By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: June 2012
On June 4, the Circle Cinema will honor military veterans of all branches and all eras with five free screenings of “70th Anniversary Battle of Midway.”
On Monday, June 4, the Circle Cinema will pay tribute to local veterans with five free screenings of “70th Anniversary Battle of Midway.” This hour-long documentary film commemorates the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The Battle of Midway has come to be known as the turning point of the war.
Just six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and at a time when communications were far from what we take for granted today, American naval commanders were able to set up a communications trap that foiled the Japanese efforts. As a result, four vital Japanese aircraft carriers were destroyed and more than 3,000 were killed. The American losses, though tragic, were a small fraction. Consequences from the three-day battle proved too large for the Japanese to overcome.
Screenings will begin at 11 a.m. and continue at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend free of charge. Cinema Circle Office Manager Chuck Foxen says they are pleased to once again pay tribute to America’s military veterans from all branches and all eras. The theater, the oldest operating in the city, has been offering a military presentation since 2004.
“The part that’s great,” he says, “is having all these people come together.” Many veterans come and stay all day to network with others, share their stories and show their hats, uniforms and decorations. Guests can expect to see actual military vehicles, a model carrier plane and lots of memorabilia and photos. The 5 and 7 showings will feature veteran speakers.
“This is a great family event that has parents bringing their children and grandparents bringing their grandchildren to learn and meet some of the people who took part in shaping America’s history,” says Foxen.
That’s similar to how the Circle Cinema itself has been a part of shaping Tulsa’s history. The modest neighborhood community theater that opened in 1928 at 12 S. Lewis was in Tulsa’s first suburban shopping center, Kendall Whittier.
A checkered past includes family entertainment, western serials, James Bond features, blue movies, Hispanic films and approximately 10 “dark” years when only pigeons entered the theater whose marquee featured “For Sale.”
In 2002, the Circle Cinema Foundation was formed to purchase the building and breathe new life into the Circle as a nonprofit cinema and film arts organization. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the theater focuses on educational venues that include documentaries, independent films, foreign and classic films, and related events. “We can hand pick our films,” according to Chuck, “and do things to help the community by offering special free screenings such as this one.”
Funding to support the theater comes through memberships and donations. A large construction project under way includes two new screens and the restoration and reinstallation of the theater’s original pipe organ. A future phase will add laptop connectivity for big screen presentations during business meetings or for large school groups.
But there is one thing that high technology has not, and will not, change at the Circle. The restored neon marquee from the 1950s still requires the letters to be hand inserted. It’s perhaps the only remaining task from the past at the only remaining historical movie theater still operating in Tulsa.
Seating is limited, so guests are encouraged to arrive early for the free screenings. There is plenty of free parking behind the building, across the street and on the street. For more information, call the Circle Cinema business office at (918) 585-3456.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.