Proof that YouTube Has Everything

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.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 5: A Song That Reminds You of Someone

In 2011, Ann and I celebrated our 18th year of wedded bliss.

No, it’s never easy and we still have our struggles, most of which have to do with our finances now that I’m not making nearly the amount of money I used to.

Either way, we still have each other and that has to count for something. I’m not quite sure what I’d do without her nor who would have put up with me otherwise. With her being the introvert and me being just the opposite, we truly are a match that nobody would have ever thought was possible.

It’s for those reasons I’ve chosen this as today’s song.

Barry White – “My First, My Last, My Everything” (1974 for White’s version)

Lyrics aside, this song just kicks some major musical ass.

Oh, and one more thing: Barry. Fucking. White. Enough said.

Honorable Mention:

The Manhattans — “Shining Star”

The Beatles — “Two of Us”

Me and Anthony would sing this song whenever we would be heading home from somewhere. It’s one of his favorite Beatles tunes.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 4: A Song That Makes You Sad

Most who read this blog know me as, well, a pretty blunt guy who doesn’t like to deal with crap from anybody. There are tons of posts here that express my opinion about any given topic because that’s what a blog should be about, right?

Sure, I can be mean, rude and sometimes, judgmental. And I admit to that.

But there is a sentimental side of me that always comes out every Father’s Day and May 18th, the day Dad died (in 1976). And there are very, very, VERY few songs that can bring me to tears but this one does it every time and without fail.

In fact, at that lousy job I worked for a few months, this song was played regularly on the radio station they piped throughout the entire building and each time I heard it start to play, I had to end my conversation abruptly or make sure my iPod was turned way up so that I couldn’t hear it.

That’s how much this song moves me and quite literally, to tears. And I always listen to it on May 18th while holding the American flag that graced Dad’s coffin.

Luther Vandross – “Dance with My Father” (2003)

If I could get another chance
Another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
How I’d love, love, love to dance with my father again

This song took on an even more emotional meaning when we had Anthony way back in 2004, and reminds me to never take a moment with him for granted. Let’s just hope I’m a good enough father for this song to have the same impact on him someday.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 3: A Song That Makes You Happy

Ben Folds, I hate you. I really fucking hate you.

Suffice it to say, that means I probably have a huge mancrush* on you because, as someone who would have loved to play the piano but never had the time or patience to learn (I even took classes in college), I’m extremely jealous of the way you pound out magnificent tunes in a style that can only be described as erratic yet beautifully engaging.

The song I chose today makes me happy because, well, it just does. While I do like sappy sentimental music now and then, I like and appreciate vengeful stuff. And Ben Folds Five is good at such things (see “Song for the Dumped”).

Today’s song is from Ben Folds Five – “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces” (1997)

I still hate you, Ben Folds. Take that as a compliment.

*Dave Grohl is also on that list.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 2: Least Favorite Song

I can’t say I despise too many music acts, but aside from Jimmy Buffett, I have to say that Black Eyed Peas run neck-and-neck with that Parrotfucker as my least favorites. And it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who hates Jimmy Buffett.

That said, anything either of them produce could qualify as a Least Favorite Song, so here’s the one by Black Eyed Peas that prompted me to actually take the CD out of the radio and hand it back to the co-worker who was playing it.

Black Eyed Peas – “My Humps” (2005)

I don’t think it’s the entire song here but much like the CD, ending it prematurely is alright with me.