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Yep, that was it, Ed and Bessies Redskin Cafe. I remember the bird as well, out near the trash bins.
Speaking of which, your Uncle Bob used to get 8mm previews of upcoming films so he could view them and decide which films to book. They were the same as the actual previews to be shown in the theaters. He used to just toss them in a box and when the box got full he would set out by the trash bins.
There was a rather well known personality around OKC who was a business aquaintance of my dads… and I suspect your Granfathers as well by the name of Jim Lookabaugh. Once the head coach of the athletics department of Oklahoma State University. If I remember correctly, the only guy to beat OU two consecutive times in football. Beating them one of those times on OU’s home field. Anyway, one day my father and I were at his home, in his garage, and there were two things there that caught my eyes. One was a box full of baseball gloves. The other was a very old 8mm projector that had no light bulb in it. I was probably no more than about 8 years old and while he and my dad talked I played with the ball gloves and then the old projector. When we got ready to leave Mr Lookabaugh did two things. First he handed me one of his old ball gloves and told me to go play ball. Second he asked if I would like to have the old projector. I did of course… and you see where this is going, right?
When I got home I checked the trash bins and low and behold there was a box of those movies trailers. I still needed a bulb however and as luck would have it a standard automobile bulb, such as goes in the backup lights on many cars still today fit it. We used to spend hours in the closet, where it was dark, watching those previews. As time went by and things get left behind by children I lost track of those things. I think my mother eventually sold the old projector in a garage sale. Probably got a quarter for it and I have no idea whatever became of all those movie trailers… but one has to wonder what a collection of 8mm previews of pretty much every movie that was made between say 1957 and 1966 would be worth today.
Good night fellas. It has been a great trip down memory lane and more than great hearing from you all. I will check back often. I think I like this site more everytime I visit it.
Patrick – reynoldspt at prodigy dot net
Yes indeed Kim, heh haha.
I hadn’t thought about the dime trick in yes, nearly 50 years. It was a hillarious trick that us kids at the theaters got many a chuckle playing on the customers at boring times. Also, I would give $20 dollars for a basket of Ed’s biscuits, lol.
Speaking of supper, heh haha, I haven’t had any yet and it is getting late. One of you guys, or all of you, drop me a line at reynoldspt at prodigy dot net.
I look forward to becoming reaquainted… after all these years.
Bwahaha, I bet it did cause a stir, heh haha.
And sure we met. We used to play together. I have been in your dad and moms house on the south side of “Club Lake” many times. Heck, I even had supper out there a time or two. My dad, my brother and I almost lived on that lake we fished it so much. I am still a life long bass fisherman because of that lake.
I remember once you, Kim and I using roman candles to make “boats” from a block of 2X4 and launch them in the lake at the fort by the water down at your Uncle Bob’s house to the East of your home. And speaking of “carts”, do you guys remember the little red car at your Grandparents house in town? It was about six feet long, no more than a couple of feet wide, was box shaped and ran on a small lawnmower engine? We used to ride that thing around the house, up and down the driveway, through the courtyard behind the house and down the sidewalk to the alley.
Good grief, I never thought I would ever hear or see of you guys again… and here we are.
And Hal, I saw some time ago where you posted over on the Continental Theater page as “Harold”. I had inquired if perhaps it was you and left much the same message about what a nice guy you dad was there as well. I didn’t see your post until some time after you had made it so I didn’t know if you would ever see it, but hoped that at some point perhaps you would.
I would love to catch up with you guys and share our stories. I tell you, if I had known you guys were going to be in Oklahoma City, I might have made the trip from Houston just to meet again and reminisce.
It is so very good to hear from you all. I bet you all had a great time.
You may well remember me then… I am Patrick. I lived in the house next door, on the right side, to the west of your Grandparents. My mother and father rented the house from them. What a pleasant surprise it is to hear from you, and at the same time saddend to hear of your fathers passing. Words cannot express how much I thought of your father.
I tell you, I have thought of you guys perhaps thousands of times over the years. You are right, they were wonderful times and great memories. I have said many times that I cannot think of a better place to have grown up than working in and around Barton theaters. I now live in Houston, Texas, and have for the last 36 years. I continued to visit OKC a couple of times a year until about six years ago when we finally convinced my mother to move down here. She has since passed away as well, but I always made it a point to do as you and your brothers did. I made the rounds, viewing what remained of the old theaters, visiting the old haunts… and remembering.
You spoke of the Redskin Cafe. I wonder if you know the story behind it. For those who may be following this, the Redskin Cafe was in the strip shopping center attached to the Redskin Theater. It was not always the Redskin Cafe. It had previously been one of three Cattleman’s Cafes. They had the best biscuits on the planet and served them hot, fresh and with butter and honey when you sat down and never let the basket of biscuits get cold.
Ed and Bessie were the cooks and managers of this particular Cattleman’s. Bessie did the managing and Ed did the cooking. He baked biscuits from before sunrise till well after dark for many years. Now here’s the cool part…
R. Lewis’s wife, Mrs. Barton didn’t cook. At least not so’s you’d notice, heh haha. Which meant that R. Lewis ate at, you geussed it, Cattleman’s. Every Morning R. Lewis could be seen walking across the alley way, last evenings supper plate and silverware in hand, across the back parking lot and into the back door of Cattleman’s where Bessie would fix him a breakfast plate and a brown paper sack of Ed’s biscuits. R. Lewis would then make his way back to the house for breakfast. Every evening R. Lewis could be seen walking across the alley way, last mornings breakfast plate and silverware in hand, across the back parking lot and into the back door of Cattleman’s where Bessie would fix him a supper plate and a brown paper sack of Ed’s biscuits. R. Lewis would then make his way back to the house for supper.
You could set your clock by it, lol.
Then came the day that Cattleman’s decided to close the cafe, as well as the one down on 13th and Robinson, keeping only the one in “packing town” out on Agnew open. Ed and Bessie had no idea what they were going to do. The Cattleman’s cafe was all they had done for a couple of decades at least. And yes, R. Lewis was looking starvation in the face.
R. Lewis, reading the writting on the wall, loaned Ed and Bessie the money to buy Cattleman’s Cafe and they renamed it… The Redskin Cafe.
Every Morning R. Lewis could be seen…
R. Lewis was a nice man as well. He always smiled at me. Always.
Dang! There I speak, and up pops MarkC, heh haha. I knew you guys when you were born. You dad, Harold, himself, told me you were born. I tell you… he was ready to pop buttons he was so proud.
I am guessing you are one of the twins Mike and Mark C. If so, I knew your dad Harold very well. I was just a kid just a bit older (months maybe) than your oldest brother Hal. Hal, Kim and I used to play together. I lived next door to R.Lewis and Mrs. Barton on 30th street, behind the Redskin theater.
For many years, again as just a kid, I helped your dad fill the orders for candy, cokes, popcorn, etc… and deliver it to the theaters. Up until one day Mrs. Barton stepped out of the back door and asked me if I would like to work in the concession stand at the Redskin. For more info see posts from “RPT” above.
The real reason I responded here was to tell you that your dad, Harold, is perhaps one of the nicest men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I was about 15 years of age when your family left the fold and moved to… well, you know where you moved to and I won’t reveal it here, but I truly missed Harold when he left. He and I had spent quite frankly years together hauling candy in the old ford econoline van. Even at my young age I knew that I was in the presence of a very special man.
Having said that, I remember when he was considering moving. Along about that same time me and my friends were all into go-carts and all of my friends had purchased one. Most were 3.5 horse brigs and straton engines that sold used for about $75 in those days and would run at around 30 maybe 35 mph. As I was in the market for one I asked your dad one afternoon if he knew anyone who had a go-crat for sale. He indicated that as a matter of fact he had a go-cart but that it was a little to powerful for Hal and Kim and that they didn’t want to drive it. He said he would sell it to me for $50.
I said that would be great and that I had about $40 and would have the rest within a week or so.
A few days later, maybe three or four days, I came home from school and my dad was in the back yard with the go-cart. He said Harold had came by and dropped it off for me. Asking about Harold a couple of days later, as I had the money to pay him, Mrs Barton told me that you all had moved and I never saw Harold again.
I always thought what a nice jesture it was, as the friends that he and I had become over the years, that one of the last things he would do before moving away was to see to it that I got that go-cart. He must have had ten-thousand things on his plate at that moment… but remembered me on his way.
The go-cart you may wonder had a West Bend 8.2 horse motor on it and would crank out about 75mph. There wasn’t a go-cart anywhere around that could keep up with it.
Those Saturday Matinees of Roy Rodgers and company left me scarred for life, bwahaha…
And Iâ€™m tellinâ€™ya, Roy Rogers would have been proud.
At around twelve years of age, our â€œwild bunchâ€ cornered up Trigger, a beautiful Golden Palomino, in a friends pasture just to see if we could ride him, bareback. The owners son was with us and they (the owners) had never ridden Trigger, in five years.
Still, the horse was gentle enough to the touch for petting, and often made a big game of chase with us kids. We would chase him then he would chase us. All great fun. On this day however, we had a plan, and I was going to be “Roy”, and Roy and Trigger were about to ride again.
Ever hear how you just grab a horses ears and twist them to make him go the direction you want him to go?
Well thatâ€™s a big danged lie!
Climbing the fence where we had Trigger cornered up I grabbed both his ears and leaped aboard his back. As if shot from a cannon Trigger bolted for the creek bottom about two hundred yards away. For two hundred yards Trigger and Roy were together again and we flew like the wind as I all but twisted his ears off trying to turn him. In the blink of an eye we were in the creek bottom and I swear that horse knew where every whip of a branch was on every scrub oak in that bottom. I still have a scar to this day down my left cheek jaw line that can be seen during the summer when my face is tan from a lashing I took from one of the small branches. It cut me like a razor I tellâ€™ya.
When we reached the fence line Trigger whirled like the proverbial whirling dervish. How I hung on I have no idea.
Why I hung onâ€¦ I have no idea.
Probâ€™ly fear for my life Iâ€™m thinkinâ€™and anyway, like a second shot from a cannon we were headed back down the creek and I was in for a second thrashing. It was just then that Trigger bolted out of the creek bottom and into his shed. An open front shed that with his head down at a dead run the roof of the shed cleared his back by eight inches. Iâ€™m thinkinâ€™ he knew this, and Trigger peeled me off his back so fast I barely knew what hit me. I hit the ground in so many ways, and in such a heap, I’m not even sure how I landed other than HARD, and might near unconscious.
Trigger was sympathetic however. Giving me a nudge with his massive head to see if I was still alive I had the distinct feeling Trigger thought this had been great fun, and was checking to see if I wanted to do it again.
Oh how I loved watchin' Roy Rodgers and Trigger on the big screen… up until then.
Uhhoh, my bad. Correction to my above statement regarding the Redskin becoming the Oklahoma Opry. That is incorrect. It was the Knob Hill theater that became the Oklahoma Opry House.
Let’s just call this a senior moment. LOL
I did indeed have a great time working at Barton Theaters. By the time I worked there we served Coke, SPRITE, and orange and called it a suicide, bwahaha…
The drinks were fountain drinks, mixed by the machine. The syrup bottles sat on top of the drinks machine in a row and a copper line connected a bottle of CO2. If you moved the spigot handle to the left you got a mixed soft drink. If you moved it to the right you got pure carbonated water. For the really tough guys who wanted a suicide we would fill the cup with mostly carbonated water and just top it off with a little of the three drinks to give it some color.
I had actually worked for Barton Theaters from the time I was seven years old. Living next door to their offices I did odd jobs, sweeping, filling candy orders from the little warehouse, etc… One day Mrs Barton, who was probably well into her seventies by then, stepped out the back door and asked me if I would like to work in the concession stand at the Redskin. I of course said yes and she sent me to see the manager, Mrs Hightower. Mrs Hightower was a rather large and intimidating woman, and was upset that I was only eleven knowing full well that Mrs Barton had a rule that disallowed employment under thriteen. I think she was upset because her own kids had to wait until they were thirteen before she could put them to work.
She called Mrs Barton who told her in no uncertain terms that she herself had sent me over there and that I was to be hired. This didn’t exactly engraciate me with Mrs Hightower, but I was a hard worker and polite and we were soon best buds. So much so that during the next few months as a couple of the older boys quit I was able to get my three best friends hired even though they were not 13 either. After about a year Mrs Hightower retired and we got one of my friends mother hired as the new manager.
I tell you, for the next five years we had the run of Barton theaters and had an absolute ball. With 21 theaters we saw all of the movies we wanted to see, all the popcorn and drinks we wanted, we knew every manager in every theater and not only was it all free, but we got paid too. I just don’t see how there could have been a better job on the planet for four teenage kids in the early sixties.
When I became the lead relief projectionist for the chain, R Lewis Barton himself would pick me up in his Caddilac stretch limo and drive me to whichever theater needed a relief projectionist that evening and pick me up when I got off work that night. He knew I got a big kick when a given theaters employees watched as their relief projectionist showed up in a chaufer driven limo and he wasn’t old enough to drive.
And you mention the Knob Hill theater. The manager of the Knob Hill was a firey little red headed woman named Mrs Chacey. At one point I had gone to work for her in the concession stands before I started training on the projectors. She and I never could get along. I am not sure why as I didn’t do anything differently than with any of the other managers… but one day she just up and fired me, heh haha. She is the only manager who ever did so. I didn’t argue it, I just went on, and the Bartons sent me back to the Capitol theater where I began training as a projectionist.
About a year later when I was a relief projectionist, one night Mrs Chasey’s projectionist didn’t show for work. She called Mrs Barton, Mrs Barton called me, and I will never as long as I live forget the look on Mrs Chaney’s face when I showed up to run her projectors. She was furious, knowing that Mrs Barton knew that she had fired me. However, she also knew she was between a rock and a hard spot. She didn’t speak to me, and beyond telling her that I was her relief projectionist I didn’t speak to her. She whirled away with that flaming red hair, into her office and I just went upstairs to the booth and did what I was trained to do. How sweet it was.
And those Saturday matinees that you spoke of… would rake in about $1000 to $1200 dollars in concessions. Suicides: 10 cents for a small and 15 cents for a large. Popcorn 15 cents a bag. Small candy bars 10 cents, large bars 15 cents. We could easily crank out 1500 bags of popcorn on a Saturday.
On another note, the description above indicates that the Redskin closed in 1994. This is both true and untrue. As a movie house it closed in 1970ish. It sat vacant for some time but was eventually leased by a church group. They had it for several years before it closed again and was then leased and opened as The Oklahoma Opry House until 1994 when it closed for the last time.
One of my favorite memories of this old theater was when I was about fifteen years of age I had my own key to the front doors. While doing a stint as the projectionist I would arrive early, sometimes as much as a couple of hours or so early, run a hundred foot patch cord from the booth down into the balcony, plug it into the marvelous sound system and my electric guitar and wail away. Man that was a great sound system, heh haha.
You are correct Longest Day. Photo number three is not the Redskin OKC. Photo number five is the original concession stand in the Redskin OKC. It was demolished around 1961 to make more room in the lobby and replaced with a stand that was recessed into the rear wall of the lobby. The new stand took out the first three rows of seats in the auditoriums middle section.
I grew up living behind the Redskin Theater, right next door to the Barton Theaters office located at 819 S.W. 30th Street. I worked at the Redskin from 1962 until 1965 when we were transferred to the Capitol Theater on Robinson street just off of 25th street. I trained as a projectionist at the Capitol and did several relief stints in the Redskins booth, as well as many of the other Barton theaters, eventually becoming the head projectionist at the Midwest theater downtown OKC.