20th Century Electric Company
20th Century Electric Company was a 1970s era Disco Club with a Lighted up dance floor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I think it remained open thru the '70s and up into the 1980s.
Jerry "Dr. Funk" Corbin (1975-1985)
Time period in operation: 1973 till at least 1985...
Photos below submitted by Steve Simmons
Description: This is the building that 20th Century Electric Company was located in starting about 1973. The second photo was the sign that was located about the (2) doors and about the colors that I can remember.
Photo below of Jerry "Dr. Funk" Corbin and friends New Year's Eve 1977 at 20th Century Electric Disco.
Photos below by Steve Simmons
photo 1: Jim Roland --AKA: Pugo DJ at 20th starting 1973 along with Jerry Corbin
photo 2: This is an original 20th jacket still in perfect condition and owned by someone today..other than myself.
Please note that in the interest of fairness, the names of DJs and staff are listed in alphabetical order.
Click to Add Your Photos to this Page!
Added by Steve Simmons
I WAS ONE OF THE BARTENDERS WHEN IT FIRST OPENNED. WHAT AHOT SPOT IN TULSA IT WAS SMOKING HOT. I WAS THERE FOR FOUR YEARS & LOVED COMING TO WORK. WE HAD CONCERTS SUCH AS REO SPEED WAGON, THERE WAS SO MANY " SMOKING HOT WOMEN" PEOPLE WOULD STAND IN LINE FOR 30 MINUTES TO GET IN I MEAN EVERY ONE WOULD COME THERE. I WOULD TAKE MY BREAKS & PLAY FOOS BALL UPSTAIRS. THE COUNTY WAS DRY SO PEOPLE HAD TO BRING THEIR OWN BOTTLES TO DRINK ALCHOHOL.THERE ARE SO MANY MEN WHO MET THEIR WIFES THERE AND STARTED A FAMILY.MY NAME IS BUD ORMSBY IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE WHO WORKED WITH ME SAY HELLO . THIS WAS WAY BEFORE TEEN NIGHTS
I was a regular at 20th Century Electric company my Senior year of High School (1976-1977) and then went occasionally when home for the weekend from OSU. Lots of memories. After college I discovered New Wave and Punk and started going places like the Roxy and Ground Zero in Dallas or the Bowery in OKC. Did 20th Century Electric Company keep playing Disco in the 80's or did they catch the "New Wave"?
Is there any tcec memorabilia for sale?
Wow what a throw back.. I worked there from 1981 to 1982. Me,my brother Candy, my friend Tito,Gil,Dj Ronnie. Bartender Cricket,Joe,and big Joe the bouncer. I used to bartend on sunday nights because it was teen night.Poker game every pay day...memories.
Spent numerous memorable "under 21" nights at 20th Century 1977-80 dancing from the time the doors opened until closing !! Thanks for updates and information on this page, which I just found tonight while doing research for a Disco radio show I host each Friday on Internet radio station The GRID (www.tulsacc.edu/theGRID, last show is 12/6/13). Several of us would LOVE for Tulsa to have a Discotheque again...especially for us 50 somethings!
Is this the same Steve Simmons that had a little blue volkswagon with a headset that had a cord long enough so he could jump out of the car at a stop light and dance?????
I frequented 20th Century starting in 1974. Wonderful times were had by all. I'm sorry I missed the reunion, but I live in Georgia now, and only heard about it after the fact. Maybe I can plan next time. I remember all of the dancing, and yeah, the BYOB, having to check your bottle at the bar. Also red beer, which people have never heard of down here. I really miss it, but have wonderful memories with friends Elaine Ward, Rose Giddens, and various others. Everyone loved it!!
Billboard Magazine article is on pages 22 & 24.
Here is the link to the Billboard magazine article: (Cheadle & Brown Team Up): http://books.google.com/books?id=eQkEAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Article: Cheadle & Brown Team Up To Guide Top Tulsa Disco
Billboard Magazine: Published by Nielsen Media, Inc.
Dated: Nov. 23, 1974 By: RICHARD L. FRICKER
TULSA – The resurgence of discotheque patronage is not news to Rick Cheadle and Bill Brown who combined their CPA and electrical engineering talents over a year ago by opening the 20th Century Electric Co. Almost since the opening, 20th Century has enjoyed one of the most consistent patronages in the area.
Except for special occasions, all music is provided by a staff of two disk jockeys and drummer who sit in front of a lighted wall with interchanging flashing colors while customers dance on a similarly lit floor.
“We do live music in special concerts like Teegarden and Van Winkle, REO Speedwagon, Canned Heat and things like that,” Cheadle says.
The idea for 20th Century originated during a business trip to Denver, where Cheadle visited a club with a lighted floor. He asked Brown for his ideas and soon the fully lit 24 x 48 floor, and 60 feet across walls, were under construction.
While atmosphere is an important drawing card Cheadle is quick to point out that the music keeps the customers coming back along with a special free beer night twice a week.
Asked about music selection Cheadle explains the procedure as being closely coupled with the type of jock hired for the 20th Century. “I like hard rock music. You can’t play FM type of things consistently because it gets away from dancing and into mood music, you have to have boogie music--- that’s the type of atmosphere we want.”
Mostly the music is picked by the jock but we try to pick people who are either past musicians, radio personnel, or good dancers. The good dancer is the best because he knows what is best for dancing. Our best jock is a good dancer and the better disk jockeys are good dancers.”
Only LP’s are used by 20th Century. Most of the record stock has been purchased by the company. However, Cheadle says Shelter and Capitol have supplied some records on occasion. The purchase trend is one of simply selecting what is hot at present plus standard groups such as the Rolling Stones. The Library contains in excess of 1,000 albums at present.
Attendance figures average about 650 persons with the exception of Tuesday and Sunday nights. On those nights a slightly higher admission is charged because beer is free and self-service. This serves two purposes. It brings in many first-timers and give all the waitresses, except two, the same night off, thus avoiding scheduling problems.
The only real problems encountered by 20th Century is the Oklahoma liquor laws which require patrons to bring their own bottle, which in turn must be served to them drink by drink from the bar.
Cheadle says the club maintains a staff of about 40, mostly waitresses. The crowd ranges in age from 18 to 22 for females and 21 to 25 for males. He also pointed out that the 20th Century is largely a singles club through the week---with an influx of couples on weekends.
Despite the national economic situation 20th Century is doing well, so well in fact that another 20th Century has just opened in Oklahoma City. Cheadle is optimistic about both operations and plans to open more discotheques in other cities.
Rick & Michelle Cheadle (2013)
I can remember dancing the night away many Friday and Saturday nights 1976-1980 What fun times we had!
Rick Cheatal should have been spelled (Rick Cheadle)
Some of the best times of my life was spent working there!! Only job I ever had where you could go to work and have a good time doing it!! Didn't have to drink to have fun, but it helps! Lol.
Hey all, I have to say I had a blast bartending around 1984. It was just before and after liquor by the drink. When we went to a beer bar, beer margarita, and beer daquiris. Jerry I can still remember hearing Jerry fire up the night. I'm looking forward to seeing the reunion.
Time span of 20th Century was: 1973 thru 1988
I need to make some edits above as below:
Rick Cheadle: Owner of 20th Century Electric Company along with
Bill Brown: Builder of the Lighted Dance floor and lighted wall.
Also add a post from Rick Cheadle as follows:
To all of you faithful followers of 20th Century, it does my heart well to see a company I started in 1973 to still be remembered this many years later. 20th was started after I visited a club in Colorado springs Co. called Westin Electric Co. Original owners of the club was Bill Baab, Frank Berlin and myself. I later recruited a close friend of mine Bill Brown to join us and he was the builder of the light show on the floor and the wall. I'm sure Baab and Berlin are probably gone now since I am 66 and they were much older than me. Believe Brown to be in England as he was an Engineer. Great memories were made at 20th all the way from the booking of our first live band ....you know their name..REO Speedwagon to the wild times we had as a group that made being a young single person a perfect situation. I currently live in Hilton Head Island S.C. and would be happy to answer any of your questions about 20th Century and how it was started. Rick Cheadle.....Edison High School class of 64
It was open up to 1989 or so as 20th Century. In the early days it had an old Altec Voice of the Theater sound system before they updated to Peavey Project 1 Cabinets. 1 FH-2 at each corner of the dance floor with flown MB-1 and Horn boxes. Sounded Great!
Their is a Reunion coming up March 23, 2013 for all who use to attend 20th. This will be in the same original building. See our facebook page for details under 20th Century Electric Company.
I worked the door checking ID's in 77 and 78, I had a brand new 78 Vette and the security guys would give me special parking. I got fired because they said I let some underage people in. I never let anyone in that didn't have an ID.
SORRY TO SAY RONNIE WILSON PASSED AWAY JANUARY 1. 2007. MISS HIM MUCH
i spent some GREAT nights at this place!!!! one night while going there in late 77 i even got stuck in a flas flood that hit tulsa where we got 10 inches of rain in 3 hours. car was lodded out about 3 blocks from the club and it was the first time i ever saw a girl pee out the rear window of a car. we later got out of the car and waded down to the club! lol gee, the memories that place brings back!!! hope yall have great memories of it too!!!
20th Century Electric Company - Out in the industrial district. It had a huge lighted disco floor that pre-dated disco. A DJ played rock and roll records over a good sound system and often a live drummer added his bit from a high platform up front. I remember hearing Eric Clapton's version of "Motherless Children" from the 461 Ocean Boulevard album ...perhaps on June 29, 1974.
JERRY CORBIN. 1975-1985
DR. FUNK IN THE HOUSE. 1975-1985
Loved dancing there in 1980, 81. Lots of group line dancing. I actually worked there for a little while, setting up and cleaning up the pitchers of beer at the tables. BYOB. Paid to have the Bartender mix drinks from YOUR bottle.
Mark McKinney was listed as President
DJ: Ronnie Wilson
Mangement: Rick Cheatal
Time: 1973 and on