By: Justin Johnson | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: July 2013
Circle Cinema today and in days gone by. The Circle Cinema Foundation’s mission is to use film to foster understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the human experience.
Mark your calendar to celebrate the Circle Cinema’s 85th birthday on July 15. The weekend of July 11-14 is packed with festivities and events fit for all ages to recognize the Circle Cinema’s birthday and to highlight the grand re-opening of the original cinema building at 10 S. Lewis Ave.
The Circle Cinema has been a staple for the film industry in the Tulsa community, and is the city’s only nonprofit and independent movie theater.
Throughout its 85 years in operation, the Circle Cinema is thankful to remain a relevant and appreciated foundation to the community it serves.
“As we look back on our 85 years within the community, the Circle Cinema wants to tell the people of Tulsa, ‘Thank you,’” said Cofounder Clark Wiens. “We are planning to pull out all the stops to make this a memorable weekend for lovers of film in Tulsa.”
If you are looking for a family-oriented, fun-packed event, don’t miss the Circle Cinema festivities through July 11-14. This event will be enjoyable for all ages. The festivities will include appearances of Oklahoma legends featured on the Circle Cinema Walk of Fame, live music, and select screenings.
The celebration will feature the grand re-opening of the original cinema building. Instead of opting for a contemporary theater renovation, the Circle Cinema decided to combine the tradition of the past with today’s technology. In doing so, the Circle Cinema exterior will be an identical facade of the original 1952 design combined with the conveniences of modern technology.
“When the renovation process began, the goal was to bring the Circle Cinema’s look and feel back to its peak in the 1950s. This latest project does just that,” said Wiens. “We have been eagerly anticipating the day we could let the public experience the Circle Cinema at its best.”
The theater originally opened July 15, 1928 with a showing of “Across the Atlantic” starring Monte Blue. Cost of construction was $62,000 which would be around $800,000 with today’s money. The Circle Theater was popular with the pre-teen and young teenage crowd. The 10-cent price of a movie ticket included a feature film and serials. Popular film serials like “The Green Hornet” drew the neighborhood children to the movie theater as often as the feature films.
The feature highlights many famous Oklahoman’s that have been influential in the film industry. The likes of Brad Pitt, Chuck Norris, Reba McEntire, Kristen Chenoweth, Joan Crawford and Will Rogers are just a handful of hall of famers who once called Oklahoma home.
The Circle Cinema Foundation’s mission is to use film to foster understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the human experience, and create community among the viewers in the restored historic Circle Cinema. The Circle Cinema showings feature a variety of independent, foreign and documentary films. The facility itself consists of four separate viewing quarters; the Circle, Circle 1, Circle 2 and the theatre with the most intimate seating, the Quad.