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In that 1952 photo of the Crawford Theatre, does anyone know if that corner oil well was functional?
Oklahoma had two (possibly three) reverse theatres.
Two vintage types were located in Okmulgee, OK.
The Cozy Theatre on Main St. was most definitely a reverse plan. It was built within a former retail store and to conform to fire safety codes the projectors were required to be placed in a metal booth over a rear alley.
There is debate on whether or not the Inca Theatre had a reverse auditorium. Old timers report that it did. Some “newcomers” claim it didn’t. Personally I suspect that it was probably of the reverse style as it too was built inside former retail space and surely this booth would also have been placed over the alley to meet fire codes.
Oklahoma City had a 1970’s porn house called the AcademiX Adult Cinema that had a reverse auditorium. Patrons entered from either side of the screen. Both isles ran along side walls, with centered seating. The projection booth was in the rear of the building.
Due to its corner location on Main & Broadway, the Sigmond address could be listed as One Main, or One Broadway. Both would be correct.
According to an Inca Theatre posting from Symco, and above comment from Ken Roe, this house was known during its life time as the Drew, Love, and Rex.
Good photos for this theatre and the Dreamland could probably be found in old yearbooks at the school library or public library.
Those old instant snapshots crumbled to dust long ago.
I was in my mid teens back then, and my actual intention was to ride my new motorcycle from Tulsa down to McIntosh County to take Poloroid Land pictures of Mr. Ed, the tan palomino of TV fame, who had been retired to a nearby ranch.
When I got there the ranch forman gruffly informed me that due to pesky curiousity seekers Mr. Ed had been moved to a secret location where he could graze undisturbed. So, I headed over to Eufaula’s Main Street to see what was happening. There I took minute pictures of the old Chief Theatre, and some cowboys hanging out on a street corner.
Mr. Ed died in sleep a few years later, it was then disclosed that he had spent his final years in peaceful bliss on a horse ranch in Cleveland County, OK.
From the satellite view provided by Google maps the Dollhouse Cinema can clearly be seen on the Eastside of the town square, on S. Hudson just North of W. Broadway. Apparently the marquee is still in place, and the stagehouse is clearly visible.
In 1972 I was in Eufaula to photograph the closed down Chief Theatre. On the street out front of the old theatre I met a teenage cowboy by the name of Marshall Pruett who told me how the Chief Theatre had been very noisy during Saturday matinees. Seems that ranchers and their families would come to town to shop on Saturday morning, then attend an afternoon picture. Men would sit on back rows to argue politics. Wives sat in side sections to exchange recipes and news. Kids were down front screaming and yelling.
At that time, Marshall thought the old theatre had closed sometime in the mid 1960’s.
Designed by Milwakee based architect William Wells, the 2000 seat Lyric Theatre was originally a vaudeville house built by Miller Brewing Company. There was a rooftop beer garden that also presented live shows. Later movies were added to the program and quickly became more popular than vaude acts.
By 1926 the poperty on which the Lyric sat became more valuable than theatre use could support. The theatre closed in late 1926 and was torn down a few weeks later. The Perrine building was built on this site.
First opened in 1972, this second floor twin cinema was located above retail stores in a large shopping center. Each auditorium held around 300 seats.
Open for twenty years before it first closed. After that it operated for a short while as an adult cinema, then sat vacant a few years. It must have taken a lot of holy water to clean this cinema before it would suitable for religious use.
While the front portion of this building (where the adult news stand stood) still stands, the rear area where the cinemas & arcade were located was razed many years ago.
This porn emporium was shut down by the law shortly after glory holes were cut between arcade booths.
Sophisticate X was located at 13 North Lewis Avenue, & Admiral Place. The structure was razed during construction of the M.L. King Crosstown Expressway.
This porn emporium was shut down by the law when they cut glory holes between arcade booths.
Also see OK Theatre
The Gem Theatre started life as a B-feature house, but from about 1943 till it closed in the early 1950’s the Gem was an adult cinema that presented T&A and stag erotica. Several large downtown hotels were close to the Gem, which helped improve ticket sales. Also, the Gem was popular amoungst Airmen from nearby Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, and Sailors from the U.S. Naval Base located in Norman.
Since street car lines offered twenty-four hour service to surrounding small towns the Gem, Gaiety, Joy, and Reno theatres were able to include midnight showings.
When I first noticed Studio One Adult Cinema was the summer between my sophomore and junior years at Central High. Mom and I were living in a single room on the top floor of the Patio Hotel, a small chamber dominated by one massive, clover shaped window trimmed in orange and green stained glass.
Mom worked nights as a hostess at Cain’s Ballroom, which gave my best buddy and I freedom to loiter around downtown Tulsa pool halls. In order to obtain rack money we’d occasionally panhandle in front of a gay bar named Queen of Hearts. Gay men were quite generous, especially after we learned how to give over a “promising” smile.
Near to Queen of Hearts was a porn house called Studio One Adult Cinema. Studio One had a large box marquee outlined in pink neon. Behind pebbled glass letterboards were silhouettes of reclining naked girls. Pink tracer lights outlined massive display cases that exhibited posters of busty women emoting provocative poses. French doors flanked a slender bay boxoffice above which hung a small sign warning “No admission to persons under 18!"
All this guady flash enticed my best friend and I to devise a scheme to sneak into this bawdy theatre. We waited across the street a couple of hours until finally the atrractive red headed boxoffice cashier (who was also the concession operator) abandoned post when she vanished behind crimson curtains. We both raced across the street and rushed inside the gaudy lobby, just in time for the red head to return. Red barked at us to get back outside, and buy a ticket! Stunned, my buddy and I simultaneosly repeated "buy a ticket?"
We went out to the sidewalk, purchased two five dollar tickets, and blush faced sprinted past the cashier/concessionaire to enter into darkness that reeked of Pine Sol vapors.
Double feature skin flicks fullfilled their promise of erotic pleasure. But my buddy and I quickly realized that we were suddenly too old to sit side by side, and seperated.
While exiting we snickered at the pretty red head as we informed her that we were only fifteen-years-old. She rebuked that we acted twelve, then told us to go – – – – each other!
Posted address on the Britton Theatre has to be wrong. I looked it up on Google Maps, from the top of this page, and it clearly shows the Britton Bldg. located on the southside of W. Britton Rd., between Francis & Ollie. This would put the Britton in the 1000 block of W. Britton Rd.
Lawton, OK, also had a Trans-Lux Inflight Cinema that opened around 1968. Since the Muskogee and Lawton twins were very similar in design, John J. Mcnamara probably designed both theatres.
Forty years ago local and Federal agencies combined forces to conceive a colossal urban renewal project that was intended to transform Oklahoma City’s aging downtown area into the nations showcase retail and luxury condominium district. Famed architect I.M. Pie was commissioned to create utopian plans for an extravagant, futuristic, enclosed downtown mall.
A high rise Sheraton Hotel, the Myriad Convention Center, and a couple of urbane skyscrapers were erected before it was soon realized that this was a prohibitively expensive scheme.
Unfortunately four priceless movie palaces and nine smaller theatres (along with other gorgeous structures) were razed to make way for a project that could have never been fullfilled. A sad loss.
After the above mentioned court battle was settled the Chieftain Cinema usually played it safe by showing soft core porn, but sometimes a hard core flick was slipped in as one half of a double feature.
For a while the Chieftain found great success by offering campy Sunday night programs geared toward OKC’s gay community. These were billed as “Sungay Knights” when vintage posing strap beefcake films were screened, along with live stage shows starring lusty male strippers and drag queens. Alas, the novelty eventually wore off and gay festivities returned to the Gay Mile located along NW 39th St at Pennsylvania Ave.
I don’t think this theatre ever had an actual name other than Adult Cinema, but three ball was a slang term locals used for this house because (for one reason or another) copper pawn shop balls hung over the entryway. Located in a shopping center, this was a three screen venue. One auditorium presented soft core porn, the other showcased sexploitation, and the smallest screened B&W vintage beefcake films.
Probably the location listed is a bit off the mark. I thought it was located at Portland at NW 10th, but I could very well wrong!
After thinking it over I must add this. Once I noticed this porn cinema as I drove past that old clapboard motel, but seems that I remember seeing it on N.E. 29th St.
I do remember that the cinema was off to one side of the front office, inside an area that looked like it had been a cafe or gift shop. Windows were all painted black. Tickets were probably purchased from the desk clerk.
Another victim of urban renewal, the entire block where the storefront AcademiX stood was razed to make way for an office complex that was never built. Today this area is a parking lot.
OKC porn theatres were sometimes harassed by law enforcement. However, during the first half of the last century burlesque stage shows were seldom raided, no matter how raunchy the act.
The entire block where this theatre sat (along with the Criterion, State, Rialto, Sooner, Majestic, and former Empire) were razed in 1972 to make way for a high rise Sheraton Hotel.
Films shown at the Academy X and Sooner were loops, more explicit than sexploitation. The Majestic specialized in booking documentary films centered around nudist colonies, or 3D sexploitation movies.
As early as 1943 other OKC downtown theatres, such as the Gem and Joy, presented T&A “adults only” films, though content would be considered soft core by todays standards.
Glad I could be of some help!
This theatre was built to be a legit house. Grand opening attraction starred famed female impersonater Julian Eltinge. Eltinge’s drag act was such a smash success his show was rebooked a few weeks later as a “return engagement”, and played to SRO crowds.
Warner Bros Theatres bought control of this house around 1930 and renamed it Warner’s Auditorium.
Home Insurance bought the massive building during WWII years and renamed the theatre Home, which was leased to RKO.
Soon after closing the Wes Ten Theatre was renovated into a homeless shelter.