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Gary Richard Salisbury

Posted 2021-11-22 by mhenderson
Published by The Miner on Nov. 20, 2021 -
Kingman, Arizona -

Golden Valley Resident, Entertainment Executive Gary Salisbury Dies -

Gary Richard Salisbury -

Aug. 4, 1943 – Oct.23, 2021 -

Gary Richard Salisbury, former Manager of Entertainment at Knott’s Berry
Farm in Buena Park, California, and one of the creators of its legendary
Halloween Haunt, died on Oct. 23 after a six-month illness. He leaves
behind his loving daughter Cheryl Meyers (Jack); grandsons Garrett and
Chase; and sister Diane.

Gary was born to Richard and Lorraine Salisbury on Aug. 4, 1943 in Los
Angeles, California. The family moved from California to Highland Park,
Illinois in 1958. Gary graduated from Highland Park High School and
attended the University of Illinois. He began a career in law
enforcement at the age of 22, when he was hired by the Rolling Meadows,
Illinois police department. As a police officer, Gary received several
commendations and made headlines when he delivered the first of twin
girls as a first responder on the scene.

But Gary’s true calling came at age 26 upon returning to California. He
was hired at Knott’s Berry Farm as a gold miner in the Pan for Gold
exhibit. It was the start of a 19-year career with the theme park that
led to becoming Manager of Entertainment. During his tenure at Knott’s,
Gary was instrumental in creating some of the park’s most iconic events.
He helped develop Knott’s first stunt program, writing the scripts and
performing in many of the stunts that depicted Wild West gunfights,
saloon brawls and hold-ups. Gary was also on the creative team for the
first Halloween Haunt, the largest and longest-running event of its
kind. After discovering his 18-year-old daughter going to teen dance
clubs in Hollywood, he proposed that Knott’s start a teen club of its
own. Studio K was born and increased Knott’s teen attendance by 200,000
per year.

After leaving Knott’s, Gary continued his entertainment career, focusing
on large-scale special events – first in Southern California then in
Laughlin, Nevada and Kingman, Arizona.

Gary was a 30-year resident of Golden Valley, Arizona, recently moving
to Colorado to be near his daughter. Gary will be remembered as a
mentor, devoted father and as someone who “never had a dull day at the

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