to strecth out to reflection lake now it's way smaller. I miss how by the side entrance there used to be a rock wall with bars that you could peek in from outside the park and wish you were inside. The devil by the volcano was so cool. I miss the shops outside, there were alot of them and I used to go all the time for dinner and shop around but now I dont go at all. Why would I go to Virginia's gift shop to buy mickey mouse stuff or eat at tgif? Stupid. No more steak house either. Oh for Jayman that asked the cloud nine dj's name it was craig. I was there dancing every saturday with the gothics. So much fun. If you remember me my name is Cher

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  105. If they are taking the heart of out of Knott's Berry Farm and removing everything that is original, why would it still be called Knott's Berry Farm. It's becoming a mini magic mountain. They are taking away the history of it. After all it is history, the first amusement park, the boysenberry, there was nothing around Knott's at that time. Why is it everyone just throws away our history? Europe tries to save there's why not us? I cant believe they took out the orignal berry stand, what a shame. And now that they took out the heart along with the grave yard, they took the heart from Knott's Berry Farm as well. Cher

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  106. I'm afraid there's been a misunderstanding...the graveyard is still there. They bulldozed the candle shop and walkway to make room for a new coaster. I was just there. I am the mother of one of the Cloud Nine attendees and I found out about the guy at the stop n go several years after the fact :-(

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  107. Well, I am employeed at the Chicken Dinner Restraunt now. It is sad what is happening to it its not toss chicken in flower and put it into a macshine and get it on the other side. Very sad, also I got to watch the last bit of the Shooting Gallery being removed (There was a peice of wood that said -Walter Knott 1972)
    The Gallery was Acrros from the Timber Mountain log ride and under the Lakeside shore cafe (Employee restraunt)

    Wana know who the high bidder was for that piece of land?

    Panda Express!

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  108. Thank you L. Walker for the info about the graveyard still being there. Thanks goodness. I saw it on a website on line. That is wonderful news. I used to work right next to the candle shop in 1988 on the front porch of a peek in building, that must be gone as well if the candle shop is gone. They used the porch to give out gift boxes during the holidays when they have their Christmas shopping fesival there. But they pulled me out of that position to be Santa's helper. Now that was fun! One of the santa's, we had 3 of them, one got fired for being a drunk santa claus and another santa John Dunne I dated for awhile. Such a nice guy too. Now they dont put santa in Jeffrey's barn, now he's on a stage in Calico square. It's not the same, the barn was done up so cute and smelled heavenly with fresh baked goodies. I like the Christmas festival but it's been the same vendors forever so it's kinda boring now. Have a happy day, Cher

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  109. Does anyone but me miss the old Knotts' halloween Haunt? I miss when you were in line they used to have a phantom playing an organ & he would stop & tell bad jokes & make fun of people. They used to have him up high above everyone in line. It helped entertain & ease the long wait in line to get in. I also miss the big black spider that used to be outside in front of the park. I remember the mazes being much fun & the street talent was amazing. I worked in Bait's motel which was a really great one. When you used to call Knott's for Haunt information their pre-recorded message was scary & well thought out, now it's just someone talking normaly & very dual. They used to go all out with the Halloween decorations in the shops & restaurants as well. When I used to work there, they had a Halloween decorating contest for the stores & merchants, all the employees used to dress up too in the theme of their decorated shop & restaurants. The hanging used to be a witch hanging, none of this stupid making fun of people hanging. I miss the witches, they were much more scary & a true Halloween novelty. The log ride & The mine ride always were a favorite & stuffed with tons of talent & props. Now they have fallen to the waste side. They had well thought out themes. I believe they are starting to work on them again, I hope. All of these above things built up to the excitement of the event. My favorite thing which sometimes still happens is when the fog gets really thick and rolls over to the streets around Knott's while your driving in, it always gets me pump up for the Haunt. Oh and I miss the pig twins! They scard people by just snorting. But I guess after awhile some of the monsters get a bit tired of it and retire. But let it be known you are remembered! Happy Halloween Cher

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  110. Melissa Trent (Mott)September 12, 2007 9:42 PM

    Hi,
    I grew up at Knott's. My family had a shop there called Mott's Miniatures. I remember so much, I do remember the seals, the monkey that use to take money from your hands. Alot of the rides that are no longer there, like the Beary Tales, and some of the rides in Fiesta Village. It saddens me that the church was taken out. I am told by my mother-in-law that it is now across the street. Her father is the preacher there.

    The last time I was there was in 2000 with family. I was sad because it just wasn't the same. I agree with an above poster: the history is being destroyed! I do not know if I will go back anymore. Maybe I am partial to the way it use to be because I worked and grew up there. I remember my mother saying that Walter Knott said his amusement park would be a family place full of history. At least I have some great memories.

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  111. I too grew up at Knott's during the 70's having parents that worked there to finally working there myself, a few things that i didn't see mentioned.
    The cable car that ran outside the park, the old animal farm , one poster mentioned a goat that ate eveything his name was marvin, and how can you forget the giant turtle there named herbie, going way back the old seals pond in the old feista village, the monkey cage, and someone mentioned vern Jackson are you still takin care of business.
    The old archery range in ghost town, anyone remember the name of the first host of the 1st halloween haunt in 1973? His name was Larry Vincent aka Seymour. To the old gypsy camp to the the pack mules that use to go around the back side of the mine ride, The old John Wayne Theatre, were there were some great performers , Tom Jones, Flash Cadillac,David Brenner,just to name kust a few. I can evan remember Bob Crane did a show there right before he was killed. It's sad that Cedar Faire can't retain the memories and the good things that made this place special to so many people.The best thing about the knott's memories is how many good people i met there and just the fun times during the middle and late 70's. And the bebop twins Kathy and Lynn where are you now?
    To the poster above i think you knew my mother her name was Betty. Bill

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  112. If you want to see the history of Halloween Haunt you will find it all right here. When you bring it up just click on the news or history section.

    It's all here, enjoy.
    http://www.ultimatehaunt.com/frame_new.html

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  113. Growing up on the farm -- WOW !! memories, becouse I did grow up on the farm during the 60's and 70's, and there's actually a place to share our stories, I'm really blown away. Where to start, well I guess it's about 1968, and my mother went through a devorice, and had to go back to work. She took a job at Knott's, we lived down the street at Crescent and Knott, and she had five kids. Three of the five were old enough to take care of themselves, and when most kids grow up, they tend to do there own thing. That left my sister and I, and my mother who was single, and didn't have a baby sitter, only left her one option, but to take her kids to work with her. What a plcae to grow up !Her name was Violet, and she worked in Fiesta Village along side the lake in the gift shop. After school, we would walk over to Knott's , and she'd sign us in, and we'd stay until closing. On the weekends, we were there every Saturday and Sunday, as well. In regards to some of the postings, yes I was also there at Knott's Scary Farm #1,and that was the only one I ever went to, and yes it was Seymour that was the host. He was from Seymours frieght night, a show that was on Saturday evenings. I too have seen Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids. How about the Hear and Now sound in the John Wayne Theater, and Bob Crane as well. As for the goat, yea it did eat everything, we as kids would even feed it Cigeratte butts--lol--How about Employee fun night ? Does anyone remember that ! Yes once a year, they'd have an evening for the employee's, and there families, and all the rides were free, and so was the pop corn, hot dogs, soda's etc, and Walter Knott would ride around the farm in his golf cart. Does any one remember people from the train, like Tony the conductor, the station master, they used to call Brillo Pad becouse of his hair, and Richard Navaro,another conductor on the train . How about Red Feather, white eagle, I took piano lessons with his daughter. Does anyone remember the joke about the streaker in Ghost town ? Chief Flying Bear ? Does anyone remember Pat Mills in the ticket both in Fiesta Village? My sister used to cut the silhouette's for Lee and Valerie. Does anyone remember Valerie? She was very popular on the Farm back then. Remember when Lee was always trying to get Valerie to marry him, so he actually rented a billbaord along side the 5 freeway next to Angel Stadium, and said Valerie D will you Marry me, and put a big box for her to check. Lots of memories. How about Russ at the train shop. Being a kid on the farm, that was my favorate place. Does any one remember the sweeper Charlie Angle ? How about when they got there new train engine from Co. and they called it the Mud Hen, and the track radius's were two tight for the train to run on. The hippies were sleeping in the parking lot, so thats when they fenced it in, and they wide the tracks for the train to run on, and charged a quarter for admission. How about Gypsy Camp ? There's no recolation of it any where, and I doubt anyone even know's there was one at one time. Later, they tore it out and put in the roaring 20's which opened up for the first time on employee fun night. I remember when they were buiding the Barry tales ride in the roaring 20's and a spark caught the attraction on fire. How about the Mariachi's in Fiesta Village, and if you want to go back further, how about the seal pond in Fiesta Village, my brother used to cut up the fish. All five of us kids worked there at one time or another. When I was older, I used to throw Walter Knott's newspaper. Remember Bud Hurlbut ? He's the one who rented space from the Knott family, and put in Fiesta Village, and the log ride, and the Calico Mine ride as well.Going back even further, remember before Gypsy Camp, the train Tracks used to go along side the Calico Mine ride, and thats were they'd park the Galloping Goose. How about in the 70's when the disco era come in, and they started having bands in Fiesta Village. Ya, lots of memories.Walter would send his employees ticket books for there families to enjoy. My mother passed away about 8 years ago. When we went through her stuff, we found lots of stuff from the old days. Professional 5 by 7 photos of her and about eight other employees in front of the calico mine ride. Pro pics of here in front of the fountain in Fiesta Village, and around the farm. And to top it all of, we even found a Christmas Card signed by Walter Knott himself to her.That's only part of an era , and thats as far as I will go for now.I'll leave it at the 60's and 70's the 80's were a whole nother story. Remember punk rock night ? and the roit squiod? As for Ceder Falls, the main concern of the employees back then was, they were afraid that Knott's was going to turn into a carnival, well, all these years later, thay actually did it. Kinda remindes me at the end of the Planet of the apes when Charleton Heston found the statue of liberty, and said, you did it, you blew it up ! Beocuse in there eyes of the day, it really happened. The memories I have of growing up there, I would not trade for anything. Oh yes, I remember Mott's minitures very well, how about the two inch real working tv they had!
    Thanks for the memories Mom!!

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  114. I moved to California in 1962. I remember my grandma taking me, my brother and sister to Knotts Berry
    Farm. That was the first time I had ever heard of or tried Boysenberry juice. I don't remember there being any rides except the stagecoach, Slanty Sams Haunted Shack, and dirt walkways. The Chicken Dinner Restraunt was a real treat! It was a magical place!

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  115. I used to love to go to Knott's Berry Farm to buy my Haunt tickets ahead of time. Seeing all the stores & windows decked out in Halloween garb along with some cool Halloween items for sale. All the while thinking I cant wait to see the front entrance and how it looks for Halloween, so you would start to walk faster so you could buy your tickets but before doing so, you would just stand there and soak it all in. The Big hugh spider, the hearse, and all the scary trimings that go with it. Well yesterday I did just, I got excited like I always do but their was no happy halloween ending. You could barely even tell the Haunt was coming to the park! As I walked passed the stores, I was very disappointed, went into a couple of stores to have to really hunt to find Halloween items for sales, a few displays in the windows but not like they used to be. Then as I approached the ticket booths to purchase my 6 haunt tickets all I saw were spider webs, no hearse, no huge spider just a blah looking area. I felt like I had missed something and was so let down. It's like Christmas came and there were no gifts. The build up and then nothing. What happened? As well it was always fun to call the Haunt information line and listen to the scary creepy monster tell you all about the haunt and try to tempt you to come. Now it's a professional very boring man saying the prices and well it's just boring and not inviting. So what I think is that the new owners of Knott's should really read what we write here, it would show them what the public really wants. Which is a park that was like no other now you've made it into a mini magic mountain. Congratulations you've made the park unhistorical and made it loose it's charm. Thanks alot for another same old same old! Well to everyone else here's wishing you a spooky halloween haunt ( I hope), Cher

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  116. K-n-o-t-t, O-t-t, O-t-t-s...Knott yes the say that's Knotts! 1976 was the year the Corkscrew, The Roaring 20's area with the parachute jmp,the cycle chase,bumpercars etc, were completed.
    The Loop Trainer was pretty cool as well. Remember the Island across Beach Blvd by Independence Hall? How about the burro ride inside the park then later over by the island? Halloween Haunt... This will be my 32nd yr going...I was there at the 1st Haunt. Now I go with my teenage kids. Knotts has come a long way since I was a kid but It still has that Knotts feel to it. Just faster! My kids still dont know how that guy n the jail knows their names! Pan for gold and archery are still there ya just have to look for them!

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  117. There is a story in my family, that a Great Uncle, Homer Clemons, owned an orange grove in the area. He got the land when it was so cheap, they gave you an acre if you subscribed to the local farmnewspaper for a year. Two years subscription got you two acres. The story goes that he left his land to two brothers, who sold it to a man named Knotts. I don't have any proof of this story, but he and wife Belle are on the 1920 & 1930 census. Both are buried at Fairhaven Memorial Park.

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  118. I grew up in Buena Park & lived next door to one of the original planners of Knott's Berry Farm. He owned & built some of the original rides in the park. When i was growing up, he always told some great, interesting stories about the original park, Walter Knott, Walt Disney etc..He was personal friends with them all. I always used to tell him that he should write a book about all of his stories & memories (especially after finding this website), i'm sure there would be some interested readers! I really miss the "old" Knott's Berry Farm. I'm 34 now & of course, practicaly lived at Studio K & Cloud 9 during the 80's..those nights were some of the best of my life & i still keep in contact w/alot of people that i met there. Hey, anyone remember the couple that danced at Studio K every weekend & then on that American Bandstand contest?? I always wondered what happened to them...

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  119. You knew you were close to Knott's Berry Farm as the scent of eucalyptus trees got stronger. Can you imagine back then you could just walk in? It was so simple back then - not so corporate as it is now. Come on - the family Knott owned it and it was just simple, cheap fun. We lived in La Mirada just right up Beach Blvd. and my brother and cousin rode their bikes there. They literally "razed paradise and put in a parking lot" on the east side of Beach Blvd. They took out that wonderful merry-go-round and lake. Remember the little cars that ran parallel to Beach Blvd. and you passed by a little red barn? I do also remember chickens just walking around. And of course, your day wasn't complete until you bought a boysenberry lollipop to take home. People that frequent KBF today have no idea!!!! Gloria Jones

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  120. I too remember the carousel and the little train i used to ride when my mother and i used to take the bus from santa ana into buena park. We used to shop at all the stores eat French dip sandwiches at the cable car cafe, i used to love watching the ladies decorate cakes at the bakery i used to stand on the ledge, my mom would always buy me a cupcake from the bakery, sometimes we would stop at the store across the way and buy Saspirilla.. The Wagon Trails ride was a must see attraction everytime we went which was like once a month it was as stated earlier a large diorama and you could listen to a story of a family traveling out west by wagon. Wow getting this all out makes me so sad that it's all gone. But i have the memories until i forget them..

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  121. Started going to Knott's in the mid 50's and stopped going when they put up the roller coasters.Remember the bullwhip "master" and his assistant?They would put on a show by the seals.He would cut a cigerette in half from his assistants mouth!He did lots of tricks with that whip.They had a knife store with cool throwing knives,and that 2 inch tv in Mott's minitures.It was the first time I had Boysenberry juice and it's still my favorite.Simpler times....

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  122. KNOTT'S BERRY FARM and GHOST TOWN:
    The Good Old Days (1940's, 50's & 60's)


    Currently on YouTube is a 3-part documentary on the early history of Knott's Berry Farm and the people who worked there. It's narrated by Wagonmaster, Dave Bourne. It's got great old film clips, photos and stories.

    Here are the links (just cut and paste them into your browser and click go):

    Part 1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSUSiPKQBJs

    Part 2:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6AZN6Nymbs

    Part 3:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTsvx1IREdg

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  123. The character Bear had a name change for one actor...Jay Mead...who changed Bear to The Badger. Jay is my brother and he use to sign me and my friends into Knott's almost every weekend in the 80's. My favorite memory was when he dressed as Santa to fill in for Santa's breaks in 1990 and I took my son who was just a year old. He didn't recognize his uncle Jay at all and screamed his head off while my brother called him his pet name "NaNa" short for Nathan. It didn't work.
    Jay's condition from his stunt fall in 1994 has not changed. He is very healthy thanks to the total dedication of my parents. But he is still in a vegetative state. I now live in Kansas with my husband and kids. I have a hard time going back to Knott's. It has changed so much and there are too many memories of Jay there. He is ingrained into Ghost Town. I went a few years back and was just too saddened.
    I have put together a Myspace for him at http://www.myspace.com/jrmead. There are pictures and soon to be videos of his performances at Knott's on the site.
    I am so glad his name has been mentioned on this site. Thanks to everyone who remembers Jay!

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  124. My dad worked for Douglas Aircraft from 1950 unitl he retired in 1981. About 1951 there wa a strike so he worked building the Steak House at Knotts Berry Farm for awhile. Mr Walter Knot hired dad on a hand shake and told him there were three rules. The first on was to be on time, second was no swearing and the third no fighting.
    One day Mr Knott saw dad filling a hole. He told him he would like to show him a better way. Instead of picking up the dirt and putting it in the hole Mr Knott put the shovel down and pulled the dirt in to the hole. Dad did not work there long but told me it paid the bills and he enjoyed the job.

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  125. Man it is great to read the old memories of KBF. I almost visited it back in 2004 when I was with my daughter on vacation in Orange County but we ran out of time. But it would not have been the same as the fun place it was in the 60's and 70's when I was growing up in O.C, so I'm not sorry we never got there.

    I used to love the bakery and the scrumptious boysenberry pies. When I was grown, I'd buy one and take it home to my Dad who loved them more than me. I get nostalgic every time I see Knotts jams on the shelves of the chain grocery stores here in Georgia.

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  126. I posted the comment about my dad working at Knotts in 1951 building the Steak House. I talked to my dad and was corrected about Mr Knott's three rules. Number three was not no fightng. It was no union talk. Just want to get the story straight.

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  127. I work there for 2 years as a ride operator. I had the privilage to work on Wacky Racers Soap Box Derby, Sky Jump, Greased Lightning, and many other long and forgotten rides. Cedar Fair has really used it's elbow grease to scrub out it's charm. Sad, that a park older than Disneyland, yet not as glamourous, lost it's charm to a corporatation.

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  128. Yeah I miss the old Knotts too. I remember dreaming about going to see it during the time I was overseas in the USN. Unfortunately this was also the timeframe of the takeover.

    For some reason I really missed stuff like the wagontrain panorama(mama I'm thirsty!) and the outside marketplace stuff like the devil making the volcano go off(anyone remember that?) the bakery, the clothes shops, and the big candy store with the dog statue outside.

    There is a few things that really remind me of the old days and my childhood like the waterwheel located by the bathrooms behind where they sell the jelly next to the takeout chicken place. It's still there as of a few months ago.

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  129. Lived on the north end of Buena Park and rode bikes there after school and in the summer. I liked the rowboats, driving the cars,the shop near the fried chicken restaurant that sold magic tricks and items for practical jokes. I also remember the see-through beehives, the museum with the world's smallest television that was actually about twice the size of a cell phone screen. The mine ride and the mule ride were fun if you had enough money. The big merry-go-round, the building made out of bottles, the chicken inside the glass box that played the piano when you put a nickle in for corn, a barrel that had a sign that read CAUTION! BABY RATTLERS!(inside were baby toy rattles.) Thanks for reading my flashbacks, that was fun.

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  130. I worked as a Saloon Girl at Knott's in the late seventies and eighties. Max Barlow was like a second father to me. I spent all my spare time with Knott's Ghost Town employees, and was a bat girl for the softball team. I met my husband at the park (He worked in the Bible bookstore under Montezuma's revenge). I shared a dressing room in those days with Faye, Tamara, and Jamie and, being just sixteen at the time, I looked up to them and sought their advice on fashion and my love life. I was inspired to learn to dance and sing, by watching them, and though I never worked professionally, I passed my love of entertainment on to my children who all work in the entertainment industry to this day. I had the privelede of working there with "Joe", "Big Ed" "Harvey Walker", and
    Chief Red Feather"and the blacksmith whose name I don't remember. I knew both of the spinning ladies well. I remember spending MANY cold winter days in the saloon standing in front of the cast iron stove while "Padge" tinkered on the piano. In those days, I learned to be friends with people who were sometimes 50 or 60 years older than I. I also worked as the school teacher, attended the Music Hall, Church of Reflections, Covered Wagon Show, Ghost Town Museum, Gold Mine etc. I remember all those gunfighters mentioned in these blogs as they often played the "drunk" who interupted the show in the Calico Saloon. In those days the show was on a stage high above the bar, and I served drinks from the real dumb waiter. I couldn't believe they paid me to work there and made many fancy costumes for me to wear! I loved my job and had a facination with the old west that continues to this day. I read every book in the school house on slow days and read every one of the real pioneer letters that were in the Ghost Town Hotel mailboxes. I read every display in the museum and studied the old ghost town painting that used to hang above the bar in the saloon. For many years I could recite the entire script from the Covered Wagon Show and The church of Reflections, since I worked in those sites for endless hours. I would sometimes stand outside on the balcony of the saloon and watch the endless sea of people. In the days just after the release of the movie "Urban Cowboy", Knott's was extremely popular and we had line dancing and mechanical bull riding contests in the square. The park was so full you could hardly move. I remember arriveing early in the mornings and watching them getting the train ready and seeing the steam rising off the already hot pavement while they washed it down to get ready for the day. I visit the park about once a year now and am glad to see that my poster picture taken with Max when I was sixteen, still hangs in the Ghost Town office. Those were the days!

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  131. My son and I attended the Knox Berry Farms on o3-22-08 from MI. throughly enjoyed the experience!!! Ate a Chicken dinner there which topped off the day!!!

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  132. I worked at KBF after the Cedar Fair takover from 2002 to 2004, but my father has worked there for almost 20 years. I still remember a lot of the stuff that used to be there like Gasoline Alley (the Model Ts), the Soap Box Racers, Captain Kelly's Buffet, Greased Lightning, WHirlpool, Sea Dreams (3D show in Cloud 9). I also recall that in the winter months they would have a hill of snow in Roaring 20s I think it was between Captain Kelly's and the Whirlpool. THe Dolphin and sea lion show was also great. I also remember the old printing shop where now they have some dumb Bear Store. I worked at the General Store normally at the candy counter and every day MAx BArlow would come in and buy candy. It really saddens me to have read what has become of him. My favorite memories are of the employee parties when the park would be closed to the public for the enjoyment of the employees. All the supervisors and stuff would serve food and stuff. At the Christmas Party I remember the speeches of on of the Knott family members, I believe his name was Steven. Knott's Berry Farm was special as it had so many unique items that you could only find there. It seemed like the employees were always happy. Every year the employees would get a bonus along with other small tokens of appreciation from the Family. I also remember that sometime in the early 90s they had a circus show and parade. I wish I had truly appreciated those moments, but as I child one always feels that everything will last forever. As for Bud Hurlbut's mailbox on Western and La Palma, I believe it's still there.

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  133. Hi,
    After reading all the posts, was just wondering if anyone had a current update on Max Barlow?

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  134. Saw the post from Gary Salisbury. Is he still at Knotts or what is he currently doing. Studio K was awesome!!!

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  135. I remeber when Knott's use to be a wonderful charming nostalgic place full of great family rides. Now it is nothing more than a coaster waistland filled with disgusting teenagers.

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  136. I used to love to sit and watch the hand puppet shows in the wagon near where the entrance is today. They used to sell the puppets in the gift shop. If I recall correctly they were made by Steiff. Anyone else remember those? Especially liked the rabbit and dog puppets as I had one of each.

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  137. Just looked it up. The puppeteer was a man named Tony Kameny and the puppets were definitely Steiff.

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  138. I am nearly 60 and grew up in Long Beach.
    We went to Knott's Berry Farm all the time during my youth.

    The smells,the sounds,the people are unforgettable.It was like stepping back in time.

    The old lady at the dulcimer,the train,the campfire,the stagecoach,the chicken dinner with that beautiful sherbet..etc.

    I just about cried and was depressed
    when I saw it years later. Why oh why did they have to ruin it ?

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  139. after reading all the awesome memories of knotts i really wish i could have seen all the original attractions. I was a little kid when the cedar parks took over, so i remember some things of the knotts i once knew. My favorite was the dog statue outside the taffy shop, which is no longer there. I used sit on the dog all time while licked a huge lolipop that i always got at the snoopy store when i came. I loved all fun things there was to do with the indian teepees and the ghost town and train, and I loved the christmas decorations. i remember getting to make christmas necklaces and then visiting Santa. O my what good memories! I love roller coasters but I can go anywhere for a roller coaster, there is only one knotts berry farm i can go to. i love knotts!

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  140. I used to love the farm. "Used" to. I have many fond memories from my childhood, as well as from my decade-plus employment. My grandfather used to take me and my brother to the area across the street, with the water and all the little things to do on the island. Does anyone know if that area had a name? Anyway, I used to ride the train around the lake and the burros, and always wished I was old enough to ride the paddle boats. My grandpa would take us to CDR (Chicken Dinner Restaurant) for lunch, and would buy us a little gift or souvenir at the shops. Those were great days!

    Years later, I got a "summer" job at KBF right after graduating from high school. I ended up staying there 11 years. I could go on forever about those years ('87-'99); they were the best years of my life, even though the pay and hours were horrible. I am glad I left when I did, though. When the family sold the park to Cedar Fair, everything began sliding downhill. It was no longer about making sure the guests had a great day. It was all about the all-mighty dollar. I was really sad the day I found out the park had been sold; I felt like I had been betrayed, as strange as that might sound. But I was even sadder when I came back years later and found my beloved farm ripped to shreds, dirty and sold-out. If you've been there in the last 5 years, you know what I am talking about. I heard they even put in a Panda Express! Heresy! Shame on you, Cedar Fair.

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  141. I have tried to post twice in the last 6 months with no posting. I would like to know if anyone here has any info on the Old West Dummies that used to be in the peek-ins and in the Calico and Log Rides. The cowboys and Indians are really cool. Any one have any or looking for any? I would like to hear about who made them. I sold some to a ghost town and a few other attractions. Email is ftk454@aol.com

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  142. It is with a saddened heart that I write that Max Barlow passed away on August 3, 2008....Go to: www.mem.com and enter Barlow, Max This is his memory page. In answer to another question, Gary Salisbury works at the Pirates show down the street from Knotts. He is in charge of entertainment. Linda Walker/aka: KC Douglas...kc@kcdouglas.com

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  143. Rob from FullertonAugust 24, 2008 12:02 PM

    I have an old pic from the early 70's of myself on a donkey ride...I believe it was across from where the Haunted shack was....not sure though. Anyone rememeber?

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  144. I was hoping someone could help me...Im lookinf for the song that use to play on the ride "Whirlpool" which was located right next to greased lightning & next to the dolphin show...wow memories, my mom use to drop my brother & I off every weekend during the summer OMG I remembr the soapbox races, I wish knots would bring back the old time favs..ps I cried when I saw that they tore down that HUGH big blue ride in fiesta village, I cant remember its name but that was also one of my favs. But mostly could anyone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me the name of that song it was been haunting me for 15 yrs
    misse980@yahoo.com

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  145. Rob, I believe the burro ride was in front of the mine train ride, and basically circled that fake "mountain".

    To whomever asked about the wagon show (the one with the little girl asking for water), that used to be located in the side of the old hotel building on the streets of Ghost Town (in a north-facing building). It told the story of the Knott family's ancestors. Having no respect for history, the new owners took the show out when they basically demolished and rebuilt the old hotel buiding (I believe it now holds a doll / clothing shop).

    I loved Knotts, but the last time I visited, it looked like someone had dropped Six Flags on top of it and crushed the old Knott's. Even Reflection Lake was gone, replaced by the giant steel legs of yet another coaster. A sad fate for what was a wonderful spot...

    I won't be back.

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  146. Oh my gosh, thank you all for sharing your memories of Knott's. I didn't realize how many fond childhood memories I have of Knott's Berry Farm. Growing up in the Buena Villas in the 1960's playing ditchum at the Lagoon and "really" driving a car at Henry's Livery. Both parents worked for Knott's. It was a simple life for kids then with lots of friends to play with in the summer time ... until the street lights came on.

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  149. Wow, all these great memeories of such a wonderful place. Growing up in Northern CA, my mom would take my sister and I every year to DL and Knott's. I have not been to Knott's in probably 10 years. Now next month my sister I are taking our families for the first time. After reading all that is gone (destroyed) by the new owners I am scared. I actually had tears in my eyes reading about what used to be! I want to go hope I won't be too saddened at what I find...

    My favorite things that were there were the Bear-y Tales, the soap box racers, the bottle house always intriugued me. And who can forget Knott's Miniatures. I remember always trying to find the little dentures in the jar on the back of the toilet in one of the houses!

    At least they can't take away our memories!!

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  150. I see how all of you seem to have fond memories of knotts when it was still family owned. Witch is great. And how you miss alot of the old rides, and that you don't like what Cedar fair has done to the park.(roller coasters all over the place I miss some of the old rides to, I like some of the new coasters, and I don't like some of the new ones.(Pony Express)
    But remember this, you can bag on Cedar Fair all you want but if the family had sold it to anybody els it wouldn't be there at all today. Thats right Cedar Fair was the only company that wanted to keep it a park. Every one els who offerd to buy it including D-land wanted to demolish it and make it a parking lot, housing, or a strip mall. Would rather that have happend?

    So be thank full that you can still walk through Ghost town, ride the Train, ride the stage coach, and eat the chicken dinners. Because if not for Cedar Fair it might have become the Walter Knott memorial parking lot!

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  151. Hello,
    My uncle Max Barlow, died in August of this year, 2008 of heart problems. His memorial brunch was held at the chicken dinner cafe at Knotts. So many employees, friends and family came to pay tribute to him. I remember my uncle as being a very caring person. He cared about everybody before himself.He used to call me Natalie because he said I reminded him of Natalie Wood in Miracle On 34th Street as a child. He used to love it when my sister and I would visit him and Darlene. They would spoil us rotten, because they didn't have daughters. Oh how I miss him and wish he were still here!

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  152. It was great reading back through this thread about Knott's. I remember back in '63 or '64 when my mom knew Bill Higdon (name from memory...I hope I have it right) who was the man who owned and trained all the horses used in the park. I have a great memory of going with his cowboys from the park barn to a patch of nearby farmland to watch them "break" a new horse. They put a bag over the horse's head and then fired pistols, rattled cans, honked car horns until the horse calmed down. I was told that they did this with all the park horses so that they would be safe to use in the noisy park. It was great, and for a young boy it was amazing how the old west seemed pretty genuine there at Knott's. Am I the only one who can remember going to the park as a young boy with his pistol belt firmly tied on so that he could hope to shoot back at the train robbers?

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  153. Hi, My brother and I worked at Henry's Livery for Loren Beckman in1967 and 68.We lived up the street (Cherry st Brea) from the beckman's and Bruce was a good friend of mine.We had to get a work permit from the Principal at Brea Junior High to legaly work at 14 years old. We drove those cars around the "circle",took tickets,sold tickets .Loren was a very nice man to give two kids a job at that age,and a great guy to work for.

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  154. UPDATE TO AN EARLIER ENTRY - - -

    Hey everyone ! I am hoping there are some of you out there that went to Studio K and Cloud 9 at Knotts Berry Farm in Anaheim. I spent the good part of 1987 - 1989 there with a bunch of different friends. Seems every night I was there. I am looking for some photos from either Studio K or Cloud 9 or just hanging out at Knotts. Maybe someone will even remember me or some of the friends I hung with out there. If you would like to take part in the website/tribute, or if you have some photos to contribute, please get in touch with me at stephen.l.becker@gmail.com - Thanks Steve Becker

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  155. From the mid 50's to the mid 60's my family lived in Buena Park just a short distance from Knotts. I even attended Walter Knott Elementary School. My friends and I used to walk over to Knott's (yea it was that close)and hang out there all day. There was no admission and no gates at that time but there were also no rides like today, except maybe the race cars, I think.

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  156. I used to go to Knotts every Saturday when I was about 8 or 9 - it was the early 70s and I lived about 2 miles from Knotts. I would take my $3 allowance and spend all day. It cost $2.75 to get in (Admission and ticket book) and I would have .25 left for an ice-cream cone - usually the only thing I ate all day.When my tickets were all gone, I would do all the free stuff like visit the old school house, catch the show at the Calico Saloon, the covered wagon show (does anyone remember that?) and of course the seals. MY big sister would come right before dark to walk me home. What great memories!

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  157. Hey Everyone. Knott's has given the rights to several of the old Bird Cage Theater shows to The All American Melodrama Theater in Long Beach. The shows are being presented in a program entitled, "Knott's Preserved." The show opens May 8th and runs through July5th.
    Check out their website: www.allamericanmelodrama.com

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  158. It's so nice to read all the great memories everyone has about the Ol'berry farm as we called it when I worked in the Design and Planning dept. I was the Art Director of special events and dressed (Designed decor for) the park for events like Halloween Haunt, Christmas and Counrty Fair.
    When I work at Knott's Berry Farm the family still owned it and we all had great pride to represent the then Third largest theme park in the nation.
    We always had one thing in mind when designing new rides,themed areas, events and shows for the park back then. Quality! As much as the company could afford at the time. We were always compared to Disneyland (I worked there later)The biggest accomplishments the park made when I was there was the Roaring 20's area, the Airfield, and later Camp Snoopy. The design,construction and planning that went into the farm back then was always measured by what the founder, Walter Knott would consider a family friendly approach. A very wise man in my opinion. I got to speak with him several times and became good friends with his secretary. The Knott family had complete control back then and approved everything.
    Being a family run business they had their disagreements but generally made sound decisions when it mattered. They were and are very nice people to work with. I worked with Marion Knott the most. She overlooked Design and Planning and Entertainment at that time.
    One of my fondest memories is the walks I would take in Ghost Town After a winter rain. The park smelled so good....All the wonderful trees Walter Knott had planted, he had a real vision for the future. I will always remember the great times I had at the "berry farm". We worked hard to represent not only the parks, but the Knott famlies image in a positive light. I can't say that about the Current owners. They have destroyed most of what was good about the park. They talked a good story about history and respect for the park when it was up for sale but in the end you can see it was only a sales pitch.
    When I saw the Church of reflections moved (ripped out for another coaster), A Friday's and panda express brought in I knew the end was HERE!!!! Cedra Fair is in bankruptcy as I hear,and well deserved. When you think that Knott's made BILLIONS on chickens and boysenberries and the new owners ruined it in less than a few decades is very sad. I know times have changed as well as peoples choices, however I find it ironic that what made Knott's charming and sucessful is now back in style. Steak houses are huge now(not Pizza parlours in a Ghost Town setting) history and nostalgia are sought after everywher in Orange County and lets face it class, cleanliness, dignity and quality never go out of style. The current owners don't even know the meaning of those words.
    I read a comment here that said the park would not be here if not for Cedar Fair. I'd rather see a parking lot in it's place than suffer the mess it has become.
    Enjoy your memories.
    Lets hope someone that can see that what is left is worth saving (and repairing).

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  159. snoopy_fan0204May 03, 2009 9:30 PM

    To the person (anonymous) who mentioned the old jail cell...It's actually still there! The man in the cell is known as Sad Eye Joe, and the operator of him is located on the corner of the building in front of him, right next to the little snack stand (the one that has the wood cutout of a woman holding a funnel cake out front). The idea of this is to have kids walk over to Joe, while the parent tells the operator the child's name, thus starting a conversation.

    As for the bandits, I have never heard of any stage coach bandits, and atleast since the '90's, the train bandits didn't actually take anything.

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  160. snoopy_fan0204May 03, 2009 9:43 PM

    About the Whirlpool: The song that played when you entered the ride was "Moments in Love" by Art of Noise, but idk what the song during the actual ride was.

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  161. Whoever anonymous is that wrote the entry on May 2, 2009 @ 6:24 PM
    could not have said it better. I am sure we know each other for our views are identical. I too would rather see Knotts turned into a parking lot rather than what it has become today. Too bad that it wasn't taken over by an historical society and ran as a non-profit organization. There is so much history there that is now gone forever and no one running the park cares. A historical landmark in Orange County is now gone.

    Goodbye old friend, you had a long run.

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  162. Oh what great memories here. I grew up in Cowan Heights in O.C. so walking to the park wasn't an option. My folks would take us kids one or two times a year. Also, on a couple occasions I attended birthday parties there for my neighborhood pals. One party we spent nearly the whole day on Jungle Island. That was a blast!! Tearing down the many trails, playing pretend pirates with our own island. Another party was held in a treehouse. It was located at the extreme south end of the park, behind a building? I remember we had wandered over to the Birdcage Theater, got into a water fight (as 7 year olds will) and nailed a guy that worked at the theater. He was pretty cool and talked to us varmints for a while (possibly a young Steve Martin?). Some of my favorite memories are Mott's minitures (could spend hours looking at that tiny stuff), the train store, the models of the California missions (especially at night...illuminated by black light), and the horse (mule?) powered merry go round type ride in Old McDonald's Farm. Also loved the volcano with devil pining away at the wheel. Adored the seals (can still smell them), and window shopping and dreaming at the great toy shop near the chicken restaurant and other shops. And finally, the big brown and white (chocolate) all day sucker that lasted for days. If ther were such a thing as a time machine I would climb in and head for those golden, glory days of Knott's Berry Farm!!!

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  163. As far as Knotts being turned into a parking lot, that's just about what happened while the family still owned it. Knotts is still there thanks to Cedar fair, they were a percentage owner for years. The Knotts sold off their portion to Cedar fair to keep the park alive. I've been going to Knotts since 1966 and yes things have changed, that's the nature of a corporation that's in business to make money. But ghost town is still there and to me that's the heart of Knotts. And some of the old deteriorating peek ins have been rebuit. IMO, Cedar fair is doing it's best to preserve ghost town, which is the piece of Knotts I think most of us close to 50 still enjoy. Fortunatly, the park hasn't been turned into a parking lot. I know I'll keep visiting Knotts.

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  164. Hey Everyone,

    Just read in the O.C. Register that Knott's Bird Cage Theater Shows are being performed in Long Beach with all the original sets. The show is called "Knott's Preserved" and is being put on by former cast members of the Bird Cage.
    Check out the website www.allamericanmelodrama.com

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  165. How wonderful to find a site full of memories of Knott's! As a young child, we would stop at Knott's on Sundays after church, and have a picnic lunch that Mom made. Back then, you could bring food in and there was a picnic area, I think it was near the Carnation Restaurant??? Sometimes, we'd get to pan for gold or ride the burro's, but that was a treat because it was kind of expensive. In elementary school we went on a field trip to Independence Hall and that was pretty cool. As I got older, Knott's was a favourite place to go on Saturday nites. Especially during the Halloween Haunt! In my late teens/early 20s, my best friend got a job at Knott's, working in the print shop. (Those who may have worked there at that time may remember Dave Hartman. He passed away in Feb '09) Since he worked there, he would get me in for free. Many great memories were made at Knott's. I loved the devil that cranked the volcano! And I was so cool in my moccasins from Red's Leather Shop! LOL! As a teen, it was always a fun date cruising through Knott's. There were a lot of dark little nooks and crannies one could get kissed in, and maybe even married at the Justice of the Peace - complete with a marriage certificate and a horse-shoe nail ring! Across the street near Independence Hall there was a large pond with an island and you could rent peddle boats. You weren't supposed to go onto the island, but we did, and that was kinda cool! Back in '02, I was out visiting Dave and we went to breakfast at the CDR. The waitress actually remembered us, but I'm ashamed to say, I dont recall her name. Although it was definitely a familiar face. Which was a wonderful treat! The food was just as good as I remembered it. We didnt go into the park itself, so it's been several decades since I've walked the streets of Ghost Town. I have so many fond memories of Knotts. It was always fun to find the grave that still had a heartbeat, Mom buying me a little pink old fashioned prairie hat with lace and a big brim! The bottle house, THE BOYSENBERRY PIE! OH YUMMM! and getting robbed on the train! And it was always the best if you got to ride up on top of the stagecoach! After reading the posts tho, I dont know if I'll just let good memories be, or if I'll take the Grandkids one day. Time will tell.

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  166. As the years go by, the memories are starting to fade, but after reading many of these posts, a lot of things are coming back! Its sad to hear of the changes, but I suppose thats what life is about. After moving to Northeast Pennsylvania a few years ago, I learned that there is a park similar to Knotts here. Its a small, family owned place called Knoebles. It is free to get in, free to park. You buy a book of tickets, and like D-Land used to be, if you dont use them all in one day, you can bring the tickets back and use them the next time! They dont have 'new' rides, they buy old ones from other parks and reconstruct them. So maybe, one day, I'll be able to ride the corkscrew at Knoebles! If you're ever in the area, check out Knoebels.com

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  167. I stumbled on this site quite by accident. As a former employee at Knotts, I really enjoyed reading all of your fond memories. I was a street performer in 1975-76-77. I was a Keystone Cop (primarily) and other characters in the Roaring 20’s section, where we performed comedy acts we wrote ourselves. Known as The Slapsticks, the original three, Bruce, David, and Paul created the group in the Pacific Northwest and brought their idea to Knotts who hired them and they, in turn, auditioned for two others to join them. I was thrilled to get the job along with Jeff. I was (am) somewhat small framed at 5’ 7” and Jeff was 5’ 10” and rather a hefty fellow: a good physical contrast for comedy. Bruce was my height and a bit round; he was once described by a northeast newspaper entertainment writer as a “pixilated muskmelon,” a title he wore proudly. Dave, somewhat thin and about 5’ 8” usually served as MC during our occasional stage shows which we performed on an outdoor stage near the Corkscrew ride. Otherwise, we did short comedy sketches in the streets of the Roaring 20’s section without dialogue, like a silent movie. My favorite being a Keystone Cop bit I did with Paul who was a very good looking fellow standing about 5’ 10” in good physical shape and who wore a full handlebar mustache. In the sketch, I am being inspected by my superior officer (Paul) who loudly blows a whistle to express his frustrations as he tries to get me to follow his instructions (stand up straight; wear my hat properly; etc.) We would just start our shows in the middle of the street and a crowd would naturally gather. Those Slapsticks not in a particular bit would serve as crowd control. Another favorite of mine was The Painters: Bruce and I were painters left to do a job by our boss, David. Using buckets of water and paint brushes we would begin “painting” until my character would accidently splash a bit of “paint” on Bruce. Bruce, incensed, would then flip a bit of “paint” back on me. As you can guess, in typical slapstick tradition, the battle would escalate with each of us, in turn, going to greater lengths to get back at the other. At one point, I would take Bruce’s arm and hold it high in the air and then, with quick strokes back and forth, “paint” him from his arm pit all the way down to his ankle, and back up again, ending with a flip of my brush in his face (ala Laurel and Hardy) The bit would end with my chasing Bruce with a full bucket of water and running behind some obstacle (so I could surreptitiously switch it with a bucket of confetti) and then Bruce would run into the crowd and I would rear back and empty the bucket of “water” on the crowd. We got ‘em every time. This was especially fun during the summer months. Although another bit we did involved a lot of whipped cream in the face and on hot summer days that was really awful. (whipped cream and sweat … terrible) But, the crowds seemed to love our shows. That’s the best part. To get that reward of applause and the smiling faces, especially of the children. Children’s laughter during those summer days at Knott’s hung in the air for a long time. Wow, what days those were. Those warm summer evenings with the click-cranking sound of the corkscrew slowing ramping up that first long track before plunging down sharply, thick with happy screams, while patches of young girls rushed by whispering and giggling about the boys up ahead of them. The young parents with T-shirts that read “I’m with Stupid” (hers) and “I’m Stupid” (his) pushing baby strollers; the young boys darting in and out of the crowds in a world completely their own. Knott’s offered a canvas for all of that. While other amusement parks may offer a similar element, Knott’s was truly unique. Well, if any of you readers ever caught one of our Slapstick shows from so long ago, I would love to read your comments. -- Bill

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  168. Thanks for the post about the Knott's Street Shows. The All American melodrama theater in long beach is currently presenting two of the original bird cage shows with all of the original props and drops. Even some former actors are in the cast. Don't miss it.
    www.allamericanmelodrama.com
    (562) 495 - 5900

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  169. Wow. It is apparent by reading all of this that the "Old Knotts" is truly missed. Lucky that we still have the memories! It was great to see the effect Knotts had on people also. I feel fortunate that I was able to take in the park on a regular basis since the early 70's. I did especially like Ghost Town and all of the shows there. Having seen yearly all the Wild West Stunt Shows, I can say the new stunt show "Fools Gold"? doesn't compare to that of the original legendary show. After reading all the posts about the show, many have performed in the Stunt Show but only a handful really stand out. In my opinion the best of The Hollywood Stuntman "Bear " character was definitely Ciarfalio and Stambaugh. The best "Star" character was Tellez and Yohnka. Nobody was ever as good in The Medicine Show as the original Medicine Man Walker and a lot of the western nostalgia gone when Red Feather left. The Can Can Show is still entertaining as ever. Knotts is still one of the better amusement Parks around and still kicking and that is a good thing because it keeps all of the old memories alive and well.
    ED

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  170. I wonder if Cedar Fair reads these comments. Do they understand they don't need anymore spectacular rides. Today everyone is looking for a little peace and reassurance in their lives, what better place than Knott's Berry Farm. How wonderful if everything was brought back again,all there, maybe in a different setting, but there, refurbished and waiting. Where else is there a Knott's Berry Farm. We don't need more roller coasters.

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  171. Does anyone remember the old prospector who had a horse that could "predict" numbers and point them out with his hoof? This would have been in the early 1960's and I have been trying and trying to remember the name of that entertaining horse.

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  172. In the mid 1960's we lived in Whittier California and went to Knott's almost weekly after church on Sundays. It was a fun and inexpensive (free) way for my family to spend a fun afternoon. Today's Knott's Berry farm just makes me sad for what it used to be, so even before I moved out of SoCal almost 10yrs ago, I avoided going there. I remember in the 70's when they build the 'Gypsy Village', and the 'Mexican Village' right near an artificial lake under the bridge from the ghost town. The stagecoach used to go across that bridge, a fun ride where 'bandits' would hold up the stagecoach and the drivers would throw them a bag of 'gold'. I believe the train is still there, I don't know if they still run it, or if they still stage a 'holdup'. I remember Knott's being very religious, as there were at least 2 churches on the grounds. Across Beach Blvd. there was auxiliary parking where there was another artificial lake where one could rent a rowboat by the hour, in the middle was a small island. Near that lake, was an area where you could hike thru a small wood and see wooden sculptures of somewhat fantastical creatures. I also remember a part just outside the Ghost Town where there was a miniature streetfront, miniature train and I believe mini cars you could drive, tho I may be mistaken about the cars. I've only occasionally eaten in the chicken restaurant, most recently on a trip home during my honeymooon 6yrs ago. I've memories of my Grandmother there, visiting out-of-town relatives, so many good times that just aren't possible anymore.

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  176. I grew up near Knott's in the 50's & 60's. I remember turning off the devil in the glass case near the volcano by pushing a button on the side of the case. I also remember the cesspool in the parking lot near Western Ave.

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  177. Seems like I remember the horses name as "Serrano" the worlds smartest horse. I think he was later boarded in Huntington Beach. (Newland / Heil.) Hope this helps.

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  178. I remember smoking a lot of cloves and ph-ucking a lot of b-i-t-ches (and dudes) that I met at Studio K and Cloud 9.

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  179. Wow, you're cool. I hope your simple minded comment won't hinder people from returning to this site.

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  180. Anyone class of '92? Grew up in Bellflower and had annual passes a few different years. Would go after school even with the family. Then in the 90's with my friends. I still remember getting ticets for $11 thru the theater I worked at. I moved to Nebraska in 06 and there is a place called Roca Berry Farms and looks to be Knotts 50+ years ago. It's a live farm with small kids rides and shows and funnel cakes! What a cool site this is!

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  181. Hi all,

    There is a web site for all the entertainers (stuntmen, cancan dancers, singers etc) at Knott's Berry Farm from 1970 to 1980 at:

    www.knottsghosttowntalent.com

    It is awesome! It brings back so many memories.

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  182. What a great blog! Thanks Steve! I too am a huge fan of the old Knott's Berry Farm. I recently stumbled on a wonderful book full of black and white images cataloguing the history of Walter Knott, his family and of course, the park. You can find this sepia-covered book at Borders Bookstore. It is called "Images of America: Knott's Berry Farm The Early Years" ISBN-13 978-0-7385-6921-5 or ISBN-10 0-7385-6921-6. For those who read the post from Linda Walker (April 8, 2006) her husband Harvey Walker is featured in this book on page 79. There are many other important people who contributed to the success of early Knott's showcased in this book as well - Paul Swartz, first art director for the ghost town;, Andy Anderson, creator of the hand-carved wooden figures in the ghost town; Paul von Klieben, replaced Swartz as art director and is responsible for much of the artistic detail in Ghost Town; etc. Great book and keepsake. I have many wonderful memories from Knott's, especially the little schoolhouse. I remember the first time I ever went inside, there was an actress posing as the school teacher...I felt like Laura Ingalls! :)

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  183. I worked at the Farm back in 81 through 88. I remember Walter in his wheelchair pushed by his nurse strolling through the park before opening. That was a very cool place to work, then and now. I gave tours at Haunted Shack, busted kids screwing around in Bear-y Tales and had to kick down the peddles to release the lap-bars on the Corkscrew roller coaster as it came into the station. I don't remember what summer it was, but I and a couple other supervisors at Haunted Shack had the best crews that season. We probably got the most laughs from guests ever from our near "illegal" comedy at the Shack. We felt we had to make it funny because the Shack really didn't have to much else to lend. When Walter Knott bought out Hurlbut Amusement Co. and took over Mine Ride, Log ride and Fiesta Village (except for Zoom, I was on the first crew to penetrate the "good 'ol boys club" and learn to drive those trains. That was tough because not only were we learning to operate a very physical machine, but we were considered the "outsiders" taking over there little corner of the world! Why I say that is because this amusement company made its money off ticket sales and turnstile numbers. They would turn these in and get paid. Hurlbut hired their own engineers, mechanics, supervisors and ride operators. That all went away. They were now under Knott's rule in every way, including facial hair and clothing. So there was a little friction with every shift we worked there. The Log Ride crew was the same. After one year at Mine Ride, I was trained on Log Ride. These two rides were amazing. We had free rain inside the mountains of each. Yes, this was before women ever set foot on the loading docks, let alone inside these attractions. There was even one set of restrooms right next to the one set of lockers! But after my first year was complete, in 1982 I was placed on the Halloween Haunt crew. While in Ride Operations, we only had a small trailer next to Mine Ride as an office, no cafeteria to buy food and only $20.00 and all we could steel to decorate Bear-y Tales, Shack and Bumper Cars. When we acquired Mine Ride and Log Ride, Halloween Haunt was almost a Department on its own! I was one of the first to build "animated" monsters to place in the rides. I also trained 200 to 300 "talent" hired just to scare guests in these rides. They would use feathers, shaker cans or have a triggered light or specific motion to scare guests. No touching allowed! Ya right! It happened. I also have fond memories of when The park opened for Halloween Haunt and the next minute, the Twenties area electricity went out. That's when we found out that the contractor that built Bear-y Tales didn't install the generator. Ooops! The Ghost Town and Fiesta Village opened, but the Twenties was roped off until power came on. From the Bear-y Tales Balcony we watched a fire break out at Shack next. Wow! This site is bringing back a lot of memories! More to come later! BKM

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  184. I will always remember Knott's Dolphin and Sea Lion show at The Pacific Pavillion. I was the first volunteer that the dolphin show had and years later I paved the way for many others to have the opportunity to work with these wonderful marine mammals. The volunteer program became such a hit it became a ROP class offered through a Buena Park school. I spent a few years there with Wally, Terri, Katie,(dolphins)& Miller, Kalani, Kalika, and Max (Sea Lions). I knew from here on I wanted a career working with animals...and followed my dream.

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  185. I lived across the street from the Buena Park mall. In the 60s my father was forman of the paint department at Knott's and during the summer he would take me and my sister to work with him. We would start with breakfast at Winchell's donut shop who had the best maple bars. Knott's was really more of a farm in those days and when you parked it was in grass and dirt under trees and chickens and roosters roamed around your car. We stayed the whole day there going on mine rides, mule, stagecoach and merry go round rides. We would meet up with our dad for lunch at the Chicken Dinner restaurant. I remember feeding the sea lions little fish and how loud they barked to get your attention. In those days you could be in grade school and go unsupervised. Knott's Berry Farm was our summercamp. Our family friend Tony put on puppet shows there. I new every square inch of the property and can't believe how fortunate we were to have had that opportunity. I love those memories and wish it was still the same beautiful farm today as it was back then.

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  186. wow, what great memories
    They call it progress when something torn down, and re placed by something else. Is it progress what cedar fair has done to knott's? or did it really start with the knott family.
    remember the lake across the street, where there was a little train ride, row boats, where you could go and feed the ducks. it was the knott family that remove it for a parking lot.
    so the question who brought the end to the park that we all remember.knott family or cedar fair.
    the seals were taken out by the knott family, replaced by a dance floor.
    the animal farm was removed by the knott family, replace by another dance floor, and monty.
    The park had history, it was the knott family that removed the first looping coaster the corkscrew for the boomerang.
    The mule ride, that was fun to ride was removed by the knott family, for the expansion around the backside of the mine ride.
    What was wrong with leaving the john wayne name on the building, once again the knott family.
    Saw some great talent in the building, it was the knott family, that stop bringing big names to the farm, in favor of a ice show.
    how many remember seeing tom jones,david brenner,phyllis diller,flash cadillac,beach boys, steppenwolf,to name a few plus evan the brady bunch.
    it was the knott family that decided to build the ghost rider, which theres nothing against the ride, but certain things that were free to walk up, such as the bakery, the candy store, are now enclosed by the fence for the ride.
    Yes cedar fair made a number of changes to the park
    but so did the knott family.
    it's called progress
    it's a shame, that both the knott's and cedar fair hasn't done more to preserve some of the old that we remember so much.
    And by the way, a poster said earlier the knott family has nothing to do with the park, that is not true, as the family has over two million shares in common stock of cedar fair, and they do still have a say on how thing are said and done, it was steve knott that recently veto the sale of cedar fair, which is one reason the sale never went through.

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  187. OMG I LIVED @ 2127 W LINCION AVE AND USE TO GO TO KNOTTS EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK AND WOULD SNEEK IN ME AND MY BUDDYS WOULD SLIP RIGHT THREW THE BARS ON THE SIDE OF LAPALMA AVE.. AS SOON AS THE TRAIN PASSED WE WOULD MAKE OUR MOVE..IM SAYING IT WAS AT LEAST 1967 AT THIS TIM CAN YOU BELIVE IT 7 YEARS OLD GOING TO KNOTT WITH JUST A FRW KIDS ALONE AND NOT HAVEING TO BE WORRIED ABOUT BEING HURT BY SOMEONE.. EVERY WEEKEND CLOUD 9 AND THE SEALS AND THE PETTING ZOO, WE WOULD TELL THE PEOLE THE GOATS ATE OUT TICKET ..THATS WHEN YOU HAVE THE ONE TICKET...MABLE LIVED NEXT DOOR SHE SOLD THE LIL FISH LOL FOR THE SEALS.....FOR 10 YEARS I WAS ABLE TO FIT THREW THOSE BARS LOL...SO MANY THINGS THE JUNGEL ISLAND WAS THE BEST.. HIDE AND SEEK FOREVER IN THAT PLACE... WE STAYS ONE NIGHT HIDEING AND HAD TO LET THE COPS HELP USE OUT IT CLOSED JUST BEFORE DARK... WOW IM ALMOST 50 AND I AM STILL IN LOVE WITH KNOTTS ..OH WHAT ABOUT THE WAGON TALES WHERE THE GIRL SAYS BUT MAMA IM SO SO THIRSTY...AND THE GLOW MINE IN THE OUT SIDE OF KNOTTS BY THE SHOPS AT GRAND AVE?? ANYONE REMEMBER THAT??? SO MUCH I COULD TELL YOU I LIVED THERE REALLY FOR YEARS AND YEARS ....LINDA@ LOCAPEZ@AOL.COM

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  188. Reading everyone’s memories about Knott’s brought tears to my eyes. I feel like I was raised at Knotts, I know my kids were. I moved there with my parents (Buena Park) in 1966 and stayed until 1994. After I got married my husband and I bought a house across the street where we raised 3 children of are own. We lived so close that Knott’s gave my hole family annual passes every year for free, I think they said it was for putting up with all the noise or something. My kids went everyday during there summer breaks and we would all sit in the front yard in the summer watching the fireworks. My kids baby books is full of pictures of them at Knotts, people always say it looks like they were raised there! My husband was a contractor and I a Realtor (my office was across the street from Knotts on LaPalma at Century 21 Jim Hansen’s) we moved the kids to Arizona in 1994, I always wished we had stayed in Buena Park. We talked about Knott’s so much and after my 2 grandkids were born we decided to take a trip back there and spend the day at Knott’s during the month of Oct in 2007 (my first job was working at the Halloween Haunt at Knott’s) There were 9 of us (my husband, our 3 kids + 2 son-in-laws + 2 grandkids and myself) We arrive at Knott’s and find out that it is going to cost almost $450.00 for all of us to enter. (My mistake for not looking all the info up before hand or finding some coupons somewhere) I was so embarrassed that I didn’t have enough money for all of us to get in that it made me feel sick to my stomach. I paid for my kids and grandkids admission and said that I suddenly felt ill and wanted my husband to take me back to our hotel room. I convinced my kids to go in without us and they ended up having a wonderful day. I never told the kids why I didn’t really go with them that day, but I sure wish I could have seen my grandkids enjoying Knott’s Berry Farm like I used to when I was a kid. I haven’t though about Knotts Berry farm too much since that day 3 years ago, but it’s nice to hear that it still making memories for people. It was such a great place growing up.

    kmbmnn@yahoo.com
    753 S Blossom
    Mesa, AZ 85206

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  189. I was at Knott's Berry Farm in the early 90's. I was there with my family from the East Coast. I had never heard of Knott's Berry Farm before but we were anxious to take it in before we left Californina. It was a wonderful, insteresting, fun and enlightening visit. It was a good "feel".
    The most lingering memory was from the Old West Town. There was a saloon and, I think, in the back there was a sort of back lighted screen with a mural of camp fires, western figures etc. In the back and along the side of one of the authentic old Wagons there was a written note, under plexiglass, from a 10-11 year old girl. I "read" - We are out of water. There are sounds of wild animals etc. I wish I could remember. Thoughts of that note lingered for many months. It was an experience. I hope it it mostly the same. It was a treasure with the new and all the historic western buildings.

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  190. I remember listening to Larry Geronca and his guitar. This was in the '80s. It was like a country fair. He was singing country songs. We danced to his music!

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  191. Hi everyone. All these memories are pretty cool to read.

    My name is Mark Ferrell, but I went by "Marco". I was the original DJ when the Cloud 9 Disco opened. Before that, when the Cloud 9 was a ballroom, I was the DJ at the Airfield Eatery and before that, I was a tour guide at the Haunted Shack. All between about 1976 and 1980.

    We had a blast. The place was packed and pumpin'. And I got to work with some truly amazing people. Great memories!

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  192. I remember going to Knotts for Thanksgiving in 1963...in fact I have an original complete ticket book, "Entertainment Book" Knotts Berry Farm and Ghost Town...CHILD BOOK $2.00 with an Expiration Date of December 31, 1963

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  193. How funny....thinking back to the old Knotts Berry Farm. I remember when they had the wagons in a circle with a fire going in the middle. I might be wrong but since I've gotten older and haven't been there in over 20 years, I might not remember it quite right. The thing I do remember is going on a date with a certain guy. It didn't turn out real great but to this day we are still friends and will always remember him and Knotts Berry Farm in the same thought.

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  194. i LOVED their boysenberry slurpies, saltwater taffy, parachute ride, the log ride and the drop u go down in the dark, and the car ride across the street called "Henry's Auto Delivery" (it was cool cuz the cars were not on tracks!" Knott's Berry Tales, and the chapel where Jesus opened his eyes. (i had the card they gave u for many years after leaving the chapel..it was with Jesus and u opened the card and his eyes opened...the pan for gold where they would give u a little bottle of water and the gold u panned, AND REMEMBER THOSE TICKET BOOKLETS?!!! THEY WERE LETTERED A, B, C, D, E? YOU WOULD ALWAYS RUN OUT OF THE LETTERS WITH THE GOOD RIDES!!! KBF HAS A VERY SPECIAL PLACE IN MY HEART FOREVER!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxox

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  195. I remember going to see Ricky Nelson at the John Wayne Theatre. I was with my pregnant wife and my brother. Because my wife was pregnant we were ushered into the front row. Rick and his Stone Canyon Band had sung a few songs but we were all anxious to hear Travelin Man. I told my brother to stand up and count to three on the next break and then yell out Travelin Man. As soon as we did that Rick looked at us and then turned to his band and said: "You guys know that one, lets do it"! What a great honor for all of us from This wonderful singer and his group! Lee

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  196. I remember Knotts very well from the 1970's when I went there a number of times and it was AWESOME! I loved Jungle Island (the "Woodniks" were unique), Knotts Berry Tales Ride, Mine Ride, feeding the ducks, and the volcano being operated by the little red devil! Also the steamboat on the lake (Cordelia K), the mini train that went around the lake, and the fantastic fireworks they used to have at Fiesta Village during the summer. It was all spectacular! So sad that most of it is gone and what has replaced it is just one more plastic amusement park filled with "thrill rides". Knotts was fun because it had a unique character and a wonderful old west feel. Although I haven't been there in a long time, I heard they even got rid of Deadwood Dicks grave.

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  197. does anyone remember Maxine the story lady from the 50's

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  198. My dad was an Orange County Sheriff and he use to patrol the grounds of Knotts Berry Farm before they put the fence up. He would kick out all the homeless that would sleep there. There was an actual jail on the grounds too. My dad would also volunter to be the voice of the old man in the jail. When my dad worked there he met a young kid who worked at the Birdcage theater who later got a job on the TV series, Ozzie and Harriet with Ricky Nelson and David Nelson. the kid had the part of Wally, Rick's friend.

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  199. I worked at Knott's in the seventies. I worked in Admissions and in the Bank (or Cash in Ticket Office after the new main gate was built). Two of my children have worked there during school breaks.

    I have very fond memories of my time at Knott's. I spent a little over 5 years there and can honestly say it was a wonderful experience. When I worked there I believe the minimum age was 18 so most of the employees were college students or recent high school graduates. Met some great people there - I even met my wife at Knott's.

    I have not visited the amusement park area of Knott's in probably 20 years, I've only been to the shops and Chicken Dinner. From what I can see the inside has had many changes, changes that in a way make me sad (nostalgia may cloud my view). It appears to be a place now with a 6 Flags feel - it looks like it has lost its character. I've also noticed the hours they are opened are much shorter than when I worked there.

    Some memories: The Knott Family - I do remember Walter Knott. The man would go through the park in his 'special' electric cart some mornings and it was a joy to see him. When I worked in the Bank there were occasions when he would want to cash a personal check, he would call down and we would take some cash to the mobile home he lived in just north of the Accounting office and exchange his personal check for cash (always a very modest amount). The man owned the park yet he seemed so much the 'everyman'. His children were very active back then - Steve was very active in Operations and a true gentleman. Virginia ran her business like clockwork and the business was very separate from Knott's - separate accounting, separate cash funds. I also remember Marion who seemed to become more involved as each year went by. Each member of the family visited the Bank regularly for reasons I don't feel comfortable explaining. Nice family who seemed to care deeply about the business their folks created.

    I was at Knott's on Saturday, just to walk around the shops. Bathrooms are filthy - both outside the main gate and in the Chicken Dinner. Employees seemed friendly but the vibe seemed different from when I worked there. I hope Knott's is around for a long, long time.

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