On the afternoon of March 26th, 1975 a fire occurred at the show building for Knott's Bear-y Tales. Estimated damage - upwards of $3 million and water damage to the Palm's Casino and Buffalo Nickel Arcade below. The fire was said to have been started by an arson related incident and to this day the Arsonist(s) were never caught. Rolly Crump did suspect it had something to do with a Union dispute since Fantasy Fair, who worked with Crump, were part of a Non-union.
When the fire occurred, scenes said to be completed were both the Factory and the Frog Forest scenes. And of these it was reported that the set pieces, rock work, and trees had been installed. Thankfully no animatronics had been installed yet. The ride's proposal date for opening was June as part of the Roaring 20s area but due to the fire, the ride was delayed much further until 4th of July weekend.
In 1974, Marion Knott brought Disney Legend Rolly Crump on board to design the Knott's Bear-y Tales attraction for Knott's Berry Farm. Which at the time, started off as an idea by another designer, of a Boy and a Donkey traveling to the Fair. Later, Rolly would expand on this idea from the Gypsy Camp area of the park and the ride would become Knott's Bear-y Tales. Rolly embellished the charming animal designs while retrofitting it to Marion's changes.
Rolly Crump and his team at Design 27 and Fantasy Fair brought the magic he had from his time at Disney. He combined black light and incandescent spotlighting for the signs/characters/sets, layered the ceiling with colorful leaves and special effects that gave the ride magic. He created memorable characters that were unique to Knott's Berry Farm, assigned Robert F. Bruner to compose a soundtrack and helped to create the careers of people who would go on to do more projects within the theme park industry.
RIP Rolly Crump
Feb. 27, 1930 - March 12, 2023
Here is a special announcement! Christopher Merritt and Eric Lynxwiler (Authors of Knott's Preserved) will be presenting a brand new book digging into the history of Rolly Crump's beloved Knott's Bear-y Tales ride! You will uncover never before seen photographs, stories, and complete documentation of the ride as if you're riding through it once again! Be on the look out for it sometime in 2021! Its gonna be very taking an extensive look on the Knott's Bear-y Line!
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".