Monday, February 13, 2012

Vintage Knott's Berry Farm--Early 70's








The short-lived and ill-fated Gypsy Camp area of Knott's Berry farm. Was this another one of Ralph Helfer's "offerings?" Would that be Tarra of TES fame in the background with the lea on her head? 1974

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,
If the date of 1974 is correct, the elephant would not have been Tarra. In 1976 I was Show Director at the opening of Marriott's Great America in Santa Clara, California. We had two shows with animals. One used Ralph Helfer animals--an elephant (probably the one in the photo) a male lion, chimp and dolphins. I believe the gentleman with the bear in the photo was the trainer. The second show was called "Centennial Circus" and had young performers from the Wenatchee Youth Circus. Also included in that show was Carol Buckley and her elephant Tarra. In '76 Tarra was a baby, much younger than the elephant in the photo. As I recall Tarra was originally trained by Smokey Jones. As I say Tarra was a baby, hardly came up to Carol's shoulders. The announcer would tell the audience they were about to witness thundering herds of massive elephants--then Carol and Tarra came running out by themselves. It was a very fast moving act. By the way, in 1976 we also opened a second Marriott Great America park in Illinois. There we had Peru and FSU performers with Phil and Dondi. All the best, Rick Faber

Anonymous said...

Wade, Just came across two photos you might be interested in. Both are of Gunther--one when he and Sigrid were my guest at the Marriott park and the other when I visited them at the Cow Palace that same year (1977). I'm not all that tech savy so if you're interested, let me know how I can email them to you. Thanks, Rick Faber

Wade G. Burck said...

Rick,
Of course I am interested in anything GGW, thank you for the offer. My email is wadeburck@yahoo.com.

Wade

Wade G. Burck said...

Rick,
Thank you for that information. I have never been to the Great America in Calif. but I have been to the one in Illinois countless times.

Wade

Ross said...

Oddly enough, former WED designer Rolly Crump had much to do with Knott's Gypsy Camp area. He was in Florida working on the still unfinished Circus World park (working as a freelancer after leaving the Mouse) when he was approached by the Knott family about their Gypsy Camp area. Crump did some thematic design for the area but was mainly tasked with designing the new Bear-y Tales ride, itself replaced by Kingdom of the Dinosaurs in 1987 and shuddered in 2004. RM

Wade G. Burck said...

Ross,
Thank you for that insight. Do either you or Rick know why the "Gypsy Camp" was closed after just a few short years?

Wade

Ross said...

It was generally not well received by the public, as the "gypsy" theme still carried far too many negative connotations with the average guest. Just four years after it opened it was rethemed to "the Roaring 20's", as period themes were much more favorable. A year later, in 1976, the area was expanded to include "the Roaring 20's Airfield" which debuted 8 new attractions. The Airfield was rethemed to "the Boardwalk" in 1996, and "the Roaring 20's" still exists today with much of the infastructure that debuted way back in 1971 with Gypsy Camp.

Wade G. Burck said...

Ross,
Thank you for the history lesson.

wade

Samuel Di Bernardo said...

I have film of 1973 of the elephant and bears, I should have the video ready tomorrow need some help with the information

Samuel Di Bernardo said...

Could you please help me I have a video of a place called Gypsy Jungle can anyone give me some information about this section of the park http://usa1970.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/knotts-berry-farm-gypsy-jungle-1973.html

Anonymous said...

Wade: I used to live near Knotts Berry Farm. By the way there was an interesting documentary on last night on TVO titled "Wallace in Borneo", about the Scottish naturalist who was friends with Darwin. Sincerely Paul