File puptcrit/puptcrit.0909, message 362


Date: Sat, 26 Sep 2009 06:53:16 -0400
To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit]


Wow! Knott's Beery Farm still exists!
I went there often with my family when my step dad, a Navy man, was  
stationed in Long Beach. This was -AT-1953. We moved on to Guam then to  
San Diego when we returned to the US. We went up to Disneyland when  
that opened, but it wasn't the same.

Wish I could go back to Knott's now. The mazes sound wonderful.
Thanks, Charles, for bringing back these memories.
Linda

On Sep 25, 2009, at 8:20 PM, Charles Taylor wrote:

> Halloween Haunt at Knott=92s Berry Farm
>
> Knott=92s Berry Farm was the original home of the Boysenberry which  
> gave Walter Knott and his wife Cornelia enough wealth to buy  
> original ghost town buildings from all over the South West and  
> transport them to their berry farm to give visitors to his famous  
> chicken dinner restaurant something to wander through while waiting  
> for their reservations.  It has been over a seventy year  
> tradition.  It=92s located on Highway 39, Beach Boulevard that  
> connects Huntington Beach to the Tehachipi Mountains.  Those of us  
> who are =93older=94 remember it as a delightful, FREE, sleepy place to  
> visit during the thirties, forties and fifties.  But because of  
> nearby Disneyland, it had to compete and put in rides.  The Knott=92s  
> heirs sold their interest to Cedar Fairs Corporation.  Now, it cost  
> money to attend the park.
>
> Oh, The Knott=92s Boysenberry jams that you may purchase at your  
> favorite grocery store used to be made in a large building where  
> the prop department now exists.  You might ask, =93Then where is the  
> jam now made?=94   The answer is, =93In Ohio!=94 You can learn more about  
> the history of Boysenberry and the Knott's by looking it up through  
> google.  It is very interesting.
>
> I=92ve been busy the past couple of months working with Larry  
> Gilleland in the props department at Knott=92s Berry Farm in Orange  
> County of California. At the beginning of the summer we got up at  
> four in the morning to be at work by six and worked until two  
> thirty in the afternoon. But just a few weeks ago the schedule was  
> changed so that most of the crew arrived at two in the afternoon  
> and worked into late at night during the cool hours.
>
> The people I=92ve been working with have been talented and  
> delightful.  Having spent forty five years in education, it was  
> even  more enjoyable  using my dormant art skills for a change.  I  
> have every reason to believe that I will be invited back for  
> another season. Apparently my puppetry skills have ingratiated me   
> to the designers and they implied that they are excited in  
> exploring those abilities and include more puppets in not only the  
> mazes but also  the antique Bird Cage Theater that puts on shows  
> for young people and =93young at heart=94 adults.  I made three puppets  
> for the play they are presenting in the Bird Cage, a barn like  
> theater with a tent ceiling.
>
>
> Through my friend and neighbor, Larry Gilleland, I was hired as a  
> sculptor and began working on various props for the Halloween Haunt  
> mazes.  Finally last night everything was in place and the Haunt  
> opened to the public.  I was quite impressed with the massive scale  
> of hundreds of =93monsters=94 hired to fill the mazes.  What impressed  
> me most was that despite of all our work preparing the ambiance it  
> was hardly noticeable with the =93business=94 of the monsters. Their  
> makeup, masks and costumes are incredible.
>
> It will be one giant Halloween party every evening until October  
> 31.  I have learned that the best nights are Wednesdays and  
> Thursdays.  Those days are not as crowded and less expensive. But  
> as we get closer to October 31 the price of tickets goes up.  I  
> also heard that one can get discount vouchers at Ralph=92s market or  
> Burger KIng.
>
> In the very first maze I toured, while my attention was taken by a  
> monster=92s movement, I failed to see another coming directly at me.  
> When I turned my head forward, I was so surprised I let out a  
> shriek and fell backwards.  Thanks to  Eddie, another prop man  
> behind me, I was caught and prevented from falling to the floor.   
> Of course I laughed and enjoyed every scary moment.  Lesson learned  
> was to go with someone that you can hold on to. It=92s perfect for  
> young lovers!
>
> In the London Terror Maze, I looked for an angel with spreading  
> wings that I made. But there was so much activity, I could hardly  
> focus on my art work. Which reinforced what I had been told: =93If  
> anyone notices an imperfection in your sculpting, it means we  
> aren=92t doing our mazes right!=94   I had a difficult time believing  
> that until I actually experienced walking through the maze.  NOW I  
> UNDERSTAND!  In the future, I shall truly enjoy the work with out  
> fretting over perfection!
>
> There are thirteen mazes and each individually designed and fun!  
> But my favorite was Dais de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead,  
> celebrating an Hispanic cultural holiday.  It=92s beautifully done   
> and not nearly as scary as the other mazes.  Larry Gilleland and I  
> built two marionette skeletons based on one by René Zendejas.  I  
> was quite pleased with it and a five foot Aztec god sculpture and  
> some jaguar heads.  A lot of black light paint was used and for the  
> best effect one should purchase the one dollar 3-D glasses to see  
> the full effect.  I discovered that the blue colors recede while  
> the red colors come forward.  Some of the red lettering appears to  
> float and move.
>
> All in all, if  you are in the Southern California area, I highly  
> suggest you attend this yearly event.
>
> Charles Taylor
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