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10 Items & Exhibits We’d Like to See at the OK POP Museum

Earlier this month, the Oklahoma legislature sent a bill to Kevin Stitt that would earmark $18 million to OK POP – the slow-to-develop Oklahoma pop culture-focused museum that persistent scholastics have wanted to build in Tulsa since 2009.

Although using taxpayer dollars to build and fund an Oklahoma-themed pop culture museum seems like a colossal waste of time and money, you may be surprised to learn that our state has actually made many strong and significant contributions and achievements to the national pop culture zeitgeist over the past century.

As a result, Louis and I came up with 10 items and exhibits that showcase this history, and that we’d like to see at the museum when and if it’s ever completed.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Actor Gary Busey arrives at the "Lost in Translation" DVD Launch Party on February 3, 2004 at Koi Restaurant in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images). *** Local Caption *** Gary Busey

Giant Replica of Gary Busey’s Teeth

This was originally going to be Gary Busey’s cracked motorcycle helmet, but then we remembered that Gary – a Tulsa kid who would later star in films like The Buddy Holly Story, Silver Bullet, and D.C. Cab – didn’t wear a helmet that fateful day in 1988 when his motorcycle collided with a wall in California, leading him to become the off-center Gary Busey we all know today.

As a result, OK POP should instead honor Gary’s most defining feature – his teeth!

These legendary incisors give tooth fairies nightmares and dentists wet dreams, and would be sure to entertain the masses. In fact, OK POP could take a cue from Science Museum Oklahoma The Omniplex and make a giant replica of the teeth that children could climb and play on while their parents take a break.

That would be fun, right?

Full Skeleton of Patti Page’s “Doggy in the Window”

One of the first Oklahomans to become a bonafide pop star, Claremore’s Patti Page topped the Billboard charts for eight weeks in 1952 with her yippy rendition of “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window.” Recorded for a children's album, the song would join Tennessee Waltz as one of Patti’s biggest hits, and become one of the most revered and reviled pop songs in history.

As homage to both Page and the novelty classic, OK POP should hunt down the skeletal remains of the actual doggy in the window that inspired the song, and to be appropriate in today’s modern age, use it to scare children into supporting pet adoption. If they can’t find the exact skeleton, no worries – I’m sure the Museum of Osteology can loan them a suitable replica.

Paul Harvey’s Bondage Harness

Most of you may know Paul Harvey as the beloved 20th-century radio star from Tulsa who, at his peak, reached 24 million people each week across the world, making him one of the most listened-to radio personalities in history.

"But here’s the rest of the story."

In addition to his distinctive voice and unique storytelling style, a lot of people don’t know that Harvey was a regular in the Tulsa underground sexual occult scene of the 1940s. There, as his alter ego “The Other Side of The Harness,” he’d regularly appear at lurid invite-only balls, masquerades, and galas held in the homes and estates of the oil-rich elites, and lead erotic dalliances using the finest equipment of the age.

Well, at least this is what Clark Matthews once told me – hey, a Clark Matthews reference – so it may not be true.

Shrine to Olivia Munn

Outside of Tulsa supermodel Amber Valletta, is there a hot Oklahoma-born babe who’s appeared on more national magazine covers than Olivia (Lisa) Munn?

The quintessential millennial cover girl – diverse, relatable, and hot in a weird-looking type of way – she quickly became an ”It” girl after co-hosting Attack of the Show, and scored covers and pictorials in just about every Maxim, Stuff, and FHM publication that your brother with The Chive car decal had on his coffee table:

Olivia parlayed this success into near A-list acting fame, and in the early 2010s started appearing in overrated cable dramas, failed NBC sitcoms, and various comic book movies.

Although her career stalled and never really took off after that – can we blame Aaron Rodgers? – she was and is a pop culture icon, and definitely deserves a shrine in the museum.


Bryan Abrams's Hibdon Tire Iron

In 2005, as former Color Me Badd frontman Bryan Abrams was in the middle of his well-documented fall from the heights of fame and into the line at Hometown Buffet, Steve Lackmeyer with The Oklahoman reported he was working as a service technician at Hibdon Tires.

The headline is an all-timer: Now working at a tire shop, singer's ex-wives are claiming he's a BADD FATHER

Yes, that’s right.

Bryan went from the guy singing “I Adore Mi Amore” to the guy putting paper shoe mats on your car’s floor. Since then, Bryan’s tried – and failed – to resurrect his career several times, with the most successful one being a stint on the VH1 reality show Mission: Man Band.

As an homage to his epic rise and fall, the museum should acquire Bryan’s old Hibdon tire iron to warn future children not to be screw-ups. Maybe they can put it next to the microphone he used when performing at American Music Awards:

Anita Bryant Hall of Homophobia

Oklahoma is legendary for its innate visceral reaction to gays and the gay agenda, so we’d naturally want to honor the one home-grown celebrity who out-anti-gayed them all – Anita Bryant. During the 1970s, the Paper Roses singer successfully transitioned from easy-listening songstress to orange juice spokeswoman to anti-gay bigot when she helped lead and overturn a Miami-Dade ordinance that – gasp – protected gays from discrimination.

In this Hall of Homophobia, visitors can sip orange juice as animatronic recreations of Bob Hope, Lawrence Welk, and Sally Kern recount Bryant’s one-woman war on homosexuals, including a Save Our Children musical number, an interactive Jerry Falwell crusade, and, best of all, a step-by-step guide to homosexual recruiting with the True Recruitment Players.

Toby Keith’s First Red Solo Cup

Toby Keith is one of the biggest crossover celebrities to come from the Sooner state. He was so big in the early 2000s that he even appeared with ALF in collect-call commercials!

Despite his fame, you have to admit it’s kind of tragic that Toby Keith’s most memorable hit – the one song he will forever be known for – will be a goofy singable crossover novelty song about a red piece of plastic that he didn’t write. That being said, it is fitting that the song is about consuming alcohol, a theme of 93.2% of Toby’s hits.

The pop culture museum will be under heavy pressure to pay proper respects to our state’s recently dearly departed country music icon, and I can’t think of anything better than canonizing the first Red Solo Cup Toby drank a beer from, before – I assume – turning it into a spit cup later that evening.

Jessica Alba White Shark Poster

In 2009, we achieved our first dash of national gossip blog fame when we told the world that actress Jessica Alba was the person behind the sting of mysterious great white shark posters that were seen plastered across Oklahoma City.

Remember those?

The backstory is Alba was in town filming the rather forgettable and bad The Killer Inside Me, and got so bored she flew an LA photographer into town to help her make a landlocked political statement against needless white shark genocide.

I don’t know what city cleanup crews did with the posters after they took them down, but to quote the famed fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones, they definitely “belong in a museum” so Oklahomans of all ages can remember the one random June day the state became the target of national pop-culture tabloid fodder.

Larry Clark’s NSFW Film Exhibit

OK POP could go under the covers—very under the covers—with a film exhibit curated by Tulsa’s controversial “art” filmmaker Larry Clark. With teen sex thrillers like Kids, Ken Park, and the NC-17 cut of Another Day in Paradise on his resume, the auteur's exhibit may lead to the Oklahoma legislature shutting down the museum, but it would definitely boost attendance!


The RV Dana Plato Died On

Back in 2020, the RV that Diff’rent Strokes star Dana Plato killed herself in while visiting in-laws in Moore in 1999 was listed for sale in OKC for only $42,000.

I don’t know who ended up purchasing the death-mobile, but since Plato is probably the most famous celebrity to take their own life in Oklahoma, it definitely deserves to be seen and witnessed by onlookers and morbid curiosity seekers.

If the price tag is too high, the museum could even ask McClain’s to sponsor it. Who says "No."


Anyway, those are 10 things we'd like to see. If there are any we missed, let us know in the comments.

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