Wagon Wheel Cinema

11601 Northeast Expressway,
Oklahoma City, OK 73131

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Wagon Wheel Cinema

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Throughout 1957 Oklahomans held their Simi-Centennial Celebration at the Oklahoma City State Fair Grounds. An exhibition built especially for this year long event was a full size boom town replica that was the top attraction of all the festivities.

In fact, boom town was such a smash success that at the end of the run the entire complex was moved over to Route-66 and renamed Frontier City, U.S.A. In order to create an impressive western themed amusement park several elaborate rides were added, along with concessions, games, and a fun house.

Also included was an authentic recreation of a turn of the century nickelodeon called Frontier City Cinema. A feather costumed cashier sold nickel tickets from an ornate corner box office. Busy gingerbread covered the theatre facade. Oversized posters advertised the silent two reel westerns that ran continuousely inside the flocked auditorium. A live pianist played mood music necessary for silent emotion.

Every year after tourist season ended a few Frontier City specialty shops remained open for year round business; such as the boot shop, gun shop, a saddle/tack shop, western wear clothiers, a dance hall saloon, and a couple of cafes.

These unique shops prospered during Christmas shopping seasons, and Frontier City Cinema decided to try and cash in by showing 16mm versions of current second run hits. Unfortunately these programs were dropped within a couple of years after attendance proved disappointing.

When the park opened for their 1963 season the Frontier City Cinema had folded, the space converted into a wax works museum that still operates to this day.

Contributed by Harley

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

raybradley
raybradley on December 21, 2006 at 7:51 am

During the summer season the old Frontier City Opera House always staged professional vaudeville, variety, or old time melodrama shows.
Besides the standard dozen or so amusement park rides like the Ferris Wheel, bumper cars, merry-go-rounds, etc., Frontier City also had some wonderfully lavish thrill rides such as Lost River, 89er Ghost Mine, Autopia, and the flying saucer.
Souvenir shops closed during winter months, but other memorable year round stores were the Jam Cellar, Taffy Shop, Norrick Antiques, and Jim’s Gems & Rare Books.

seymourcox
seymourcox on December 23, 2006 at 7:25 am

Frontier City was once quite an unusual enterprise. It functioned as a thrilling amusement park during summer seasons. When cold winter months arrived; rides, concessions, games, and souviner shops shut down, and the park metamorphosed into a unique bazaar.
In the mid 1980’s Paramount Pictures stepped in and bought the place lock, stock, and barrel. Gladly, Six Flags Frontier City expanded into a first class theme park, but today it operates strictly as an amusement enterprise with an admission fee, those specialty shops are no more.

seymourcox
seymourcox on April 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

After the State Fair Boom Town exhibit folded in 1957 this popcorn wagon was moved over to the Frontier City Cinema, type on bleow link “blitz popcorn"
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