Sunday, June 29, 2008

Orpheum Theater

One of the most frustrating problems Tulsa has is that it-as a whole-seems to have little desire to embrace its wonderful history. I watched with amazement at the Jack Frank Tulsa DVD’s that showed just how many wonderful buildings were torn down in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the name of progress. Especially upsetting for this film lover were the movie theaters that were demolished, such as the Orpheum.

The second Orpheum was located at 12 East 4th Street in Downtown Tulsa and opened in 1917.

"The Orpheum Theater began as a vaudeville venue and got some of the top acts in the country. In 1931, the theater switched to showing first-run films. It closed in 1969." Link




Photos courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and the Tulsa Historical Society.

Out of curiosity I ventured Downtown to see where the Orpheum had been located.


Photos courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and the Tulsa Historical Society.


The green building behind the Mid-Continent building is approximately where the Orpheum was located. Notice the Kennedy Building and First National Bank Building on the right of the both pictures.

According to the poster Oklahoma Cowboy "Today the Orpheum kinda sorta still lives inside the (hopefully) temporarily shuttered Casa Bonita Restaurant as many ornate fixtures from both the Orpheum and Ritz were incorporated into this fantastic atmospheric eatery."
Link I look forward to Casa Bonita reopening one day to see if I can spot these fixtures.

1 comment:

OrpheumDennis said...

The Orpheum was a wonderful place. I worked there from 1965 though February of 1970, when I moved to Chicago. It closed shortly after that in March or April. When I returned in May for graduation from TU, the stage and part of the auditorium had already been demolished. This Orpheum actually opened in November, 1924. The original Orpheum was on 3rd Street. The Orpheum BUILDING address was 12 E. 4th.
The Orpheum Theatre address was 14 E. 4th. In your last photo, the building was next door to the green building, which was built in 1965, and extended all the way to the alley between Main and Boston. Thanks for posting these great pictures and keeping the Orpheum alive in our collective memory.