i never got the read one because I got in to Disney and the parks around the crease of publication
they should do an ebook of the e ticket
@jedited: The alligator farm site appears to be west of the Claim Jumpers. Here's a Google Maps link: 7671 La Palma Avenue in Buena Park - Google Maps
From the aerial view the site now looks to be a dirt parking lot. Of course, that photo may be old.
To verify that's the correct plot, here's a 1961 aerial photo of Knott's and vicinity courtesy of the Orange County archive. North, and La Palma Blvd, is to the left. View the larger sizes to zoom in, and it's clear which plot was the alligator farm. Knott's Berry Farm, 10-9-1961 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Caveat: I have no real interest in the alligator farm per se, I just like looking at maps and aerial photos. Thanks for the article, Sam!
I thought the Claim Jumper and McDonalds is on the spot of the Aligator Farm or was it further back from Beach Blvd?
The 6th grade class at my school in Huntington Beach used to go to the Aligator Farm and Independance Hall for a field trip every year. I don't remember much, but I do remember they had a REALLY big Cobra there.
I love vintage SoCal and Orlando roadside attractions. Thank you so much for bringing us this story. Sadly, I either never visited this attraction or was too young to remember it.
I miss the California Aligator Farm. When I visited in the early 80's it was a remnant of the old "roadside attractions" that once dotted the country. Watching the snake show, in which a guy annoyed a king cobra until it hooded, was worth the price of admission. (They milked poisonous snakes for their venom for commecial/medical uses.)
I love Gatorland in Florida, but it is a much more polished operation. The California Alligator Farm was wonderfully cheesy!
My childhood memories, although possibly inaccurate, were that in the large alligator pits there were always a couple of alligators missing an arm or a leg...and there was always one employee walking around missing an arm or a leg.
This memory has not scarred me as I travel to Florida every Spring to kayak in the Everglades and inland waterways. Kayaking with the gators and crocs is really incredible!
Thanks for the remembrance!
I LOVED the Alligator Farm in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. Thanks, Sam!
Great thanks Sam
Its funny to think that this classic needed to be removed for space when Walt touted this Florida property as being large enough to house so many future projects to come. I think it goes, "Here in Florida we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland, the blessing of size. There's enough land here to house all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine". These lines comes from the promo film made for the Florida legislature when the Florida project was just getting rolling. Anyway I think it stinks. Even with the new Snow White coaster coming in.
Me and my family are die hards for the Billies.
I am of the area, grew up in nearby Manassas and as a contractor, I have to go the Dominion Valley housing development that was to have been Disney's America often. In 1994, long before the Toll Brothers ever laid eyse on the property, I was involved with the park because I was on a fact finding mission to preserve the real historical information of the nortwestern area of Prince William County Virginia. I used to go to the meetings that were held at the building on Rt. 55 in Gainesville. I know the landmarks, and who the players were. It was mostly Disney against the self-righteous Piedmont Environmental Council. I am somebody who can talk about that area with the ability to separate the facts from Piedmont's fiction and propaganda. Honestly, right now the area aches at the loss.
I saw these guys play when I was there in November 2008. I didn't realize what special talents we were going to see. I wish I remember when we were there and which group we saw, because the bass played my favorite guitar solo, Stream. I've been asking around who played it and was that a typical song in the show, or did I just get lucky for my 30th birthday?!
The Billies are excellent! I can't remember the Golden Horseshoe Review unfortunately. So I can't say that I agree that it's sacred. Times change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.
The Billies are great! Always enjoy seeing them. But I'd give it all up to have the original Golden Horseshoe Review back. I'd imagine that Kirk would be leading the troop!
Great article Sam. Billy Hill is one of those hidden jems of the park that most guests have never heard about.
I went to their first show and last show of the night/morning on Leap Day. The place was packed. We were upstairs both times and it was standing room only. I HAVE to see them every trip I make. I even have their album, they need to record another one. I listen to it all the time.
Originally Posted by WorldFair Kirk is the one in all the pictures of this article - The guy who looks the best in the "Hillbilly Teeth". The Billys are one of my favorite highlights of a Disneyland visit. I do not like the Laughingstock show and, if they are moving the Billys out, I hope that they bring back the earlier version of the Golden Horseshoe Revue. Thanks, WorldFair! Well then Kirk might be on his way to a widndow on Frontierland!
He's made me laugh outloud loudly & often.
Nice insight on the Billies! I second the motion for a more in depth series. This is truly a hidden gem at DisneyLand and EVERYONE I take to the show comes away wanting to see it again.
Excellent musicianship and wild, on target comedic timing make them great. The broad appeal that cuts all demographics makes them Disney.
For those who have not picked up Sam's book, here is an unsolicited plug for it. I met Sam at Walt's Barn and bought the book. It is really good. It may be a little dense for the casual reader at certain points, but there is so much wonderful Disney history inside this one volume that anyone will find something to enjoy. I
n the brief time I had talking with Sam, I quickly realized that he could likely write several more volumes based on the stories he told verbally. Very entertaining! Maybe he can be part of the next Golden Horseshoe Show? Do you play the fiddle Sam? How would you look with pros-teeth-sis?
P.S. I do like Knott's western stunt show, the train robbers, and western street fighters too.
Kirk is the one in all the pictures of this article - The guy who looks the best in the "Hillbilly Teeth". The Billys are one of my favorite highlights of a Disneyland visit. I do not like the Laughingstock show and, if they are moving the Billys out, I hope that they bring back the earlier version of the Golden Horseshoe Revue.
Originally Posted by Athlonacon . . . Knott's has a WAY better cast of Old West characters... hilariously drop-dead funny and highly entertaining. They are quick on their feet and are true comedians. They also look and act a lot more authentic, without losing that comedic charm. The Laughingstock, and even the Billys, just seem like they're pandering to the crowd to me.
. . . During the summer when the can-can dancers join in, I really like Knott's saloon show, but the best Billy shows I've seen have been even better than the (few) Knott's saloon shows I've seen. The Golden Horseshoe theater is (as you know) a much, much better venue than the too small saloon at Knott's.
John Lasseter may (we don't know yet) have been stupid (but well-intentioned) to bring back the flying saucer-type ride-which didn't work well back then either, but he can make up for it by using his still considerable clout to push for the return of the Golden Horseshoe Review, including its full cast and live band, along with the Peoplemover, for Disneyland's 60th anniversary in less than three years. Now those two things are worthy of returning!
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