A version of this story appears in the Sunday Life section of The Oklahoman.
Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Center screening ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ Saturday
After the movie, Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum, will discuss the ties between Guthrie, the Okemah-born folk icon famed for his Dust Bowl ballads like “The Grapes of Wrath”-inspired “Tom Joad,” and John Steinbeck, the Salinas, Calif., native esteemed for his Dust Bowl novels “In Dubious Battle,” “Of Mice and Men” and “The Grapes of Wrath.”
TULSA — The Joad family didn’t travel through Tulsa during their flight from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression, but the fictional family of John Steinbeck’s acclaimed 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath” has strong ties to at least one historic corner of the city.
The Woody Guthrie Center, 102 E Brady in the historic Brady District, will host a special screening of John Ford’s Oscar-winning 1940 film adaptation of “The Grapes of Wrath” at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“Woody Guthrie certainly made public the plight of the Dust Bowl migrants, and he was connected to John Steinbeck. They worked together … so it seems like a logical connection for us to show ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’” said Becky Hawkes, Education and Public Programs Manager for Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Center.
After the screening, Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum, will discuss the ties between Guthrie, the Okemah-born folk icon famed for his Dust Bowl ballads like “The Grapes of Wrath”-inspired “Tom Joad,” and Steinbeck, the Salinas, Calif., native esteemed for his Dust Bowl novels “In Dubious Battle,” “Of Mice and Men” and “The Grapes of Wrath.”
Steinbeck won the Pultizer Prize and National Book Award for “The Grapes of Wrath,” a powerful tale about tenant farmers from Sallisaw who flee the economic hardships of the Great Depression and seek out a new life in California. The film adaptation was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning best director for Ford and best supporting actress for Jane Darwell.
“We think it’s an excellent combination with what we have to show related to the Dust Bowl and the things that Woody Guthrie spoke up against. Some of his very first songwritings had to do with making public the plight of those people who were suffering who had migrated to California and were being treated poorly,” said Deana McCloud, executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center. “That was in an era when being called an ‘Okie’ was a derogatory term, whereas now we think of it as our proud heritage.”
Saturday’s film screening is free with paid admission, and the center’s exhibits will be open until the movie starts.
The screening is offered in conjunction with the National Steinbeck Center’s 2014 “Grapes of Wrath” 75th anniversary celebration. The national center is sending representatives Oct. 6 to record Tulsa area resident’s oral histories related to the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.
People interested in sharing their stories can call Ö (918) 574-2710.
“The Grapes of Wrath” movie screening and discussion
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Woody Guthrie Center, 102 E Brady, Tulsa.
Information: (918) 574-2710 or www.woodyguthriecenter.org.