Camera Theater

719 S. Main Street,
Stillwater, OK 74074

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The Camera Theater was opened in 1916 and remained in operation at least into the 1930’s. It was located on the 700 block of Main Street, south of Katz Street.

Contributed by Lauren Grubb

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 16, 2007 at 3:37 am

The Camera had 385 seats and was situated at 719 Main Street, according to the 1957 Film Daily Year Book. At that time, the Camera’s only competition was the 432-seat Mecca Theatre, with no address given. Listed as closed were the Aggie and Campus, with no seating capacities or addresses provided.

seymourcox
seymourcox on August 28, 2007 at 10:40 am

A fuzzy 1939 exterior shot can be seen by typing in word “camera”,
View link

missmelbatoast
missmelbatoast on December 30, 2008 at 10:18 am

Chester Gould (creator of “Dick Tracy”) attended OSU, and I once heard that he picked up extra cash during his college years by painting movie posters for Stillwater theatres. If one of these posters could be located today just imagine what its worth would be.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 30, 2008 at 10:32 am

Chester Gould also lived in Northern Illinois for quite some time.
The McHenry/Wonder Lake area. I think he lived there until his death. There was a small museum dedicated to him there that closed up a few years ago.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 25, 2009 at 10:10 pm

The Reel Journal of August 7, 1926, had some information about the Camera Theatre: “E.B. Tull has increased the seating capacity of his Camera Theatre at Stillwater, Okla., from 300 to 400. Mr. Tull will erect another theatre building in Stillwater in the near future.”

That September, Mr. Tull leased the Camera to Roy H.H. Russ, and I find no later references to him, so perhaps his second theater was never built. Roy Russ is mentioned in the February 3, 1951, issue of Boxoffice, which said that he had sold the Camera Theatre to Johnny H. Jones and his sister Ruby Jones of Shawnee, Oklahoma.

A brief item about the death of Roy Russ appeared in the May 3, 1952, issue of Boxoffice. It said that the Joneses had remodeled the Camera and renamed it the Crest.

The June 29, 1957, issue of Boxoffice ran an article about Johnny and Ruby Jones which said that they had bought the Crest Theatre in Stillwater in 1951, and operated it until 1954. One Boxoffice item that year said that Jones sold the Crest to Griffith Amusement and Claude Leachman’s Video Independent Theatres. I’ve been unable to find any mentions of the Crest after 1954, so unless it got another name (and if it did, I’ve been unable to discover it) it might have been permanently closed that year.

As this house apparently operated as the Camera Theatre more than ten times as long as it operated as the Crest, I’d suggest that it continue to be listed as the Camera instead of by its final name, which was so briefly used.

Lauren Durbin
Lauren Durbin on July 18, 2011 at 5:55 am

719 is the left half of the Territory western wear store. It looks nothing like Oklahoma Historical Society photos and also looks newer (as do the two buildings to the right. The original Camera has probably been demolished.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 27, 2012 at 10:46 am

Modernization described in this 1938 trade report: Boxoffice

RonnyJJones
RonnyJJones on August 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Johnny and Ruby Jones of Shawnee, OK. indeed did purchase the Camera Theatre in 1951 changing the name to Crest. After a major remodel and overhaul, the theatre was operated by sister Rosalind Banks and husband Doyle. (The Jones family operated the Ritz and Jake Theatres in Shawnee at the same time). In 1954, the Joneses became partners with Video Independent Theatres in Shawnee taking over all the Video operations in Shawnee and forfeiting the Crest in Stillwater. This satisfied Stillwater Video partner Claude Leachman.

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