Sunday, September 19, 2010

Puppeteer at Knott's Berry Farm

Anonymous asks about a puppeteer who worked at Knott's Berry Farm in the 1960s, and wonders if anyone has more information on him...

We would drive from the valley (Covina) in the 60's to have the fried chicken dinner and pie. At that time the only rides were the train and stage wagon. But what I remember most was the Puppeteer. I know he was an immigrant from Eastern Europe, and he put on a great show. Can't find any information on him.

I was able to find some references to puppet shows at Knott's in the 1960s in the comments of other posts here on OCThen...

Anonymous, March 30, 2007...
I have a memory, I think, of old Punch and Judy puppet shows being put on, and wonder if anybody can corroborate that.

Anonymous, May 21, 2008...
Just looked it up. The puppeteer was a man named Tony Kameny and the puppets were definitely Steiff.

Anonymous, May 8, 2009...
I mostly remember watching the puppetier, he was from Poland or someplace, but we would sit there for hours.

Anonymous, April 5, 2010...
I also fondly remember the many performers and acts such as the puppet show held in the old circus wagon at the front of the park! The puppeteer was Tony Kemeny, an orphaned immigrant from Hungary that had been stricken and paralyzed with polio as a child and spent most of his life as a prisoner of war in Nazi and Communist camps until he escaped and later made his way to the US. He became quite famous and his life story is documented in an inspiring book entitled “A Puppet No More”. Google on his name for full details.

Angela, May 1, 2010...
Our family friend Tony put on puppet shows there.

Ahh, the value of such great comments and commenters!


  1. Does anyone remember the guy at Knotts who voiced "Sad Eye Joe" in the jail? Parents would tip him and he would amaze the the kids with personal questions and information about themselves. Seems like every time I went to Knotts as a kid, it was the SAME GUY!

  2. See the book, Knott's Berry Farm:: The Early Years By Jay Jennings

  3. Does anyone remember bear that drank soda? It was in Orange County, I think it was on Harbor Blvd. It was in a fenced in area, and you could purchase cokes or other soda pop from a machine, and the bear would drink it for your amusement. It must have been in the early 1960's.

  4. I remember my mom taking my sister and I to watch the puppet show at Knott's Berry Farm in 1965. We got to kiss the puppets for a penny.

  5. I have video of that puppet show, with ME on the little stage. The puppet scared me and I start crying and my mom had to lift me out of there, lol.

  6. I have those puppets from Tony's 60s show - a monkey & a cat. I used to know their names but have forgotten. Anyone remember?

  7. I remember Tony from Knotts Berry farm. My father was friends with him. He had 4 of his puppets when he retired them. I still have too of them. A dog and a lionous. My parents at one time had a real to real movie of me sitting up on the stage with the puppets when I was around 1 1/2 years old. I remember watching it as a little girl. Unfortunately the film was lost when they got divorced and my dad lost the storage unit. :(


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