Monday, August 20, 2007

Little Golden Book Monday #21

"Welcome one and all! Ya ‘all come have a ball! Things are very fine, ridin’ on the ol’ Knott’s Berry Line."

Today's Little Golden book is All My Chickens by Robert Kraus, 1993. I picked this one up at a local thrift shop for one thin dime. I immediately liked the cover but didn't really know why until later when I got home and took another look at it. I realized that it was in some small way, reminding me of the long since closed Knott's Berry Farm attraction "Bear-y Tales", which I so fondly remember riding as a 9 year old kid back in 1977. To this day, this silly little attraction is one of the things I remember most about that vacation!
Knott's Bear-y Tales opened at Knott's in 1975. It was a slow moving dark ride that took riders past various adventures of the Bear-y Family. Along the way, you’d see Frog Forrest, the Candy Company and bakery where everyone is making boysenberry pies and preserves, the Gypsy camp, where Sara tells your fortune, and the spiders and creatures of Thunder Cave. And you can’t forget the Weird Woods, home of Crafty Coyote, or the trilling conclusion at the Country Fair.
Some of the most endearing things about Knott's Bear-y Tales was its catchy theme song, boysenberry smell throughout the attraction, and the campy, black-light look through the entire ride. Knott's Bear-y Tales wasn't a mass-produced dark ride. It was 100% Knott's Berry Farm, back before thrills ruled the day and rides were restricted to last only as long as the MTV attention span.
Sadly, when I went back in the late 80's I hoping to ride this attraction again, I found it had been replace with a ride to capitalize on the popularity of dinosaurs. Bear-y Tales closed in 1986 to make room for Kingdom of the Dinosaurs. "KOD" used the exact same ride system, vehicles, and track as Bear-y Tales to take riders on an adventure back to the time of the dinosaurs.
I have since purchased the "Bear-y Tales" DVD from Extinct Attractions Club, which has allowed me to relive all the excitement (or is that disappointment) of that long forgotten attraction. After rewatching my Bear-y Tales DVD today, I realize how much this ride reminds me the Splash Mountain ride thru, with the same sorts of visuals and a theme song that gets stuck in your head while you ride. The only thing missing is the flume at the end!

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