According to author Heather Waite, Barbie Dolls, blue jeans, the boysenberry, the pill, white zinfandel wine, the square tomato, natural soda, the computer “mouse,” the wetsuit, and theme parks were invented in California.
Wait, the boysenberry? Surely you jest.
In fact, comic genius Steve Martin (okay, I'm not gonna argue with you on this point, but when I saw Steve live at the Anaheim convention center right after the release of his first comedy album, Let's get small, only a comic genius could me me laugh as hard as I did) developed what would become his signature comedy style at the same place where the beloved boysenberry was created.
Ladies and gents, I give you America's first theme park, Knott's Berry Farm.
According to his recent biography, Born Standing Up: A Comics Life (a great read, btw), Steve developed his live audience entertaining chops here...
And expanded his repertoire of magic tricks he learned while working at Disneyland here...
See page 58-59 of the book mentioned above for references to the Bird Cage Theater or listen to an NPR interview with Steve.
And the boysenberry? Well, seems old man Knott took some dying plants that were crossbreeds of the red raspberry, blackberry and loganberry, figured out how to get them to grow and named it after the guy who brought him the feeble plants to begin with, Rudolph Boysen. Today, all the boysenberry plants in the world can be traced back to Knott's. Pretty cool.
These amazing facts and other thrilling adventures awaited the girls and I as we took on the park with my Dad and Stepmom in tow, at the end of our So Cal Spring break trip.
Yes, I did ride the rides...even THOSE rides.
Yes, we did eat chicken dinners.
Yes, the girls did pan for gold.
And of course, we bought some boysenberry preserves.