the two expositions, the bandshell was used as a venue for live
entertainment. In 1941, it hosted Opera Under the Stars, the precursor
to the Dallas Summer Musicals program. It continued this practice
until Music Hall
had air conditioning installed in 1951. A musical called State
Fair used the location for one of its scenes. Starring Pat Boone
and Ann Margaret, the remake of the original 1945 film was released
in theaters during 1962.
The most popular and longest-running entertainment show at the bandshell
was Birds of the World, which made its big debut in 1988.
The educational production featured a wide variety of birds from
all parts of the globe, all of them performing tricks to display
their behaviors and instincts. It all began in 1974 when a man named
Steve Martin met with a bird trainer working for Universal Studios.
Steve, currently working for a bird veterinarian, was told that
he should seek work at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. He took the
advice and started the first free flight bird show in the nation
two years later. The whole purpose was the promotion of education
and conservation. This philosophy clashed with the wishes of his
supervisor, who wanted the inclusion of novelty acts. Because of
his refusals to comply, Martin was fired from his job in 1980. Instead
of seeking work elsewhere, he decided to take his show on the road,
performing mostly at zoos and other wildlife venues. The company
has grown considerably over the years, evidenced by the 34-acre
Florida home where the birds live. In 2013, after twenty-five years
of providing entertainment, the bird show was performed for the
last time. It was replaced by Wild West Pet Palooza, a program
of rescued stray animals performing a variety of tricks.
November 28, 2016
© Clint Skinner