Friday, April 10, 2009

Knott's Berry Farm - Roaring 20's Airfield

This is a follow-up to my last post. After posting about Tokyo's parachute attraction and comparing it to Knott's Sky Jump, I remembered that I had this mini-poster from 1976 that Knott's Guest Relations sent me years ago. As a kid, I used to write to both Disneyland and Knott's and ask about "future attractions" and they would usually send me some really neat stuff.

I love the artwork on this poster. It's sad though, to look at it and realize just how much of this is now gone. Actually, everything here might now be gone except for the Sky Cabin that travels up and down the former Sky Jump tower. The Sky Jump itself closed shortly after Knott's opened Supreme Scream (personally, I would rather ride the old Sky Jump attraction.) The Cycle Chase was converted into the Wacky Soap Box Racers, which was then replaced (along with the Gasoline Alley cars) with a roller coaster called Windjammer, which has now been replaced with Xcelerator. The Flying Machine (Loop Trainer) was replaced by XK-1, which was later replaced by Supreme Scream. I really liked me it was kind of like riding the Rocket Jets at Disneyland, but on the Knott's version, the joy stick allowed you to do "barrel rolls" and go completely upside down....though none of the cars appear to be doing that in the photo below. Note the "round house" for the Ghost Town Calico Railroad in the background.

Knott's Berry Farm's "XK-1" - 1995

Well, I'll continue on with the Airfield attractions history, just in case anyone is interested.....The Propeller Spin was replaced by Whirlpool (an indoor "scrambler" attraction) which itself, was relocated to make room for Perilous Plunge. The Airfield Eatery was a "buffeteria" style restaurant inside of a building that resembled a huge airplane hangar. While I was working there, it was renamed Captain Kelly's....I never understood why. It was probably just to keep someone in a job (the job of "name changing" and "poor decision making.") That building has now been torn down and replaced by Coasters Diner. I believe the Cloud Nine Ballroom building is still there. The last time I was at the park, it was called the Boardwalk Ballroom but I don't think it has been used for dancing for many years.

Below, is a Disco Fever Club card that gave various discounts, including reduced admission to the park after 7 p.m. on select nights. This was offered back in the day when the Cloud Nine Ballroom was THE place to go dancing at Knott's (way before there was ever a Studio "K".) You could get this card at the grocery store by purchasing Pepsi products. Remember Aspen soft drink? It was apple flavored!

In the eighties, Knott's put a 3-D movie in the Cloud Nine Ballroom called "Sea Dream." This was to try and compete with Disneyland which was currently showing EPCOT's 3-D film "Magic Journeys" on their Space Stage at night. When I worked at Knott's, we would have to go every year to employee "summer kick-off" meetings. At every single one of those meetings, the general manager would try to tell us how great the new attractions were going to be that summer and how they were going to be so incredibly better than what Disneyland was doing that year. The example that really stands out in my mind is in 1983, when he tried to convince us that DL's "New Fantasyland" wasn't going to be able to compete with the newly opening Campy Snoopy. I remember always thinking that they should just be themselves and stop comparing everything they do to Disney and just accept that they will never be able to compete with them on the same level. This was back when the Knott family still owned the park. Marion Knott would also speak at those meetings. I wonder if the new management has stopped trying to compare themselves to Disney?

Well, this really is my last post before I leave on my trip. I should be posting again in about a week and a half.

Happy Easter to everyone!


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Beautiful post, I love all the Knott's history & details you provide. That's a super poster! Sad yes, but I'll pretend its 1977 all over again! I was there in May 1977 for my 12th birthday and THIS is the Knott's I want to remember.

Have a wonderful trip, be safe and return to us with lots of Tokyo Disneyland goodies!

Kelly said...

I love it. I think Roaring 20's is one of the best themed areas I've ever heard!
1. Here's a little more to add: The Whealer Dealer Bumper Cars once had a more old-fashioned cars that were white with blue or red accents. When the became the Boardwalk, there were replaced with more modern yellow and orange-red cars.
2. The roof of the Cycle Chase/Soap Box Racers went through many paint schemes and patterns. When it was the Motorcycle Chase, the roof had a yellow and black diamond checkerboard background. When it was transformed into the more family-oriented Wacky Soap Box Racers, it was changed to blue and gray. The last appearance of the roof of the ride was changed between 1990 and 1994, it had a light blue color, with a scenery of a black rounded rectangle road with three soap box cars--- blue, red and yellow--- racing around the track.
3. Finally, one more detail to add, what does XK-1 mean anyway? Some ranger pilot plane? Did it had a sign? What did this sign looked like?

TokyoMagic! said...

Kelly, I'm not sure what the "X" and the "1" stood for, but the "K" was for "Knott's." I don't have a picture of the sign and I really don't remember what it looked like. The attraction was there for such a short time. I wish it was still there...I'd rather go on it instead of Supreme Scream!

Anonymous said...

Was XK-1 a very unpopular ride?

TokyoMagic! said...

Anonymous, I don't remember if XK-1 was popular or not. I don't remember ever having to wait in a long line for it (having worked there for over 7 years, I usually will NOT wait in a long line for anything...anywhere!) It was installed sometime after I had quit and I don't really know for sure when it was taken out, but I think in the big scheme of things, it was a pretty short-lived attraction. said...

I was looking for a picture of the old Parachute Sky Jump and stumbled upon this article. Very nice post.

I have that postcard in my collection somewhere. It's amazing how much Knott's has changed in such a short amount of time. But...time marches on and the park can't stay the same forever.

I remember XK-1. I worked at Knott's during the transition to Cedar Fair and XK-1 was one of the first attractions to be replaced. I referred to it at "XK-101" as it seemed to be broken down a lot. It was an OK ride but nothing to write home about. Supreme Scream was a welcome addition!