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'Dinosaurs' will roam once again on Earth near you

August 18, 2008 |  3:30 pm


In reality, it's not truly a comeback tour, but dinosaurs will be part of an arena show stomping around Southern California starting this week.

"Walking with Dinosaurs," a show of smoke, sounds, light and dramatic music with a 42-foot-long T. rex and nine other mobile dinosaurs, will make its SoCal debut with 10 performances at the Honda Center starting Wednesday. A seven-show run is slated to run at Staples Center from Sept. 25-27.

The Times' Mike Boehm gives us a sneak peek in today's Calendar section:

At the controls are a driver at the bottom of each creature, and two-member teams of high-tech puppeteers stationed in a booth high above the floor. Five smaller carnivores that round out the cast are inhabited by realistically dinosaur-suited actors who have no intention of being confused with Barney.

For natural history museums, it may be a bit discomfiting to have traditional displays of fossilized remains potentially upstaged by fully fleshed-out facsimiles that do a lot more than just stand there.

"I'm sure some rational-thinking scientists think it's a bad thing," said William Brown, president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. But he is happy to see an "edutainment" spectacle like "Walking With Dinosaurs" pack families into sports arenas for dramatic lessons in evolutionary biology.

Maybe the Rolling Stones can now shake off their own dinosaur label when it comes to their continuous arena touring.

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

Photo: Joan Marcus

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