June 17, 2011 • 5:15 am

It’s a coincidence that my fifth-favorite Broadway musical happens to coincide with my arrival in that very state: Oklahoma! (with an exclamation mark, please).  The Rodgers and Hammerstein play opened in 1943 and ran for 2,243 performances.  The movie, from which these clips are taken, was made in 1950, and won Oscars for Best Music and Best Sound.

The musical starred Shirley Jones (in her film debut) and Gordon MacRae. Here’s a medley of four great songs from the movie, “Oh what a beautiful mornng,” “The surrey with the fringe on top,” “People will say we’re in love,” and, of course, “Oklahoma!”

Speaking of Oklahoma, this is what greeted me in my hotel room yesterday: a Gideon Bible and a prayer that was on a card placed on the bed.

The prayer begins:

Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people,

and not a solely for profit organization,

we hope that God will grant you peace and rest

while you are under our roof.

I’m not in Chicago any more!

But that was more than offset by dinner at Rudy’s BBQ, thanks to UO professor and conference organizer Ingo Schlupp and his student Uli, who took pity on my carless state and ferried me there from the hotel.  Creditable barbecue: brisket with fried okra, potato salad and, of course, sweet iced tea.

28 thoughts on “Oklahoma!

  1. Would you believe? I actually auditioned for Curly in our junior high school production. Didn’t get the role, though…and I sometimes wonder how my life might have been different if I had….


      1. Actually, I was thinking more along the lines if it would have led me to major in music theatre rather than trumpet performance, and how that would have changed what schools I applied to and what-not — but thanks anyway!


    1. Or apply for a Templeton grant to pay for copies of WEIT to be left on pillows throughout the mid-west!

  2. It all looks very ‘brown’ – I mean in the coabohydraty fried state of things! mmmm… The fried okra? That is a new one to me.

    1. I guess Oklahoma isn’t the South, but it seems the same things go with Q there as here. We also have fried dill pickles and fried corn, plus, naturally, fried green tomatoes. (In addition both jello and mac and cheese are classed as vegetables.) Health food!

  3. I did remember the one decent place I ate at in OKC: Zia’s Italian Kitchen, on S. Meridian at about SW 20th.

    Horrible, horrible Walmart style, architecture, and atmosphere; but you can sit at the bar and enjoy: hot shrimp salad and 4-cheese (or was it 5- or 7-cheese?) pasta, booth of which were very nice (even to a palate trained in France, Singapore, and Seattle) and decent wine by the glass.

    I would also note two good places for walking I found: The eastern edge of the Overholser Lake reservoir (western edge of OKC) has nice flat walking and scissortail flycatchers (worth a visit just for the birds), and the Wichita Mountains (granite hills) about 1.5 hours SW of you, beyond Chickasha (“Chickashay”, *cringe*) which features hikes of up to 800 vertical feet and free-raoming bison! Very nice!

  4. I hope you got the moist brisket at Rudy’s, which is my favorite barbecue place. There is a Texas A&M study which shows that brisket is a health food. It is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids. That is what makes the moist moist, you know.

    In motels in Hawaii there was a Buddhist book. I read a little and did not understand it, not an uncommon occurrence.

  5. Fried Okra is an Oklahoma delicacy.

    Use plenty of Ketchup!

    Dr. Coyne too bad you are not in Tulsa, it has many good BBQ places.

  6. Okra! It’s not just for breakfast anymore! (And I’m sure there’s an Okrahoma joke in there somewhere.)

    “Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people…”

    Oh, no! It’s not a hotel, it’s a restaurant!

  7. “Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people, and not a solely for profit organization . . .”

    Rubbish. Just watch their profit motivation roll up if someone arrives at their “shelter” actually looking for “shelter”.

  8. I know you don’t take boots on trips, but surely you took a pair on this one.

    Also, a colleague from OK, whose gatronomy is is generally reliable, informs me that there’s a pizza chain called something like Mazio’s, that started in Norman. Also, there’s a bar that’s been there forever at State & University, by the north entrance to the campus, that offers good local ambience (which spellcheck seems to think requires two a’s, not two e’s).

  9. ‘Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people,

    and not a solely for profit organization

    we hope that God will grant you peace and rest

    while you are under our roof.”

    Yeah, well, haven’t corporations prevailed on the Supreme Court to declare that there is a legal duty to maximize shareholder value (assuming the place has shareholders)? If God so grants it, will it be because of a prayer meeting in the board room? What do they pay their housekeeping and maintenance staff? Can the staff themselves rest at night under their modest roofs without fear that management will hold their jobs over their heads? (What’s that capitalist phrase, “creative distruction”?)

    I gather that that is effectively their “mission statement”? That word “mission” used to be restricted to religious evangelizing and the military. Then some “human resource” type got ahold of it. Everybody’s got a “mission statement” now.

    (Why the change from “personnel” to “human resources”? Just cuz it sounds more hoity-toity? Although HR is a more accurate and honest term, reflecting corporatists’ true attitude toward flesh and blood humans.)

    Do I correctly recall that it was Max Weber who rhetorically inquired, “Is God a capitalist?”

    Re: “Oklahoma!”: I could be wrong, but I do believe that it was filmed/released in (1954?)/1955. The actors had to film it twice to accommodate two different film technologies. Don’t recall what the earlier one was (maybe Cinemascope?) but I’m quite sure the other, newer one was “TODD-AO” (developed by one of E. Taylor’s husbands, Mike Todd; don’t know what the “AO” means. Advanced Optics?).

    Also, I think it was with regard to R&H’s “Carousel” – Frank Sinatra did a film test for the male lead, singing “If I Loved You.” But he didn’t want to similarly have to do two filmings. But Gordon McRae obviously didn’t mind.

  10. Poor Jud is dead
    A candle lights his head
    He’s layin’ there so peaceful and serene
    The daisies in the dell
    Will give out a different smell
    Now that Jed is underground.

    1. I always feel Jud got a bum rap and Curly got off too lightly.

      But the song is refreshingly realistic about death and free of religiosity.

      Poor Jud is dead
      Poor Jud Fry is dead
      All gather round his coffin now and cry
      He had a heart of gold
      And he wasn’t very old
      Oh why did such a feller have to die?

      Poor Jud is dead
      Poor Jud Fry is dead
      He’s lookin’ oh so peaceful and serene
      He’s all laid out to rest
      With his hands acrost his chest
      His fingernails have never been so clean

      [spoken interlude]

      Poor Jud is dead
      Poor Jud Fry is dead
      His friends are weepin’ wail for miles around
      The daisies in the dell
      Will give out a different smell
      Because poor Jud is underneath the ground

      Poor Jud is dead
      A candle lights his head
      He’s layin’ in a coffin made of wood
      And folks are feelin’ sad
      ‘Cuz they used to treat him bad
      And now they know their friend has gone for good

      Poor Jud is dead
      A candle lights his head
      He’s lookin’ oh so purty and so nice
      He looks like he’s asleep
      It’s a shame that he won’t keep
      But it’s summer and we’re runnin’ out a’ ice

  11. It looks like you have the wrong video posted. The one I am seeing is just “People Will Say We’re In Love”.

  12. I didn’t think those landscapes looked much like Oklahoma!. No wonder; turns out the shooting locations were in Arizona…..is nothing what it claims to be?

  13. As hot and flat as it is here in Oklahoma, Norman seems like quite a nice town – but definitely not Chicago!

    Dinner with Dr. Schlupp sounds like a treat… He works with some very interesting fish on questions that I’m very interested in myself.

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