The Evolution of the OETA Movie Club
Hot dogs. The OETA Movie Club evolved from hot dogs. At least that’s the legend. In early January 1988, B.J. Wexler and Bob Allen, then OETA Executive Director (Allen is now President of the OETA Foundation), were lunching at the Oklahoma City Coney Island Hot Dog stand. Among the subjects discussed that fateful afternoon was their mutual fondness for classic movies. Bob mentioned that Bill Thrash (OETA Station Manager) had pioneered the concept of using a late night host to introduce old Hollywood classics on commercial television in Oklahoma City. The lunchtime conversation soon led to the planning stage of a brand new show on OETA. Within a few weeks, Allen and Thrash began planning movies to show, former production manager Bill Keeling started building the set and Leon Smith created the opening sequence. “Before you could say, ‘fill that popcorn bucket please,’ the OETA Movie Club was born,” said B.J. “I was very honored to be asked to be a part of it. Twenty years later, Movie Club has built a large and loyal audience across the state, a testament not only to the priceless classic films shown each Saturday evening, but also to the genuine charisma of host B.J. Wexler and the hard work and dedication of B.J. and the OETA production staff.
All About B.J. Wexler
OETA Movie Club host B.J. Wexler is beloved by Oklahomans who tune-in each week for their favorite classic films. In honor of B.J.’s 20 years of hosting one of OETA’s most popular shows, OETA went behind the scenes to learn more about one of our favorite TV personalities.
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, B.J. Wexler had planned to follow his father Sam’s footsteps into the real estate business. He can trace the turn in his career path back to his junior year in high school, on a snowy night in Buffalo, as he drove to a local pizza parlor with his best friend Joel Michaels, who shocked B.J. with his plans to become an actor. Soon, at the University of Buffalo, B.J.’s plans to join his Dad’s business were put on permanent hold when he began working for the college radio station, which would lead to a 50 year career in broadcasting. In the fall of 1976, B.J. arrived in Oklahoma City to serve as program director for KTOK Radio. In addition to his daily radio show, B.J. also produced the University of Oklahoma pre- and post-game football broadcasts. B.J. joined OETA in 1983, first as co-host of the Festival and Augustfest pledge drives, then of course, as host of Movie Club. B.J. and his wife Anne have two children, Dave Wexler and Cindy Costa both of Oklahoma City. They're also parents to a pair of black and white border collies, Jack and Andy. And whatever happened to Joel B. Michaels? He became a successful Hollywood movie producer. “Fifty-five years later, he’s producing films and I’m showing them,” B.J. said.