Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Wagonmasters of Knott's Berry Farm

The WagonmastersDoes anyone remember going to Knott's Berry Farm and listening to The Wagonmasters?

They were a band that played at the Ghost Town there, doing a variety of Americana.

Billy Beeman was one of the founding members of The Wagonmaster, and played with them from 1954 to 1968. He has a website filled with his memories of playing music at the Ghost Town.

Check out all the old photos of Ghost Town from the 1940s and 1960s just on this page alone.

He also CDs for sale based on actual recordings done by The Wagonmasters.

36 comments:

  1. I remember the entertainers at the circle of covered wagons. It was just one of the many attractions.
    In the 1920's, my dad, Herman Jungkeit, dated Virginia Knott

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  2. Hi I recently came across an old bottle that says Knotts Berry Place on it I believe It was bosenberry punch. If anyone is intrested it it please E mail Me . lguzman@ochca.com

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  3. I remember the Wagonmasters from being at Knott's forty-five plus years ago. My Mom, sister and I traveled from Alabama every summer for a period of about 8-10 years to Southern California to enjoy your beautiful climate primarily for my mother' health. But we, benefitted from so much more. We became acquainted with each member of the Wagonmasters and we have maintained an ongoing friendship with them throughout all of these many long years. Billy Beeman is tops as a fiddler and is now in the Western Music Association's Hall of Fame. Dave Bourne now hits the keyboard most often and is at many music festivals throughout southern California. Harvey Walker continues to strum a magnnificent bango and guitar, while vocalist Eldon Ecklon is retired in Arizona.
    Beautiful Rachel Beeman passed away a number of years ago. These people left a tremendous impact on our lives and continue to do so in my 60th year. Their music was the real traditional western music that is now making a swift comeback. I hope there are others out there who have memories of the Wagonmasters as I do. They made the most significant impact on us as we visited beautiful Califonia in the late fifties and early sixties. Thanks for the opportunity to publically say thank you to my wonderful friends, the Wagonmasters. I love you all. Sylvia Michelini
    mimi@hiwaay.net
    Please e-mail me if you have similar memories of the wagonmasters.

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  4. to Dean Joungkiet,
    Your Dad and Virginia must have been awfully young to be dating in the 1920's. Virginia turned 19 in 1940. The picture of her in the Anaheim Bulletin on Sept. 1, 1940 seems to cast some doubt on your fathers memory.
    Billy Beeman

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  5. I JUST FOUND AN ALBUM WITH ALL FIVE WAGONMASTERS SIGNATURES ON THE BACK! IT'S ONE OF THE ORIGNAL ALBUMS : "MORE FOLK FAVORITES" WITH WALLACE PARKER'S PAINTING OF THEM ON THE FRONT. ANY ONE INTERESTED?
    NANCY

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  6. Kristine StimsonAugust 24, 2006 12:10 AM

    I too have very fond memories of the Wagonmasters. My brother is 16 years older than I am. When I was 9-10 year old he would take me along with his family. I so loved the wagon camp and the Wagonmasters. They are some of my fondest memories and a bond even today with my brother. I have since met Billy Beeman and
    David Bourne. I love the websites and I am so thrilled that Billy is doing so well. I intend to share the website with my brother and anyone else that I can.

    Thank you so much,

    Kristine Stimson
    Newbury Park

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  7. We used to go to Knott's a lot as it was free then and after a dinner at the Grill, Steakhouse or Chicken Dinner Restaurant we would head to the camp and listen to the Wagonmasters. Sometimes if we got there early we got a seat in the wagon, which as kids was so cool. If not we sat around the stage and my mom said I would get up, like many children did, and dance around the musicians and they didn't care.
    An era no more.

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  8. I lived across from Knott's Berry Farm off LaPalma Blvd. on Oleander Circle. We would walk across the street to go the the Circle Wagons to hear the old western songs - of the Wagoneers. there were a semi-circle of log seats and at the top old covered wagons. Back then there was rhubarab growing across Beach Blvd. and then later they built a lagoon with an old steamship. Now I live in Davenport, Iowa on the Mississippi and can see all the riverboats I want.

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  9. I used to live on Oleander circle off LaPalma just across from the rhubarab farm. We would cross over and take th tunnel under Beach Blvd to hear the Waggoneers play at the covered waggon circle. This would be from 1958-1962. they would play western favorites.

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  10. I do remember the Wagonmasters and sitting in the wagons on warm summer nights. Great memories. More still I will never forget Rachel Beeman and the huge impact she had on my life. I was one of "Rachel's kids" at First Pres. and sang of a few of her broadcasts. I think of her often and with great affection.

    Carole Schaffer Chambers

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  11. I was enjoying the Wagonmasters back in 1966-67. I was there almost every weekend in the summer. Sitting in the covered wagon looking at the big fire ring, I really felt transported back to the old west. The band was so professional.

    Bob Knox

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  12. I graduated from high school in '64 and used to go to Knott's with my parents from about '54 thru '60 more or less. I went as an adult until I moved away from O.C. and still go most times when I return. I would swear that during the visits with my parents that my dad just couldn't miss the covered wagons and that we saw "The Sons of the Pioneers" there. could this be correct? It would have been around the late '50s or early ,60s.

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  13. Harriet Cadwalader CookApril 26, 2007 10:35 PM

    Rachel Cadwalader Beeman is my Daddy's baby sister. I visited Knott's in March - the fancy rides can not hold a candle to my memories of childhood visits. The wagon camp is so much smaller now. Living in Oregon I didn't get much time with Aunt Rachel and Uncle Bill, but I wore out the albums! Her gorgeous contralto voice is forever embedded in the memories of my heart. I cherish the times that we did share together. Someday I will see her again as we both rejoice in the presence of our Savior.

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  14. Yes, The Sons of the Pioneers did perform in the Wagon Camp at various times in the 50's and early 60's

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  15. Hi all. I have some incredible memories of Knott's Berry Farm. My grandmother & grandfather were the owners of Young's Turkey Ranch on Bolsa Ave. in Santa Ana where i grew up. Grandma & I went to Knott's on a frequent basis just to see the Little Chapel with Jesus behind the doors. She used to tell me stories of the original berry stand. She and Virginia were acquainted and to this day I still have in my possession a hat that belonged to Virginia that was made with...can you guess?...TURKEY FEATHERS! I proudly wear my hat here in Texas where I currently live and while it has no significance to those around me...it is an important article of my Southern California heritage!

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  16. Oh do I remember the Wagon Masters; Don't slide over those are wooden benches.....
    I lived about an 1/8 of a mile from Knott's for 20 years as a kid. Part of my teens years, were spent listening to and watching live, those
    wonderful men. Free, the big fire pit, all the wooden benches surrounded by the wagons. Friends, later dates, and so many memories bring to mind those evenings spent with the Wagon Masters

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  17. My Dad used to take us there to listen to the music. It was fun to go as a kid sitting around in those wagons. I asked friends if they remembered which they didn't. That was back when you could walk around Knott's for free.

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  18. To Dean Youngkeit:
    I went to McComber Jr. High in 1970-1971 and had a history teacher- Mrs. Jungkeit. One of the best teachers I ever had. Is she a realtive of yours?
    We used to ride bikes to Knott's after school from the Beach Blvd./Malvern area (several miles) and stay until dark. No one worried about us. Different times. My parents took us to see the Wagonmasters several times in the late 60's. Getting in the park for free was the best.

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  19. Dean YoungkeitJuly 23, 2008 5:37 PM

    Why no, I don't seem to recall having any teachers in my family. The last name differs, as well. Mine is Youngkeit, hers was apparently Jungkeit. Sorry; no relation.

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  20. I loved watching the Wagonmasters as a kid at Knotts Berry Farm,good ol boys playin country and western,ol Dee Willam,Harvey Walker,The Beeman brothers,and my dad Vern Jackson,i also got to go to several of what they called the Beeman bashes and eat good food and watch the best musicians in the world,..VERY COOL,..LANDON JACKSON

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  21. It was nice seeing your posting Landon. I am sure you don't remember me but you use to follow me around Ghost Town when you were about 3 years old. I was a good friend of you Mom and Dads. I too work at Knotts. I was one of the orginal stuntmen.

    Gary the Gunfighter

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  22. of course i remember you Gary,you where my hero,im glad to hear yer still alive,hope yer doin good,i am trully blessed,you should say hi to my mom and dad,my moms e mail is sandraejackson@aol.com,they would be tickeled, with respect,Landon

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  23. I thank you for remembering so long ago. I sent your folks an email. Hopefully they will respond.
    Gary Salisbury

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  24. I have no memories of the Wagonmasters of Knott's Berry Farm. My memories go back further, to when the Beeman family, Bill, Bobby, Don, Shirley, Mom & Dad lived on Model Street in the Love Field area of Dallas,Texas. The family band, Shirley & the Beeman Brothers were just getting started good. "Little" Shirley with her "HUGE" base fiddle. Amazing.
    I visit California about 3-4 times each year; one reason is to go to Knott's and eat fried chicken. I have always tried to find the Beeman's each time I am in California, but with no success. Yesterday, 12/01/2008, just for the fun of it, I GOOGLED Billy Beeman and, low and behold, there he was. I got sooo excited.
    I hope the next time I am in California we can visit and remember.
    I was Vandell Patterson at that time.

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  25. Oh my goodness, all these memories. I am married to one of the orginal Wagonmasters...Harvey Walker. We're tickled that y'all remember them. Go on utube and listen to Dave Bourne talk about those wonder times. Dave has also written a terrific coffee table book about the old days of Knotts Berry Farm.

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    1. Hello, I remember going to Knotts berry Farm with my Mom and Dad. And listening to The Wagonmasters. I have 7 photo' of the band Harvey, Bob, Rachel, Billy and Eldon that I am interested in selling. if you are interested or know someone who would like to have these please e-mail me @ carol.franklin69@yahoo.com.. Memories of them are awesome!, Carol

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  26. Joseph YoungkeitJune 05, 2010 1:05 AM

    That is cool because i love knotts and my last name is joseph youngkeit and my grandpas name is herman youngkeit and my dad said i was related to him.

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  27. Am sitting in a Starbucks in Castle Rock, CO and suddently I'm transported back to So. Cal. circa 'mid-60's when Tumblin' Along with a Tumblin' Tumbleweed comes over the sound system. While online thought I'd search and here I am. We lived in Fullerton at the time and my parents would take my brother and me over for dinner and to listen to the Wagonmastes several times a year. Great memories. Thanks.

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  28. I and my mom and dad and my brother hav gone to
    knott,s Barry farm minney times to see the gunfighters and the old train and to see the old jailhouse to see (sad Eye Joe).A friend of mine
    grandfather was the voice of (Sad Eve Joe)minney years ago.My family was a big fans of the wagonmasters.Every time I would see Rachel Beeman singing her solo part god my hart would stop.In the music world to me the wagonmasters ment alot to me.I still have one of there album with there photo on it .Alex Buchmiller Chico Ca

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  29. We used to live within walking distance of KBF. During the summer, we'd walk over after dinner to catch the Wagonmasters show in the Covered Wagon Camp a couple of times each month. Billy Beeman, Bobby Beeman, Rachel Beeman (Billy's wife), Eldon Eklund and Harvey Walker were fantastic. Their shows resulted in my appreciation of country music. Saw Harvey a few years ago at a Concert in the Park in Chino Hills. After the show I went up to say thank you and, when I mentioned the Wagonmasters, he got a bit teary eyed.

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  30. Hello, I remember going to Knotts berry Farm every vacation when I was a kid. i have 7 signed Photo's of the Wagonmasters. anyone interested in buying them e-mail me. carol.franklin69@yahoo.com

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  31. What a great time to find this blog as I am sitting at the computer transfering Wagonmaster vinyls into iTunes. While living in Huntington Beach I used to to go to Knott's Berry Farm just for the atmosphere, have great chicken dinner, visit the model trains, and of course listen to the Wagonmasters. In 1966 I met a beautiful girl that had struck up a friendship with the group and so I had a chance to meet them all. After that we would meet together at the campfire after work as often as we could that year to enjoy their music. O'yes, that girl became my wife and we both still enjoy the music from the three autographed albums she so wisely bought back then. My work moved us to Virginia a few years ago, but those Orange County memories have never faded. Cal & Marty Gegner, VA

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  32. Hey Cal and Marty, This is Harvey Walker's wife. Look up Harvey Walker on the internet and you'll see several videos of him :-) Unfortunately we have lost Bobby Beeman, Rachel Beeman and Billy Beeman. Harvey and I met in 1966 also and got married in 1968. My email KC@kcdouglas.com. web site www.kcdouglas.com (KC is my professional name)

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  33. What perfect timing God has! I have been in a nostalgic mode lately.
    Found this site while looking at other sites about OC in the 60's.
    My parents, an older sister and I used to go to Knott's on Saturday nights and see the Wagonmasters. What a great entertaining group they were...even for this teenager! A couple of the guys used to flirt with my sister, her being beautiful and in her early 20's. That sister has lived out of state for quite sometime and today is in Hospice for a serious medical condition. She is not expected to live much longer. Needless to say, it is a difficult time. Finding this site brought back some good good memories of those times at Knotts with her that I will cherish for the rest of my life. My parents had also purchased a couple of the albums which I inherited.
    I think I'll go and see how it plays. I could use a little of "I'm Just a Poor Wayfarin' Stranger" about now.

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  34. We moved to Buena Park in 1957, within walking distance of KBF. My dad, mom, grandmother and I would walk over on Friday nights in the summer to listen to the Wagonmasters. I credit them for my love of country music. Saw Harvey Walker a couple of years ago, in Chino Hills, for one of the Summer Concerts in the Park. After there show, I went up to say hello to him and told him I remembered him from his Wagonmasters days. He got misty eyed, shook my hand and thanked me, when I should have been thanking him.

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  35. We moved to Buena Park in 1957, within walking distance of KBF. My dad, mom, grandmother and I would walk over on Friday nights in the summer to listen to the Wagonmasters. I credit them for my love of country music. Saw Harvey Walker a couple of years ago, in Chino Hills, for one of the Summer Concerts in the Park. After there show, I went up to say hello to him and told him I remembered him from his Wagonmasters days. He got misty eyed, shook my hand and thanked me, when I should have been thanking him.

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