Thursday, July 20, 2017

Top 5 at the Oklahoma History Center

Previously:



The Oklahoma History Center has multiple floors filled with artifacts and exhibits chronicling Oklahoma's distant and not so distant past.  Beautiful Native American artwork sits side by side with a Jim Thorpe Wheaties box.  Well, maybe not side by side but the collection is very eclectic and very far reaching.

But since this blog is "Oklahoma Pop Culture," I decided to make this Top 5 List a list of the best Pop Culture items on display...or rather the five pop culture items I liked when I saw them on my last visit.  So without further ado...

5.  Pokey Hand Puppet


We may all be a little too young to remember the HoHo the Clown show (or various KOCO-TV shows) but several decades ago HoHo and his sidekick Pokie (along with a huge rotating cast of characters) would be welcomed into the homes of Oklahoman baby boomers via black and white TV.  While HoHo may have gone to that big circus in the sky, Pokie, in all his homemade sock puppet glory, remains on display.

4. One of Roy Clark's Outfits


Singer, actor, musician and favorite son of Oklahoma, Roy Clark, was many things.  But first and foremost, he was a showmen.  So flamboyant outfits like this one were in the regular rotation during his time co-hosting "Hee Haw" (hey kids, go ask your parents what Hee Haw was...you won't regret it) or at one of his many live musical performances.

3.  Decades Old Sonic Bag


It's always nice to see something that was meant to be thrown in the trash actually be preserved.  It's the mundane pieces of memorabilia that really help to paint a picture of day to day life in the past.  I think this is from the 60's but I'm positive that its previous owner had the foresight to realize that in the future people would want to look at a sandwich bag in a museum.  Good job, old school Sonic customer!

2.  89ers TV Cards


These days when you watch a game on TV there are any number of technological advancements that allow you to immerse yourself in the competition.  But back when the Dodgers where known as the 89ers, the TV station had to literally hold up cards like these in front of the camera to advertise ticket sales.  We've come a long way...now the NFL has their own robot.

1.  3-D Danny Costume


Well, we started with a local kid's TV show and we'll end with one.  3D Danny (Dan D. Dynamo) was the alter ego of Oklahoma broadcaster Danny Williams who portrayed the standard 50's scifi hero that had adventures and was friends with a robot.  His cool super suit remains as inspiration for today's youth who would also like to befriend a robot some day.

This is just a surface scratching assembly of the huge collection of Okie memorabilia on display at the center.  When you get a chance go stop by and make your own Top 5 List.  Tell 'em 3D Danny sent you.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Top 5 Things For Sale at the Sam Noble Museum Gift Shop

Previously:



There's a lot going on at the Sam Noble Natural History Museum.  Fossils, native peoples, history, rotating exhibits and plenty more to fill your brain with.  But once your thirst for knowledge is quenched, it's time to take a little piece of the excitement with you.  So today we exit through the gift shop and pick the Top 5 items that caught our eye on our last trip there.

5.  Hawaiian Ukulele


 As far as I can tell, this has nothing to do with science or Oklahoma but it just screams "gift shop" to me.  I envision many a regretful parent on many a family road trip being serenaded with the "soothing" sounds of Hawaii as they drove to the second largest Ball of Twine.  I couldn't tell you why it's there but I'm glad it is.

4.  Oklahoma Pencil Sharpener


Cheap.  Functional.  Oklahoma-themed.  Much can be said about the humble pencil sharpener.   Many would dismiss this little beauty as Dollar Store flotsam but I say give it a chance.  Nothing gets the little ones quiet like giving them a task.  And let's face it, all those pencils aren't going to sharpen themselves.  (Bonus points for the little cartoon buffalo!)

3.  Barite Rose Rocks


There's nothing better than being able to buy something at a museum that might actually be displayed in a museum.  The rare rose rock is the state rock of Oklahoma and and can pretty much only be found here (and technically in a couple of other places but they're much rarer there).  Pick up one of these beauties and put it on your desk at work and you've got an instant conversation piece.  It sure beats working.

2.  Oklahoma Tornado Snow Globes


Sure, tornadoes are no fun but they are a part of life in the Sooner State.  Here they get incorporated with a snow storm (or maybe a dust storm?) into one of the classic gift shop items of all time.  The best kind of twister is the one you can control.

1.  Little Oklahoma Pillow


You remember those collector plates from the 70's that had little cartoony depictions of an area's interesting features and attractions?  (Like THIS one.)  These little pillows remind me of them.  And the fact that they are apparently hand made puts them in the #1 slot on the list. 

So if you can't find a souvenir keepsake from this bunch then I don't know what to tell you.  You must hate fun...and gift shops.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Sinclair Dinosaurs of Oklahoma

Years ago, in Route 66's prime, the roads were packed with vacationers, salesmen and entrepreneurs who drove up and down the back roads and highways chasing the American experience.  Gas stations and motels were in fierce competition to get the attention and patronage of these weary travelers so many of them got creative.

Sinclair Oil had a dinosaur theme in their advertising and so it was only natural to have some dinosaurs at their stations welcoming the empty tanks of road weary wanderers.  The bright green statues are few and far between these days but lucky travelers can still find a few at select Sinclair stations.  And the great state of Oklahoma has several you can spot on your next road trip like this one in Tahlequah:


This is a pretty standard example but seek and ye shall find some more colorful examples.  One of the best places to stop on an Oklahoma road trip is Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies in Davis along I-35.  You can pick up lunch, dessert and a selfie with a red version of the dinosaur that stands watch on their roof:


Further north up the interstate you can find an even more colorful guy in a very colorful place.  The Toy & Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley has pretty much every super hero, cartoon character and scifi monster you can think of.  And among the heroes and villains you can find this guy:


Even farther north is an example of another dino with a dramatic story.  You wouldn't know it to look at him now but a few years back, this dinosaur in Norman lost his head:


As you can see, he's made a full recovery but for a while he was completely headless.  How did this happen?  How did it get resolved?  News 9 reports:


Now, of course, you can find these guys outside of the Sooner State.  You just have to keep your eyes open on the road (which you should be doing anyway).  But if you're lucky, you can see the balloon version from the comfort of your own home.  After a long absence, the Sinclair Dinosaur Balloon returned to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade last year:


So if you want to find a couple of these guys then consider your next road trip to be a dinosaur hunting expedition.  You never know what you'll see on the back roads.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Top 5 Bones at the Museum of Osteology


If you haven't visited the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City then put it on your list.  Born from the hard work and imagination of ambitious bone-enthusiast Jay Villemarette and his business"Skulls Unlimited," the museum houses more animal skeletons than you can shake a femur at.

But what's a weirdo museum without a seemingly arbitrary list of rankings?   So with that, I present the Top 5 Bones (and/or full skeletons) in the Osteology Museum:

5.  Magellanic Penguin


You don't really think of penguins having bones...or at least I usually don't.  But of course they do.  And seeing the remains of one like this makes me think of them a little more like chickens or turkeys after a nice holiday dinner.  Birds are birds, I guess

4.  Fruit Bat


A lot of people find the giant skeletons like the humpback whale or giraffe to be the most impressive but, for me, the smaller ones are the most interesting.  Clearly a lot of work went into cleaning, preparing and arranging the tiny, intricate bones of this little guy.  Plus you get the side-by-side comparison with his taxidermy specimen buddy.

3.  King Cobra


A couple of things stick out with this creepy guy: apparently a cobra's hood isn't just skin or cartilage, it's actual bones.  You can also get a look at how a snake's jawbone allows it to open extra wide to gobble up their dinner.

2. Two-Headed/Two-Faced Calves


There's nothing better to see in a kooky museum than some kind of biological oddity, particularly of the two-headed variety.  The accompanying plaque indicates that this also happens to snakes and humans but the overwhelming majority that I've seen have been cows.

1.  Skull of a Space Chimp!


What we have here is the skull of an honest to goodness chimpanzee from NASA's Space Chimp Program.  Son unlike the other animals at the museum, being on display at the Museum of Osteolgy is only his second biggest accomplishment.

So do you agree?  Disagree?  Let me know if you have a bone to pick with the list or just go visit the museum and make your own list!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The WONDERtorium at the Piedmont Library


Yesterday the Stillwater based WONDERtorium children's museum came out to the Piedmont Public Library to let kids have fun with their "Design, Build, Create!" program.  And we were there to shoot some video.  Take a look:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MVP Day


Recently Devon Energy and the OKC Dodgers celebrated STEM education by working with local schools and teachers for MVP Day!  Our pal Devin was there showing off rock and fossil specimens from the Oklahoma Geological Society.  Here's some video we shot during the event:


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Why is Thor the State Avenger of Oklahoma

The state rock of Oklahoma is the barite rose rock.  The state bird is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  The official state beverage is milk.  But what about the state Avenger?  Every state has one.  Awhile back Marvel Comics launched a new Avengers title and released a ton of variant covers of each state with their very own Avenger.


All 50 states got one plus Washington DC, Puerto Rico and, for some reason, Canada.  Avengers for everybody!

Since a ton of Marvel's characters live and work in New York, they had to get a little creative to cover every location.  So let's dive into the reasoning behind the 46th state's super hero.

So what's Thor doing in Oklahoma?  There are actually a couple of reasons.  In 2007 write J. Michael Straczynski moved Thor's mythical home Asgard to the real life town of Broxton, Oklahoma.  Specifically, it was floating several feet about the town.


Imagine a "Green Acres" or "Newhart" type fish-out-of-water situation except with super heroes.  Imagine the hijinks.  So why did Straczynski pick Oklahoma?  The primary theory involves the Heavener Runestone in eastern Oklahoma:


Urban legend says that the stone's markings were carved by ancient vikings who had somehow made their way to Oklahoma.  Maybe they ran into Bigfoot while they were there.  The general consensus seems to be that the markings were made more recently in history by anyone other than vikings.  But the connection was more than enough to get us a Norse god-inspired superhero.

Awhile back we headed out to Heavener Runestone Park to shoot this video for your viewing pleasure:


So the next time you think Oklahoma never gets a fair shake, just remember that we got one of the top Avengers and Wisconsin had to settle for "Quasar."