Tempting Neptune

On September 9, 1909, the Santa Monica Pier was dedicated. Jeffrey Stanton describes the day in his excellent history:

The evening’s entertainment included a band concert followed by a ‘Tableau vivant’ (allegorical pageant) “Surrender of the Rex Neptune” that began after dark. The play was a modern day equivalent of a pagan ritual where King Neptune, god of the sea was asked to spare the new pier.
The show began when a monster with fiery eyes was seen approaching the outer end of the pier. A bugler on watch sounded the alarm. A fairy and a queen representing Santa Monica advanced to meet the monster at the pier’s first ‘T’. The monster was commanded to halt and when the fairy waved her magic wand, it disappeared. A beautiful shell took its place.
The pier’s lights, which were then turned on, revealed a shell bordered with a row of lights. King Neptune sat on the throne beside a reclining mermaid. The Queen asked why Neptune had destroyed so many bay piers. He jested that he did it for the fun of it. She informed him that his fun was now at an end as the cement age had arrived. The new pier on which he stood was concrete and indestructible.
Neptune surveyed the pier in amazement, surrendered to the Queen and was ordered back to the depths. The crowned Queen, attired in a flowing white robe and carrying a scepter, mounted the throne vacated by Neptune. The lights went out and a blaze of fire erupted atop a 65 foot high tower. Neptune covered by flames dove into the sea. Afterward a climactic fireworks show thrilled the thousands who watched from the bluffs, pier, and beach. It was spectacular.