Project Overview

The Ritz, Orpheum, Majestic, and Rialto are familiar names to many Tulsans who grew up in a time when downtown movie palaces still existed. Others remember the early neighborhood theaters like the Delman, Will Rogers, and the Brook. Those memories and many more will be captured in a new book being written on Tulsa’s historical movie theaters.

Tulsa Movie Theaters will include photographs and information featuring the extensive and memorable history of movie theaters throughout the Tulsa area, from the earliest, silent-era film houses and glamourous movie palaces to drive-ins and multiplexes.

Authors are currently seeking help from the community in gathering memories, images, and memorabilia related to Tulsa’s movie theaters.  

 

Share Your Memories

Help us with the book and an exhibit to accompany the book release by sharing your memories, photographs, and other memorabilia through an online survey

Would you prefer to download a copy? Click here.

Wish List

Specific images and information we still need:

Most needed:

*Dreamland Theater, 127/129 N Greenwood image from before Tulsa Race Massacre
*Dixie Theater, 120 N Greenwood
*Rex Theaters there were two – 2545 E Admiral and 1135 N Greenwood
*Earlier Dreamland Theateropened in 1906 – not believed to be the one on Greenwood – looking for address
*West Tulsa theaters
*Motion Picture company along Sand Spring Line, 1910s – operated by owners of Cozy Theater
*Sapulpa TheatersCriterion and Tee-Pee Drive-In
*Modernaire Drive-In, 7400 E Admiral (later renamed Admiral Twin) Images as Modernaire
*Strand Theater, 117 S Main, c 1916 – c 1927
*Brook Theaterimages from theater years
*Theaters in surrounding towns: Broken Arrow, Claremore, Jenks, Owasso, Sapulpa
*Interior views of theaters

Images Needed:

*Academy, 2635 E. 11th
*Ace, 2541 N. Peoria
*Bellaire Drive-In, 709 W. 51st
*Cameo, 1315 W. 17th
*Capitol, 18 S Main
*Cove, 2321 W 21st
*Criterion in Sapulpa
*Dixie, 120 N. Greenwood
*Dreamland (1906), address unknown (not the Williams Dreamland on Greenwood)
*Empire, 117 S Main
*Empress, 15 W 3rd; 1713 S Quanah
*Fox, 51st & Harvard
*Gaiety, West Tulsa – address unknown
*Garden, 402 S Main
*Gem, 112 N Greenwood
*Grotto, 6020 N Peoria
*Harmony, Sand Springs
*Idle Hour, 106 S Main
*Mars, 6015 S Tecumseh
*Meteor, Sand Springs
*Modernaire, 7400 E Admiral (pre-Admiral Twin)
*Nixdome, 20-24 E 3rd
*Parklane, 4908 S Sheridan
*Peoples, 616 E Archer
*Princess, Main Street – address unknown
*Promenade Regal, 4107 S Yale
*Rex, 2545 E Admiral
*Rex, 1135 N Greenwood
*Rita, 1315 W 17th
*Royal, 402 S Main & 2635 E 11th
*South Side Cinema Twin, 8781 S. Lewis
*Star, 1717 S Quanah
*State, 118 S Main
*Strand, 117 S Main
*Super Saver in Mall 31, 5970 E 31st
*Tee pee Drive-In, Sapulpa
*UA Annex 3, 41st between Yale & Sheridan
*UA Plaza 3, 21st & 129th E Ave
*U-See, 118 S Boston
*Village, Admiral & Garnett
*Village 8, 6808 S. Memorial
*Westby, 209 E 2nd St
*Williams Center Cinema
*Woodland Hills Cinema 6

 

Press Release

Download full press release or read below:

The Ritz, Orpheum, Majestic, and Rialto are familiar names to many Tulsans who grew up in a time when downtown movie palaces still existed. Others remember the early neighborhood theaters like the Delman, Will Rogers, and the Brook. Those memories, and many others, will be captured in a new book being written on Tulsa’s historical movie theaters.

The book, being published by Arcadia as part of the “Images of America” series, is co-written by the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum and Sand Springs native Steve Clem, retired from Public Radio Tulsa and author of a popular book about Tulsa’s KAKC Radio.  According to Clem, “Tulsa had such wonderful movie theaters and now, sadly, most of them are gone. Documenting these entertainment houses will serve as a catalyst for sharing personal experiences and help preserve the rich history of Tulsa’s movie theaters for future generations.”

Tulsa Movie Theaters will include photographs and information featuring the extensive and memorable history of movie theaters throughout the Tulsa area, from the earliest, silent-era film houses and glamourous movie palaces to drive-ins and multiplexes.

Authors are currently seeking help from the community in gathering memories, images, and memorabilia related to Tulsa’s movie theaters.  Clem describes the popularity of discussing movie theaters on social media: “people love sharing memories of seeing a Disney film at the Delman or talking about their first job as a movie usher or ticket-taker.”

Research has already uncovered more than 100 theaters in the Tulsa area, although some represent the same theater with multiple names. A number of early theaters also moved from location to location. While many of those distinct movie houses are represented in the Museum’s collection, others are missing. Anyone with memories, images, or artifacts to share is encouraged to contact the museum by email at mbrown@tulsahistory.org or visit the THSM website (tulsahistory.org/theaters) to answer survey questions about those personal experiences.

Maggie Brown, Director of Exhibits for the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum explains: “The museum’s mission is not only to collect and preserve Tulsa’s history for future generations but also to share those stories with the community. Interest in movie theaters has long made it a popular topic of programs and exhibits at the museum. This project provides another opportunity to share local history with Tulsans.”

Tulsa Movie Theaters will be available by Fall 2021. An exhibit at the museum will accompany the book’s release.

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