A little history:
The Brook Theater at 34th & Peoria opened in 1945.
As the news clipping notes, the Brook’s lobby had drawings of Tulsans famous in the entertainment world etched into the cinder-block walls. I’m told you can still see the top half of some of the faces on the walls upstairs. The first movie shown there was “Father Was a Fullback” starring Fred McMurray.
Loews, a large movie theater chain, bought the Brook and Delman theatres back in the 70’s. You can see Louis Meyer’s book store on the corner (click on photos to enlarge):
The Brook served as the home of the American Theatre Company for awhile. They tried to raise the money to buy the Brook, but legal wrangling with the owner over asbestos removal put an end to that dream. The building sat empty and slowly deteriorated until Tulsan Jim Glass’s company renovated it. The area we were eating lunch in was where the bookstore used to be, but the original beams and textures are still there.
The lunchtime discussion had me remembering some crazy times and interesting musicians. Crazy times: American Theatre Company’s Joyce Martel – an “Adult-Oriented Cabaret Show” that Melanie Fry starred in and was hilarious! Then there was ATC’s Eddie and the Ecclectics, which began in 1980. It was the musical story of Eddie Edwards- a legend in his own mind who claimed to have written all of the great rock-n-roll hits. The show revived about 60 of those golden oldies and had a 7-member cast that changed some over the years.
The first Eddie was played by Bob Bethell from 1980-87 and again in 1989.
Then there were the interesting musicians. Two of my favorite “underground” singers in the 70’s and 80’s were the late Jimmie Spheeris and Shawn Phillips (if you haven’t heard of these guys you are in the majority, believe me) I remember thinking it was so great that these little-known artists came to Tulsa to give us a thrill and memories of a lifetime at the Brook.
some photos courtesy of Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society, others as noted