Professor Cairo is Coming

The Joy Zone – Early 1916

click on the image for a larger view

It’s late 1915 0r early 1916 in a new city named Seal Beach,  and workers are busy constructing a new amusement strip along the beach to be called “The Joy Zone” in the hopes that it will be just as successful the original “Joy Zone” at the recently ended San Francisco Panama Pacific International Exposition.   Founding father Philip Stanton has used his political pull to acquire the derby roller coaster from the Joy Zone and the famous scintillators to attract visitors to Seal Beach. In addition to those two worthy diversions, another marvel would soon come to Seal Beach from the San Francisco exposition.

The banner reads, “Professor Cairo, The World’s Greatest Palmist, Family From Three Centuries Back, Direct From Frico (sic) Exposition, Open April 29th.”  So early Seal Beach not only had palm trees, but it also had palms read.  (Forgive me, it’s late.)

It’s difficult to find verifiable information about Professor Cairo, but an 1918 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association briefly mentions an advertising astrologer in Portsmouth, England, Professor Cairo who sold mail-order courses in hypnotism.  I also found a description of radio soap opera actress Elia Braca as “a darkly exotic woman with large Middle-Eastern eyes and a tumble of black hair – her mother was Turkish and her father an Egyptian fortune teller, the Professor Cairo of the Oscar Wilde circle” in Edward Field’s “The man who would marry Susan Sontag: and other intimate literary portraits.”

Is this the same Professor Cairo?  I have no idea.  Although the next time I’m on Main Street, I plan on finding out whether the Seal Beach Psychic has a family from three centuries back.

Be sure to check back each week for more historical photos and stories of Seal Beach.

Bookmark and Share– Michael Dobkins

Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on to go to PayPal. Thank you. 

This entry was posted in Seal Beach History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s