On this date in 1924, the Santa Ana Register shared an odd little news item under the headline, “Seal Beach Not To Exhibit Seal At Orange Show.”
Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy of Seal Beach had rescued and adopted a deserted orphaned seal, and the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce had suggested that the seal represent the city at the Orange show. An unnamed (at least in the article) citizen heard of the plan and condemned it “in no mild terms as against California game laws.” The plans were dropped and the seal remained in the care of the Kennedys.
The “Orange show” mentioned in the article is almost certainly the National Orange Show, established in 1910 to support the citrus industry. For most of the early twentieth century, Southern California was famed for its miles and miles of orange and citrus fruit groves, and the National Orange Show hosted in San Bernardino was a major event and opportunity for local boosterism.
In 1915, the National Orange Show is still going strong and is in fact going to be held next week from April 22 to April 26th and is coincidentally celebrating “A Century of Citrus Fun.” For more information, click on National Orange Show.
A less happy continuing tradition is the issue of orphaned seal mammals, and ninety-one years after Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy rescued theirs, it is probably a good idea to direct readers to the Pacific Marina Mammal Center’s page on Stranded Marine Mammals for tips on how to properly handle our aquatic pals in distress.
As for what or who represented Seal Beach in the 1925 National Orange Show, that remains a mystery.
– Michael Dobkins