Monday, January 17, 2011

Knott's in the 1970s

Today's photo series shows a trip to Knott's Berry Farm in the late 1970s. The photos come from our Phoenix correspondent, Captain Tomorrow. We begin in Ghost Town, of course, at the Butterfield Stagecoach (above). Note how close the old loading area was to the Bottle House.
Here's another look at Bud Hurlbut's "Mexican Hat Dance" ride, which still provides a better overall ride than Disneyland's teacups.
The photos immediately above and below show Reflection Lake and the adjacent Fiesta Village area. The lake is now almost entirely filled in, replaced by the Silver Bullet roller coaster. The trees and water really added a lot of beauty to Knott's.
Knott's maven and nice guy Allen Palovik tells me the photo below is the Fiesta Plaza Stage. By the gingerbread-y pastel decor, I (wrongly) guessed it was in the Roaring 20s section of the park. Note that both younger and older people are in the audience. Knott's really did have something for everyone.
This next photo is definitely from the Roaring 20s, and shows what happens when the cast of That 70s Show tries to look like a 1920s Dixieland band. The audience of four people went wild.
The 1975 opening of the Corkscrew at Knott's was a real taste of things to come. At that point, it was a novelty. Today, most of the park has been given over to large steel contraptions geared toward teenage boys with invincible stomachs. Sorry this isn't exactly ancient history. Nor is there much insightful commentary today. But it is interesting to see how much Knott's has changed in just 35 years. (Haven't we all?)


Connie Moreno said...

This was a GREAT post. It made me so nostalgic. The guys in the white outfits look like a 2 man Mariach although I've never seen a 2 man Mariachi! I'm just saying that based on their outfits.

It's a shame that Knott's has been taken over by the steel monsters...oh well....I sure do miss the lake.

Allen P said...

Hi Chris,
The picture of the two guys is on the Fiesta Plaza stage. The other stage picture is the Starlight Pavilion in the Roaring 20s area located were Perilous Plunge is now. Also, the Corkscrew opened in 1975, the Roaring 20s Airfield opened in 1976.

Chris Jepsen said...

@Allen: Thanks for the corrections. I have to admit that I sort of "phoned in" this particular blog post. Let's just say that my visit to Knott's was the high point of the week -- and everything else sort of fell apart after that. BTW, when will you be adding things to your own blog?

@Connie: I thought they looked like Mariachis also -- But I didn't recognize that tall stringed instrument. It looks somewhat Greek or maybe Asian. (Not that I know much about musical instruments.) Thankfully, Allen sorted that out for us.

Dr Bitz said...

Knott's in the 70's was a big turning point. It was the first time that they took market share from Disneyland.
The Roaring Twenties area was a big deal with locals and teens like us lived there! Thanks

Major Pepperidge said...

Yes, this is a great post! Strangely, it seems as if older photos of Knott's are more common. I rarely see nice photos from the 70's, and these ARE nice. The "Mexican Hat Dance" pic is especially great!