by Mike Lee, Staff Writer
Head down to Bricktown on any given night and you’ll see families riding on a water taxi along the Riverwalk.
You’ll probably see people coming and going from any number of restaurants that have moved into the revitalized area within the past 15 years.
Head a little farther north along West Reno and you’ll hear the chants from more than 18,000 screaming fans inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena pulling for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
It wasn’t always this way and it wasn’t always this good for Oklahoma’s capital.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett wants people to never forget that. That’s the reason behind Cornett’s nearly four-year labor of love Oklahoma City: The Boom, the Bust and the Bomb which opened at Harkins Theater on April 10 with four showings daily.
“When I was elected mayor over 10 years now I knew about and was proud of Oklahoma City’s history but I think I also assumed every city had a history that wasn’t all that unique from Oklahoma City,” Cornett said. “As I spoke more and more about Oklahoma City’s life experience of the 70s, 80s and early 90s I realized over time our city’s history was unique.”
“The highs of the the 70s and the lows of the 80s added on with the emotional burden of the Oklahoma City bombing those are significant elements on a city’s timeline and we saw them all in a relatively short period of time.”
Cornett holds that the good times the city is experiencing right now are a direct result of the trying times.
“I want them to understand how we got to where we are today,” Cornett says.
Cornett parallels his movie with the story telling style of the late Paul Harvey, who was born in Tulsa in 1918 and made a career telling people “the rest of the story.”
“He would tell you some things that went on before that that had a significant relevance that you probably never knew about. That was the rest of the story,” Cornett says. “That’s kind of what this movie is. You look at Oklahoma City today and see the city we have … well, this is the rest of the story. This is the story of the city that didn’t have any of these things and what it went through and how it never gave up.”
Cornett’s full-length feature film tells the story of Oklahoma City’s rise and fall from 1970 to 1995.
In Cornett’s eyes, no other city has a story like this. From being formed in a single day, to playing for the NBA Championship, Oklahoma City has ridden the triumph-to-heartbreak roller coaster for a good part of its historic life.
Oklahoma City:The Boom, the Bust and the Bomb, examines the most critical time in our city’s history. It centers on a pivotal 25-year period.
From the oil boom of the 1970’s to the failure of Penn Square Bank in 1982 to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, this inspiring film sheds light on the darkest days of Oklahoma City – and the people who refused to give up.
“Just like people are shaped by their life experiences, cities are as well. And the city we have today is a direct result of some incredibly tumultuous times,” Cornett says. “I want the next generation and those who have moved to the city since 1995 to understand the events that have shaped Oklahoma City in the 21st century.”
Cornett says he interviewed 20-25 people in piecing the story together. “It’s an amazing story and I think people will leave the theater inspired.”
Cornett interviewed people from all walks of life
“I saw the emotions of the camera crew, young people that didn’t know anything about these things and I saw their reaction and I thought this was just as powerful of a story as a I hope it would be,” Cornett said. “I don’t think the next generation has any idea what we went through.”
Cornett said he’s received “incredible feedback” from people his age and older.
Running a city and working, Cornett spent the better part of three years working on the movie. It took him a single year just to write the script.
To rent the movie instantly on any device or purchase the DVD, go to www.okcmovie.com.
“I think it’s a better story than people realize and there’s an emotional aspect to it as well,” Cornett said. “I think people are really going to enjoy it.”
When it seemed like things couldn’t get worse – things got worse. This is the inspiring story of Oklahoma City.
And if things go well Hollywood could be calling. Cornett already has his eye on recutting the film for a major motion picture audience.