DOWNTOWN OKLAHOMA CITY MOVIE HOUSES BEFORE THEY DIED IN THE 1970s

This page collectively shows what I've collected so far of the downtown Oklahoma City movie industry before it came to a screeching halt in the 1970s. I don't have as many as I'd like and I'm looking for more. I saw my first Cinerama movie at the Cooper Cinerama ... I'm not sure but I think it was 1962's How The West Was Won, and, trust me, if you didn't see 1968's Kubrick's & Clark's 2001: A Space Odyssey in Cinerama, you didn't see the movie! Lots of memories ... as a junior high teenager, going to the highest balcony in the Midwest was lots of fun! Anyway, to the extent that I have them, enjoy the movies!  And, here's a nice link on the downtown movie industry from The Downtown Guy. Two of the images below are from the wonderful Vanished Spendor series: the 1953 State and Harber pics are croppings of the same image found in Vol III and the 1921 Orpheum image is in Vol II. The assembers and authors of the 3 volume set are Jim Edwards, Mitchell Oliphant, and Hal Ottaway (Abalache Book Shop Publishing Co, Okc, 1982-1985). You can rotate through the images by clicking on them.

1920s.criterion.jpg
Criterion Theater in the 1920s, 1921-1973, 118 W. Main. It was designed by Boller Brothers and was operated by the Paramount/Publix Theatre Circuit. The Criterion featured a French style lobby and auditorium with an art deco mezzanine. Originally, it seated 1,900 but with remodelings it seated 1,650. Images of the cinema shortly before its demolition can be seen in the  Jeff Chapman collection at the CinemaTour website.
1950s.criterion.jpg
Criterion Theater, 1950. A larger view of this image is at this website.
1953.harber.jpg
Harber Theater in 1953, 1915-1975, at 19 N. Robinson;
formerly the Liberty; later the Cooper Cinerama.
1960s.cooper.jpg
After the Harber's remodeling, it reopened in 1960 as the Cooper Cinerama and seated 1,200. It closed in 1975.
1953.robinsontheaters.jpg
This 1953 pic shows the relative location of the
Harber & State.
1953.state.jpg
The State Theater (1930?- 1975?), 100 block on East side of Robinson, seated 800.
1940s.robinson.jpg
This shows the relative location of the State.
1947.centre2.jpg
Centre Theater (1947-1975/1980), 415 Couch Drive, built by the Kansas City Boller Brothers theater architects firm, seated 1,600. A few interior images after the theater's closing can be seen in the  Jeff Chapman collection at the CinemaTour website.

Eventually, after it closed (reports vary as to date), it became the core of the new Oklahoma City Museum of Art (but as part of a much larger structure) and a small nicely done theater is present in the complex.
The Midwest

All but the 1st of these images are from the Jeff Chapman collection found within the  CinemaTour website. The website describes the Midwest: "Oklahoma City's Midwest Theatre was operated by Warner Bros. Theaters, designed by Chicago Architect John Eberson, and opened in 1930. The auditorium was in the Italian atmospheric style, complete with electronic twinkling stars and rolling clouds in the midnight blue plaster sky."

The Midwest, at 16 N. Harvey, had 4 or 5 balconies and seated 1,600-1,700 (reports vary). It was built in 1930 and closed in 1975.
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Midwest Theater in 1944.
1960s.midwest.jpg
Midwest in the 1960s - 70s.
1972.midwest4.jpg
Midwest mens smoking room in 1972.
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Midwest exterior in 1972.
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Midwest signage in 1972.
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Midwest interior statue in 1972.
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Midwest mezzanine in 1972.
1910s.overholser.jpg
The Overholser Opera House (right side of this image, next to the Colcord), was built in 1903 at 217 W. Grand. Vanished Splendor (Vol 1), reports that it "...boasted handsome boxes, leather opera chairs, 720 electric lights, and the largest stage in the West" and that notables such as Sarah Bernhardt and Lillian Russell performed there. Ownership changed and it became the Orpheum Theater in 1921.
1921.orpheum.jpg
After remodeling, the Overholser became the Orpheum Theater in 1921 and seated 1,040. It closed in the mid-60s.

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