"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Back to the future in OKC with a beautiful lady, the Tower Theater

A beautiful lady
I drove back 50 years in time on 23rd Street in OKC today, and into the future.
Coincidences--one of the speakers in my UCO Twitter for Media class (#clarkclass on twitter)this week is Jenny Grigsby, a self-employed social media manager for a number of cool clients. (See the class blog #clarkclassUCO.blogspot.com for more on her.)
Following her on twitter, I had learned they were going to relight the marquee on the historic Tower Theater at 5:30 tonight. The classic and architecturally beautiful theater was built in the 1930s, and closed in the late 1980s.We're fortunate it hasn't been torn down.
For months, I've been reading about public-spirited developers who have invested in it and are bringing it back to life, both from Steve Lackmeyer (who covers OKC like a wool blanket) in The Oklahoman and in the Journal Record. The once decaying area is now  part of OKC's Renaissance, especially in the Uptown district. Then meeting Jenny, I found out this week that the Tower is one of her clients.
So why did I go down there?
There was a crowd, of all ages, including people my age, young hipsters and even kids, all attracted by social media. For me, it was personal.
I walked through those doors
Fifty years ago, I and my first wife went and saw "Sound of Music" there during its 82-week run. We walked a few blocks from the garage apartment near there where we lived, when I was a student at Central state College (now UCO). I think we also saw one of the early James Bond movies there, probably "Goldfinger." The theater even hosted the debut of "Cleopatra"  for 26 weeks in 1963. 
1963, and my kind of car, Studebaker!
And today, I took photos, and walked inside where they're restoring the original look, including paint. The first floor will now be standing room, for live music concerts, and the balcony will have seating. 
This time, I was tweeting about it to my #clarkclass twitter students--who now can figure out how really old I am. 
The place was, and is, huge
I was taking photos, meeting people I knew, having a good time as I looked into the future, seeing construction everywhere--bars and offices in the adjacent buildings, and more on rush hour traffic on 23rd Street, a few blocks west of the state capitol.
Then I was an English major, and a budding journalist. I am still a journalist!
More photos, from tonight:
The event drew a huge crowd. Lackmeyere at right, Periscoping it.

The state, still under construction

Lackmeyer and Clark  after last night's #twitterbeef
Before the lighting



 

1 comment:

  1. We have a Tower theater in Houston with a similar history.

    ReplyDelete