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Oklahoma’s Oldest Movie Theater and the recipe for keeping in open since 1915

CARNEGIE, OKLAHOMA -- You might not notice at first, but start reading the business signs on Carnegie's Main Street and you'll find a familiar name.

Liberty Dental, Liberty Floral, Liberty Drug, and the original, the oldest continuously operated theater in Oklahoma, a theater that first opened in 1915, and has had two owners since.

"So this is the original theater," asks a visitor walking into one of three auditoriums.

"Yes," says owner Jerry Applewhite. "It's been re-seated several times."

Applewhite's parents started out by renting the Liberty Theatre in 1952.

Jerry remembers seeing his first 3-D movie in this hall and running out scared.

"It had a stampede in it," he recalls.

In 1972 the Applewhites bought the Liberty and Jerry found a home beneath this old pressed tin ceiling, looking through the projectioninst window, watching the flickering lights of a thousand stories come and go.

"Yes," he confirms. "I did fall in love with it."

On a normally quiet Thursday night the line forms before the box office even opens.

In most small Oklahoma towns these old movie palaces are long gone.

But Jerry still pops his own corn and sticks with a menu that he credits for keeping his doors open.

They're called Show Dogs; steamed bun, all beef frank, mustard, chili, and diced onions, a box office his for decades now.

"A three screen movie house in a town of 1,500. That won't go," he explains. "A hot dog stand won't go. The two of them together work."

It looks like a movie set.

Main Street, neon lights, small town, a 1970's ticket price of $4.00, but there is a different kind of movie magic at work here.

This Oscar season it's not an illusion at all.

The Liberty Theatre is premiering the latest "How to Train Your Dragon" movie this weekend.

For showtimes go to

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