Hillbillies at the Clinton Street Theatre

Have you ever wondered why actor John Ritter of “Three’s Company” fame ever made it in Hollywood? As is often the case in Glamourtown, it’s because of his father, Tex Ritter. Tex was a singing cowboy star of “B” westerns during the ’30s and ’40s and later a country music recording star.

On Friday, Oct. 11, the Clinton Street Theater will show the rare 1943 feature “Take Me Back to Oklahoma.” It stars Tex Ritter, and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. The story is about Storm (played by Karl Hackett), who is out to wreck Ace’s stage line. When Tex arrives to help Ace (Carleton Young), Storm brings in hired killer Mule Bates (Olin Francis). But Tex and Bates know each other and they devise a plan to fool Storm.

Vintage cinema, short subjects, clips from features, excerpts from TV shows and SOUNDIES will complete the program. The clips include footage of Jimmie Rodgers, Emerson’s Mountaineers, Smokey Rogers and His Cowboy Cavalry, Elvis, Gene Vincent, Johnny Burnett & The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio, Hank Williams Jr. (age 14), Rufe Davis, Spike Jones and His City Slickers, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins.

“The Clinton Street Theater has run many different programs of popular music on film. We thought it was long past time to feature western swing, hillbilly and rockabilly. ‘Take Me Back to Oklahoma’ features the awesome music of The King of Western Swing, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. The program will appeal to anyone, young or old, who likes western music, cowboy movies, great vintage rockabilly or just wants to have a plain ol’ good time,” said Elizabeth Rozier, of the Clinton Street Theater.

The Clinton Street Theater is located at 2522 S.E. Clinton St. and the phone number is 503-233-1597. The film will show on Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. and admission is $6. Directly after the show, ramble over to the Clinton Street Pub, where DJ Murphy will be playing 78s, 33s and 45s records (we’re talking real vinyl here) from the finest selections of hillbilly, honky-tonk, western swing, rockabilly and Hawaiian music this town has to offer.