The Orange County coast had its Joy Zone and its Fun Zone in the early decades of the 20th century. Knott’s Berry Farm sprouted from a simple berry stand in Buena Park. The spot that would become Walt Disney’s theme-park empire began as a citrus grove in Anaheim. Before long, Orange County was recognized as the nurturing ground for the growing amusement park industry. This book concerns the early history of such parks in the county east and south of Los Angeles, before high-tech digitization, when custom cars, enormous alligators, stunt planes, dolphin leaps, and movie stars’ wax likenesses thrilled patrons. Some amusement parks have come and gone over a century of development, and some are still here, changing with the times to create new adventure and excitement for park goers.
About the Author
Author Richard Harris grew up in Orange County and operated rides at Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. His lifelong fascination for the amusement park industry has been channeled into articles on rides and rider safety as well as this book. The vintage images gathered for this window to the past, some of which have never before been published, came from private collections, museums, and the Orange County Archives.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Early Amusement Parks of Orange County, California (Images of America Series) based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This is a nice collection of old pictures, but never provides much more than niceness. The histories of the Southern California parks are brief, and the pictures show some of the history, but seem to be cursory. As an example, one park mentioned is Movie World Cars of the Stars. The associated pictures include some ¿movie¿ cars, and a collection of cars built by Ed Roth. There is a hint of history in quick notes about how Ed Roth came to be a part of the museum, but no real context for the pictures. Ultimately, it is just too many pictures of cars. As another example, the pictures from the Movieland Wax Museum are fine, but the descriptions surrounding them are about the movies, not about the attraction.The key touchpoints of any book about amusement parks in Orange County have to be Knott¿s Berry Farm and Disneyland. The descriptions and pictures from Knott¿s are actually quite good and provide insights that are hard to come by. The descriptions about Disneyland are not as revealing (in fact, there is at least one error), but the pictures are ones you may not find elsewhere. (This is being said by someone who has quite a few books on Disneyland ¿ and there were some pitctures I had not come across before.)This book is not meant to be an in-depth look at the area (the series is not meant to be), but it still feels as if this might have been more. It left me wanting more.