Reno Theatre

121 W. Reno Avenue,
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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rivest266 on April 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm

December 25th, 1930 grand opening ad with picture in photo section

seymourcox on July 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Roadside Oklahoma has fantastic vintage photos of the exterior & interior of the old Reno Theatre;

missmelbatoast on December 15, 2009 at 11:06 pm

You;ll get a big kick out of this montage of vintage clips showing strip queen routines …

missmelbatoast on October 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

Seen here are film versions of burlesque queens who performed live on the Reno Theatre stage.
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seymourcox on November 10, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Reno Burlesque was always a second rate strip joint. Hear tunes that are of better quiality than the crappy Reno Orchestra could have produced,
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Above music comes from this snazzy album,
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Rodney on October 30, 2007 at 8:37 pm

Listen to an actual Gypsy Rose Lee strip routine -
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as presented on these pages -

raybradley on September 7, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Recently on a train bound for Chicago I crossed paths with an elderly woman named Vera who had worked in Oklahoma City during the ‘40’s & 50’s as a bartender in a tavern called the Linger Longer Lounge, across from the Pix Theatre. Vera told me about the days when newstands along Reno Street sold hard-core porn pulp magazines from “under the counter”, and only to customers they knew.
She went on to tell about how when Viewmaster invented stereo-photo disk these same newstands sold illegal stereo “beaver color shot” disks. These disk fit into standard Viewmaster toys and were much sought after, but very hard to get because they violated copyright and patent privileges, and any merchant caught pushing them would get into BIG trouble!
Most of these newstands also had backroom arcades where ancient cast iron peep show machines ground out X-rated loops. These machines created 3-D effects with continuouse film strips that had two seperate side-by-side images that when viewed together through stereopticon lenses produced a true 3-D illusion.
Vera said Johnny Law seldom bothered with vice along Reno Street, but would crack down hard on any merchant who tried to pedal adult material outside this shady district of OKC.
Gone are the days …

seymourcox on August 2, 2007 at 11:30 pm

In below 1950s photos of the Reno Theatre notice that main stream double features were presented between burlesque shows. Judging from these interior shots strip tease queens pranced onstage inside a Gothic style auditorium that looked more like a church than a burly-Q. In search field type in word “theatre”, then press enter…
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raybradley on July 29, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Old time showman have oft repeated a persistent rumor; Griffith Bros. Theatres were big frogs in little ponds, powerful in small towns of the hinterlands, known for bullying managers and devising ways to avoid minimum wage laws.
Griffith Theatres held little or no clout (or respect) in large towns like Muskogee, Oklahoma City, or Tulsa. In each of these cities Griffith controlled only two or three skid row theatres.
By the late 1940s Griffith finally broke into the big time when they bought the Barton Theatre Chain of OKC. About the same time Talbot sold a few of his mid size Tulsa houses to Griffith.
When Griffith sold out to RKO General and the name was changed to Video Independent Theatres. RKO invested money to upgrade the run down circuit which brought about new found prestige, and Video looked indestructable.
By the time Video noticed a young breed of creative showman who had come on scene it was too late. Video’s massive size and outdated practices caused a quick decline.

Below links show vintage views of the home of R. E. Griffith, youngest of the Griffith bros.
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seymourcox on February 18, 2007 at 8:35 am

On rare occasions when the cheapskate operators of the Reno Burlesque Theatre did provide a full pit orchestra it would have probably sounded something like the ones on the below link.
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xxx on May 7, 2006 at 11:38 am

Folks savy in local theatre lore have said that Reno Burlesque Theatre cashed in on overflow from their more popular neighbor Gaiety Burlesque, which presented better quality stage shows. Reno Burlesque presented four-a-day, second rate strip routines with a three piece (sax, piano, & drums) band, but whenever business slumped the Reno advertising budget went up, and for short periods more musicians would be playing the pit.

You may also want to investigate these well researched burlesque history web pages and links-

Okie on March 26, 2006 at 7:09 am

Reno Theatre opened December 25, 1930, as a movie house. During the mid 1930s the Reno became a burlesque theatre to compete with the hugely popular Gaiety Burlesque which was located one block West, also on Reno Street. After WWII the Reno alternated between live burlesque, adult films, and second run/double features. After being closed several yeats the Reno was razed early 1970.
December 25, 1930 issue found in Oklahoman Archive web pages show grand opening newpapaer ad with a good exterior shot of the Reno Theatre.
Reno Street was a tough area of downtown where roughnecks went to be “entertained”, in many different ways. Shoulder to shoulder saloons, greasy spoon cafes, adult theatres, and second story red-light hotels were the commerce of this dingy thoroughfare.