Saturday, March 24, 2012

Knott's Berry Farm - New Hire Stuff & The Giant Chicken!

Thirty years ago today, I had my employee orientation at Knott's Berry Farm! Having been hired just one week earlier, I had been scheduled for the employee orientation as well as two "cash handling" training sessions. The employee orientation was held in an auditorium that is located on the second floor of Independence Hall.

This staircase leads up to the entrance of the auditorium. A film was shown about the history of Knott's and afterwards, we were assigned to an employee "tour guide" and taken on a tour of the park.

This is my name tag that I was given to wear during the orientation. We hadn't been issued our official name badges yet, so we wore these stickers......and yes, I have saved it all these years. If you read my "I Was A Teenage Christmas Tree At Disneyland" post from December 2010, then you might remember that I also saved the "new hire" items from my short stint at Disneyland as well.

A week after the employee orientation, I had my cash handling training which was held in the Conference Room building that sits adjacent to Independence Hall. It was a two-day training session and on the first day, I stood outside of the locked building with three fellow new-hires waiting for our trainer to show up, but she never did. Oh, and it was pouring down rain! It was a weekday in the "off-season" and the entire Knott's Lagoon and Independence Hall area was abandoned and kind of creepy. As the sun went down, we waited in the rain (and the dark) wondering how long we should stay there. I don't remember how much time passed before we finally decided to go across the street to the Cable Car Kitchen, which was the location we had been hired for. As it turned out, our trainer had completely forgotten that she even had a training class that day. She showed up for our second day and had to cram everything into one session! Having already been through the employee orientation process at Disneyland, I remember that I kept thinking, "This would NEVER happen at Disneyland!"

If I remember correctly, the Knott Family used to have their board meetings in that Conference Room building. And speaking of the Knott Family, shortly after being hired, this welcome card arrived in the mail.

Here's a small booklet that was given out to Food Service employees. The inside shows the exact date of my employee orientation, the cash handling training classes, and my first day of work which happened to be the first day of Easter Vacation/Spring Break that year.

This card was given to new employees to show them where they were allowed to park. Over the years, most of these areas eventually became restricted and everyone was expected to park in the Employee Lot/School Lot across Western Ave.

So thirty years to the exact day of my Knott's employee orientation, I found myself going to Knott's to see Jay Jennings' "The Art of Knott's Berry Farm" photo exhibit. On my way there, I was delayed by one of the park's stagecoaches as it was en route to the stagecoach barn across La Palma Ave.

The exhibit was held in one of the banquet rooms of the Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

Here's Jay Jennings presenting Dean Davisson with one of his 1950's-inspired black and white photographs. Mr. Davisson was the head of Knott's public relations department from 1958 to 1976.

I took this next photo as I passed by the front of the Chicken Dinner Restaruant. Do you notice anything missing?

The giant chicken is gone! I noticed it was missing a couple months ago. I know it wasn't original to the Farm....and it wasn't even there back in the eighties when I was working at Knott's, but it was one addition that I never minded.

I'm guessing that this sculpture was a real vintage roadside sign that Knott's acquired within the last 20 years or so. Does anyone know where it came from originally? I'm hoping it was just placed into storage and that it wasn't tossed out!


Snow White Sanctum said...

Well done post Tokyo. That could not have been a good feeling to have your trainer be a no-show. It'd make you wonder just what you were getting yourself into.

It's fantastic that you still have your welcome card and all the materials they handled out. Impressive!

Major Pepperidge said...

Well, now I know that there is an auditorium on the second floor of Independence Hall! I did wonder what was at the top of the stairs...

That "welcome" card from the Knott family is super cool! And I love the little cartoons on the Food Service Division item.

I wish I could have seen Jay's exhibit; I had a prior engagement that could not be missed unfortunately.


Dan Alexander said...

Wow, you've got some great Knott's treasures and memories to share. I've got to get there someday!

I love the giant chicken.

Eric Scales said...

Wow! Where did that Absent Minded professor in the car shot come from?

TokyoMagic! said...

SWS, Thanks....and no, it was an uneasy feeling to be left locked out and standing in the rain on your first day of training. But it was actually a pretty good indicator of "things to come".....they definitely were NOT Disney!

Major, I don't know if they used that auditorium for much other than orientation. Most other employee meetings were held in the Goodtime Theater.

Dan, I hope you do get to see Knott's someday. So much of what made it special is gone, but at least the Ghost Town is still there.....for now anyway!

Eric, I think you meant for your comment to go onto my next post, but that shot of the Absent-Minded Professor was taken at Movieland Wax Museum. (Don't tell anyone!)

steve hellar said...
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