Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Knott’s Berry Farm, 1955


Knott’s Berry Farm, 1955

A man dons a rain slicker, smokes a cigarette and cradles a little girl sporting a hooded rain cape over a coat and dress combo who sips sweet, delicious boysenberry juice from a wax-paper cup through a straw. They are prepared for wet weather but the lady is not. She has no rain gear to speak of just red painted lips accentuating her cheeky smile, a simple-yet-stylish suit and a conservatively colored scarf gathered in her hands.

As millions have over the years these fine folks pose proudly with Handsome Brady and Whiskey Bill, totally fake Gold prospectors permanently on a bench positioned on a bench outside the Gold Trail Hotel in Knott’s Ghost Town. If this isn’t a classic Southern California Kodak moment I don’t know what is!

In the vast and spectacular scheme of Southern California history Knott’s Berry Farm has a huge place. It is the first permanent theme park where architecture, transportation, displays, demonstrations, food, music, performance, dramatic reenactments, souvenirs and costumed employees all came together to create total emersion, environment. And to think it was all inspired by the question of how to entertain all the people waiting in line to eat Mrs. Knott’s famous Fried Chicken Dinner on Sunday Afternoons. Surprisingly much of the ghost town still stands today, sixty-seven years after it began.

The Knott’s story is epic. The transformation a boysenberry field into the first theme park will be well told with slides and rare film clips this Monday night, May 21st at 7pm by the World’s Leading Knott’s Berry Farm Historian, Chris Merritt, at the La Crescenta Historical Society 4845 Dunsmore Ave. La Crescenta, CA. 91214. Admission is FREE.

This Saturday May 19, 2007, 11am til 4pm don’t miss the World’s Greatest Vintage Trailer Show Open House and Swap Meet at the Newport Dunes Waterfront RV Resort in the scenic back bay of Newport Harbor in Newport Beach CA. Admission is FREE.

Here’s to Knott’s, vintage trailers, everyone that help make my BIG SHOW a SELL OUT and YOU!!!

Charles Phoenix

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