It's the Centennial, almost

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Your attention, please! The Oklahoma Centennial celebration is at hand!

Wait, you say. Oklahoma became a state in 1907. November 16, 1907, to be precise. This is 2006. The Centennial is next year, right?

That's right, but Sharon King Davis is in charge of Tulsa's celebration of the state's 100th birthday, so we're celebrating it a year early. Nearly all the special Oklahoma Centennial events in Tulsa will take place this month.

Davis was also in charge of Tulsa's centennial celebration. Although Tulsa was incorporated in 1898, all but a few of the centennial events were held in 1997, evidently to keep the tourists off-guard. The biggest events were held in September of '97. If you decided to, say, fly from Bath, England, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to visit Tulsa for the first time since 1936, and you thought the summer of 1998 would be a good time to visit and catch some special Tulsa centennial events or exhibits, you were out of luck.

(And yes, I know some people who did just that. A couple of sisters, along with the husband of one of them, who grew up in various oil towns around the state in the '20s and '30s, visited the summer of '98. We met one of the sisters in '96 when we were touring a historic home in Cape Cod. When we told her we were from Tulsa, she told us she was born in a place we would never have heard of -- Denoya, which I correctly identified as a boomtown in Osage County also known as Wizbang. When she, her sister, and brother-in-law came to Tulsa, we had dinner at The Spudder -- closest thing we had to an oil history museum at the time -- and I gave them a driving tour of the city.)

I understand the logic -- we're celebrating the 100th year, leading up to the 100th birthday. And I guess it's reasonable for Oklahoma City to get the big celebration at the end, so Tulsa is getting the kickoff celebration at the beginning of that 100th year. Still, I think a lot of Tulsans and a lot of potential visitors aren't going to be expecting all these special events to happen even before we reach our state's 99th birthday.

So pay attention!

One of the first events on the calendar is a film festival, to be held jointly by Circle Cinema and Riverwalk Movies. The festival features a lot of great films about Oklahoma, filmed in Oklahoma, or with some connection to Oklahoma.

Here's a schedule in PDF format. The festival starts Thursday, November 9, and ends Sunday, November 12.

On Thursday, November 9, Circle Cinema will show Tulsa, the 1949 film starring Susan Hayward and Robert Preston, and two films based on books by Tulsa author S. E. Hinton, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and filmed in Tulsa: The Outsiders and Rumblefish

On Friday, November 10, they're showing Pixar's Cars on the Riverwalk, followed by a talk by Michael Wallis, Route 66 expert and the voice of one of the cars (the sheriff) in the movie. That will be followed by The Grapes of Wrath. At the Circle, they're showing Will Rogers' last movie, Steamboat Round the Bend and a couple of documentaries, one about Tar Creek, one about The Flaming Lips. (The latter sounds like the effect of taking a drink of water from the former.)

At the Circle on Saturday evening, November 11, Tim Blake Nelson (aka Jess Lee of Big Hollow Resort) will be present for a screening of his film Eye of God, which is set in Kingfisher. On Sunday, November 12, they're showing Harvey (Tulsa's Peggy Dow Helmerich was in the film that starred Jimmy Stewart as the man with the imaginary six-foot rabbit), followed by the big screen Shirley Jones - Gordon MacRae version of Oklahoma!.

And there's more. Click the link above for all the details.

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Josh Bozarth Author Profile Page said:

I received this list as well, and was hoping to see Weird Al Yankovic's UHF on the list, since most of it was filmed in Tulsa.

In fact, if you have UHF on DVD and listen to the commentary track, Al gives out the actual Tulsa addresses of the filming locations!

Yes, indeed. They scouted out some really off-the-beaten-path locations. Big Edna's Burger World was Harden's Hamburgers on 15th east of Sheridan, just up the hill from where I worked. They must have paid well for the use of the place, as Harden's interior decor got much nicer shortly after the movie came out.

I suspect that the people organizing the festival have never heard of Weird Al.

Hard to believe that was 17 years ago. We saw that one afternoon during our honeymoon.

sbtulsa said:

sorry to be a party pooper but who cares. i'm not really interested in a festival put on by the tea sipping elite. if ms. davis is not of that crowd, I apologize.

i do see her on TGOV now and then. i'm sure she's a nice lady, just don't have anything in common with her or her crowd.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 3, 2006 12:31 AM.

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