Tomorrow marks the 100th birthday of Benny Goodman, clarinetist known as the King of Swing.
Seventy-two years ago, the Benny Goodman Trio, consisting of drummer Gene Krupa, pianist Teddy Wilson and clarinetist Goodman, appeared on a Sunday night in September of 1937 at Springlake Casino.
Springlake Amusement Park was across from the zoo on Martin Luther King Boulevard and was an entertainment mecca for Oklahoma City for 59 years. It opened on May 21, 1922, as Springlake Pavilion, inviting people to dance to the Al Davis Band in ” the Coolest Spot in Town.”
Two years later, in 1924, two concrete pools opened and in 1926 the famed Big Dipper was introduced to eager park visitors.
The park also became a venue for big name entertainers. Herbie Kay, Rudy Vallee, The Four Preps, Marty Robbins, Brenda Lee, Minnie Pearl, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash and the Beach Boys all played at Springlake.
In 1937, the “ballroom” was called the Springlake Casino, and it welcomed Benny Goodman, whose ” “hot licks” and “dirty” music, have made him the new sensation of jazz” ” for a one night stand.
The Oklahoman for September 20, 1937, carried this short item:
Goodman Band Is Magnet for 2,500
Benny Goodman blew on his clarinet and the boys and girls from miles around swung it Sunday night at Springlake amusement park.
Attendance was estimated at 2,500. Goodman, known as the King of Swing and his band stopped over for one night on their way east.
Goodman, who died in 1986, visited Oklahoma several more times, most notably in 1962 when he appeared with the Oklahoma City Symphony to a crowd estimated between 4,200 and 5,000.
Springlake closed in 1981, but the memories of warm summer nights and wonderful music still linger.
To learn more about Benny Goodman go to www.bennygoodman.com, “The Official Website of the King of Swing.” A history “Springlake Amusement Park” by Doug Loudenback was published in 2008 .
One hundred years ago today, the police chief of Oklahoma City was fighting the same problems our police do today. The headline below appeared in The Oklahoman for May 22, 1909.
“Never since I have been a resident of the city have the speed laws been disobeyed to such a great extent as today,” says the chief. “The lawbreaker, in covering up their tracks against the police, frequently remove the numbers on their cars, throwing off pursuit. We will discover some means to prevent this and when such practices are revealed the punishment inflicted on those arrested will be doubly severe.”
With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, law enforcement officers will be out in force. The tickets they issue will cost considerably more than the $10 fine in 1909.
The headline tells the story.
I saw this headline in The Oklahoman for March 26, 1904, and just had to read the story.
The story was datelined Ardmore, I.T. and told the story of a “novel scheme” two whiskey peddlers used to sell illegal whiskey in the Chickasaw Nation.
They would travel the country in an old wagon under the guise of purchasing eggs and poultry, while allegedly selling pint jars of whiskey.
When a federal officer “pulled them over,” it was discovered that both of the wagon’s axles were of iron and very large and hollow. A small bolt could be removed and a pump inserted to withdraw the whiskey.
While the capture was “belived to be an important one,” the story did not tell of the peddlers’ punishment.
Today, it is a misdemeanor to possess untaxed liquor, and, yes, you can still get in trouble for selling white lightning.
Welcome to The Oklahoman’s News Research Center’s weblog – “The Archivist.”
The News Research Center archives the pages of The Okahoman for history. The staff catalogs the text and photographs electronically to make them easily searchable and retrievable. They also provide research for reporters and editors and for the public on a fee basis.
My name is Mary Phillips and I am a news research specialist. I have worked for the News Research Center for more than 25 years. When I started, stories were cut out of the newspaper and filed in envelopes, and prints of photographs were filed in envelopes, too
Now, both stories and photographs are stored digitally, and The Oklahoman is available through our online archives back to 1900.
The Archivist hopes to be a gateway to the history that can be found in the files of The Oklahoman. I will be your principal guide as we revisit the stories that make up our history. Some will be big and some little, but we hope you will find them interesting.
The adventure starts now!