The Tower Theatre (Uptown District Oklahoma City)

Tower Theatre

While researching the various Oklahoma City Districts this year, I’ve found that neighborhood movie houses were community hubs in Oklahoma City during the late 1930’s. Considering that was the Golden Age of Hollywood, it shouldn’t be a surprise that folks were drawn to local movie houses like the Plaza Theatre (now renovated and home to the Lyric Theatre), the Will Rogers Theatre (now a venue for special events) and the Tower Theatre.

The Tower Theatre on NW 23rd Street opened in 1937 and has remained an Oklahoma City landmark ever since. You can’t miss the neon sign and marquee. Back in the theatre’s heyday, first run movies like Gone With the Wind, Henry V, and Cleopatra were featured on the big screen. The Sound of Music had the longest run at an incredible 82 weeks. It was such a feat that the studio presented the theatre with a plaque to commemorate the achievement. To see some fantastic vintage pictures and theatre advertising from the time, you should check out Doug Dawgz Blog. He has curated and shared an amazing collection.

The theatre closed in 1989 and the lights had been dark for years with rumors of a possible event center transformation. Now with new ownership, a revitalization may actually be becoming a reality. The neon on 23rd street is lit and messages adorn the marquee again! I hope that like the renovated Plaza Theatre in the Plaza District and the Will Rogers Theatre on Western Avenue, it becomes the community hub the Uptown District deserves. How would you like to see the space used? A theatre or an event venue?

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