California Pacific Exposition San Diego 1935-1936

Entertainment and Activities

The Midway
Old Globe Theater
Gold Gulch

The Ford Motor Company built the “Ford Bowl”, which continues to offer live performances, and paid for 132 concerts given by the symphony orchestras of San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, and for 14 choral recitals, including six concerts in July by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Columbia Broadcasting carried these concerts three times weekly over national hookups and seven times weekly over Pacific Coast hookups.

The Old Globe Theater, to the north of the Palace of Science (the 1915 California Building) developed a devoted following. The theater was a copy of a theater built for the Chicago Century of Progress, which supposedly was a copy of the sixteenth-century Globe Theater in London. Sides were roofed, but the central section was open to the sky. A canopy kept out sun and rain. Actors, directed by Thomas Wood Stevens, presented five roughly one-hour versions of Shakespeare’s plays daily. To see the shows, adults paid twenty-five cents in the afternoon and forty cents in the evening. A seven-year-old boy at one of the performances announced to the world his astounding discovery, “You know, I prefer Shakespeare to Shirley Temple!”

Between plays country and sword dancers sallied forth from the theater to perform folk dances before Queen Bess (Elizabeth Sowersby) to the music of pipers.

Major O. J. Keatinge, as Falstaff, made the rounds of Falstaff Tavern, next to the theater, where he chatted with patrons who were eating mutton chops or kidney pies served by women in Elizabethan costumes.