Oklahoma History Center Opens “Oklahoma @ the Movies”


Larry O’Dell
Oklahoma Historical Society
(405) 522-6676

The Oklahoma History Center is opening a new major exhibit titled “Oklahoma @ The Movies,” celebrating Oklahomans’ involvement with the motion picture industry. The exhibit will open to the public Tuesday, May 15. This celebration will showcase the creativity and innovation of Oklahomans and their legacy of creating, starring in, and watching motion pictures on the silver screen. The exhibit will also explore film stories about Cowboys and Westerns, American Indians and Hollywood, African American movies filmed in the state, the film industry in Oklahoma, and the “Oklahoma Image” on screen.

Filmmakers, including all roles of crafting a movie, populate the “behind the screen” part of the exhibit. These stories focus on film industry pioneers such as cinematographer Buss Boggs (Oklahoma City); film editor Elmo Williams (Lone Wolf); public relations executive Stan Rosenfield (Oklahoma City); producer Gray Fredrickson (Oklahoma City); writer S.E. Hinton (Tulsa); art director K.K. Barrett (Tulsa); and academy award-winning directors Blake Edwards (Tulsa) and Ron Howard (Duncan).

Oklahoma’s vast number of actors will provide the magic of the “on screen” section of the exhibit. This creative talent ranges from early cinema heroes such as Tom Mix and Will Rogers to the current roster of stars. Hundreds of stories, many told by the stars themselves, will include the Oklahoma roots and Hollywood careers of Joan Crawford (Lawton), Gene Autry (Berwyn), James Garner (Norman), Tony Randall (Tulsa), Hopalong Cassidy (Tulsa), Kay Francis (Oklahoma City), Mary Kay Place (Tulsa), Dudley Dickerson (Chickasha), Gary Busey (Tulsa), Lon Chaney, Jr. (Oklahoma City), Vera Miles (Boise City), Ben Johnson (Foraker), Ed Harris (Oklahoma City), Jennifer Jones (Tulsa), Robert Knott (Oklahoma City), Alfre Woodard (Tulsa), Wes Studi (Nofire Hollow), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Tulsa), Brad Pitt (Shawnee), Tim Blake Nelson (Tulsa), and Chuck Norris (Ryan).

Historic theaters bridging decades of change will be featured, including the Coleman in Miami, the Poncan in Ponca City, and the many ornate marquees that still grace the streets of Oklahoma’s towns and cities. These historic theaters of Oklahoma will be the highlight of the “in front of the screen” section of the exhibit. The theme will explore our “shared” memories, taking people back in time to those magical moments when reality was suspended for a short time.

Oklahoma @ The Movies is an example of the type of exhibit that would typify The OKPOP, the Oklahoma Historical Society’s proposed museum of Oklahoma Popular Culture that would be located in the Brady Arts District of downtown Tulsa.

This exhibit is made possible by:
Inasmuch Foundation, Express Employment Professionals and Distinctly Oklahoma.

Additional support was provided by:
Oklahoma Film and Music Office, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City University, DeadCenter Film Festival, Harkins Theatre, Circle Cinema, and the Will Rogers Memorial.

A project of the Oklahoma Historical Society
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