Tulsa, April 18, 1914: Majestic Theater reopens

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On this day 100 years ago, Tulsa's "new" Majestic Theater opened its doors to the public. The grand opening was announced with an ad and story on page 5 of the previous day's Tulsa Daily World:

tulsa_majestic_theater-19140417.png

WELCOME
Majestic Theatre
OPENS TOMORROW---SATURDAY---APRIL 18

SHOWING DAILY.

HIGH CLASS MOTION PICTURES.

Music by the

MARVELOUS UNIT ORCHESTRA.
"The Instrument with a Human Voice."

Don't miss this show. A good place to take the family.

Open at 1:30 p.m., showing continuously until 11 p.m.

Admission.
Adults 10 cents, Children 5 cents.

Opening Program

Vitagraph's Big Circus Drama in Two Parts
"THE FRUITS OF VENGEANCE."
A thrilling drama of life in the Big White Tents.

Fine Lubin Production
"THE LITTLE HERO."
Let the Kiddies see this.

Essanay Laugh Producer
"THREE BABES IN A FLAT."
A clever comedy satire.

Coming Soon
TULLY MARSHALL and the original New York cast, presenting
"PAID IN FULL."

The accompanying news item:

Messrs. McCarty & Rothstein take great pleasure in announcing the opening tomorrow, Saturday afternoon and evening, of the New Majestic theater. During the past month the theatre has been in the hands of carpenters, painters, decorators, etc., and has been completely altered and improved, now presenting a most attractive appearance, one that will meet with the approval of all patrons. The house will be under the personal management of B. F. Rothstein, lately associated with Harry Davis, the well-known theatrical and motion picture magnate. It will be devoted exclusively to high class motion pictures and feature films in which appear the leading actors and actresses of the world, depicting the great theatrical successes. At an approximate expense of $10,000 the management has installed on of the famous Wurlitzer Unit orchestras, which combines piano with all orchestral acompaniements, such as horns, flute, violin, drums, cello, castanets, tambourine, whistles, bells, chimes, xylophones and traps. The management, at considerable additional expense secured a well-known artist of Dallas, Texas, to preside over this wonderful instrument. Recitals will be given afternoon and evening, thus affording the music-loving public a rare treat. It is the only instrument of its kind in the entire state of Oklahoma and weighs in the neighborhood of 6,000 pounds.

Reading through the puffery, it appears that this is a reopening after a remodel, rather than the opening of a new building.

What isn't clear is where this was. In 1910, the Bijou Theater sat at the corner of 4th and Main. In 1917 (according to Sanborn Maps), the new, new Majestic was built next door at 406 S. Main, and remained standing until demolished for the present occupant, a parking garage that takes up the north two-thirds of the block between Main, Boulder, 4th and 5th. Tulsa was small enough, and the business district was compact enough, that there was no need to clutter up a theater ad with an address.

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2 Comments

Paul said:

Thanks for posting this, Michael.

I've noticed that many (or most) of the early newpaper ads for theaters and retail stores didn't include a location. Whether the Majestic was actually a newly constructed theater or a remodeled existing building, it seems strange to me that a location wasn't mentioned at all. Something along the lines of "next door to the..." would have been helpful.

The 1914 Polk-Hoffhine city directory lists the Majestic Theatre at 402 South Main. The 1913 directory has nothing at that address at all. No "Majestic Theatre" is listed in the 1913 directory, and no "Bijou" theater is listed, either.

The 1912 Hoffhine's directory lists the "Garden Theatre" at 402 South Main. No listings of "Bijou" or "Majestic" theaters.

In the 1911 Hoffhine's, there's a "Majestic Theatre" at 4 East Third.

The other theaters listed in the 1911 directory are:

- Coliseum, 107-109 S Boston
- Empire Theatre, 117 S Main
- Idle Hour Theatre, 106 S Main
- Lyric Theatre, 103 S Main
- Pathe Theatre, 219 S Main
- Tulsa Theatre, 404 S Main
- Usee Theatre, 118 S Boston
- Wonderland Theatre, 118 S Main

In 1911, the Majestic is the only one listed as a "motion" theater.

Maybe the 1914 "New Majestic" was a remodel of the "Garden" of 1912, which perhaps was a remodel of the "Tulsa" of 1911, when the "old" Majestic was on Third Street.

My theory: All of the name changes and relocation of theatres in those days was a diversionary tactic orchestrated by Tate Brady, designed to draw attention away from his thirst for war with Mexico, which was actually a diversionary tactic itself, to draw attention away from his sinister manipulation of real estate values in Tulsa's Greenwood district.

Thanks, Paul! Very helpful to have this directory info, and interesting to see how rapidly names changed. (I'm sure you're right about WTB. :) )

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 18, 2014 9:54 PM.

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