Not so bel-vedere?

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Somehow I was able to go through the arena floor to the north loading dock where workers were detaching the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere from its skids and other workers were using a circular saw and a hammer and chisel to open the time capsule.

When they hosed off the undercarriage, the water that dripped down to the ground was the color of Oklahoma City dirt.

Even if it is soggier than Ted Kennedy's car and as rusty as Davy Jones' locker, the Belvedere has served its purpose. It has been the focal point of Tulsa's statehood centennial celebration, and it has drawn press and visitors from all over the world.


Speaking of press from all over the world -- I've been surprised that the organizers didn't do a better job helping press find out where they were supposed to be. Last night at the credentialing welcome party at the Tulsa Press Club, there was no sign outside on Boston Avenue pointing visiting reporters there. (Doesn't help that Boston Ave. looks like a war zone.) There were no signs indicating press parking and entrances. The press packet listed the north YMCA lot as the press parking area, but there seemed to be no way to get to it from any direction. And there were no signs pointing to the press reception area in the basement of the convention center.


The MC at the noon excavation was fired retired KRMG morning host John Erling, the favorite mouthpiece of the old Tulsa establishment. He got the nod to MC the arena groundbreaking and the inauguration of Kathy Taylor. Erling is a relative newcomer -- he arrived in Tulsa in 1976. Why not ask a Tulsa media personality who was around in 1957 -- someone like Lee Woodward (he moved here in 1957) or Clayton Vaughn or Don Woods or Dick Schmitz or Frank Morrow or any number of old-time Tulsa radio and TV types who frequent

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fbc Author Profile Page said:

I watched the unearthing ceremony which was MC'd by Sharon King Davis. Good Lord, she was irritating! All that name-dropping and false enthusiasm ("isn't SHE beeeeeuuuuuutifullll!" every four seconds.)

I hate to say it, but the Belvedere thing really blew up in our faces. I imagine the OKC folks are laughing through their hats about now.

Mick Fine said:

Mr. Ehrling has always seemed to be a 'wanabe' Tulsan. While his transplanted Minnesotan values often meshed pretty well with the local view of the outside world, he always seemed to be reaching for his audience's acceptance. And so it was at the Belvedere unveiling.

Desperately trying to redirect attention from the Belvedere's overall state, Ehrling shrieked like a schoolgirl when an American flag was retrieved from the time capsule and commanded the on-stage crew to 'Unfurl that beautiful 46 star flag!' (Even the short bus riders from my government school youth knew how many stars a 1957 flag would have had...)

Sharon King Davis should be commended for putting forth the best possible face under the conditions. She handled the contents from the time capsule (which thankfully faired much better than the car) with the gentle respect they deserve. Unfortunately, Mr. Ehrling kept snatching (and wrinkling) the shiny bits away from her to wave about as a consolation to the audience for not having a pristine car in which he could have taken a victory lap.

sbtulsa said:

This was the brainchild of the 1957 gang. I blew up in what's left of their collective face. I'm not sure it can be labled a failure or embarrassment.

The handling of it as a public event in 2007 can be labeled as an emarassment for exatly the reason michael stated. it was treated as an event for the current elite, not a rememberance of our history. 1957 is the greatest generation. 2007 is the year of the boob.

Richard Randall said:

We wonder why all of the bridges in Tulsa (and Oklahoma) are falling apart. Most of them were designed and built around the same time as the vault (give or take some years) by some of the same engineers. It seems to show just how well they designed and built some things back then and today, when it is built by the cheapest bidder. Growing up my dad had always talked about how bad the car would look when it came out (He worked at his dads construction company at the time the vault was built). He knew that the vault would fill up with water, by the design they used. Had they looked to the oil industry, they would have learned that water will find a way into anything. The best thing to use would have been a 1 to 2-inch steel box welded shut and encased in concrete. This would have withstood the fifty years. They did seem to grasp that idea a little bit. The time capsule was steel, (not sure if it was welded shut). Everything in it was in great condition

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 15, 2007 5:18 PM.

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