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City of Bartlesville

Posted: Jan 02, 2020 10:10 AMUpdated: Jan 02, 2020 10:10 AM

Vaudeville to Cinema Comes to City History Museum

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Garrett Giles

The Bartlesville Area History Museum announced a new exhibit and event opening this week titled: “Vaudeville to Cinema.”

The exhibit will open with a showing of the movie, “The Seven Year Itch” from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 6th, followed by an additional evening opening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. According to BAHM Collections Manger Debbie Neece, “The Seven Year Itch” is a 1955 American romantic comedy film based on a three-act play with the same name by George Axelrod. The film was co-written and directed by Billy Wilder and stars Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell, who first played the part of Richard Sherman in the three-act play on Broadway.

“A massive promotional event took place in Bartlesville announcing Marilyn Monroe in ‘The Seven Year Itch,’” Neece said. “The bigger than life-sized, 52-foot cardboard cutout of Monroe stood taller than the Osage Theater marquee, then located at 316 S. Johnstone Ave., and the movie drew full-house showings.”

After extensive research Neece and Theater Historian Ron Roe have compiled a detailed history of area entertainment: “Vaudeville to Cinema: The History of Entertainment and Theater in Bartlesville and the Surrounding Area.”

“Bartlesville has been home to more than 30 theaters dating as early as the Bradly & Bryant Opera House in 1903,” Neece said. “The Queen of Vaudeville, Ruby Darby graced the stage of the Oklah Theater throughout the oil boom breaking house records and driving crowds wild with her Blues and musical comedy show.”

Through the lens of area photographer Frank Griggs and others, Washington County’s entertainment experience comes to life through graphics and memorabilia.

The Bartlesville Area History Museum is located on the fifth floor of City Hall, 401 S. Johnstone Ave. Join the museum and staff in remembering Bartlesville entertainment history, refreshments will be served at the evening event. BAHM is a family friendly facility where admission is free and donations are always welcome. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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