Okemah, Oklahoma, is a small town some 73 miles east of Oklahoma City. Okemah was Woody Guthrie’s home town, and it’s where our mother grew up. There’s an elementary school there named after our grandfather. We spent many happy days there in our youth.
It could be argued that Okemah is less thriving today than it once was, but it has always had one thing going for it, in our eyes: The local movie theatre was still in operation, which is not the case in so many small towns across the country today.
The Crystal, which opened in 1910 and was refashioned into an atmospheric theatre in the early 1920s, isn’t showing movies nowadays, but a local group is trying to restore the theatre, which still hosts live events, such as the annual Woody Guthrie Festival.
One hopes that, if the theatre does get fully restored, they’ll start showing moving pictures there again.
You probably have never passed through Okemah. Perhaps you never will. But if you’re a fan of old movie theatres, as we are, you might wish to donate even a few dollars toward the cause of preserving this venerable bijou. You can visit the “Save the Crystal” page at Facebook and donate via Paypal right on the spot.
We’re guessing even a five-spot or whatever else you can spare would be greatly appreciated.