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Glad to see this venue is alive and well – because the marquee told a different story in this photo taken circa 1991.
Here’s the Luna as it looked during Christmas 1994.
My recollection is that the MacArthur Park 4 was the first multi-plex in OKC. I saw my first R-rated film there: “200 Motels” starring Frank Zappa. I distinctly recall hearing the movie playing in the next auditorium through the walls.
The building was converted at some point in the early 1990s into a night club.
One correction to the description above: the Westwood Theater is not demolished, but is currently, and has been for many years, a church.
The Cinema 70 was the theater of choice for my family in the mid to late 1960s. My parents and their three young boys would load up the cooler with cheap Cragmont soda and home-cooked burgers, lay down the station wagon’s back seat so we would have room to eventually fall asleep, and head off to what seemed to be the very edge of OKC.
Lots of memories come to mind. On one of our first trips there, we saw “Cat Ballou”; another time the second feature was “Valley Of The Dolls”. I recall my mom saying to dad “Should the boys really see this film?” No worries, even though I struggled mightily to see this notorious film (I knew about it from an article in Life magazine), I fell asleep.
My dad worked for Aero Commander, a private airplane manufacturer, and they sometimes rented out the Cinema 70 for company events, like Auto Bingo. Come around 6pm, everyone in the car gets a bingo card. The numbers are called out on the speakers, and if you get a winner, honk your horn. A man with a walkie-talkie scurries over, verifies the numbers, and you march to the concession stand to claim your prize. Unfortunately, I don’t ever recall our car winning a round.
One July 4, we went to see the space adventure “Marooned.” Just as the film was reaching its dramatic climax, the screen went dark – it was time for the fireworks show! I recall being very perturbed that they couldn’t wait another fifteen minutes and let the film play out.
Often we would leave as the third feature was beginning. I can still recall keeping my eyes glued to the giant screen as we departed; as we turned onto Northwest Expressway, you could see it for at least a half-mile. The echoing soundtrack echoing from hundreds of speakers as we left the parking stalls still resonates.
My last trip to the Cinema 70 was in high school in the early 1970s. During a pouring rainstorm, my brother and I saw “The Exorcist” about a year after it first appeared. After many beers and having to watch between the swipes of the windshield wipers, it turned out to be the best comedy I had seen in some time.
Great site, thanks…
As an elementary school student in the mid-1960s, my enduring memory is that the Wes-Ten theater would sometimes give out free admission tickets at our suburban OKC school.
I distinctly remember seeing Yellow Submarine and Help! at separate times, but the atmosphere was the same: a packed auditorium full of rambunctious kids dropped off by their parents. Of course, little attention was paid to the film, and most attendees were engaged in food fights, scurrying up and down the aisle and crowding the tiny lobby and its concession stand. These were among my earliest movie-going experiences.
I served as a short-term manager at the Redding 4 for a few months in 1986, while a new theater in Midwest City I was set to manage (Heritage Plaza 5) was under construction. By this time, the Redding was in poor shape – its strip mall location was lackluster and the auditoriums were typical shoeboxes reflecting its early 1970s genesis.
It was the only Commonwealth Theater in OKC to offer regular midnight movies on Fridays and Saturdays – usually our two top features and two staples: Pink Floyd’s The Wall and a battered print of Rocky Horror Picture Show. The latter cult classic regularly attracted a tiny but devoted crowd of some very low-budget RHPS re-enactors.
I trained as a Commonwealth Theaters manager at the Almonte in the summer of 1984 – at the time, the six-plex was the chain’s flagship theater in Oklahoma City. After serving time at several other locations, I became the Almonte’s manager for about nine months in 1988.
The theater safe was located in the office located upstairs with the projection booth; a very narrow window on the second floor served as the entryway for burglars one night in the summer of ‘88 as they smashed it open and entered from the roof. They managed to maneuver the wheeled, heavy safe to the top of the stairs and pushed it down, where it smashed through a wall into the adjacent restroom. Undeterred, the crooks wheeled it out the back door into the rear alley, where they were spotted by a neighboring resident and escaped, leaving the safe behind. It was returned to the office and filled with cement – leaving us to wonder how this giant hunk of metal and rock could ever be moved from the building!
The Orpheum, taken April 2009 – the very nice crew let me come in before they opened to take a look around. Magnificent place, a must-see if you’re in the area.
Some photos – at night with the magnificent marquee ablaze, and during the recent Azalea Festival parade in downtown Muskogee.
A photo taken in April 2007 of the Unique…sorry to hear this local treasure is endangered!
I was the first manager at the Heritage Plaza 5 in Midwest City, OK. It was built and operated by Commonwealth Theaters of Kansas City, and opened, Iâ€™m pretty sure, in 1986. It was a pretty standard style, nothing fancy â€" the first business to open in a new strip mall adjacent to a larger indoor mall. But being the newest location in a booking zone with only two other theaters (both smaller and older Commonwealth locations) meant we got the lionâ€™s share of the top films, so the place was always busy. We had a very good staff â€" my favorite memory is showing the pre-opening crew how to make popcorn. Sure enough, I talked too long, let the kettle get too hot, and caused a quickly-extinguished small fire when the oil hit the superheated metal! Thatâ€™s the way to impress a new crewâ€¦