Surprising discoveries are often made by those who visit the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
A display case in the museum now includes colorful old souvenir programs. They are for plays performed in the Balboa Bowl (later renamed Starlight Bowl) by the San Diego Civic Light Opera Association’s once popular Star-Light Opera. The half dozen productions represented were from 1949 to 1964.
I recall seeing Kiss Me, Kate and The Pirates of Penzance with my family at the Starlight Bowl. When noisy airplanes landing at Lindbergh Field (now San Diego International Airport) approached overhead, a light came on by the stage and the actors would all freeze. Once the plane had passed, the play would resume.
Alas, the planes became more and more frequent, and the Star-Light Opera’s last performance was in 2011.
Efforts are now underway to revive the Starlight Bowl. Read about the ambitious plan here!