Tulsa A to Z Review

Jack Frank's new film documents Tulsa from "A to Z"

From Tulsa People Magazine

Jack Frank has a new project waiting in the wings. His popular video assemblages of old film reels, long-lost home movies and shots of Tulsa landmarks both past and present also include the programs “Tulsa Deco,” “Let’s Go Downtown,” “Tulsa’s Uncommon Houses” and “Fantastic Tulsa Films: Volumes 1 and 2.”

“Tulsa A to Z” is an abecedarium — no, I won’t define it; look it up — that aims to celebrate (in 26 segments) the charm, style and history of T-Town, as do all of Frank’s other productions, with plenty of interesting detours into the quirky or little-known (or else little-remembered). This newest project, every bit as alphabet-driven as its title implies, is meant to capture the people, places and things that pretty much make Tulsa, Tulsa.

For instance, “A” (as viewers will discover at the outset) is for the Admiral Twin Drive-In. The proprietor of this movie lovers’ mainstay is interviewed, as are various patrons, one of whom looks back on seeing Disney’s “The Jungle Book” (1967) there as a kid.

“G,” then, is for the Golden Driller, that heroically gigantic statue that guards our city’s Expo Center, often wearing only an impassive gaze and a KMOD T-shirt, much in the way (I suppose) that the Great Sphinx guards the pyramids of Giza.

And “L” is for Lortondale, the hip midtown neighborhood near Yale Avenue between 26th and 31st streets that boasts many identical-yet-distinctive mid-century modernist homes.

And “U” — well, see if you can guess what “U” is for. Here’s a hint …

The expert Frank consults in “Tulsa A to Z” concerning the iconic “U” symbol at hand says, speaking about a certain hypodermic-needle-shaped structure in Tulsa’s skyline: “Everyone loves this building, or hates this building, or wonders what this building is.”

If you guessed the apartment high-rise known as the University Club Tower, you’re a winner. And the film itself is a winner, too, actually, in that it’s just plain fun to watch.

Throughout, Frank speaks with in-the-know types — historians, architects and so on — as well as passers-by and hoi polloi. The filmmaker’s folksy ’n’ chatty narration is once again in effect here.

 Even so, “Tulsa A to Z” delivers the goods in a diverting, entertaining manner. The parlor-game-like structure of the film is definitely part of its appeal, and the diverse topics covered make the overall subject — our little corner of the cosmos, after all — that much more appealing.