Circle Theatre

Kristin Pack Historic Buildings

circletheatreThe Circle theatre is a brick, two-story, flat-roofed, Commercial style building. The theatre is noticeably closer to the street than the other buildings on the block. This was to lure patrons off the street repeatedly to enjoy a fleeting movie experience. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the theatre is the unusual red and green/brown brick on the facade. None of the other buildings on the block have the same eye catching brick.

The theatre is architecturally significant as a local example of 1920s movie theatre architecture. Constructed in 1928, the Circle was one of nine movie theatres operating in Tulsa. It was the first suburban theatre and it is the only pre-1960s movie theatre remaining. With admission prices at twenty-five cents for adults and ten cents for children, the Circle Theatre opened for business on July 15, 1928 with the premier Oklahoma showing of “Across the Atlantic,” starring Monte Blue. The film was followed by an “…uproarious comedy featuring Lupino Lane, a Lyman Howe travelogue and a news reel, Kinograms.”

The growing number of television stations led to the decline of the Circle and other theatres. In 1945, there were only nine television stations located in five cities. By 1952, two thousand television stations with the capacity to serve three million homes were operating.