June 1, 2001
Some miscellaneous meanderings, prompted by discovery of a copy of the May 24-30, 1957, issue of the small booklet, "Oklahoma City This Week," which used to be a standard item in every motel and hotel room in the Big Town. This one is from the late lamented Skirvin Hotel, where Laura's affable late uncle R.C. used to be a V-P. The booklet, issued weekly, listed complete radio logs and program schedules for the three commercial TV channels available in OKC at that time, plus information about every other type of entertainment.
I scanned the TV schedules first. The stations covering this part of the state 44 years ago were WKY-TV channel 4, KGEO-TV channel 5, and KWTV channel 9. WKY-TV is now KFOR and channel 5 is KOCO, but KWTV has always had those call letters. What kind of entertainment did they offer? On Sunday night, starting at 6 p.m., WKY- TV had an hour of Steve Allen's foolishness, KWTV had an episode of Lassie and KGEO had You Asked For It. At 7 p.m. we had Goodyear Playhouse on WKY-TV, GE Theater on KWTV and the last half hour of You Asked For It on KGEO. Alfred Hitchcock was on KWTV at 7:30, Loretta Young was on WKY-TV at 8 p.m., plus the $64,000 Challenge on KWTV and something called Confidential Files on KGEO. At 8:30 p.m. the rundown was a movie on channel 4, What's My Line on channel 9 and a movie on channel 5. Capping off prime time at 9 p.m. for channel 9 was the Ed Sullivan show, while the other two channels showed the last half of their movies. On the Sullivan show that particular weekend were Jayne Mansfield, Gene Austin, Dolores Gray, Ricky Lane, "and many others." Remember that lineup of entertainment? Seems to me it easily beats today's offerings.
The little booklet contains only 31 pages, but it pretty well summarizes all the possibilities for entertainment in the City for that weekend in May 1957. Eateries spotlighted include Glen's Hik'ry Inn, Bishop's, Herman's Seafood Restaurant at 16th and Classen, the Biltmore Grill, El Charrito and Beverly's Chicken in the Rough. Are any of those still open? Things to do included dancing at the Silver Lounge in the Black Hotel, the Derby Club and Kotche's. The Derby Club also advertised burlesque, "sexotic cuties," and "a hilarious emcee." I personally do not remember the Derby Club.
Among the downtown movie theaters were the Midwest, showing "Untamed Youth" with Mamie Van Doren; the State, showing "Around the World in 80 Days;" the Center, "Monkey on My Back;" the Warner, "The Burglar;" and the Plaza Art, "Love Lottery," with David Niven. The First Methodist church and the American Legion both had servicemen's centers for relaxation and fun. Marcia Mahan, a 20-year-old sophomore from Fairfax, was featured on the cover. A feature story told about the state's semicentennial celebration, scheduled to start June 14 in Oklahoma City with "Boomtown, USA" as the feature attraction.
All in all, it provided a nostalgic look at some of the things going on in our state's capital city `way back there in 1957. Remember any of them?