Friday, September 24, 2010

Cumbia del Zoologico - Moreno's Feed & Pet Store (Pharr, TX)

When I was a young lad, I loved visiting Moreno's Feed & Pet Store in Pharr, TX. I was filled with so much joy when I looked over the ducks and all the various animals there. But the back of the store, that was a different albeit more Fellini-esque story. To enter the back area you had to pay an admission fee, as it was a genuine state of the art "freak zoo". This sideshow was heaven if you wanted to see gigantic snakes, 3 or 4 legged chickens, weird memorabilia, cows with two heads, and tiny adult animals. You have no idea how much I loved these incredibly bizzare and unusual animals when I was a kid. Seriously, as a Pharr kid, I would have done anything to be able to own one of these awesome animals as a pet. Lately, I've started thinking of this forgotten place, and I was wondering if I could find any information about this wonderful sideshow attraction. So when I found out some informartion, I was surprised that the information I found was on corridos and accordion icon Ramon Ayala's wikipedia:
In 1990, Ramon Ayala wrote and recorded "Cumbia del Zoologico" (15 Cumbias Legendarias Album), a song about Danny Moreno's mini zoo and museum in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, which sold over 1 million copies. "Doctor" Danny (his show name) exhibited over 75 freak-mutant animals including "two pigs with human-like heads," hundreds of hard-hitting collectibles and memorabilia including: two Elvis Presley jackets, Mother Teresa hair locks, and meteorites from the moon. Autographs include: Pope Paul II, M. L. King Jr., etc., all with certificates of authenticity. On major TV shows, Danny wrestled seven giant snakes exhibited in the mini zoo. (his "Cage of Death" dare devil stunt act). Ayala mentored Danny for years about promotion, networking and show business. The young student and apprentice "Doctor," Danny and Ayala were featured on Good Morning America, Ripley's "Believe It Or Not," Ocurio Asi, Hola America, tabloids, La Alarma, in over 300 newspapers, radio shows, etc. Ayala had the vision to promote the museum to international status which turned into a total "media frenzy" and "media circus" that converted the museum into the most jaw-dropping "phenomena" and "legend" to ever hit the Valley. "Doctor" Danny operated a five-star feed and pet store next to the museum, and was the original "exotic animal health care consultant" for Ayala's private famous ranch, "Rinconcito En El Cielo." Tejano Superstar Selena initially consulted Danny with fashion ideas for his "freaked out" wardrobe. Over 550,000 visitors toured the museum in the nine years it was open, Due To Ayala's Cumbia About The Museum.
Now I'm flabbergasted, how could no one have told me that Ramon Ayala had created a song about Pharr's Moreno's Feed & Pet Store?!?!? Also, yes, this song is fantastic! Ramon Ayala captures the true essence of what it was like to be at the sideshow freak zoo inside Moreno's Feed & Pet Store. Ayala does have some really over the top exaggerations, but he could pull it off because he's the grand Rey del Acordeon. Also, I never knew Danny Moreno wrestled the gigantic snake, that must have been so epic. Here's the amusing song for all of you to enjoy:

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It Was An Awesome Genious Setup! I Visited The Museum And Zoo Several Times Also!
I Am A Long Distance Truck Driver From San Diego, Ca. I Had Heard Ramon Ayala's Song About Danny Moreno On Spanish Radio Stations In Different Cities In The U.S., And Made It A Point To Stop In When I When I Went To The Valley! One Trip, I Was Very Surprised To Meet Juan Gabriel There Visiting With His Roadees. I Got His Autograph! Another Trip, I Was There One Day After Presidential Candidate, Bill Clinton Visited The Museum. Customers Were All Exited There, Still Talking About It! They Said That Secret Service Agents Were Even On The Roof. I Visit Museums And Roadside Parks All Throughout The Country, And I Have Never Seen A Setup Like That Museum Zoo! Danny Moreno Is A Genious, Mastermind. The Valley Produces Some Greats! I Love The Musicians From The Valley Also!!

Eddie said...

Wow, glad to hear that the story of this sideshow reached you all the way from San Diego, CA! Incredible to hear that Juan Gabriel and Bill Clinton visited the museum. Thanks for you comment and your kind words about the Valley, I really appreciate it!

Twoey said...

I never knew about this song until you introduced it to me... pure awesomeness!

Eduardo said...

Glad you liked it David.

Anonymous said...

This brings me alot of memories,when I use to live in Pharr . I use to live next to that mini zoo .I remeber the day that my father met Danny Moreno and Ramon Ayala. Actually it was that time when Ramon Ayala was fixing this song to Danny Moreno it was so COOL!!!!!That mini zoo is awesome like this great song... Its been a while now since I haven't visit the Valley I wonder if its still the same.....

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to steal the gorilla that he had outside I had a pic of me riding that thing late at night I was about 25. I am awesome!

Maria said...

Love it! Since we always had all kinds of critters running around in our backyard, my dad was frequently at the Donna Feedstore. Now I'm sorry that we didn't drive "all the way" to Pharr, especially since my dad was such a huge Ramon Ayala fan. Thanks for sharing.

Post a Comment