Fact: The Knolls Ranger, local super-hero and pastry aficionado from the Bixby Knolls region of upper Long Beach, is as old as the hills. Actually, with a birthdate of Oct. 1st, 1881 he is older than our nearest hill (Signal Hill) by 43 years! But who’s counting?
We are! And our crack team of recreational historians have been working ’round the clock; subsiding on only the ranger’s famous sarsparilla, pouring through family photo albums, interviewing dotty old relatives stinking in resting homes across this great nation, and all in an effort to bring you a definitive history of the life and times of our man, the Knolls Ranger.
That’s right, never before has the entire story of the pod-person vigilante been so thoroughly laid out, the mythos questioned, the facts laid bare. What lies before you is nothing short of the entire story, good and ill, in riveting bullet point form! So get those mice ready blog-o-philes, and start scrolling southward because this is it. The Knolls Ranger: The Untold Story
13.75 Million years Ago
Our tale begins. The big bang creates a hot, dense, rapidly expanding universe. Nerds Sheldon and Leonard move next door to aspiring actress Penny. Energy cools and is converted into sub-atomic particles. Protons, netutrons and ranger-trons form and bind. Yes, ranger-trons. In an exciting bout of scientific derring-do physicists at the Geneva hadron collider now believe that a third building block of life, the ranger block, was created side by side with protrons and neutrons during that fateful day of big banging. But this discreet particle laid dormant in a dwarf star for millions of years before hurtling towards earth and creating two beings with it’s unique composition: Bixby super-hero, The Knolls Ranger and TV actor, Ernest Borgnine. Proving once and for all that atomically speaking The Knolls Ranger is unlike any other being on this planet. Except for Ernie B.
As legend has it, the Knolls Ranger arose from the chance devouring of a pregnant abuelita woman by an alien bean-pod in the Rancho’s of yester-year. But new DNA tests reveal the ranger’s true father to be none other than Papa Long Beach himself, Jotham Bixby. This revelation illustrates just how deep the ranger’s Bixby blood runs but doesn’t immediately account for his super-powers of photo-synthesis. Is the pod person persona little more than a cheap parlor trick? A tall tale? A well-spun yarn? Or was Jotham Bixby himself the bean pod?! Were Lewellyn Bixby and Benjamin Flint and the entire Flint & Bixby Co. a secret coven of space veggies?! We may never get a definitive answer on this, but we do know KR drops leaves in autumn, and that ain’t no parlor trick.
Everyone knows that after his time with the Bixbys the ranger went on to live with the Tongva indians in the Puvungna village in what is now Cal State Long Beach. But what many people don’t realize is that he also took this opportunity to invent peanut butter. If we type it it must be true!
In the lord’s year of 1926 a traveling snake charmer traded the ranger new literature for his prized PB and some of those Rancho Los Cerritos Lima Beans. Amongst the books was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Immediately falling in love with the glamour of the east, KR bid his tribe adieu, sent one last prayer to Chinigchinix, and headed off to Yale to get a college education, “Like Gatsby” When Yale turned him down, the ranger found himself at Dartmouth, where he attended classes in Political Science with a high five enthusiast named Cinco Martinez. The two formed a fast friendship which persists to this day.
Hot on the heels of collegiate carousing (only root beer folks, don’t worry), the Ranger returned to his Tongva tribe and his LB life and fell in with a trio of track-home building developers named Boyar, Taper, and Weingart. They convinced the son of Jotham and his Bixby bud Cinco to build the Lakewood City Center under the pretense that our boys would be constructing homes for returning WWII soldiers. When the shoe dropped that our heroes had unintentionally developed the world’s first mall and effectively driven all the business out of the Bixby area the ranger swore he would do right by the community from then onward.
As the story goes the ranger was driven out of town by a torch and pitchfork wielding populace, real Mary Shelly chic, after his and Cinco’s Lakewood transgression only to freeze in a fruit crate stored at the Long Beach Ice Company and awake 60 years later from cryogenic stasis to a public desperate for a hero. But what about the Bixby Belle? You know the Dooley doll come to life by magical LA river slime? The other great protector of Bixby and the ranger’s better half! How could she have come to be if the Knolls Ranger was already on ice at this time? Unless… Unless it was Cinco disguised as the Knolls Ranger who froze himself for all those years! Leaving the Ranger time to master Tai Chi, fly to the moon, battle his arch nemesis Dr. Illiterate on that desert isle and hone the skills he would need to be the cities protector in cognito! Yes, the ranger was in disguise for 60 years traversing the globe with his gal, keeping Bixby bandits at bay from a distance, and becoming the worldly fellow he is today! Or so these ancient Masonic texts we found buried at the Long Beach Historical Society tell us.
A certain ranger arrives on the scene. Spreading fun and silliness wherever he goes. And the rest, as they say, is history.