OETA Movie Club Blog
Written on Tuesday February 16, 2010
On Thursday, February 11, 2010 we were thrilled to meet so many wonderful OETA Movie Club fans at OETA Day at the Capitol. Many of you were able to sample some of the famous Movie Club popcorn and have your photo made with BJ Wexler.
One of our fondest memories was meeting one Panhandle resident who celebrated her 89th birthday by meeting B.J. Wexler. Ruth Koachway (pictured with B.J.) had seen in Odyssey the announcement about the event and told her daughter, Elaine, that a five-hour trip into Oklahoma City was her only birthday wish.
To spend 10 hours in the car for some popcorn and a photo didn't seem like enough. So after we finished up at the Capitol it was my pleasure to bring them back to OETA and give them a tour of our facility. Elaine said, as she and Ruth were leaving the station, "We feel like royalty. We never expected this kind of treatment." We hope we made their drive from the panhandle worth it. They make our work at OETA seem much more valuable after meeting them.
Until next time,
OETA Movie Club
Written on Monday July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009 BJ Wexler was awarded an Emmy by the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, Heartland Regional Chapter for "Best Host" of a television program. The entire OETA staff is very proud of BJ and this recognition.
As you, the OETA Movie Club viewers, have said many times to me, he is the best. I couldn't agree more. He is not only the host, but the lifeblood of the OETA Movie Club. His charm and personality keep people tuning in week after week. And he is just as loveable in person as he is on television. I enjoy working with him every week to create a program we can all be proud of.
BJ was shocked and humbled by the announcement that he was the latest winner of television's highest prize, the Emmy.
OETA Movie Club
Pictured above: BJ Wexler and Mickie Smith, Producer/Director of the OETA Movie Club
Written on Sunday June 7, 2009
Written on Sunday April 5, 2009
- The very first Movie Club aired February 5, 1988 at 9 p.m.
- The first film classics shown on Movie Club were Citizen Kane and Love Me or Leave Me.
- Movie Club originally aired live on Fridays nights. It moved to its current slot (Saturdays at 9 p.m.) on October 21, 1989.
- B.J. Wexler has hosted every Movie Club except for one: In 1988, OETA’s former production manager Bill Keeling substituted for B.J. so he could tend to his wife who was ill.
- Movie Club receives hundreds of pieces of fan mail/e-mail and movie requests each year.
- Actor and native Oklahoman Eric Rhodes appeared live in-studio on one of the first Movie Clubs. Rhodes was best known as the gigolo in Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals during the 1930's, including The Gay Divorcee and Top Hat.
Written on Wednesday January 14, 2009
How has Movie Club maintained such popularity on OETA throughout the last 20 years?
B.J.: The longtime viewers of OETA have answered that question for us. And the number one reason, which I hear most often, is that it’s been a family tradition getting together on the weekend watching old movies on OETA. The most rewarding are the comments I hear from young adults, now with their own families, renewing that tradition with their own children. Isn’t that great?
What do you do when you’re not hosting Movie Club?
B.J.: Since 1959, I have been working full-time in both the broadcast and advertising fields. Currently, I work for the OETA Foundation's Underwriting Department.
What are the most common questions viewers ask you?
B.J.: Folks always have fun with this one. Ninety-nine out of a 100 times when I run across OETA viewers they ask, with a smile and twinkle in their eye, ‘Hey, is that popcorn real?’ The answer I give is: ‘You bet it’s real … and really good.’
Who is the most memorable movie star you’ve met?
B.J.: Well, my favorite was Walter Pidgeon. Twice nominated for an Academy Award, he was best known for a string of eight MGM films during the 1940’s, co-starring with Greer Garson and many more: How Green Was My Valley, Mrs. Miniver and Madame Curie. I met this remarkable actor in Hollywood in 1975. Remembering that in a few early musical talkies he had made use of his baritone singing voice, I asked him (with tongue firmly planted in cheek!) if he was still singing professionally. Well, you would have thought I had asked him about all of his grandchildren from his engaging laugh and warm smile. ‘How’d you know that I used to sing?’ he asked. Talk about memorable!
What’s your favorite bit of film trivia?
B.J.: My favorite occurred during the making of It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s about the scene where George Bailey winds up at Martini’s Bar finding himself at the lowest point of his life and prays to God for help. As the camera’s rolled, Jimmy Stewart actually began to feel the loneliness of people who had nowhere to turn and was himself overcome with emotion. Only one problem — the camera was set for a wide shot and not a close-up. Nothing more was said about it. That night and for many weeks after, director Frank Capra took each of the thousands of individual frames of film and enlarged them, one by one, until he had the close-up he wanted. So, next time you see that scene, it’s not the camera moving closer it’s the loving work of Frank Capra, working long hours so that we could enjoy a remarkable performance by Jimmy Stewart.
What is your favorite film?
B.J.: The test that I apply to my personal favorite movies are those that I love to watch over and over again, like Casablanca, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife, 12 Angry Men, Star Wars, Singin’ in the Rain, Some Like It Hot, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Blazing Saddles, Dial M for Murder, Elmer Gantry, The Lady Vanishes, The Jolson Story and last, but not least, Last of the Dogmen. Now, ya better stop me or we’ll run out of space.
Do any particular shows over the last 20 years stand out?
B.J.: You bet! One night, during the airing of John Ford’s classic, My Darling Clementine starring Henry Fonda, Victor Mature and Tim Holt, we had the pleasure of having Tim Holt’s family in-studio. After retiring from the screen, Tim Holt made his home in Oklahoma for more than 20 years. And speaking of the children of Hollywood legends, one night we aired a terrific film classic called Suez, which starred Tyrone Power and the lovely Loretta Young. Her son Christopher Lewis joined us in studio that night sharing wonderful stories about his Mom. Many of our viewers in Tulsa will remember Christopher Lewis for his many years on both Channel 8 and Channel 6.
After 20 years of hosting, what do you love most about Movie Club?
B.J.: Oh, this one’s easy. The privilege of sharing some of the most thought provoking and entertaining motion pictures ever produced in Hollywood and around the world. It continues to be the highest honor of my broadcast career.