Monday, August 30, 2010

Knott's Berry Farm - "Glow Fest" in Camp Snoopy & 60 Years of Peanuts

During a recent visit to Knott' s Berry Farm, I discovered an event that has apparently been going on all summer long in Camp Snoopy. It's called "Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular" and it's sort of Knott's version of Glow Fest which was held this summer at Disneyland's sister park....okay, okay.....California Adventure. There, I said it and I guess my head didn't explode, but I do have a bad taste in my mouth now.

In today's post, we will take a look at Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular, but first we'll take a look at some shots of the entrance to Camp Snoopy and also some special signage and window displays that commemorate Peanut's 60th anniversary.

I've always liked this addition that was made to the entrance of Camp Snoopy. The animation of the canoe rocking up and down is an extra nice touch.

This plaque can be found just outside the entrance to Camp Snoopy. It commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Peanuts, which was celebrated in 2000. Knott's partnership with Charles "Sparky" Schulz began in 1982 with an ice show in the Goodtime Theater starring Snoopy. A year later, they opened Camp Snoopy. I have some employee materials on the partnership and the development of Camp Snoopy that I will post in the future.

This year marks 60 years of Peanuts.......

There are some Hollywood themed displays in the windows of the Campy Snoopy toy store. We'll take a close up look at them in just a minute.

The Camp Snoopy clock has always reminded me of the Small World clock at Disneyland. It makes a very similar "tick-tock" sound, and it performs every fifteen minutes with Snoopy turning and blowing his bugle and the Woodstock birds striking the bells.

I was glad to see that they had repainted the clock. The photo below was taken in 2007 and shows the horrible paint job that it had been given. Notice how all the detailing on the gears had been painted out, not to mention the ugly pastel colors used on the gears and the bells.

Here are those window displays. The Peanuts characters are all dressed up and are walking a red carpet. This first one shows Linus and Peppermint Patty.

This one appears to be Shroeder.

Here's Franklin......

Snoopy stands in front of a recreation of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Charlie Brown and Lucy are positioned on either side of the theater entrance.

Next to the shop there is a Lucy version of the Emmy Award.

Now we'll take a look at Camp Snoopy's nighttime transformation during Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular.

This area becomes VERY bright at night....and VERY loud too. There is a cart at the entrance that sells "glow" merchandise. For a dollar, you can buy a pair of cardboard eyeglasses that are supposed to "enhance" your visual experience. I was told that when wearing the glasses, instead of seeing small round lights, you will see stars, hearts and flowers. I passed on the glasses.


The railings just past the toy store have flashing film strip panels of Lucy.

This stage featuring Schroeder was like a mini Electrical Parade float. Blaring out of it was the piano track from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" entitled, "Linus and Lucy" by Vince Guaraldi, but this was sort of a techno/dance version of it.

This little vignette was located along the creek, just past the waterfalls. There was even a little campfire "burning."

I thought this projection of Snoopy and the Woodstock birds was a neat little effect. Their silhouettes moved just slightly to give the effect of the campfire casting their shadows onto the rockwork, while ghosts were projected flying around overhead.

Like Disney's Glow Fest, this event had a bit of a '60's vibe going on. A spinning peace sign was projected onto one side of Snoopy's Bounce House........

....and flowers were projected onto the other side.

More "flower power."

And speaking of the sixties, here's Snoopy in a moonrover.

This reminded me very much of a Snoopy toy that I was given back in 1969, the same year as the Apollo 11 moonlanding. Actually, my brother and I each had one of these, but I still have the box that it came in!

I wonder if wearing the special glasses would've made the dinosaur statue hidden in the photo below stand out any better. Can you see it? It's Rocko, the Triceratops that used to sit outside of the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs attraction in the Roaring 20's. You can see the sign with his name on it hidden behind Linus' leg. I will post better photos of him in an upcoming post, but to see a vintage pic of him in his former location, click here .

Next, Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular presents...ALIENS! By the way, if you look in the photo above and below, you will see speakers and wiring. There is a lot of this everywhere. It doesn't look too great during the day, but it doesn't show up as much at night....except when using a camera flash. D'OH!!!

Here are two more aliens along with a flying saucer that appears to have landed on top of the rocks.

I peeked around into an area that was "off limits" to get this next shot.

Again, not so pretty when taken with a flash. That's a fog machine on the right. This is actually the area that used to lead to the suspension bridge that stretched over the creek and the waterfalls. I didn't realize that the bridge was gone until just recently, but blogger Outsidetheberm has informed me that it was removed several years ago. I'll have some photos of it in an upcoming post as well.

This tree was located across from the aliens. My camera didn't really capture the effect, but the blue lights would turn off and the green laser lights would swirl around looking like a swarm of flying insects in the tree. It kind of reminded me of that "X-Files" episode with the green glowing insects that would swarm down on people in the woods and then cocoon them. Hey, they could use this effect during Halloween Haunt with some strategically placed human remains cocooned up in the treetops......uh, I guess maybe not in Camp Snoopy.

And finally, we bid adieu to Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular with a shot of Sally......

.....and her very loud cellphone.

Once again, all of Camp Snoopy becomes very bright and loud once the sun goes down. Each of the vignettes has it's own soundtrack. The Lucy/Hollywood area has Lucy talking about being a movie star while paparazzi flashbulbs go off continuously. The alien setups have Linus' radio transmissions being broadcast from outerspace. Loud music is blaring in each of the areas and there are moving images projected onto the walkways.

Overall, the event seemed to be very popular with the kids and even the teens. Personally, I enjoyed it much more than Disney's Glowfest. There was more to look at and it wasn't just about alcohol and seeing yourself projected onto the side of a building! Maybe Knott's will bring this back next summer....and maybe Disney will take some tips from Knott's and improve upon Glowfest this Fall, when it becomes ElecTRONica.

For a quick peek at Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular, click here for official video from Knott's (and watch for the brief appearance of a Ginger Rogers lookalike!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Knott's Berry Farm - Farewell to Goldie's Place

It's time for a Knott's Berry Farm post. Let's start off with a "then and now" photo comparison because I LOVE those! This is Goldie's Place....sort of a house of....well, a chicken ranch I suppose. (Even though the postcard is labeled Goldie's Joint, the sign on the building reads, Goldie's Place.) Note the leg hanging outside of the upstairs window on the left side of the building!

In the downstairs window on the left, you would find a man that provided the voice of Sad Eye Joe, who sat in the Ghost Town Jail located just behind Goldie's. As a kid, my Dad would tell my brother and me to go get in line to talk to Sad Eye Joe, then he would come up with an excuse to leave for a moment. What we didn't know was that our dad was giving the guy in the window our "personal information" so that when we got up to the jail, Sad Eye Joe knew our names, ages, where we lived, etc. I don't remember at what age we figured this all out, but as a kid it was a pretty amazing trick

Through the downstairs windows on the right and also the upstairs windows, guests could catch a glimpse of some ladies of the......well, they worked on the chicken ranch. Let's call them ranch hands.

The picture above is from a vintage postcard and I took the two below in 2007.

Here's another vintage postcard showing the exterior.

And a few more shots from 2007.

The guy providing the voice of Sad Eye Joe would occasionally pull on a rope above him that would make the leg hanging out of the window "kick." The heel of the high top shoe would then swing back and hit the side of the building with a loud bang, attracting everyone's attention.

The sign at the bottom of the stairs leading to the second floor reads, "Not Today"!

These two guests are talking to Sad Eye Joe.

Well, now I have some sad news for Knott's fans out there. Goldie's Place is in the process of being torn down. Here's a shot taken last night while standing in the same spot as above and looking down towards the jail. Sad Eye Joe can actually be seen through the small window in the distance.

Now we're going to pan slowly to the right....

Just inside the framework on the right, is where the person that provided the voice of Sad Eye Joe sat.

The area to the right of that was the interior of Goldie's. The red wallpaper is the same as what we saw in the interior shots. I hope all of the other set pieces were saved!

And I hope Cedar Fair intends to rebuild this classic Knott's "peek-in" just as they did the Assay Office, Barber Shop and Wing Lee's Laundry up the street from Goldie's (I won't mention the butcher job that was performed on the Silver Dollar Saloon....oops, I mentioned it!)

We'll end today with one more vintage shot. Wow, there are cars parked behind Goldie's. This photo looks like it was taken even before the Birdcage Theater was built or the school house was moved to Knott's.

(POST UPDATE: Goldie's Place IS being rebuilt! To see photos of the construction click here for my latest Goldie's post.)