The book draws on the archives of the Tulsa Historical Society – it includes over 200 images – as well as contributions from Tulsans who shared their photographs and, more importantly, their memories of attending or working in city cinemas. .
One of these stories concerns this pipe organ in the Orpheum. During the last days of the theater (it closed in 1970), former Tulsan Dennis Scott worked there as deputy director. Scott was also an organist and took every opportunity to play the theater organ.
“One day he was coming back from a lunch break and saw these two men pull out the organ console from the theater,” Clem said. “He asked them what they were doing, and they said they knew the theater was closing and that they had bought the organ.”
Thirty years later, Scott, who lived in Chicago, came across a magazine ad that someone in Texas wanted to sell an organ console that had “once been in a movie theater in Tulsa.”
“It turns out,” said Clem, “the man who placed the ad was the son of the man who bought it, who was helping his father load it into their truck that day in 1970. When Dennis contacted him and told him the story, he said if Dennis came to Texas he would just give him the console, so the Orpheum organ console is now in Chicago.
While this part of Tulsa’s movie history managed to be saved, Clem and Brown agreed that it was unfortunate that so many of the book theaters had been eradicated from the cityscape.