Wow, what an amazingly horrible picture that is. But alas, it is part of my history and a reminder of those two years when I worked at Knott’s Berry Farm, America’s Oldest Themed Amusement Park (or so the recording outside the ticket booths spewed every two minutes).
Even though it was a part-time job, I had a blast working there. I was part of the Admissions Department who possibly had the easiest of jobs anywhere in the park: selling tickets and occasionally working at the admission/re-entry gates. It sure beat working as a food monkey or ride operator – especially on hot summer days when we had the A/C cranked to Max in the ticket booths. They could always tell who worked in Admissions in the Crew’s Nest, our local cafeteria: despite our rather warm and uncomfortable costumes, we were the only ones not sweating in summer.
And summer, naturally, is when amusement parks thrive and when employees need to shine their brightest by giving the best guest experience possible. As such, the Knott family – truly a class act every time I interacted with any of them – made it a point to have a Summer Kick-Off Meeting just before the busy season began.
The meetings we held in the Good Time Theater which is still there but now called the Charles M. Schulz Theater. With so many employees, they had to split the meeting up into two.
Anyway, the meetings were meant to rile up the troops and get them ready for the eventual summer blitzkrieg of tourists and locals alike. They gave us the scoop on the latest rides (usually scheduled to open that summer), got a t-shirt featuring said ride, and overall had a good time.
They also showed a few videos, one of which was the newest, not-yet-released commercial. And then there was the annual Employee Music Video since, well, it was the ‘80s and that’s what everybody seemed to do back then.
The videos featured selected employees from each department around the Farm and was shot in what seemed like a matter of days…possibly one day. To look at it now it’s safe to say that they were quite possibly the worst videos ever made but for a group of 20-somethings making $6.06 an hour, there was nothing better than to see yourself on a big screen in front of all of your co-workers.
And keeping with the title of this post, here’s my proof that YouTube does indeed have everything. (Well, except Prince videos. He doesn’t like this whole Internet thing.) This is the video shot my first year at Knott’s and honestly, I don’t remember the ones for 1990 and 1991. I honestly thought I’d never see this video ever again yet here I am posting a link to it some 22 years later.
Technology is a wonderful thing, methinks. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the horrific quality and lack of technology presented in this thing.
1989 Knott’s Berry Farm Employee/Summer Kick-Off Video – “Dancin’ in the Street”
The dancing, the acting, the everything is just so bad. But for some reason I find myself watching it over and over again, possibly to see if I can recall any of the people in it. And if you think this one’s bad, watch the one from 1988.
Or better yet, 1986.
Notes on the video:
- At 0:42 – the guy with his back against girl’s back is Darryl Lester in a rare moment when you saw him smiling. Other than that, dude never did. The Main Gate is where I spent my two years.
- At 0:50 – Gasoline Alley is long gone.
- People with the red name tags were Leads.
- At 1:46 – the XK-1 opened in 1990 but was always down for maintenance. It lasted only 8 years.
- At 1:57 – “The CDR” refers to the Chicken Dinner Restaurant, much in the same way that Disney Cast Members refer to Disney’s California Adventure as DCA. The CDR, by the way, makes some amazing chicken.
- At 2:23 – The Corkscrew rollercoaster was removed in 1989.
- At 2:40 – Studio K was Knott’s answer to Disneyland’s Videopolis.
That video, while cheesy, brings me such sweet memories of my time working there and the friends I made there, only one of which I have kept in contact with since then. It’s also a reminder of when Knott’s Berry Farm was still a small, simple, family owned venture chock full of innocent rides, simple fun, and crappy souvenirs.
Sadly, once Cedar Fair took over, it was turned into a corporate business venture with little or no redeeming qualities or, for that matter, heart left. There are many people who, despite its lack of thrill rides, would love to have the old KBF back — cheesiness and all.
I am definitely one of them.
For a rather lengthy history of Knott’s, check out the Wikipedia page.