EW Marland, Ponca City, and the Upcoming Movie "The Ends of the Earth"

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Coming Soon - The Ends of the Earth. On August 6, 2012 the Weinstein Company, producer of Academy Award winning motion pictures: "The King's Speech" and "The Artist," announced they will produce the romantic drama "Ends of the Earth," written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Chris Terrio and starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence. The movie is based on the lives of Ponca City Oil Magnate EW Marland, in a story that follows the controversial love affair between the oil baron and his adopted daughter Lydie, which destroys the empire they built together. Derivative Photo: Hugh Pickens
The Marland Refinery soon after it was built. A photo of part of Marland Refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma taken in 1919. An article from Petroleum Age in 1922 said that Marland Refinery in Ponca City had a production of 10,000-barrel per day and Marland Refinery included nearly two million barrels of steel storage for crude and finished products. An article from Petroleum Age in 1928 said "Marland refinery at Ponca City is one of the largest complete plants in the Mid-Continent field with a crude capacity of 35,000 barrles per day of which approximately half can be run down to wax. The plant is equipped with four large Dubbs units, two Cross units, and 18 Fleming stills." Derivative Photo: Hugh Pickens
The Marland Refinery Today. Phillips 66's Marland Refinery in Ponca City is the most profitable refinery of Phillips 66's fourteen worldwide refineries. Based on Phillips' third quarter earnings report for 2012, the Marland Refinery in Ponca City will contribute at an annualized rate of over $1 billion ($1.032 B) of net profits in 2012 to Phillips bottom line. Derivative Photo: Hugh Pickens
Portrait of E. W. Marland, founder of the Marland Oil Company and builder of the Marland Refinery in Ponca City. Marland's portrait hangs in the original board room adjacent to Marland's office at the Marland Refinery. On February 1, 2013 Phillips honored E. W. Marland by hosting members of the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce in the Marland boardroom. Photo: Hugh Pickens All Rights Reserved
Oklahoma State Legislature. The Oklahoma House of Representatives reversed itself and passed House Bill 2580 on March 4, 2014 by a vote of 65 to 28 authorizing the renewal of the film-incentive program in Oklahoma for 10 years. However the bill is not a 'done deal' until Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signs it into law. Photo: Wikimedia

by Hugh Pickens, May 23, 2013


Purpose of this Web Site

The story of EW Marland and his adopted daughter/wife Lydie is the closest thing Oklahoma has to a "Great Gatsby" story, reading "like a Fitzgerald novel," revealing the lifestyle and behavior of American upper class society in the early part of the 20th century.[1] Interest in the Marlands' story has intensified since publication of the novel The Broken Statue in 2006 and now a major motion picture has been announced, The Ends of the Earth, written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Chris Terrio and starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence that is due to begin production in 2014 or 2015.

There is a good chance that part of the film's production will take place in Ponca City, Oklahoma where the historical events portrayed in the movie originally occurred. The successful completion of such a high profile motion picture will bring enormous publicity and public interest to Ponca City, the Marlands, the Marland Refinery, and Marland Mansion that will benefit Ponca City both culturally and economically. The purpose of this web site, then, is to compile a history of the making of The Ends of the Earth to promote a knowledge of the history of Ponca City, the Marland Refinery, Marland Mansion, and the oil empire that EW Marland created in North-Central Oklahoma in the early twentieth century.


Overview of this Web Site


Contents

Introduction

Lydie Marland's life is like a jigsaw puzzle but many of the pieces are missing. Among the missing pieces: What was it like for Lydie Roberts to be thrust into a life of "extravagance beyond comprehension after a life of struggle and impoverishment"?[2] Did Lydie have a romantic interest before Marland? Was there a relationship with sculptor Jo Davidson, creator of the sculptures of EW, Lydie, and her brother George? What was Lydie's motivation in marrying EW? And the largest unknown - where was Lydie and what was she doing during the twenty-two years she went missing? Photo: The Saturday Evening Post

The Puzzle of Lydie Roberts Marland

Lydie Marland's life is like a jigsaw puzzle but many of the pieces are missing. Among the missing pieces: What was it like for Lydie Roberts to be thrust into a life of "extravagance beyond comprehension after a life of struggle and impoverishment"?[3] Did Lydie have a romantic interest before Marland? Was there a relationship with sculptor Jo Davidson, creator of the sculptures of EW, Lydie, and her brother George? What was Lydie's motivation in marrying EW? And the largest unknown - where was Lydie and what was she doing during the twenty-two years she went missing? In the absence of a memoir or definitive biography of Lydie, her life has become the subject of four fictional portraits that attempt to fill in the blanks of the one-time first lady of Oklahoma. Before considering the fictional treatments of Lydie and EW's lives, what facts are certain regarding the life of the "princess of the prairie" and her larger-than-life adoptive father/husband EW Marland?

E. W. Marland made his fortune in the oil business striking oil near Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1911. Lydie Roberts was born into poverty in 1900 in Flourtown, Pennsylvania and along with her brother George arrived in Ponca City in 1912. They were given up by their parents as teenagers and adopted by their wealthy aunt and uncle in 1916. Two years after EW's wife Virginia died in 1926, E.W. had Lydie’s adoption annulled and they were married in 1928. She was 28 and he was 54. Considered one of the wealthiest men in the world, only two years later Marland lost much of his fortune but was able to reinvent himself and shift into politics, gaining election to U.S. Congress in 1932 and then to Oklahoma’s governorship in 1935. But E.W. never regained his former wealth and after two failed attempts to win election to the US Senate, EW and Lydie moved into the chauffeur’s cottage behind their former mansion, and sold the house and grounds to the Catholic order of Carmelite Fathers.[4] E.W. died a broken man in 1941 just a few months before America's entry into World War Two, leaving Lydie a widow. In 1953, after an unhappy romance, Lydie Marland destroyed the life sized French limestone sculpture of her done by Jo Davidson, packed her artwork, jewelery, and $10,000 into her 1948 Studebaker convertible and drove out of Ponca City, her whereabouts unknown for the next 22 years. A story appeared about her in the Saturday Evening Post in 1958 titled Where is Lydie Marland? as reports of her working as a maid in Kansas, or seen in a bread line cropped up over the years and she was even seen marching in an anti-Vietnam rally in Washington D.C 1969. Finally her friend and lawyer C. D. Northcutt met her in Bartlesville in 1975 where he arranged her return home to Ponca City. "Living in the cottage on her former land, she led efforts to turn what E.W. had named the "Palace on the Prairie" into a museum appealing to Ponca City residents to vote themselves a 2% sales tax to pay for the mansion. With the aid of supporters, she succeeded in her efforts and so continued to live in the cottage until her death in 1987."[5]

Fictional Portraits of the Marlands' Lives

There have been three fictional portraits that fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle of Lydie's life: one novel, two theatrical productions, and one screenplay.

  • In The Broken Statue, first published as a novel in 2006 and then brought to the stage in 2011, Oklahoma author Bob Perry postulates a young suitor, Walt Johnson, who who went off to fight in World War One, returned a hero, and planned to elope with Lydie. In Perry's dramatization, Lydie marries EW after Johnson's tragic death in an oilfield accident left her alone and distraught searching for the safety of a protector in EW Marland. "At first, I thought E.W. Marland must have been a scoundrel to marry his adopted daughter," says Perry. "I was more intrigued by Lydie's story than E.W.'s at first. Through the process I have become a great admirer of E.W. Marland. He served as governor during one of the state's most trying times and I think did a good job. E.W. Marland had many opportunities to take his fortune and leave, but I believe he truly loved Oklahoma."[6]
  • In Lydie Marland in the Afterlife, based largely on the The Marland Tragedy by Kim Brumley and first produced by Wingspan Theatre during the Dallas Festival of Independent Theatres in 2013, Isabella Russell-Ides postulates a relationship with sculptor Jo Davidson that resulted in a child that was given up for adoption. In this version of the story of Lydie, EW marries Lydie to help cover up the scandal. "Lydie was no gold-digger," writes Christopher Stephen Soden. "Ides makes it clear that from the time Lydie (and her teenage brother George) were adopted by their aunt and uncle, they were treated to extravagance beyond comprehension, after a life of struggle and impoverishment. It’s implied she simply wanted her dazzling, blissful new existence to continue, without interruption. Her doting uncle ushered her into a completely different milieu, filled with parties, travel, luxury and pleasure. Lydie Marland makes it easy to understand why she was willing to wed her adoptive dad and uncle."[7]
  • On August 6, 2012 the Weinstein Company, producer of two recent Academy Award winners for best picture: "The King's Speech" and "The Artist," announced that they are attached to topline the romantic drama "Ends of the Earth," written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Chris Terrio based on the lives of EW and Lydie Marland, in a story that follows the controversial love affair between an oil baron and his adopted daughter, which destroys the empire they built together. "Chris (Terrio) has brought to life with his writing one of the most epic love stories that people have yet to really discover," said Dylan Sellers, Weinstein Company president of production. "We knew right away that this script was something special."[8][9] Jennifer Lawrence, star of "The Hunger Games" and "Silver Linings Playbook" is attached to play Lydie, an educated, headstrong woman who was adopted as a girl by her aunt Virginia and uncle Ernest who later becomes their adopted daughter and eventually becomes EW's wife. According to the screenplay, Lydie urges EW to raise workers' wages at the Marland Refinery and give them unpredecented access to medical care, earning her the nickname the "princess of the prairies."[10][11] Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch and Lance Johnson[12] will produce the movie for Escape Artists, which is aiming to start production in the summer of 2013. “We hope to be in production next year (2013), and I also hope to be able to film in Ponca City," said producer Lance Johnson, a Ponca City native, "but it’s still early in the process and the schedule and location won’t be determined until we decide on a director.”[13][14]

Latest News on the Production of the Movie "The Ends of the Earth"

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signs Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Law. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2580 on April 2, 2014 which preserves the $5 million per year in funding for the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program and extends the program’s sunset date to July 1, 2024. “The film rebate has helped to create jobs and bring millions of dollars in investment to the state of Oklahoma,” said Governor Fallin. “I am pleased to sign the extension of this program into law and to send a message that Oklahoma continues to be ‘open for business’ when it comes to the film industry.” Governor Fallin came to Ponca City on April 3, 2014 and announced that she had signed the bill into law at an economic development summit in Ponca City. To the right of Governor Fallin is civic leader and philanthropist Carl Renfro, one of the chief proponents of making the movie. To the left of Governor Fallin is writer and activist Hugh Pickens, the creator and author of this web site that documents the making of the movie The Ends of the Earth about Ponca City and our community's history and heritage. Photo: Dr. S. J. Pickens
How a Bill Becomes a Law in Oklahoma. Even though the Film-Incentive Bill passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on March 4, 2014, it does not become a law until Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signs it and that will not happen for a while yet. Click on the image to enlarge this graphic of the steps a bill takes to become a law in Oklahoma. Graphic: Oklahoma House of Representatives.
The Lead Actress. Oscar award winner Jennifer Lawrence, star of "The Hunger Games," is attached to play Lydie Marland in "The Ends of the Earth" written by Oscar award winning screenwriter Chris Terrio. However there are potential scheduling issues for Jennifer Lawrence to play the role of Lydie. Lawrence is booked for the next two years and would have to carve out a gap between X Men: Days Of Future Past and the third Hunger Games film, Mockingjay, being shot and released in two parts, in order to do the project. Photo: Wikipedia
The Director. Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell will reunite with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence in the movie The Ends of the Eart. Photo: Wikipedia
The Screenwriter. Chris Terrio wrote the screenplay for The Ends of the Earth. Terrio, shown above with his Oscar, won the Academy Award for Best Adopted Screenplay in 2013 for Argo at the 85th annual Academy Awards. “Chris has brought to life with his writing one of the most epic love stories that people have yet to really discover. We knew right away that this script was something special," says Dylan Sellers, President of Production at The Weinstein Company. Photo: Disney ABC Television Group Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

August 24, 2014: Screenwriter Josh Senter Working on TV Show About EW Marland

The Houston Herald reports that Josh Senter, a hollywood screenwriter best known for his work on the television series Desperate Housewives, has a new project in the works: a television show called “Marland,” which chronicles the life of E.W. Marland. “The stories surrounding him are so fantastic,” says Senter. “It’s pretty exciting and I hope a network picks it up.”[15][16]

August 21, 2014: Oklahoma Film Commission Staff Plan to Tour Marland Mansion

The Ponca City News reported on August 21, 2014 David Keathley, Executive Director of the Marland Mansion, says that tours are being set up for the entire Oklahoma Film Commission staff to tour the Marland Mansion and other Ponca City attractions in September which would be beneficial in discussions with the Weinstein Company who announced their interest in making a film about E. W. Marland and his wife Lydie.[17]

August 5, 2014: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Funds Available for FY15 Projects

The Oklahoma Film & Music Office (OF&MO) announced on August 5, 2015 that they have re-opened the queue for productions seeking to film in Oklahoma and utilize the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program for productions seeking Fiscal Year (FY) 15 funds. The ten-year extension of Oklahoma’s 35-37% rebate program offers a competitive incentive for your film, television or commercial project with an annual cap of $5 million in funds.[18]

July 29, 2014: Jill Simpson Leaves Oklahoma Film Office

The McCarville Report reported on July 30, 2014 that Jill Simpson, Director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office for the past 10 years, has announced her departure effective August 1, 2014 to accept a job in academia. “We can likely all agree that it has been a challenging and sometimes tumultuous decade, but it has also been a period of significant progress and growth for our Oklahoma industries. The progress has been hard won for all of us,” Simpson said in a prepared statement. ”I am very proud of what we have accomplished together in further developing our incentives program and the work that it generates. While comparatively small, we now have a rebate that is very popular and well-utilized by the industry."[19]

Oklahoma native Tava Maloy Sofsky will take over Simpson's position. A producer with a diverse film and commercial background, Sofsky has worked with many notable filmmakers and executives including: Michelangelo Antonioni, John Badham, Antonio Banderas, Martin Campbell, Doug Claybourne, Bill Cosby, Chris Columbus, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Hopkins, Laurie McDonald, Walter Parkes, Wesley Snipes, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and Robin Williams. Among her credits are: The Mask of Zorro, The Fast and the Furious and Beyond Borders. “Tava brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the agency,” said Deby Snodgrass, Cabinet Secretary and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “She has the experience needed to carry on the work of Jill Simpson who, over the course of her ten-year tenure, has grown the film and music industries into viable economic generators for the state.”[20]

April 2, 2014: Governor Fallin Signs Oklahoma Film Rebate Extension

The Oklahoma Film & Music Office announced on April 2, 2014 that House Bill 2580, which preserves the $5 million per year in funding for the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program and extends the program’s sunset date to July 1, 2024, was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on April 2, 2014. “The film rebate has helped to create jobs and bring millions of dollars in investment to the state of Oklahoma,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “I am pleased to sign the extension of this program into law and to send a message that Oklahoma continues to be ‘open for business’ when it comes to the film industry.” “The ten-year extension of the rebate program marks a huge victory for Oklahoma’s film industry,” said Jill Simpson, Director of the Oklahoma Film & Music Office. “We are sending the message that there is stability for our program, which is essential in securing filming in the state. The net result will be more jobs for our hardworking local crew base, and a greater volume of business for our industry support companies. We are excited for this opportunity to grow an emerging industry that will have a positive impact on Oklahoma’s economy.”[21]

March 28, 2014: Representative Steve Vaughan Explains How the Film Incentive Bill Passed the House

Ponca City Representative Steve Vaughan and State Senator Eddie Fields held a town hall meeting in the Ponca City Civic Center on March 28, 2014 and one of the main topics of discussion was how the Film Incentive Bill was able to pass the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The bill required 51 votes to pass and was initially defeated on March 3, 2014 by a 48-43 vote. Vaughan, an assistant majority whip in the Republican caucus, said that after the defeat of the bill, he and four other house members made it a priority to meet with every single member of the Republican caucus especially those who had initially voted against the bill. "It was an education program," said Vaughan. "There was a lot of misinformation about the bill. Some house members thought that it was a Hollywood giveaway. We needed to explain that the Film Incentive bill was a rebate program and that money would be returned to companies that made movies in Oklahoma - but only after the companies spent money here to make their film." After the intervention of Vaughan and other Republican members of the house, the bill passed the house on March 4, 2014 by a vote of 65 to 28.[22]

Rumor Central: Governor Fallin In Ponca City on April 3, 2014

During informal converations after the town hall meeting, a reliable source said that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin will be in Ponca City on April 3, 2014 for the Kay County Economic Development Conference at the Pioneer Technology Center sponsored by the Ponca City Development Authority. Fallin will be giving a talk about education and about her new initiative, “America Works," which spotlights improving education and workforce training systems and aligning those systems with the needs of individual state economies.

In the evening the Governor will be attending a fundraiser at the Marland Mansion hosted by civic leaders Carl Renfro and Patti Evans. It is possible that the Governor may be making a big announcement about the Film Incentive Bill and its passage into law while she is in Ponca City.

March 27, 2014: Oklahoma Senate OKs Extending Film Rebate Program

AP reported on March 27, 2014 that the Oklahoma Senate voted 31-11 for the "Compete with Canada Film Act" over the objections of some Republicans who complained the big budget dark comedy about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family dealing with alcoholism and drug abuse depicted a poor image of the state. "I want my money back, and I got in free," said Sen. Wayne Shaw, R-Grove. "I think it's a bad picture of who we are and what we want to represent, and as a result of that I've lost confidence in the movie industry. Of course, I didn't have much to start with." Supporters say 46 other states offers similar rebates and that Oklahoma needs to continue the program to compete and attract lucrative film productions. "If you don't like the movies Hollywood makes, then encourage more Oklahoma filmmakers to make Oklahoma films with Oklahoma values," the bill's sponsor, Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, told his colleagues. "It's a bill designed to try and encourage the industry of film and music to be able to flourish in Oklahoma, as they are in neighboring states like New Mexico and many others." The bill now heads to Gov. Mary Fallin, whose office declined to comment on whether she would sign it. Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the legislation is still under staff review.[23]

"It has been truly a team effort this year," wrote Jill Simpson, Director of the Oklahoma Film & Music Office. "A big thank you to all of you in the industry who rallied with a big show of support during session. We are also very grateful for the support of both the Greater Oklahoma City and Tulsa Chambers of Commerce and all of the community leaders across the state who understand the value of having productions come to their area, as well as the importance of growing jobs and industry for our state. They made their voices heard loud and clear at the Capitol. Lastly, we owe a debt of gratitude to our bill authors this year, Senator Clark Jolley and Representative Todd Thomsen, who fought long and hard to champion our cause during this year's session. They did an amazing job."[24]

March 23, 2014: Ponca City Hosts the Bison Bison Film Festival

The Ponca City News reported that Poncan Theater hosted the first Bison Bison Film Festival on March 23, 2014 showcasing films by young emerging filmmakers enrolled in accredited colleges, universities and trade schools within a hundred and twenty five (125) mile radius of Ponca City, OK. A jury panel made up of film professionals judged the festival film selections and determined the award recipients. The jury panel includes Lucas Ross, Oklahoma City; Margot Douaihy, Northampton, MA; and Bri Hermanson, daughter of Kay County District Attorney Brian Hermanson, also of Northhampton. Three Awards of Excellence of $1,000 were awarded by a jury panel. Two festival workshops were also held at the Phillips 66 Clubhouse on March 23, 2014. One featuring a panel discussion by festival jurors about the films and another with a presentation by the Oklahoma Film and Music Office.[25]

Rumor Central: Senate to Begin Deliberations on Film Bill

During a discussion with participants at the film festival, a reliable source said that the Oklahoma State Senate will probably begin the reconciliation process with hearings on the Film-Incentive Bill starting on March 26, 2014, that Oklahoma Film Office Executive Director Jill Simpson is currently in Los Angeles meeting with studio executives, and that Jennifer Lawrence may not be taking a year off after all putting 2014 and 2015 back in play for the start of filming for "The Ends of the Earth."[26]

March 10, 2014: What Remains to Be Done to Pass the Film-Incentive Bill

Over the past few days I have had several conversations with Representative Steve Vaughan and with members of city government and the Marland Estate Commission about what remains to be done with regard to the Film-Incentive Bill that was passed last week in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The bottom line is that the bill is not a 'done deal' until Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signs it into law and that will not happen for a while yet.

The problem is that there are minor differences in the bill that was passed by the State Senate and the House of Representatives. That means that the two versions have to be reconciled. A committee may be appointed with representatives of the House and the Senate who will work out the differences between the two bills and come up with a bill that both agree on. This reconciled bill then has to be sent back to both the House and Senate to be voted on again. Once the reconciled bill has been passed by both houses of the legislature it will be sent to the Governor and when she signs the bill it will become law. Alternatively, the bill that has been passed by the House could be sent to the Senate for consideration and if the Senate passes the bill it would be sent to the Governor for signature.

There are a couple of potential stumbling blocks along the way. Here are a couple of worst case scenarios under which the bill does not become a law.

  • The House and the Senate cannot agree on on a reconciled bill.
  • The House and Senate agree on a reconciled bill but when it is sent back for a revote, one (or both) houses fail to pass it.
  • The House and Senate agree on a reconciled bill, both houses pass the bill, but the Governor vetoes the bill.

According to persons familiar with the process, all three of these scenarios are considered unlikely. However it is worth keeping in mind that the job is not complete until the bill is signed into law by Governor Fallin so it is incumbent upon supporters of the Film-Incentive Bill to keep an eye on the process and let our representatives know how important it is for them to follow through on the bill.[27]

March 4, 2014: Film-Incentive Program Passes the Oklahoma House of Representatives

Randy Krehbiel reported in the Tulsa World on March 5, 2014 that after a day of "some fairly intense lobbying" the Oklahoma House of Representatives reversed itself and passed House Bill 2580 on March 4, 2014 by a vote of 65 to 28 authorizing the renewal of the film-incentive program in Oklahoma for 10 years. Rep. Don Armes, R-Lawton said that in "August: Osage County," the Westons could be as frenzied and vicious as wounded rodents, but he also noted the state received a lot of favorable publicity from the film's stars. "'August: Osage County' is dark. It's about a family that's way out there — as are some of our families. But it has some of the most beautiful footage of the Osage I've ever seen," said Ames adding that "Meryl Streep came to Oklahoma and fell in love with it."[28][29]

HB 2580's sponsor, Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, grew visibly irritated at the the suggestion that the rebate bill lacked accountability, saying the film program's benefits are better documented than most other incentives and that none of the members criticizing the program had asked to see that documentation.[30][31] Thomsen said he believes lawmakers who voted against the bill on Monday received a lot of calls from constituents wanting them to change their minds. “I think as those individuals had opportunities to talk to various members, they were able to cut through some of the rhetoric and misinformation,” said Thomsen.[32]

Representative Steve Vaughan of Ponca City played a big part in getting the bill passed. In a press release Vaughan said he applauded the House for having the courage to take back up an issue that faced an icy reception originally. “This reconsideration vote shows what can happen when educated lawmakers can come around and truly become educated on an important issue,” said Rep. Vaughan, R-Ponca City. “This act is a rebate situation – it is not an incentive where we throw money away to attract movies to Oklahoma. This is a rebate. We only give money back when money is first spent here. I think a 3-to-1 win ratio is a great return on investment in my book anytime." “Not only that, but the national press around ["August: Osage County"] has been very positive. And Meryl Streep went on and on about how beautiful and nice Oklahoma is. That kind of free press is priceless to our state. In addition, Hollywood is looking at filming a movie about E.W. Marland, our state’s 10th governor, at the Marland Mansion in Ponca City and I want to make sure a film about Oklahomans is filmed in Oklahoma. This film rebate act is important to my district and I wanted to stand up and support it as much as I could.”[33]

Vaughan said he understands that some found the content of the ["August: Osage County"] objectionable, but that isn’t reason to reason to end this act and lose a competitive game piece used when a movie is looking to shoot in this part of the country. “I understand not everyone was on board with the content of August: Osage County,” Rep. Vaughan said. “But I do not believe this movie, or its content, gave us a negative image. Dysfunctional families are everywhere in America and this movie is one that can be related to by many.” During his debate on the House floor, Rep. Vaughan said the movie could have been about any family in Oklahoma. “Heck, come to my farm on a Sunday afternoon and watch us shoot clay pigeons and make S’mores and see how dysfunctional we can be. We call that good times and having fun with your family in Oklahoma. The point is this: Who am I, or anyone, to judge how other people act with their families? Some of the comments on the floor yesterday were disappointing and were misguided. I’m glad that logic and common sense won out over baseless personal commentary. This bill is good for the state and will keep Oklahoma an attractive destination for Hollywood location shoots.”[34]

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Film and Music Office said that they along with the Oklahoma Movie Industry are "relieved and celebrating the good news." HB 2580 now goes to the Senate, which has already passed its version of the bill.[35][36] “The governor favors extending the film tax credit,” said Alex Weintz, the governor’s spokesman, adding that Gov. Mary Fallin still will need to carefully review the final bill that is sent to her before deciding whether to sign it.[37]

March 3, 2014: Film-Incentive Program Defeated in Oklahoma House of Representatives

Randy Krehbiel reported in the Tulsa World on March 3, 2014 that House Bill 2580, which would authorize the renewal of the film-incentive program in Oklahoma for 10 years, failed to pass on March 3, 2014 by a 48-43 vote, three short of the 51 votes needed. Ten members did not vote. Jill Simpson, director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, said that without the rebate, the state is unlikely to have much in the way of film or television activity. “Forty-six states have a tax rebate or credit,” said Simpson. “If we eliminate the film incentive, films will simply no longer be made here. That will cost taxpayers more than the rebate.” According to Krehbiel, opposition to the bill was led by Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City who said “August: Osage County” was bad for the state’s image and that a film proposed for the Ponca City area, about former Oklahoma first lady Lydie Marland, would be worse. “If you could bring the whole city of Hollywood here, … I wouldn’t want them,” said Dank. “I am not going to get into the debauchery of values they hold dear in Hollywood.” Other opponents of the bill called "August: Osage County" "filth," "a movie almost nobody saw," and said "we don't need that kind of thing around here!" Rep. James Lockhart, D-Heavener, said lawmakers were being asked to extend the rebate program when the state struggles to provide such basic services as park rangers for state parks. "How else would you define pork-barrel spending?" Lockhart said.[38][39][40][41]

State Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, kept the bill alive, saying he may ask that the vote be reconsidered. The movie industry directly spent $35.1 million in Oklahoma last year, Thomsen said, citing a study that indicated the total economic benefit to the state would be about $88.9 million if indirect benefits also were taken into consideration. HB 2580 is likely to be brought back up for reconsideration perhaps as soon as March 5, 2014.[42][43][44][45]

February 28, 2014: Representative Steve Vaughan and Senator Eddie Fields Say Prospects Look Good for Reinstatement of Film Rebate Legislation

The Ponca City News reported on March 2, 2014 that Representative Steve Vaughan and Senator Eddie Fields spoke at the Ponca Politics Forum at City Hall sponsored by the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce on February 28, 2014 and said that prospects look good for the reinstatement of funds this year for the Film Rebate Program administered by the Oklahoma Film and Music Office. Both legislators also said that they are opposed to the consolidation of five state agencies proposed by Oklahoma Governer Mary Fallin that would bring the Oklahoma Arts Council into the Oklahoma Tourism Department. Field said he was emphatically against the move and "to leave the Arts Council alone."[46]

February 27, 2014: Location Manager for 'August: Osage County" Found One-Of-A-Kind Locations in Oklahoma

Jennifer M. Wood reported in Conde-Nast Traveler on February 27, 2014 that Joe C. Guest, the location manager for the big-screen adaptation of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County, found "one-of-a-kind places, details, and events that you don’t readily find in the country’s bigger production hubs." Guest says the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, “will always stay with me. It’s 40,000 acres of mystical, protected prairie where the buffalo really do roam. You drive down these dusty roads in the middle of Tallgrass Prairie; you can go to a plateau and see forever and you feel like you're standing on the precipice of the American West.” Much of the action in the family drama takes place within the fictional Weston family home, located in Pawhuska. “The house was for sale,” Guest says of the main location. “First thing I did when I got to Oklahoma was to buy a house in the prairie.” Downtown Pawhuska made an appearance in the film, in a scene between Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch. “This downtown was once a thriving oil town,” says Guest. “It was really hot on the day we shot this, but to drive the point home we got the local bank to put 106 degrees up on their big time and temperature sign.”[47]

February 24, 2014: Jennifer Lawrence to Take Year Off from Hollywood

The Guardian reported on February 24, 2014 that according to Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, slated to star in "The Ends of the Earth," is to take a year-long break from the movie business. "Jennifer is too nice and will do people favours and agrees to do a movie like American Hustle when she could have had a rest," said Weinstein. "She signed on to do Hunger Games when she was young and wouldn't have realised how much it would dominate her life. But she's a professional and always will be." Lawrence is due to appear in the final two Hunger Games films, Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2, between now and 2015, and also has comic-book epic X-Men: Days of Future Past due out this year. Other upcoming roles include the lead in Suzanne Bier's Depression-era drama Serena and a part in the comedy sequel Dumb and Dumber To.[48]

Commentary: With Jennifer Lawrence taking a year off, we are probably talking 2015 at the earliest and possibly 2016 for the Marland Movie at this point. Any delay in Lawrence making the movie works in Ponca City's favor because as long as the shoot date for "The Ends of the Earth" is pushed, we may get the Oklahoma Film and Music Office rebates back in place so the movie can be made in Oklahoma.

February 14, 2014: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program Passes Senate

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office reported on February 14, 2014 that Senate Bill 1721 passed the Senate by a vote of 35 to 8. Having cleared the Senate, the bill is currently awaiting a committee assignment on the House side.[49]

February 11, 2014: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program Passes House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Revenue and Tax

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office reported on February 12, 2014 that House Bill 2580, a mirror bill to Senate Bill 1721, was passed by a 11-1 margin by the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee on Revenue and Tax on February 11, 2014. As a next step, the bill will now move on to be heard by the full House Appropriations & Budget Committee. These two bills each contain language to extend the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program until 2024. Senate Bill 1721 is presently awaiting a reading on the Senate Floor in the coming days.[50]

February 6, 2014: George Clooney and Grant Heslov Have Good Things to Say About Oklahoma

Gene Triplett reported on NewsOK on February 6, 2014 that the writing/producing team of George Clooney and Grant Heslov had nothing but good things to say about their experience in Oklahoma during the filming of "August: Osage County" and were able to complete much of their work on the script for their new, fact-based World War II action drama “The Monuments Men” while on location in Bartlesville. "George and I wrote a lot of this film while we were living in Oklahoma, in Bartlesville,” says Heslov. “Yeah, it was great. We (Clooney and Heslov) would go to set and then go back to our house that we had and work out lines. And so, for us it was good. It was some nice quiet time. I would (come back to Oklahoma) if we had the right (film project). It was certainly beautiful country.” Heslov said his production company found every resource that was needed to successfully complete the filming of “August: Osage County” in Oklahoma. “Yeah, it was fantastic,” he said. “We had a great experience there.”[51]

Heslov said Oklahoma’s Film Enhancement Rebate Program was one of the major factors that attracted the film project to the state, along with Wells’ insistence that the film be shot where the story was set. But Heslov adds that he and other filmmakers like him will have to seek out other states that still have competitive rebate programs in place now that an extension of Oklahoma's rebate program, which expires on July 1, was defeated by legislators who believe it “subsidizes movie stars” and takes money out of the state, money that could be used for health care, education, corrections and raises for Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troopers. “Now I don’t know if we’ll be able to come back to Oklahoma,” says Heslov.[52]

February 4, 2014: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program Passes Senate Finance Committee

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office reported on February 6, 2014 that the SB 1721, which will extend the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program’s sunset date until July 1, 2024 was passed by the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 by a vote of 10-1. The bill now moves on to the Senate floor.[53]

January 17, 2014: 'August: Osage County' Opens In Bartlesville To Excited Viewers

Ashlei King reported at News On 6 on January 17, 2014 that August-Osage County," opened in Bartlesville, the closest movie theatre to the county where most of the movie was filmed, and with the line at the Bartlesville movie theater wrapped around the building, movie fans are saying it was worth the wait.

[Note: The Constantine Theater is located in historic downtown Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma. Pawhuska, gateway to the Tall Grass Prarie Preserve, sits in the middle of Osage County and is the closest town to the Boulanger Mansion where most of the filming took place. However the Constantine is presently used only for special events. Bartlesville is the county seat for Washington County and is located on the border between Osage County and Washington County. Most of the cast and crew stayed in Bartlesville during the filming of the movie.][54][55][56][57]

"I've told all my friends back in Michigan to go and watch the movie because it's an important thing for this area," said Jerry Taylor. "Many of the actors in the film are going on late night talk shows and mentioning the word Bartlesville or the Price Tower. It's great to have that kind of excitement and buzz around a film," said Maria Gus with the Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce. "I think we're great. I just thought it was wonderful and I wanted to come see something shot about our own city and state," said Betty-Jane Cummins who waited in line for nearly an hour, only to find out the movie's Bartlesville debut was sold out. "I like Bartlesville and I wanted to come here, not drive to Tulsa. It's about us."[58]

The Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce is planning to make a map of all the locations where movie stars were spotted in Bartlesville, to capitalize on the popularity of "August: Osage County."[59]

January 16, 2014: 'August: Osage County' Earns Oscar Nominations and Charts Top Ten U.S. Box Office

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office reported on January 16, 2014 that nominations for the 86th Annual Academy Awards® included recognition in two categories for the Oklahoma produced film, August: Osage County. Meryl Streep (Best Actress) and Julia Roberts (Best Supporting Actress) were recognized by the Academy for their standout performances in the film written by Oklahoma native Tracy Letts who penned the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play from which the film is adapted. Now, in nationwide release, August: Osage County ranked in the U.S. Box Office Top 10 Films for the weekend of January 10-12, 2014 landing at #7 with a gross of $7.1 million dollars. The film was made in Oklahoma utilizing the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.[60]

January 14, 2014: Meryl Streep Praises Oklahoma

Tim Gray reported on Variety that Meryl Streep spoke about "August Osage County" at a screening of the film for SAG members at the Harmony Gold Theatre in Los Angeles. Streep praised Oklahoma. "Of all the places I’ve filmed, that’s the one I feel most drawn to return to.” Streep also talked about how the area seeped into her sensibility while filming and described driving an hour from the actors’ condo complex (“behind the Toyota dealership”) in Bartlesville to the filming location at the Boulanger Mansion, 20 miles north of Pawhuska, passing churches with signs bearing inspirational thoughts.[61]

January 10, 2014: Director John Wells Says Shooting 'August: Osage County' in Oklahoma Gave the Movie a 'Tangible Realism'

George Lang reported on NewsOK on January 10, 2013 that director John Wells repeatedly made the case to studio heads that an on-location shoot in Oklahoma would bolster the performances and give “August: Osage County” a tangible realism. “Because of the way Tracy wrote it, there's something woven into the genetics of the piece about a part of the country and the people and what they've been through.” Despite many requests to convert parts of Georgia, Connecticut, Canada and the Warner Bros. back lot into Oklahoma, Wells fought hard for the screen adaptation of “August: Osage County,” to be shot in Oklahoma. “I was very concerned with this idea that we would shoot a couple of weeks in some place like Oklahoma or Georgia, and then we'd put a bunch of sets up in Los Angeles,” said Wells. “If you step off of a constructed set at Paramount or Warner Bros. and walk outside to have lunch at the commissary, you aren't in that world."[62]

Wells said Oklahoma faced significant competition from other states with aggressive film programs, but he said the Oklahoma Film Commission threw significant resources toward the production. The commission's director, Jill Simpson, helped producers and location scouts find ideal places to shoot the film, he said. Wells said his experience filming in Oklahoma was overwhelmingly positive, and he will recommend the state to other filmmakers. “Entertainment is one of the best calling cards for a state. Between theaters and when it goes out on DVD and HBO and Netflix, tens of millions of people are going to see the film,” Wells said. “And they're going to see Oklahoma in a way that they really haven't seen it before. They're going to have a different impression about how beautiful the place is and what's there. That creates economic activity.”[63]

With the Film Enhancement Rebate Program set to expire this summer unless the state Legislature acts to extend the benefit, Wells said Oklahoma will face greater competition for attracting the next “August: Osage County.” “It's an industry, making movies — there's a business behind it,” he said. “So, just like any industry, whether it's an auto parts plant you want to put in for Ford or something else, you've got to provide the financiers — in this case, The Weinstein Company — with some sort of support to encourage them to bring their business there, because there are other states that are working really hard to get that business to come to their state.”[64]

December 30, 2013: Director John Wells Insisted "August: Osage County" Be Filmed in Oklahoma

The New York Times reported on December 30, 2013 that John Wells, director of "August: Osage County," insisted that the film be shot in Osage County in Oklahoma, and the state was happy to oblige. The movie of “Oklahama” wasn’t shot there, and “they didn’t want that to happen again,” said Wells at the premiere. “It’s a beautiful place, Oklahoma,” Wells added, “very severe and austere and beautiful, and I thought it would be great for the cast and all of us to be there and experience and really understand what that world is like.” Wells convened the actors — including Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts as a warring mother and daughter — early and had them hang out on the porch of the house that served as the set. “It fed me in such a way, and I think all of us,” said Margo Martindale, who plays Ms. Streep’s sister. “Sitting on the porch, doing our rehearsals, looking out at the landscape, it really added to the whole experience.”[65]

December 18, 2013: Tracey Letts says It Was Important to Shoot "August: Osage County" in Oklahoma

The Tulsa Voice reported on December 18, 2013 in an interview with Tulsa-born pulitzer-prize winning playwright Tracey Letts that it was important that his play "August: Osage County" be shot in Oklahoma. "So [director John Wells], doing his due diligence, said to his producers, "Well we ought to go to Okalhoma to at least look at it and see if it's doable." So he came here and he went to Osage County and he looked around and said, "Well, you have to do it here. There's no place else thatlooks like this." Not only because of that particular part of the country, the Tallgrass Prairie, but John also pointed out that there's a quality of light here in Oklahoma that is different than you get elsewhere."[66]

Letts expanded on his vision of the film in an interview in Playbill published on December 16, 2013: "The [piece] is called August: Osage County, and in the movie, we get to show Osage County. In the play, we only get to hear it described, and we can sort of imagine it outside the walls of the set. But, here, it's the first image of the film. This is Osage County, and I find that really satisfying and really, really moving. There's a reason I set it there, and [the fact] that we are able to show it is great."[67]

"I grew up in a small town in Southeastern Oklahoma in a rural community — a small college town. I didn't have access to great theatre. I wouldn't have had access to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or A Streetcar Named Desire or any of that stuff — Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams or any art like that. I would have had access to reading the plays, of course, but not access to seeing them performed. My access came from movies — a chance to see the films — and that's how I saw those things performed," said Letts. "I think about myself as the little kid. I think about some other nerdy, little kid like I was, who is going to get a chance to see August: Osage County, who wouldn't [normally] get a chance to see August. Something about [the work] may speak to them in their experience — it may inspire them."[68]

December 18, 2013: The Production Crew of "August: Osage County" had Good Things to Say About Oklahoma

Joe O'Shansky wrote in The Tulsa Voice that when filming began in Bartlesville and Pawhuska in October, 2012 that not only did the residents have nice things to say about the production, but the production had nice things to say of Oklahoma - particularly of the prgressive Oklahoma Film Enhancement rebate system without which "August: Osage County" would not have been shot in its namesake location. "The film wouldn't have been made here without the [incentives] and the film office and Jill Simpson and her people," said director John Wells.[69]

Wells seemed keenly aware of the hospitality of local residents. "You have to be conscious of the fact that you're intruding upon people's lives," said Wells. "They'll initially be excited and interested by the idea that there's a film shooting but that wears off pretty quick when you've got your driveway jammed up with a big truck." The amiability of the cast and crew was appreciated by local residents. George Clooney seemed "really friendly, he seemed laid back and casual,"said Bartlesville resident Jerry Stahl.[70]

December 10, 2013: Convincing Producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein to film "August: Osage County" in Oklahoma Wasn't an Easy Task

Jake Malooley wrote in "Time Out Chicago" on December 10, 2013 that according to Steve Traxler, producer of "August: Osage County, convincing producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein that filming in Oklahoma was the best decision wasn't an easy task but while scouting locations in the Sooner State, the filmmakers found a house that was reminiscent of the set built for the play. Shooting on location allowed the ensemble to jell, to become "a real family," said actress Juliette Lewis. Actress Margo Martindale recalled that during the shoot the actors took most of their meals together and lived as neighbors. "You couldn't leave," said actress Julianne Nicholson. "You couldn't go back to your real life."[71]

Some critics have said traveling outside the house in the movie takes away from the pressure-cooker intensity that made the play so extraordinary. For his part, playwright Tracey Letts said he was pleased with the outdoor scenes, particularly one in which Streep's pill-popping Weston matriarch, Violet, gallops on wobbly legs through a field as her vexed daughter, Barbara (Roberts), attempts to corral her mother like some runaway cow. "Osage County," said Letts. "You can see it [in the film]. In the play, we could only suggest what was beyond the walls of that house."[72]

December 6, 2013: Director John Wells Made It a Priority to Film "August: Osage County" In Oklahoma

The Tulsa World reported on December 6, 2013 that John Wells, director of "August: Osage County," says that his movie did not have to be filmed in Oklahoma but that thanks to support from Jill Simpson at the Oklahoma Film Commission much of the filming took place in rural Osage County, Pawhuska, Bartlesville and Barnsdall. Wells says he connected with Letts' stage play on such a deep level that he was convinced he needed to make a movie about the dysfunctional Weston family of Osage County. "I thought it was important that we be there in Oklahoma. I'm from Colorado myself, and I was very conscious about the misconception of what the middle of the country is like for people who live on both of the coasts, and I thought it was important for both the cast and crew to see it, and to feel it, because Oklahoma doesn't look like anything else and the people there come from a place that's had to endure and come through some things."[73]

Wells says that money was also a prime consideration in making the choice to shoot in Oklahoma because Hollywood is a "bottom-line" business. "The film wouldn't have been made here without the (Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate) and the film office and Jill Simpson and her people," Wells said of the rebate — which offers up to 37 percent on Oklahoma expenditures to companies filming in the state —and of the determination of Simpson, the director of the state's Film & Music Office. "Without the incentives, we don't come here," said Wells. "That was the Weinstein Company edict: We shoot somewhere that we'll receive an incentive of some kind. Despite the major cast, this was not a major-budget movie, so that was important to the studio."[74]

Wells had the opportunity to return to Oklahoma in November for a premiere screening for Oklahomans who worked on the film, but also for legislators who have an opportunity to renew the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate in the upcoming session. "When they told me, my first thought was 'Great!' because I look forward to seeing people who made it possible to make our film, and to come back and thank them for making a difference. We loved it here. We had a great time making a movie in Oklahoma."[75]

November 6, 2013: Oklahoma Film & Music Office Organizes Special Screening of "August: Osage County" for State Legislators

The Tulsa World reported on November 6, 2013 that the Oklahoma Film & Music Office set up a special screening of "August: Osage County" at the Circle Cinema in Tulsa as a thank-you to those Oklahomans who helped make the production a reality in the Osage County area, which is the setting of Tulsa native Tracy Letts' play about a family tragedy bringing everyone together, only to see various sins and secrets tear them apart. Also invited to the screening —and a simultaneous showing in Oklahoma City —were a number of state legislators, who will be asked to reconsider allowing the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate to expire.[76]

"I am a major proponent of the film program. I can remember when 'Twister' was shot and the farmers made more off their land being hit by a tornado than they did from what they were producing," said state Rep. Steve Vaughan, who represents Osage County. "I know why we're here, and I can tell those from other parts of the state that when something like this comes knocking on your door, you'll be sitting here like me saying it's a great thing." [77]

"I was disappointed in the film and the way that it portrayed Oklahoma in a negative light," said State Rep. Eric Proctor. "If it's an independent film and they come here and spend their own money, that's one thing, but when tax dollars are involved, they have to be held to a higher standard."[78]

October 29, 2013: State Senator Eddie Fields Predicts Movie Rebate Bill Will Pass Legislature

The Ponca City News reported on October 29, 2013 that State Senator Eddie Fields, meeting with a roundtable of business men and women in Ponca City, predicted that the legislature will pass the bill providing rebates funds for making the Marland Movie "The Ends of the Earth."[79] Fields voted in favor of the bill in the last legislative session. The bill passed the state senate but failed to pass in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.[80]

June 30, 2013: With Defeat of Film Bill, Locations for “The Ends of the Earth” Will Now be Scouted Outside Oklahoma

Gene Triplett reported in the Daily Oklahoman on June 30, 2013 that with the defeat of the "Film Enhancement Rebate Program," designed to recruit film and music projects to the state by paying a rebate of 35 percent to a film project on all production expenditures made inside Oklahoma, outside producers who had been considering Oklahoma as a good place to make their movies will now take their business to other states where incentive programs are still in place. “A lot of us are very upset,” said Oklahoma Film and Music Office Director Jill Simpson, referring to supporters of the rebate program and members of the state's filmmaking community at large. Among the casualties - "The Ends of the Earth," a film based on the controversial story of Oklahoma Gov. E.W. Marland (1935-1939) and his young bride Lydie, was tentatively set to be filmed in Oklahoma in 2014, but will now is being scouted elsewhere.[81]

Senate Bill 1126 would have increased the state appropriation to the film rebate program from $5 million to $8 million a year and would have extended the program another 10 years. It also would have reduced the share the film office may give to one film project from 35 percent to 25 percent, so that more film projects can take advantage of the program. “It's a source of pride. What better industry to get an updated image of Oklahoma out there than the film industry? It's like the Thunder; you know, you look at what that's done for Oklahoma City," says Simpson. “Think about what an ‘August: Osage County' may do. They've moved its opening date to Christmas Day, which is reserved for big holiday movies. Weinstein Company obviously senses that this is going to be a major Oscar contender. That's going to be great for Oklahoma.”[82]

Members of both parties seemed divided over the issue, with Democrats and Republicans claiming the movie rebate program was “subsidizing movie stars” and Hollywood filmmakers and taking away money that could be used for health care, education, corrections and pay raises for Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers. “What you're asking us to do is give the people in Hollywood $8 million this next year, instead of providing that money for pay raises for troopers, for correctional officers, or those people who are so essential to public safety in Oklahoma,” said David Dank, R-Oklahoma City who argued against the bill in the Senate.[83]

The program is credited with attracting such major film projects as Macy's “Rudderless,” Terrence Malick's “To the Wonder” and the Streep-Roberts feature “August: Osage County,” among others, to the state in the past two years. “To say that we're giving away money in movie star credits that we could pay for a trooper pay increase (is) nonsense,” said Simpson. “This is a rebate, not a tax credit. It's not front-loaded. The money has to be spent in Oklahoma in order for any rebates to be paid out.”[84]

June 28, 2013: State Representative Steve Vaughan Pledges His Support for "Film Enhancement Rebate Bill"

On June 28, 2013 Steve Vaughan, State Representative for the 37th District including Ponca City, pledged his support for passage of the "Film Enhancement Rebate Bill" in the next legislative session. Vaughan, an Assistant Majority Whip for the Republican caucus in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, spoke at a town hall meeting held in city hall sponsored by the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce. Vaughan said that the economic benefits of the of the "Film Enhancement Rebate Bill" were the deciding factor for his support of the bill which he voted in favor of in the last legislative session. Vaughan said he expected the bill to be reintroduced and would speak in favor of the bill to members of the House of Representatives.[85]

June 20, 2013: Oklahoma Film Office Workshop Held in Ponca City

June 13, 2013: Ponca City Chamber of Commerce Announces Movie Workshop

The Ponca City Chamber of Commerce Newsletter announced on June 10, 2013 that the Oklahoma Film and Music Industry Office will host a workshop on "How to Host a Movie Crew" on June 20, 2013.[86]

May 28, 2013: Oklahoma Representatives Defeat Extension of Film Enhancement Rebate Program

Jill Simpson, director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Industry Office reported on May 28, 2013 that the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted down an extension of the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program. As a result, projects currently prequalified in the rebate queue, and meeting all requirements of the program, will be honored but no new applications will be accepted unless either of the two remaining Fiscal Year 14 projects drop from the queue. "After a heated debate, the vote came in at 45 Yeas, 44 Nays and 12 excused from voting. Since we were required to have a majority of 51 votes for passage, the bill was held over for a revote Friday morning. Unfortunately, the revote did not go our way, coming in at 38 Yeas, 45 Nays with 18 members excused from voting," reports the film office. "We realize the serious implications of what just occurred. It is a very sad day for our growing film industry and its hard working crew, actors and support services companies."[87]

March 27, 2013: David O. Russell Might Not Direct "The Ends Of The Earth"

Pamela McClintock reported in "Hollywood Reporter on March 27, 2013 that producer Harvey Weinstein jumped the gun when he announced during Oscar week that David O. Russell would direct "The Ends of the Earth" but that a a source close to Russell insists Russell is “still seriously considering it” but hasn’t made up his mind.[88]

Kristopher Tapley wrote at HitFix on March 27, 2013 that when the Weinstein Company put out a press release on February 19, 2013 announcing that director David O. Russell would be taking the reins on "The Ends of the Earth," people close to the project are saying Russell was never committed to it. Tapley says his own source said Russell wasn't interested because he "didn't want to do another incest movie." Tapley added that screenwriter Chris Terrio was making it clear to journalists that he had no knowledge of any of it and hadn't even met Russell and that he was trying to be as zen as possible about the situation. "It was a big love letter on the final day of Oscar voting to an actress in the thick of the Oscar conversation…but little more," writes Tapley. "It was a nice way to have "Silver Linings Playbook" dominating headlines on the last day of Oscar voting. I do hope the project finds a talented craftsman soon. It's a very beautiful script and will absolutely be an awards player when it finds its way to screens, I guarantee it. But even though people close to Russell and Weinstein are claiming the director is "still seriously considering it," it seems fair to say right now that the February 19 release was a jump of the gun, and a shrewd one at that."[89]

February 28, 2013: Jennifer Lawrence May Have Scheduling Problems for 'Ends of the Earth"

The Daily Mail reported on February 28, 2013 that Jennifer Lawrence may have possible scheduling problems to play the role of Lydie in "The Ends of the Earth." "Jennifer told me she’s booked for the next two years and would have to carve out a gap between X Men: Days Of Future Past and the third Hunger Games film, Mockingjay, being shot and released in two parts, in order to do the project," writes Bax Bamigoye. "Her availability would then have to be matched with Russell’s — and whoever turns out to be her leading man."[90]

February 28, 2013: Christian Bale Considered for Role of EW Marland

The Daily Mail reported on February 28, 2013 that Director David O. Russell favors his frequent collaborator, Christian Bale, for the role of oil billionaire EW Marland. According to the story, other names being considered for the role of EW Marland in terms of who could play the uncle/adopted father include Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.[91]

February 24, 2014: Screenwriter Chris Terrio Wins Academy Award for Argo

Chris Terrio, the screenwriter for The Ends of the Earth, won the best adapted screenplay Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards for his screenplay of Argo, defeating a strong field that included Tony Kushner for Lincoln and David O Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. Terrio's screenplay was based on an article from Wired magazine Joshuah Bearman[92], as well as the book by CIA agent Tony Mendez, The Master of Disguise[93] that tells the story of the extraction of six hostages from the 1979 US embassy siege in Iran. Argo marks Terrio's first appearance as an Academy Award nominee.[94] In his acceptance speech, Terrio dedicated his award to Mendez: "Thirty-three years ago, Tony, using nothing but his creativity and his intelligence, got six people out of a very bad situation, and I want to dedicate this to him."[95] Terrio says he was 'shocked' to win Academy Award for writing 'Argo' and one day after the Oscars was still processing how life had changed the night before. “Hearing my name announced as the winner was a genuine shock,” says Terrio. “To be bluntly honest, up until they called my category, it was this phantasmagorical blur of musical theater and Barbra Streisand.”[96]

February 24, 2013: Jennifer Lawrence Wins Best Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence, reportedly under contract to play Lydie Marland in the Weinstein Company production of "The Ends of the Earth," won the best actress Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards in LA, for her role in Silver Linings Playbook defeating a strong lineup that included 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva from Amour and Jessica Chastain, star of Zero Dark Thirty. In Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence played a troubled wannabe dancer opposite Bradley Cooper, in a romance-cum-comedy directed by David O Russell.[97] Lawrence's win comes a month after Lawrence picked up the Golden Globe for actress in a comedic movie and just two years after the actress’ breakthrough performance in “Winter’s Bone” -- the role that first put her on the academy’s lead actress balloting list.[98]

February 20, 2013: Oscar nominated Director David O. Russell attached to Marland Movie

The Tulsa World reported on February 20, 2013 that Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell will reunite with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence in the movie "The Ends of the Earth" about Oilman E. W. Marland founder of the Marland Oil Campany and builder of the Marland Refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma and his wife Lydie Marland. The Weinstein Company (which made "Silver Linings Playbook" with Lawrence and Russell) has described the film as "the epic love story, based on true events (as) powerful oil tycoon Ernest Marland loses everything after engaging in a controversial love affair with his adopted daughter Lydie." The previously announced film - likely a 2014 or 2015 release - will be written by Chris Terrio, the screenwriter of best-picture Oscar film "Argo."[99]

According to Russell, Jennifer Lawrence "possesses a self-deprecating humor that made all of the cast and crew feel at ease. She is that kind of person. She is the most dedicated person I know. She is devoted to her family and they have been the true inspiration for her character and integrity. Her acting is effortless and she always makes it look easy.”[100]

February 19, 2013: Weinstein Reportedly Expects Budget to be Close to $100 Million

Mike Fleming Jr. wrote at Hit Flix on February19, 2013 that Harvey Weinstein expects the size and budget of "The Ends of the Earth" to be close to Django Unchained which cost a reported $100 million to produce.[101][102]

August 6, 2012: Weinstein Company to Produce Film about EW Marland, the Marland Refinery, and the Birth of the Oil Industry in North Central Oklahoma

The Tulsa World reported on August 6, 2012 that the Weinstein Company, producer of the last two Academy Award winners for best picture: "The King's Speech" and "The Artist," is attached to topline the romantic drama "Ends of the Earth," written by Chris Terrio and based on the lives of EW and Lydie Marland, in a story that follows the controversial love affair between an oil baron and his adopted daughter, which destroys the empire they built together. "Chris (Terrio) has brought to life with his writing one of the most epic love stories that people have yet to really discover," said Dylan Sellers, Weinstein Company president of production. "We knew right away that this script was something special." Jennifer Lawrence, star of "The Hunger Games," is attached to play Lydie, an educated, headstrong woman who was adopted as a girl by her aunt Virginia and uncle Ernest who later becomes their adopted daughter and eventually becomes EW's wife. According to the screenplay, Lydie urges EW to raise workers' wages at the Marland Refinery and give them unpredecented access to medical care, earning her the nickname the "princess of the prairies." Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch will produce the movie for Escape Artists, which is aiming to start production in the summer of 2013.[103][104]

“Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen," said producers Todd Black and Steve Tisch in a joint statement. "Her performance in Silver Linings was transcendent and was truly the heart and soul of the film. Jennifer was basically asked to play four personalities -- depressed, sexy, romantic and a wild dancer -- and did them all brilliantly. After seeing that performance, we knew we had our anchor for Ends of the Earth. Her dedication to the craft and all those who work with her is inspiring -- and if she is the future of our business, we are certainly in good hands."[105]

August 6, 2012: Weinstein Company Press Release for "the Ends of The Earth"

ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE JENNIFER LAWRENCE IN DISCUSSIONS TO STAR ESCAPE ARTISTS TO PRODUCE

New York, NY – August 6, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they will finance and distribute THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. They have acquired worldwide rights from Escape Artists, who will produce the film. Jennifer Lawrence (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, THE HUNGER GAMES, WINTER’S BONE) is in discussions to star in the epic love story, based on true events, as Lydie Marland. In THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, powerful oil tycoon Ernest Marland loses everything after engaging in a controversial love affair with his adopted daughter Lydie. The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio (ARGO). The director has yet to be chosen. The announcement was made today by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, COO David Glasser and President of Production Dylan Sellers.

Said Weinstein, “I’m not sure that anything resonates more with an audience than a true story. Jennifer Lawrence shows the skill of a seasoned veteran in everything she does, and we’re thrilled to work with her again.” Added Sellers, “Chris has brought to life with his writing one of the most epic love stories that people have yet to really discover. We knew right away that this script was something special.”

“Uniting with TWC on this project will allow this amazing true story to come to life in an artful and beautiful way,” said Escape Artists’ principal co-owner Todd Black. “We couldn’t be happier to be on board with them and to get the chance to uncover this story for audiences everywhere.” TWC and Escape Artists made the deal based on the screenplay by Terrio. The deal was negotiated by TWC’s Glasser, President, Business and Legal Affairs Andrew Kramer, and VP, Business and Legal Affairs Adrian Lopez and Escape Artists Executive Vice President David Bloomfield. Sellers and Julie Rapaport, Vice President, Production and Business Development, will oversee the film for TWC along with Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch and Lance Johnson.

July 2, 2012: Screenplay Review of "The Ends of the Earth"

Carson Reeves posted a review of the screenplay for "The Ends of the Earth" on July 2, 2012 on his web site "Scriptshadow" based on a 2007 draft by screenwriter Chris Terrio. Reeves encouraged readers to seek out the script and read it and said he was bursting with enthusiasm over the screenplay. "Seriously, this has to be one of the most amazing untold stories ever. I can't believe they haven't made a movie about it yet," writes Reeves. "This is a wonderful screenplay and I'm hoping they get it cast soon because with the right actors and the right director, this has "Oscar" and "classic" written all over it."[106]

October 30, 2007: First Draft of Chris Terrio's Screenplay for "The Ends of the Earth" Published by Escape Artists

In an interview in the Wall Street Journal with Barbara Chai on February 15, 2013, screenwriter Chris Terrio says that before his Oscar-winning success with “Argo,” Terrio wrote more than half a dozen screenplays – three of which landed on Hollywood’s “Black List” while the rest sat in a drawer for years. One of of Terrio’s screenplays was “The Ends of the Earth,” “which shows you how the world goes around because that script has been in my drawer for years,” Terrio said.[107]

What Ponca City Needs to Do to Get Ready for the Marland Movie

Ponca City Main Street Veteran's Day Parade. On May 28, 2013 that the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted down an extension of the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program. "It is time to talk to our representatives and let them know that The Ends of the Earth will be an A-list movie that will bring enormous benefits to Oklahoma." Photo: Hugh Pickens
The Marland Mansion "The only reason they would consider coming to Ponca City would be because of the unique locations of the Marland Grand Home, the Marland Mansion, and the Marland Refinery. But we don't want them to come here for three days just to do location shots. We want them to film as much of the movie here as possible and that means we have to have other locations for them. They need houses, they need streets, they will need a refinery, they need farms, they need oil rigs. It is our job to put together a package that shows all the other locations that can be used to make the film." Photo: Hugh Pickens
The Pioneer Woman Statue that E. W. Marland gave as a gift to the people of Oklahoma. "Our community needs to be service oriented and have to not make it a headache for movies to be filmed in Oklahoma. We have to give customer service with a smile. Someone gave the example of the Pioneer Woman Statue. What if the director of "The Ends of the Earth" wants to use the Pioneer Woman Statue in the movie but 'we need you to move it over 100 feet to get into the shot.' The proper answer to that request isn't 'That's impossible' but 'We'll get back to you.'" Not that we support moving the statue, but that provides time to come up with good alternative suggestions for the production. Photo: Hugh Pickens
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin surrounded by Ponca City community leaders including State Representative Steve Vaughan, State Senator Eddie Fields, and banker and philanthropist Carl Renfro, at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the University Center in Ponca City, Oklahoma on July 12, 2011. "I am a major proponent of the film program. I can remember when 'Twister' was shot and the farmers made more off their land being hit by a tornado than they did from what they were producing," says state Rep. Steve Vaughan. "I know why we're here, and I can tell those from other parts of the state that when something like this comes knocking on your door, you'll be sitting here like me saying it's a great thing." [108] Photo: Hugh Pickens

June 20, 2013: Oklahoma Film Commission Workshop Held in Ponca City

Jill Simpson, Director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, Chris Kucharski, Consultant, and Yousef Kazemi, Locations Coordinator held a four hour workshop on June 20, 2013 in the Chamber of Commerce Conference Room for eighteen Ponca City residents including representatives of city government, the police department, Ponca Playhouse, the Ponca City Development Authority, the Ponca City News, RCB Bank, Eastman Bank, and the Chamber of Commerce to discuss what Ponca City can do to recruit the film industry and to support films crews if they come to our community. OF&MO staff said this workshop had the largest turnout of any city in Oklahoma for a workshop and showed the tremendous interest in Ponca City in the movie industry.

Impact of the Defeat of the Movie Rebate Bill

OF&MO staff said they shared Ponca City's heartbreak and disappointment that the rebate bill was defeated in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The bill passed the Senate with flying colors but the rebate had become a hot button issue coming right after the tornado in Moore and that some representatives said that if you pass this bill you are taking money away from the first responders. Some of our representatives do not understand that the rebate is not a tax credit. The rebate is not pulled out of the general budget. The rebate is not money sitting in a bank account. The rebate is money that is refunded qualifying productions after the film is completed for taxable transactions made in Oklahoma. Costs of making film in Los Angeles have risen dramatically over the years. With 44 states now offering an incentive of one kind or another to the film industry, the lions share of production is now taking place outside of Los Angeles and New York. If there is no rebate, then movies such as "The Ends of the Earth" will not get made in Oklahoma and there will be no economic benefit to the state whatsoever.

"The Ends of the Earth" will probably have about a $25 million budget comparable to what it cost to make "August: Osage County." It is estimated that the State of Oklahoma would need a roughly $5.5 million rebate to be in the running to secure the production in Oklahoma.

It is time to talk to our representatives and let them know that this will be an A-list movie that will bring enormous benefits to Oklahoma. When they filmed "The Killer Inside Me" they filmed in Guthrie for 6 days, they filmed in Oklahoma City and in Enid. They filmed a total of 30 days in Oklahoma and the the average daily spend for the movie crew was $120,000. For every dollar rebated - $3 is spent in Oklahoma. It does not include any multipliers.

The same day that the $5 million movie rebate bill was defeated in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the House passed a $100 million rebate bill for coal and wind energy. The proof is in the numbers. "To the Wonder" was filmed in Bartlesville and then "August: Osage County" and that was 100 people getting per diem every day who spent that money in Bartlesville and the sales tax figures for Bartlesville showed the impact of those people.

The bill will come up next session and it is possible that the bill could be considered again in the House of Representatives as early as February. Although it appears that Jennifer Lawrence is under contract to make "The Ends of the Earth," the Weinstein company is not ready to make the movie yet. However, Lawrence has a backlog of movies that she is going to make and it may be a while before she is able to shoot "The Ends of the Earth." Any delay in Lawrence making the movie works in our favor because as long as the shoot date for "The Ends of the Earth" is pushed, we may get the rebates back in place so the movie can be made in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office (formerly the Oklahoma Film Commission) has been open since 1979. Although the bill to extend the rebate's sunset date beyond July 1, 2014 was not approved by the legislature this year, this does not impact the annual operating budget for the state office. But by not extending the sunset date of the program, the Oklahoma is sending a message of instability and that is the worst message you can send to the industry.

There are two movies that were pre-approved that are in the queue. "The Eleventh Hour" has a July 3 date when they have to have 50% of their financing in the bank and by August 2 they have to have 100% of their financing in place. The other film is untitled and it is a faith based move to be directed by Brent Ryan Green who has done other movies before. It's funding is in place. If a film misses their benchmark that money may go back for the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program queue. But the funds available are only $900,000 and the Weinstein Company needs $5.5 million to make "The Ends of the Earth."

Locations

OF&MO staff said that the incentives are good but you have to have the locations to make the movie. The community is very important. The people of Oklahoma have a huge impact. It should not only be easy to make a film in Oklahoma but it should be a great experience for the crew and the the community. People in the communities and in the film crew both have to have a good experience.

In the past most movies were made in New York City and in Los Angeles, but now those cities are putting up roadblocks to making movies because people are sick of the inconvenience to the citizens of having movies filmed in those cities. Now studios are finding it easier to get a movie made outside those areas. Projects that are done outside of Los Angeles are called Runaway projects. Twenty years ago Runaway projects were very rare and if you went to a studio and said you wanted to do a Runaway project, you said you were crazy. Now Runaway projects are the norm.

But the communities have to be service oriented and have to not make it a headache for movies to be filmed in Oklahoma. We have to give customer service with a smile. Someone gave the example of the Pioneer Woman Statue. What if the director of "The Ends of the Earth" wants to use the Pioneer Woman Statue in the movie but "we need you to move it over 100 feet to get into the shot." The proper answer to that request isn't "That's impossible" but "We'll get back to you." Not that we support moving the statue, but that provides time to come up with good alternative suggestions for the production.

The big studios always look to put movies in metropolitan areas. The studios want to be filming 15 minutes from the Oklahoma City airport or 15 minutes from the Tulsa airport. The only reason they would consider coming to Ponca City would be because of the unique locations of the Marland Grand Home, the Marland Mansion, and the Marland Refinery. But we don't want them to come here for three days just to do location shots. We want them to film as much of the movie here as possible and that means we have to have other locations for them. They need houses, they need streets, they will need a refinery, they need farms, they need oil rigs. It is out job to put together a package that shows all the other locations that can be used to make the film. When the Weinstein Company filmed "August: Osage County" they were originally only going to film one day in Pawhuska. But then they went to the location and saw all the other places they could use for location shows. They shot some scenes on a city block in Pawhuska. They shot inside a restaurant. They went out and bought a house outside of Pawhuska that they could use as the setting for the movie. Ponca City needs to show the movie crew that we have locations other than the Mansion and the Grand Home that can be used for the shoot.

David Keathly said that there are two books that were published five years ago on the "Historic Homes of Ponca City" and he sent out for three copies of the books to give to the Oklahoma Film office so they could get an idea of locations for other shooting.

The Permit Process

We have to teach the movie makers how to treat our communities. We have to have a permit process in place so that the community doesn't get walked on. We have to require that the studio has insurance in place. This is a business. Always have a signed locations agreement and permit. What happens if the movie crew shows up at the town square to shoot and the police chief says you can't shoot here. Nobody told me about it. There needs to be a permit process in place and the movie studio has to pay for the right to shoot even if it is only a dollar so that you have a business agreement. Then the movie crew can pull out the agreement when it comes time to shoot and say "we have a permit that lets us shoot here."

Handling the Media

Another important thing in dealing with a movie shoot is handling the media. If a community works with the production to ensure the privacy of the cast, it positions the community to have a good working relationship with production that can be beneficial in the long run and result in special media opportunities when convenient. You have to try to make them comfortable. Community meetings prior to the start of production are very beneficial to both the production and the community. With the advent of social media, any media coverage makes it more likely for paparazzi to descend to photograph the cast in order to sell those photos to the national press. This will impede on the production's ability to work in the community. The Bartlesville Examiner was very respectful when they were shooting "August: Osage County" and "To the Wonder" and they respected the movie studio's need for privacy. In exchange the studio gave the Examiner a first look at the press releases and let them sit down with the producer at the end of the movie for an interview.

Summary

In summary, it is still not too late to get "The Ends of the Earth" to shoot in Ponca City. If there is one thing that the people of Ponca City can do, it is to talk to our representative Steve Vaughan and get him on board with the economic benefits of making this movie here. Vaughan voted in favor of the rebate bill despite the opposition of his caucus. But we need to convince Vaughan not just to vote for the bill but to become one of the leaders in favor of this bill and to push for this bill to make it happen.

Other Dramatic Performances of the Story of Lydie and EW Marland

The Broken Statue by Oklahoma Playwright Bob Perry. In 2012 Ponca Playhouse presented "The Broken Statue," a play by Bob Perry based on the real-life story of oil-baron E.W. Marland, who made and lost a fortune in the oilfields of northern Oklahoma, and the tragic story of his adopted daughter and later wife Lydie Marland. Dave Guinn was cast as the lead while Kaley Branstetter was in the role of Lydie Roberts Marland. The Playhouse sold out eleven performances of the play. In July, 2013, the Playhouse will present an encore performance of The Broken Statue in an exclusive run of eight shows performed on July 18, 19, 20, 21 and 25, 26, 27, 28, 2013. Tickets are available from Ponca Playhouse. Photo: Hugh Pickens

There have been three other dramatizations of the lives of EW and Lydie Marland:

  • The Broken Statue by Oklahoma playwright Bob Perry opened in the Jewel Box Theatre in Oklahoma City, OK in October 2011 and sold out eleven performances at Ponca Playhouse in Ponca City, OK in July, 2012.
  • Lydie Marland in the Afterlife by Dallas playwright Isabella Russell-Ides produced by The WingSpan Theatre Company premiered on May 31, 2013 at the Fifteenth Festival of Independent Theatres in Dallas, TX.
  • The Ponca City Reenactors have presented reenactments of EW Marland, Lydie Marland, and other historical figures to schools and at community events produced by Ponca City Main Street beginning about 2009.

The Broken Statue

Bob Perry adapted his 2006 novel into a play based on the real-life story of oil-baron E.W. Marland, who made and lost a fortune in the oilfields of northern Oklahoma, and the tragic story of his adopted daughter and later wife Lydie Marland and in 2011 the Jewel Box Theatre in Oklahoma City premiered "The Broken Statue" on the stage. In 2012 Ponca Playhouse presented "The Broken Statue," in Ponca City in an exclusive run of 12 sold-out performances. An encore performance of "The Broken Statue is planned in Ponca City for 2013 on July 18, 19, 20, 21 and 25, 26, 27, 28.[109]

"Although partially fiction,'The Broken Statue' helps provide the public with an insight that feeds their curiosity of the life and times of E W, Virginia, George and Lydie Marland and their contemporaries. The play gives a glimpse of the extravagant glory days of the nineteen 'teens' and 'twenties' as they existed in Oklahoma," says David Keathly, executive director of the Marland Mansion."It's heartwarming, insightful, and clever," adds Jayne Detten, President of Ponca City Main Street. "Most of all, a delight to the senses and a respectful tribute to the Marland Family."[110]

Playwright Bob Perry's attraction to the Marland story began in 1999 when he came to Ponca City and stayed a week at the Marland Mansion during a conference. Perry took the mansion tour and when he saw Lydie's refurbished broken statue, he called his wife and said, "I know the title of the book I want to write - The Broken Statue." Perry tried to start the story several times, but didn't get serious about writing the first manuscript until 2006.[111]

"At first, I thought E.W. Marland must have been a scoundrel to marry his adopted daughter," says Perry. "I was more intrigued by Lydie's story than E.W.'s at first. Through the process I have become a great admirer of E.W. Marland. He served as governor during one of the state's most trying times and I think did a good job. E.W. Marland had many opportunities to take his fortune and leave, but I believe he truly loved Oklahoma."[112]

Perry began by writing a novel based on the Marlands' story and it took him less than a year to complete the novel once he got started. Then Perry started working on the play just to see if he could do it. "At first I took the dialogue from the novel and added a few things to get a first draft. The original script did not take long to write, but it was three acts and would have been about a 4 hour play. With a lot of help and guidance, I've done several rewrites to condense the story into a workable script."[113]

"I think we've been able to tell the Marland story in an entertaining and concise way," says Perry. "In the novel, I was able to tell the story with imagery and words. On stage, it has forced me to tell the story with dialogue and rely on the actor's performances to get the audience to experience the story."[114]

"The monuments left by E.W. Marland are everywhere in the state he helped form. The image of Lydie's statue was carved when she was the princess of the Marland Empire. The restored statue graces the entrance to the Marland Mansion to greet visitors that still come to marvel at the remarkable house and story. Lydie Marland always saw E.W. Marland as an exceptional man-we can only hope Lydie understood how special she was. I hope the play version of "The Broken Statue' will motivate others to explore and get to know this extraordinary Oklahoma family."[115]

"The Broken Statue" was first produced at the Jewel Box Theatre in 2011 and a number of residents of Ponca City traveled to Oklahoma City to see the production. Then in November 2011 a group of Ponca City residents who had seen the show met at Ponca Playhouse including representatives from the Marland Mansion, Ponca City Tourism, and Ponca City Main Street and proposed that if Ponca Playhouse would produce "The Broken Statue" other community groups in Ponca City would support the production. "I took the report from our steering committee to a meeting of the Playhouse's board of directors meeting and the enthusiasm spread to the board and they voted that we should proceed with it," says Ponca Playhouse board member Karen Mason. "I think it's a good fit for Ponca City. It's an opportunity to perpetuate the history of Ponca City and it's an opportunity for community members to get involved with the Playhouse." [116]

Ponca Playhouse is an organization that has been active in the community of Ponca City since 1958 and is one the oldest community theatres in continuous operation in the United States. In 2008 the Playhouse celebrated its 50th anniversary by moving into their new location at 301 S. 1st Street in Ponca City with a new flexible performance space.[117]

Lydie Marland in the Afterlife

The WingSpan Theatre Company, Dallas, TX premiered "Lydie Marland in the Afterlife" by Playwright Isabella Russell-Ides at the Fifteenth Festival of Independent Theatres in Dallas, TX on May 31, 2013. Directed by Susan Sargeant, the play starred Cindee Mayfield Dobbs (left) as Old Lydie and Catherine DuBord (right) as Young Lydie. "The lights come up on the heroine returning to consciousness shortly after her death. Cindee Mayfield Dobbs looks rough in the octogenerian’s turban and thrift-shop overcoat," wrote Lawson Taitte in the Dallas News. "Lydie had been a vagabond and charity case for decades after the economic downfall and death of her oil-baron husband. As she begins to recall her glorious early days, her younger self – in the person of Catherine D. Dubord – enters, an apparition in her marcelled hairdo and white frock."[118]Photo: Lowell Sargeant

On May 31, 2013, WingSpan Theatre Company debuted "Lydie Marland In the Afterlife" by Isabella Russell-Ides at "The Festival of Independent Theatres" in Dallas, Texas.[119] "Based on the true life of Lydie Marland, adopted daughter, then wife of oil magnate and Oklahoma governor, E.W. Marland. Her life was a fairy tale of riches turned Greek tragedy. From wife of one of the wealthiest men in the world to destitute vagabond, lost for twenty years in the landscape of America."[120]

Christopher Stephen Soden writes in the Dallas Examiner that according to the vision of Lydie in Lydie Marland in the Afterlife "Lydie was no gold-digger. Ides makes it clear that from the time Lydie (and her teenage brother George) were adopted by their aunt and uncle, they were treated to extravagance beyond comprehension, after a life of struggle and impoverishment. It’s implied she simply wanted her dazzling, blissful new existence to continue, without interruption. Her doting uncle ushered her into a completely different milieu, filled with parties, travel, luxury and pleasure. Lydie Marland makes it easy to understand why she was willing to wed her adoptive dad and uncle."[121]

Lawson Taitte wrote in the Dallas News on June 2, 2013 that ‘Lydie Marland in the Afterlife’ scored big during first weekend of 2013 Festival of Independent Theatres. In the play the "lights come up on the heroine returning to consciousness shortly after her death. Cindee Mayfield Dobbs looks rough in the octogenerian’s turban and thrift-shop overcoat. Lydie had been a vagabond and charity case for decades after the economic downfall and death of her oil-baron husband. As she begins to recall her glorious early days, her younger self – in the person of Catherine D. Dubord – enters, an apparition in her marcelled hairdo and white frock."[122] "WingSpan Theatre Company’s Lydie Marland in the Afterlife, by Dallas playwright Isabella Russell-Ides does take a novel approach to the mystery of what awaits us on the other side," wrote Kris Noteboom in Theatrejones. "Russell-Ides constructs a believable journey that leaves room for hope, redemption, and reflection on a life lived.[123]

"WingSpan Theatre produces [Isabella Russell-Ides's] newest work "Lydie Marland in the Afterlife" at FIT:15 with attention to detail and artistic focus one might expect to see lavished on a full-length professional production, maybe not on a 50-minute one-act on a rotating double bill at a summer festival. Result? Quite the pay-off," wrote Alexandra Bonifield in the Dallas News on June 3, 2013. Cindy Mayfield Dobbs and Catherine D. DuBord "develop an aura of otherworldly mystery and intrigue while drawing the audience into the tragic overlay of the real life story of this eccentric woman, first the adopted daughter then the indulged, younger wife of wealthy Oklahoma oil tycoon E.W.Marland and, older, as a nearly homeless “bag lady”, floating on the seedy fringes of thrift store existence."[124]

"Russell-Ides’ play, in which the older, dead Lydie confronts her younger self, is a fascinating rumination on choices, trying to answer the question, 'If you could give yourself advice from years of experience, what would you say?' but really it answers, '… But what would your younger self say back? And would you even trust old-you?'" wrote Arnold Wayne Jones in the Dallas Voice on June 6, 2013. "It tells a strong feminist story without becoming strident."[125]

"Lydie Marland in the Afterlife is an engrossing, amusing, richly depicted portrait of a woman who was flawed, and just as subject to the cruelties of fate as the rest of us," writes Christopher Stephen Soden. "More than just creating a sympathetic case for Lydie Marland, Isabella Russell-Ides draws us into her exhilarating life, revealing a woman who jumped in headfirst, whether she was on a European spending spree, fox hunt, protest march or cleaning bedrooms in a crumby motel. Whatever the outcome she embraced the world with sentience and verve."[126]

Isabella Russell-Ides is an American playwright[127] who received the 2008 Critics Forum Award for her play Coco & Gigi.[128] Russell-Ides has also received critical acclaim for her works, Leonard's Car ("Outstanding New Play", 2009 Nora's Playhouse, NYC), Fortune Cookie Smash (2007 Best of Fest, Frontera). Russell-Ides is noted for the poetic and heightened language of her texts.[129] Russell-Idesis also a published poet, having written Getting Dangerously Close To Myself (Slough Press).[130] Russell-Ides recorded readings of several poems for the Austin Poets Audio Anthology Project, Vol. II, titled Naked Children, produced by media poet Hedwig Gorski's Perfection Productions in the 1980s.[131] "Isabella Russell-Ides persists as one of the most expressive, evocative and routinely ignored playwrights in our N. Texas region’s ‘money and prestige’ theater circles," wrote Alexandra Bonifield. "She pens unique, stageworthy, critically acclaimed entertainments like Leonard’s Car, Coco & Gigi and Cenote that feature fascinating characters, vivid language and imagery and sustainable sustenance for the soul and mind."[132]

"Russell-Ides said it was the broken marble statue, one made in Lydie’s youth that had been supposedly destroyed before she disappeared, that made her fall in love with the story She called it 'a case of broken identity'," wrote Mary L. Clark in Pegasus News on June 4, 2013.[133]

Susan Sargeant (Director/Producing Artistic Director) is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director for WingSpan Theatre Company. Sargeant's most recent directing endeavors include: Children and FIT 2012 - Edward Albee's Counting the Ways for WingSpan Theatre Company. Upcoming Directing Projects: Children of a Lesser God for Contemporary Theatre of Dallas (Opening in July 2013) and Happy Days at WingSpan Theatre Company.[134] "I am dedicated to producing exceptional art, plays with exceptional women's roles," says Sargeant. "I committed from the start to providing a creative space for female artists—actors, directors, designers, and stage managers. Theater is highly competitive, with fewer roles and leadership positions for women than men. WingSpan offers a focused space where female artists can flourish."[135] In the play Lydie Marland in the Afterlife Sargeant "creates some really excellent stage pictures with the movement of the actresses," wrote Kris Noteboom in Theatrejones. "The whole play feels like it’s floating through the ether, on a journey towards a grand discovery. And when it gets to that discovery, the audience is left with reassuring warmth. Yet it’s not contrived."[136]

Cindee Mayfield Dobbs (Old Lydie) has previously appeared with WingSpan in FIT 2011 and FIT 2000. Most recent, favorite stage roles include: The Allergist's Wife/Theatre Arlington, Night of the Igauna/Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Sylvia/Pocket Sandwich Theatre, The Mystery of Miz Arnette/One Thirty Productions, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife/Uptown Players, Noises Off and You Can't Take It With You/WaterTower Theatre and Snake in the Grass/Theatre Three.[137] "Ashen-faced and dirty, with a slight stoop and wobbly gait, Mayfield shows Lydie’s physical deterioration while still holding on to some gentility and grace, giggling occasionally at her words or actions and coyly holding her hand to her mouth to conceal black teeth. It is here we see Lydie’s anger at both her circumstances and her own life choices," wrote Mary L Clark in her review of Lydie Marland in the Afterlife. Mayfield presents a solid performance of a woman in constant contradiction with herself."[138] "Dobbs’ portrayal of the older Lydie is extremely engrossing," wrote Kris Noteboom in Theatrejones.[139]

Catherine D. DuBord (Young Lydie) has appeared in two WingSpan Main Stage productions: Children/2012 and My Sister In This House/2009. Most recent, favorite stage roles include: The Farnsworth Invention (Dallas/Fort Worth Critics Forum Award) /Theatre Three, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play/Kitchen Dog, The Miser/Stage West, Sylvia (Peggy Award/Most Promising Female Artist)/Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and Some Girl(s) (Dallas/Fort Worth Critics Forum Award)/Second Thought.[140] "Catherine D. DuBord holds the regality and grace of Young Lydie’s early womanhood well throughout the play," wrote Mary L Clark in her review of Lydie Marland in the Afterlife. "With pale complexion and rosy cheeks, her body language and demeanor denote one who quickly learned her new place in society."[141]

The Ponca City Reenactors

The Ponca City Reenactors. For several years, Ponca City Main Street has made available reenactments of early day Ponca City persons of interest that were important in the city’s history including EW Marland, Lyde Marland, BS Barnes, Zack Miller and Lew Wentz. The characters add personality to community events by presenting their story and that of their place in the founding of the community.[142] Mike Mott (center, top row) plays E. W. Marland. Jayne Detten (center, first row) plays Lydie Marland. Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson (first row, right) plays oil tycoon Lew Wentz, Marland's friend and sometime competitor. The late Phil Bandy (top row, left) played Ponca City founder and first mayor BS Barnes. Photo: Hugh Pickens

For several years, Ponca City Main Street has made available reenactments of early day Ponca City persons of interest that were important in the city’s history including EW Marland, Lyde Marland, BS Barnes, Zack Miller and Lew Wentz. The characters add personality to community events by presenting their story and that of their place in the founding of the community.[143]

In addition to E. W. Marland and Lydie Marland, the reenactors include:

  • BS Barnes (circa 1895) - First mayor and city founder, made the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893 to claim the square mile city.
  • Lew Wentz (circa 1935) - Oil baron and philanthroper, built Wentz Camp and Pool
  • Bill McFadden (circa 1935) - Vice-President of Marland Oil and lifelong friend of E.W. Marland.[144]

BS Barnes, Founder of Ponca City

Ponca City was created in true Oklahoma fashion during the land runs of the late 1800's. On September 16, 1893, homesteaders lined up for a race to claim one of the 160-acre farm sites in the area surrounding what became Ponca City. Early in the spring of 1893, B. S. Barnes, having heard that the Cherokee Strip was to be opened for settlement, headed for Arkansas City with the hope of building a new city in this frontier area. Barnes had sold his furniture manufacturing plant in Adrian, Michigan, desiring to make his fortune on "The Strip." After driving for many days, with a team and buggy, over what is now referred to as the counties of Kay, Grant, Garfield, and Noble, he observed a wagon road in Kay County, that ran from Arkansas City southward and crossed the Arkansas river at a point one mile south of the present Arkansas river bridge near Ponca City. The B & M ford was located at this point, and had been used for years as a buggy and wagon crossing. About a mile northeast of the ford on the same wagon road, was a spring. The fact that the spring was a good water source and was located on the main road to the Osage County, caused Barnes to decide that near this point was the logical site for his contemplated city. Barnes went back to Arkansas City to announce the location of the new city and to organize the Ponca Townsite Company.

On September 21st, four days after the Oklahoma Land Run, surveyors completed surveying the selected section of land into streets and lots, and the lot drawing began. And such was the beginning of Ponca City! Certificates for lots in Ponca City were sold by the Ponca Townsite Company for $2 each and each certificate was good for either one business lot or one residential lot. Over 2,300 certificates were sold. A little girl drew the cards from a box placed on Grand Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets. From these drawings attendants recorded the certificate owners' names and lot selections in large bound books. This is believed to be the first instance of a new city being started with a town lot drawing. It took two days to complete the drawings and Ponca City was born.[145]

Lew Wentz, Friend and Competitor of E. W. Marland

Lewis Haines Wentz, (Lew Wentz) born in Tama, Iowa on November 10, 1877, was an essential factor in opening up the oil fields of Oklahoma. Reared in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Wentz was too poor for college and started out by organizing a semi-professional baseball team and was a playing manager. His second business venture happened when he was coaching high school baseball and campaigning door to door for the GOP when he rang the bell of the very wealthy John G. McCaskey. McCaskey had made a huge fortune in the sauerkraut business and had recently become an investor and President of the 101 Ranch Oil Company located on the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch property in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Wentz soon went to work for McCaskey in his sauerkraut operation.[146]

In 1911, Wentz at the age of 34, was sent to Ponca City, to check on McCaskey's investments with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch and E. W. Marland's 101 Ranch Oil Company. He was present on June 11, 1911 when that company's first oil well "Wilie-Cries-For-War" came in. Shortly thereafter, McCaskey gave Wentz a chance to join the 101 Ranch Oil Company as Company Secretary. Through his association with the 101 Ranch Oil Company Wentz became interested in the oil business and in a few years, with money provided by McCaskey and another partner, Joseph M. Weaver, Wentz began gathering lease land in Northwest Kay County and soon the McCaskey-Wentz Company was developed.[147]

The Company's leases covered a wide range around Ponca City. Early strikes were at the Mervien Oil Field east of Kildare, next came a lease in the Three Sands area near Tonkawa. In 1924, after McCaskey's death, Wentz began to seriously develop the Three Sands fields. The McKee lease in the sands was one of the best producers in north central Oklahoma. Three years later Wentz bought out his partners and formed the Wentz Oil Corporation that by the end of 1927 was making $1 million a month. He was then one of the seven richest men in the nation, having reported taxable income among the top seven individuals reporting in 1927. This ranked him with Henry Ford, J. D. Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan.[148]

Wentz lived a life of service. He organized and provided funding for the Oklahoma Crippled Children's Society. He built a public Olympic size swimming pool and public golf course (originally known as Lakeside, now renamed Lew Wentz Memorial Golf Course) for Ponca City. He established a boys and girls camp (Wentz Camp) in Ponca City and a wild game sanctuary near Ponca City. All of these facilities remain in operation to this day. Wentz established foundations for student loans and Project Awards at four Oklahoma colleges/universities under the nomenclature the Lew Wentz Foundation. When Wentz sold his oil interests just before the 1929 crash he increased his support for higher education at these colleges. Shortly before his death on June 9, 1949 he acquired a number of Texas oil leases. Upon his death he left an estate worth $25 million and each of the colleges received additional millions for the Wentz foundation.[149]

Lew Wentz never married. His residence was primarily a suite at the Arcade Hotel in Ponca City, OK.[150]

Bill McFadden, Friend of E. W. Marland and Vice-President and Marland Oil

William Hartman McFadden, born in Moundsville, West Virginia on June 11, 1869, was an essential factor in opening up the oil fields of Oklahoma. At age 19 he apprenticed in the Mackintosh Hemphill Steel Foundry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in 1909 at the age of 40, he became President of Mackintosh Hemphill, but resigned shortly thereafter due to ill health, suffering from lungs irritated by a galvanizing compound used in steel mills. He moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas thinking that he was going to die.[151]

In 1910 he was approached by John G. McCaskey, a social acquaintance from Pittsburgh and E. W. Marland, President and founder of the 101 Ranch Oil Company of Ponca City, Oklahoma that was on the verge of failure having run out of money after drilling seven wells and only having found natural gas.(1) McFadden was impressed with Marland and after visiting the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch property decided to invest in the company. McCaskey then raised additional funds from Pittsburgh investors, reorganized the company and was elected President, McFadden was elected Vice President, General Manager. Shortly thereafter a drilling lease was obtained on the Willie Cry Ponca Indian allotment and on June 11, 1911 the well “Willy-Cries-For-War” struck oil, bringing wealth to the company and its investors. Later, after McCaskey sold his interests in the 101 Ranch Oil Company and the Kay County Gas Company to Marland Refining Company, later the Marland Oil Company McFadden was appointed President of the Kay County Gas Company, and also Vice President of Marland Refining Company and an executive at Marland Oil Company. In 1914 McFadden was elected mayor of Ponca City, serving until 1920.[152]

McFadden funded and sponsored a private camp, Camp McFadden, for Camp Fire Girls with over 5,000 girls attending the camp through 1950. He also financed the American Legion Orphans Home School in Ponca City. In 1935 McFadden was placed in Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame. E. W. Marland had a statue of McFadden cast in his likeness called "The Plainsman" which is now on exhibition at Woolaroc Museum in Northeastern Oklahoma on Oklahoma State Highway 123 about 19 km (12 mi) southwest of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and 72 km (45 mi) north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1946 McFadden was awarded the Gulich Award given by the Camp Fire Girls.[153]

McFadden married to Helen Charolette Williams Levi in 1920. They had no children. In 1928 McFadden moved to Fort Worth, Texas where he died on November 1, 1956 at the age of 87.[154]

Behind-the-Scenes Talent Associated with "The Ends of the Earth"

The screenplay for The Ends of the Earth was written by Chris Terrio, shown above with his Oscar for best screenplay for Argo at the 85th annual Academy Awards. “Chris has brought to life with his writing one of the most epic love stories that people have yet to really discover. We knew right away that this script was something special," says Dylan Sellers, President of Production at The Weinstein Company. Photo: Disney ABC Television Group Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic


Overview of this Web Site


Screenwriting

In the beginning is the word. Movies start on paper and screenwriting is the art and craft of writing scripts for mass media including feature films, television productions or video games. Screenwriters are responsible for researching the story, developing the narrative, writing the screenplay, and delivering it, in the required format, to development executives. Screenwriters therefore have great influence over the creative direction and emotional impact of the screenplay and, arguably, of the finished film. They either pitch original ideas to producers in the hope that they will be optioned or sold, or screenwriters are commissioned by a producer to create a screenplay from a concept, true story, existing screen work or literary work, such as a novel, poem, play, comic book or short story.[155][156][157]

Screenwriter Chris Terrio

Chris Terrio (born December 31, 1976) is an American film director and writer based in New York City. He won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay on February 24, 2013, for his screenplay for Argo, which was directed by Ben Affleck, and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. On February 17, 2013, Terrio also won the Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay of 2012. At the 70th Golden Globe Awards he was nominated for Best Screenplay. The Argo script also brought him a BAFTA nomination and the 2013 Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Terrio is also writing the screenplay for the sequel to Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, tentatively entitled Batman v. Superman.[158]

Educational Background

Terrio graduated in 1997 from Harvard University, where he concentrated in English and American literature and lived in Adams House.[3] Terrio attended University of Cambridge and received his master's degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2002.[159]

Directorial Work

At age 26, he directed the feature film Heights (Sony Pictures Classics, 2005), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It follows a pivotal twenty-four hours in the interconnected lives of five New Yorkers. It stars Glenn Close, Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden and Jesse Bradford, and features Isabella Rossellini, George Segal and Rufus Wainwright in small roles. It was one of the final films produced by Ismail Merchant. The film won a "Best Independent Feature Film Casting" award from the Casting Society of America, USA in 2005. In 2010, he directed the episode "I Look Like Frankenstein", which was Episode 8 in Season 3 of Damages on FX. In 2002, he directed, wrote and produced a short film entitled Book of Kings, which starred Aasif Mandvi among others. It won "Best Short" at the 2002 Santa Fe Film Festival and also was nominated for "Best Short Film" at the 2002 Deauville Film Festival.[160]

Screenwriting

Terrio wrote the script for Argo, winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the screenplay, and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. His screenplay was also nominated for "Best Screenplay" awards from the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards. For the Argo screenplay, he also won "Best Screenplay" or "Best Adapted Screenplay" honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the Online Film Critics Society Awards, the Austin Film Critics Association, the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, the Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards, the 2013 University of Southern California (USC) Scripter Award, 2nd place in the Central Ohio Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, and the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards. He adapted the screenplay based on a Wired magazine article by Joshuah Bearman entitled "The Great Escape" and the autobiography of Tony Mendez, The Master of Disguise.[161]

Terrio recalls the experience of writing a dialogue-intensive scene for Argo:

Scene 58--nine men sitting in a conference room talking through scenarios for cover stories to get Americans out of Iran--was difficult. There's nothing to cut to except the actors' faces. The tension has to come from the subtle shifts of power. CIA and State Department officials debate ideas, each worse than the last. I knew the crucial beat would come when our hero, Tony Mendez speaks up. He couldn't seem disrespectful, yet he had to make his case. I settled on the idea that Mendez would throw a spitball into the conversation with a joke about giving the bicycle escapees Gatorade. The table would go silent. The attention of the room would shift to the court jester. I also had to determine whether Gatorade was on the market and a commonly recognized brand in December of 1979. I celebrated when I found a magazine from the year before featuring a dehydrated athlete with a Village People moustache: 'Gatorade: When You're Thirsty to Win.

Terrio also wrote the screenplays for two films he directed: the feature film Heights, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and the award-winning short film, Book of Kings.On December 18, 2013, Terrio was hired by Warner Bros. to collaborate with David Goyer by writing a draft of the the script for the sequel to Man of Steel, tentatively entitled Batman vs. Superman. Terrio has also been hired by Paramount Studios and Indian Paintbrush to write the script for the drama, A Murder Foretold, based on an article in The New Yorker by David Grann revolving around a number of high-profile murders in Guatemala. Terrio will also be scripting the adaptation of Harlan Coben's novel, Tell No One, for Warner Bros., with Ben Affleck also being attached to direct.[9] There has already been a French film directed by Guillaume Canet based on the novel as well, Tell No One, and the American version of the film will be a remake of sorts.[162]

Other Work

Terrio has also edited the documentary short First Out. He has worked on the Ivory-Merchant films (directed by James Ivory) Le Divorce and The Golden Bowl. He was also previously an assistant to director James Ivory. Terrio also served as an assistant director on the short film Equation, directed by Anuj Majumdar, and was also a grip on the short film Awake, directed by Lori Lovoy-Goran, who won a DGA Student Film Award and a SXSW Competition Award for her documentary short film, In Between Days.[163]

Film Director

David Owen Russell is a BAFTA Award winning American film director and screenwriter. Photo: Wikipedia

A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. Generally, a film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects, and visualizes the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision.[164] Film directors create an "overall vision" through which a film gets eventually "born".[165] Realizing this vision includes to oversee "the cinematography and the technical aspects" as well as directing the shooting timetable and meeting deadlines.[166] This means organizing "the array of people working under him/her on how to best capture his artistic vision for the film".[167][168] This requires "good leadership and motivational skills" as well as "the ability to stay calm in stressful situations".[169] Moreover it is necessary to have "an artistic eye to frame shots" and to give precise feedback to cast and crew.[170] Subsequently excellent communication skills are a must.[171] Since he depends on a successful cooperation of a lot of different creative individuals with possibly strongly contradicting artistic ideals and visions, he also needs "to be a diplomat" in order mediate whenever necessary.[172] Thus the director makes sure all assembled talent "blends into a single consciousness".[173] The set of varying challenges the director has to tackle have been described as "a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with egos and weather thrown in for good measure".[174][175]

February 20, 2013: Oscar nominated Director David O. Russell attached to Marland Movie

The Tulsa World reported on February 20, 2013 that Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell will reunite with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence in the movie "The Ends of the Earth" about Oilman E. W. Marland founder of the Marland Oil Campany and builder of the Marland Refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma and his wife Lydie Marland. The Weinstein Company (which made "Silver Linings Playbook" with Lawrence and Russell) has described the film as "the epic love story, based on true events (as) powerful oil tycoon Ernest Marland loses everything after engaging in a controversial love affair with his adopted daughter Lydie." The previously announced film - likely a 2014 or 2015 release - will be written by Chris Terrio, the screenwriter of best-picture Oscar film "Argo."[176]

Pamela McClintock reported in "Hollywood Reporter on March 27, 2013 that producer Harvey Weinstein jumped the gun when he announced during Oscar week that David O. Russell would direct "The Ends of the Earth" but that a a source close to Russell insists Russell is “still seriously considering it” but hasn’t made up his mind.[177]

Biography of David O. Russell

David Owen Russell (born August 20, 1958) is a BAFTA Award winning American film director and screenwriter. His films include Spanking the Monkey (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Three Kings (1999), I ♥ Huckabees (2004), Fighter (2010), and Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Three actors have received Academy Awards for roles in his movies: Christian Bale (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor - The Fighter), Melissa Leo (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - The Fighter), and Jennifer Lawrence (Academy Award for Best Actress - Silver Linings Playbook).[178][179]

Film Producer

Film producers prepare and then supervise the making of a film before presenting the product to a financing entity or a film distributor.[180] Producers may be employed by a film studio or be independent, yet either way they helm the creative people as well as the accounting personnel.[181][182][183][184][185] "From the first draft script, through all stages of production, to the final dub, success or failure rests largely in the hands of the producer," said Julian Winkle. "Experience in this field does not come overnight. Rather it is born out of long years of creative and technical know-how, and above all a love for the job and all that goes with it, together with the ability to choose the right talent with which to surround himself."[186]

Producer Harvey Weinstein of Weinstein Co.

Oscar award winner Harvey Weinstein is an American film producer and film studio executive best known as co-founder of Miramax Films.[187]. Photo: Wikipedia

Harvey Weinstein (born March 19, 1952) is an American film producer and film studio executive. He is best known as co-founder of Miramax Films.[188] He and his brother Bob have been co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, their film production company, since 2005. He won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love, and garnered seven Tony Awards for producing a variety of winning plays and musicals including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County.[189][190]

Harvey Weingard, a character portrayed by Maury Chaykin on the HBO TV series Entourage, is based on Weinstein. The character is portrayed as an intimidating and aggressive producer. Weinstein himself has reportedly responded positively to the character.[191] The character of Malcolm Tucker from the BBC series The Thick of It is not based on Alastair Campbell as many have suggested, but on Hollywood agents and producers, notably Harvey Weinstein.[192][193]

Film Producer Steve Tisch of Escape Artists

Steven "Steve" Tisch (born February 14, 1949) is an American businessman who is the Chairman and Executive Vice President of the New York Giants, the NFL team co-owned by his family, as well as a film and television producer. Tisch is the son of former Giants co-owner Bob Tisch. Tisch is currently a partner in Escape Artists, an independently financed film production company based at Sony Pictures Entertainment that is the result of a merger between his Steve Tisch Company and fellow partners Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal's production company, Black & Blu. Escape Artists released The Weather Man, starring Nicolas Cage, in the fall of 2005 and The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith, was released by Columbia Pictures on December 2006. Other projects include Seven Pounds starring Will Smith, Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage and The Taking of Pelham 123 starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta.[194]

Film Producer Todd Black of Escape Artists

Born in Dallas, TX, Todd Black attended the theatre program at the University of Southern California and began his professional career as a casting associate on various television shows. Black was president of production at Sony's Mandalay Entertainment, where he managed such movies as Donnie Brasco, Seven Years in Tibet, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Les Miserables and Wild Things. In January 2000, Black, along with his partner Jason Blumenthal, merged their company with the Steve Tisch Company to form Escape Artists, an independently financed company. Escape Artists.[195]

Film Producer Jason Blumenthal of Escape Artists

Jason Blumenthal was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications. Blumenthal joined Wizan/Black Films in 1990 and was senior vice president of feature production at Mandalay Entertainment, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, from 1995 through March of 1998. In April 1998, Blumenthal and his partner, Todd Black, formed Black & Blu Entertainment and entered into a first look production deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2001, Black & Blu merged with the Steve Tisch Company (“Forrest Gump”) to become Escape Artists, while still maintaining their Sony deal. Blumenthal has Producer, Co-Producer, or Executive Producer Credits for Pursuit of Happyness (2006), The Weather Man (2005), Alex & Emma (2003), Bio-Dome (1996), and Dunston Checks In (1996).[196]

Film Producer Lance Johnson of Escape Artists

Lance Johnson joined Escape Artists in 2000 as an intern and moved up the ranks, most recently as director of development. In his position, Johnson will take on more responsibilities for overseeing current projects and finding new material to develop. Johnson will report to Escape Artists partners and producers Steve Tisch, Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal. Johnson is a 1998 graduate of Ponca City High School. Johnson attended film school at the University of Southern California, graduating in film production in 2002. Johnson was an associate producer on “Hope Springs” and has worked on “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “The Taking of Pelham 123.” “I am a producer on ‘The Ends of the Earth,'" said Johnson in an interview with the Ponca City News. "Lydie once spoke to me when I was four-years-old and I’ve been wanting to turn the Marland story into a film since I was a kid. I utilized a lot of local interviews and research, and I’ve been working for years with the writer Chris Terrio, Escape Artists, and now The Weinstein Company to bring it to life.”[197][198]

On-Screen Talent Associated with "The Ends of the Earth"

Lydie Roberts Marland

August 6, 2012: Jennifer Lawrence to Play Lydie Marland

Oscar award winner Jennifer Lawrence, star of "The Hunger Games," is attached to play Lydie Marland in "The Ends of the Earth" written by Oscar award winning screenwriter Chris Terrio. The movie will tell the story of Oilman E. W. Marland founder of the Marland Oil Campany and builder of the Marland Refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma and his wife Lydie Marland. The Weinstein Company, producer of two Academy Award winners for best picture: "The King's Speech" and "The Artist," is attached to topline the romantic drama "Ends of the Earth." The movie will likely be released in 2014 or 2015. Photo: Wikipedia

The Tulsa World reported on August 6, 2012 that Jennifer Lawrence, star of "The Hunger Games," is attached to play Lydie in the romantic drama "Ends of the Earth," written by Chris Terrio and based on the lives of EW and Lydie Marland, in a story that follows the controversial love affair between an oil baron and his adopted daughter, which destroys the empire they built together. Lydie is an educated, headstrong woman who was adopted as a girl by her aunt Virginia and uncle Ernest who later becomes their adopted daughter and eventually becomes EW's wife. According to the screenplay, Lydie urges EW to raise workers' wages at the Marland Refinery and give them unpredecented access to medical care, earning her the nickname the "princess of the prairies." Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch will produce the movie for Escape Artists, which is aiming to start production in the summer of 2013.[199][200]

“Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen," said producers Todd Black and Steve Tisch in a joint statement. "Her performance in Silver Linings was transcendent and was truly the heart and soul of the film. Jennifer was basically asked to play four personalities -- depressed, sexy, romantic and a wild dancer -- and did them all brilliantly. After seeing that performance, we knew we had our anchor for Ends of the Earth. Her dedication to the craft and all those who work with her is inspiring -- and if she is the future of our business, we are certainly in good hands."[201]

The Daily Mail reported on February 28, 2013 that Jennifer Larence may have possible scheduling problems to play the role of Lydie in "The Ends of the Earth." "Jennifer told me she’s booked for the next two years and would have to carve out a gap between X Men: Days Of Future Past and the third Hunger Games film, Mockingjay, being shot and released in two parts, in order to do the project," writes Bax Bamigoye. "Her availability would then have to be matched with Russell’s — and whoever turns out to be her leading man."[202]

Biography

Jennifer Shrader Lawrence[203][204][205] (born August 15, 1990) is an American actress. Her first major role was as a lead cast member on TBS' The Bill Engvall Show (2007–2009) and she subsequently appeared in the independent films The Burning Plain (2008) and Winter's Bone (2010), for which she received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, Satellite Award for Best Actress, Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for Best Actress. At age 20, she was the second-youngest actress ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. At age 22, her performance in the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook (2012) earned her the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Satellite Award and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress, amongst other accolades, making her the youngest person ever to be nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Actress and the second-youngest Best Actress winner.[206] Lawrence is also known for playing|Raven Darkhölme / Mystique in the 2011 film X-Men: First Class, a role she will reprise in X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014. In 2012, she achieved international recognition starring as the heroine Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, an adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling novel of the same name. Her performance in the film garnered her notable critical praise and marked her as the highest-grossing action heroine of all time.[207][208] Lawrence's performances thus far have prompted Rolling Stone to call her "the most talented young actress in America."[209] In 2013, Time Magazine named Lawrence one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[210][211]

EW Marland

February 28, 2013: Christian Bale Considered for Role of EW Marland

The Daily Mail reported on February 28, 2013 that Director David O. Russell favors his frequent collaborator, Christian Bale, for the role of oil billionaire EW Marland. Photo: Wikipedia

The Daily Mail reported on February 28, 2013 that Director David O. Russell favors his frequent collaborator, Christian Bale, for the role of oil billionaire EW Marland.[212] Bale has previously worked with Russell and Russell likes working with the same actors. "It's really great because you have a lot of trust with each other and then you can really reach higher and go farther and deeper," says Russell. "The best thing is for me to trying to do the best I can do as a writer and directer so that I keep attracting the best people. To me, that's a blessing. If I get to keep working with people as gifted as these actors, you're halfway into the movie at that point in delivering the vision. It raises the bar for me, and I just keep trying harder."[213]

Biography of Christian Bale

Christian Charles Philip Bale is an English actor born on January 30, 1974[214][215] who has starred in both blockbuster films and smaller projects from independent producers and art houses. Bale first caught the public eye at the age of 13, when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987). Based on the original story by J. G. Ballard, Bale played an English boy who is separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself lost in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.[216] In 2000, Bale garnered critical acclaim for his portrayal of serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He earned a reputation as a method acting|method actor after he lost 63 pounds to play the role of Trevor Reznik in The Machinist (2004).[217] Bale went on to receive greater commercial recognition and acclaim for his performance as Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (film)|The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). He also portrayed Dicky Eklund in the biopic The Fighter (2010), for which he received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.[218]

Other Names Considered for Role of EW Marland

The Daily Mail reported on February 28, 2013 that other names being considered about for the role in terms of who could play the uncle/adopted father included Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.[219]

How Other Communities Have Benefited from Their Movie Locations

Roseman Bridge Gift Shop in rural Madison County, Iowa, may well be the busiest retail store in America located four miles from a paved road. Photo: WikiCommons
The Field of Dreams is a baseball field and pop-culture tourist tourist attraction built originally for the Field of Dreams movie in Dubuque County, Iowa, near Dyersville, Iowa. Photo: WikiCommons
The Yellow Brick Road in Liberal Kansas. More than 20,000 people have attended the annual "Wizard of Oz" Oztoberfest in in Liberal every year. Photo: WikiCommons

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

The Economist reported that the Roseman Bridge Gift Shop in rural Madison County, Iowa, may well be the busiest retail store in America located four miles from a paved road. After Robert James Waller wrote a romantic novel called “The Bridges of Madison County” based in Winterset, a small town encircled by century-old covered bridges, Warner Brothers turned it into a movie with Clint Eastwood as Robert, a wandering photographer, and Meryl Streep as Francesca, the farm woman he falls in love with. For locations, the producers settled quickly on the Northside Café on Courthouse Square and, from a helicopter, they spotted the perfect farmhouse for Francesca. Bouncing uncomfortably down the county's gravel roads they knew their search was over when they found the Roseman Bridge."[220]

As cameras rolled on his land, Wyman Wilson "saw his opportunity and took it: he opened a small gift shop," reported The Economist." [Wilson] has since expanded the business several times, serving thousands of lovestruck visitors from America, Europe and Japan, many of them arriving by bus on package tours amid clouds of authentic dust."[221] "I loved visiting Roseman Bridge and remembering the movie The Bridges of Madison County." wrote Ann1969. "Took a lot of great pictures at this site. Definitely spend some time here breathing in the fresh air and beauty of the bridge and the landscape of the countryside."[222]

"Roseman Covered Bridge Gift Shop is located just west of the Roseman Covered Bridge in the shadows of the trees," says the Madison County web site. "Take a step back when you visit the Roseman Covered Bridge Gift Shop. Our gift shop includes souvenirs of the Roseman Bridge and from the movie "The Bridges of Madison County". We also sell native Iowa wines featuring wine from the Covered Bridge Winery located right here in Winterset, Iowa. The gift shop also sells many Iowa made products including Sorghum, Honey, Mustard, Jams & Jellies, and Gourmet Popcorn & Chocolates."[223]

Field of Dreams (1989)

The Field of Dreams is a baseball field and pop-culture tourist attraction built originally for the Field of Dreams movie in Dubuque County, Iowa, near Dyersville, Iowa. The studio built the baseball diamond on two farms, a few miles outside Dyersville. When production completed, the baseball diamond created for the movie was left behind. Most of the baseball field, including the diamond and the adjacent house, was on one farm owned by the Lansing family, but the left and center field were on an adjacent property owned by the Ameskamp family. The field was built on the two properties because the producers wanted the field in a location where sunset shots would be uninhibited.[224]

The “Field of Dreams” site has become one of the state's top tourist attractions in the 10 years since the film opened, luring about 55,000 people annually. “It was totally word of mouth,” recalls Becky Lansing, whose husband Don's family has owned the bulk of the site for almost a century. The tourism began when a now-anonymous New Yorker tracked down the field and showed up on the Lansings' doorstep during a coast-to-coast road trip. So quickly did the phenomenon grow that James Earl Jones, who also starred, narrated a mini-documentary on the tourist craze at the movie site.[225]

After filming completed, the Lansing family kept their portion of the field intact, and added a small hut where visitors could buy souvenirs. Keith Rahe, a neighboring farmer, put together a baseball team dubbed the "Ghost Players" to entertain the visitors at the field. The team's presence at the field on Sunday afternoons once a month attracted thousands of additional fans to the field. In 1991 and 1992 the Upper Deck Company sponsored a celebrity game at the Field. Executive Producer Tony Loiacono, who later received the key to the city, brought Hall of Famers like Bob Gibson, Reggie Jackson and Bob Feller to take on Hollywood Stars like Kelsey Grammer and Meatloaf in a charity game. The two games raised over $100,000 for local charities.[226]

In August 2007, Rita Ameskamp sold the land containing her portion of the baseball field to Don and Becky Lansing - the owners of the remainder of the field. As a result the movie site is now entirely owned by the Lansing family.[227] In 2009, the Lansings canceled the 20 year Field of Dreams celebration because of the economy. They donated $5,000 to the local food pantry instead.[228][229]

On August 11, 2006, Austin, Texas' Alamo Drafthouse "Rolling Roadshow" (which screens films in locations unique to each film) showed Field of Dreams at the Field of Dreams Site in Dyersville. A giant, outdoor screen was set up adjacent to the field with seating, concessions, and parking along left and center field. Only the property owned by the Ameskamp family was allowed to be used for this event; the Lansing property was closed to the public. Before the screening of the film, Kevin Costner and his band (unnamed at the time, now known as Kevin Costner and Modern West performed for two hours for the attending crowd of close to 1,000 people. Costner and his band played a selection of original songs and popular covers, including a song about Iowa that he wrote during the filming of Field of Dreams 17 years earlier.[230]

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Liberal, Kansas with a population of 20,525 is located far from interstate highways in the state's isolated, south-western corner. But the city appropriated Mervyn LeRoy's classic, “The Wizard of Oz”, to breathe life into its financially struggling town museum. "Nobody could challenge them, since the film, sensibly enough, was not set in a real township," writes The Economist. "In 1981, they opened Dorothy's House, an ageing Kansas farmhouse that looked like the one where Judy Garland lived in the famed movie. A dozen young Dorothies were outfitted in period dress to lead visitors through the house, which was stocked with vintage supplies and appliances."[231][232]

More than 20,000 people attend the annual "Wizard of Oz" Oztoberfest in Liberal every year. "Oztoberfest began as the result of that typical Kansas friendliness that extends to points afar - much like Dorothy's trip to a magical land," says the Liberal, Kansas web site. " Max and the late Katie Zimmerman of Liberal attended an insurance convention in San Francisco in 1978. He sheepishly admits he entered a restaurant with his name tag on - a sure sign of a conventioneer. Noting Max's state of origin, the waiter stated the obvious, "Oh, you're from Kansas. That's where Dorothy is from." Max asked the waiter, "What would you expect to see in Kansas?" The waiter replied he would expect to see Dorothy's house, like the one in The Wizard of Oz. After returning from the West coast, Max shared the waiter's observation with the community and received some interest in Liberal becoming Dorothy's official home. It wasn't until 1981 that the idea took a step closer to becoming reality. Oliver Brown, a Liberal resident, knew of a house that resembled Dorothy's. Volunteers moved the house to the Coronado Museum grounds where it was transformed into a replica of the house shown in the movie, and recognized by then-governor John Carlin as the official home of Dorothy Gale. An annual celebration sprang up around the exhibit, which continues to expand and draw tourists to the community. In addition to the life-sized house, visitors can take a tour of the Land of Oz, a 5,000 square foot exhibit and animated journey through the movie."[233]

History of the Marland Refinery in Ponca City

Prospectus for the 101 Ranch Oil Company. Marland founded the 101 Ranch Oil Company, located on the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch, and drilled his first successful oil well at Willie Cries on land which he leased in 1911 from the Ponca Tribe. Click to enlarge. Photo: Wikipedia
Conoco headquarters at Ponca City. Ponca City was a thriving community after it became the headquarters for Continental Oil Company (Conoco). Conoco was by far Ponca City's biggest employer with over 800 employees at the refinery and about 3,800 employees working in support services including financial, research, engineering, and service organizations. Photo: Unknown
The refinery at Ponca City circa 1940. Photo: Unknown
The Conoco Oil Refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma circa 1955 before the two research buildings were built. Derivative Photo: Hugh Pickens

One of Phillip 66's most important and most profitable refineries is the Marland Refinery in Ponca City, built by EW Marland in Ponca City, Oklahoma almost 100 years ago.

1911: Marland finds Oil near Ponca City

Over the past 100 years, Ponca City's history has been shaped for the most part by the ebb and flow of the petroleum industry. EW Marland decided to come to Ponca City after a relative introduced him to the Miller brothers whose famous 101 Ranch lay near Ponca City, Oklahoma. In 1908 E. W. journeyed to Ponca City and immediately decided that the surface geology indicated oil. Marland raised capital from financiers back in Pennsylvania and began drilling. Marland originally founded the 101 Ranch Oil Company, located on the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch, and after drilling seven dry holes, drilled his first successful oil well, called Willie Cries, in 1911 on land which he leased from the Ponca Tribe.[234][235]

1917: Marland Oil Founded and Marland Refinery Built

Marland Oil Company was founded in 1917, when Marland assembled his various holdings including the 101 Ranch Oil Company into one unit, forming Marland Oil Company. Later, on January 3, 1921 Marland incorporated the Marland Oil Company in Delaware to acquire through an exchange of stock control of the Marland Refining Corp. and Kay County Gas Co. By 1920 it is estimated that Marland and his partners controlled 10% of the worlds oil production (the equivalent of Saudi Arabia in 2006) and that Marland was worth $85 million.[236]

In 1918 Marland began construction of the Marland Refinery and the population of Ponca City doubled then trebled in a few months.[237]

From the outset Marland realized that to sustain long-range corporate growth he must form an integrated company encompassing drilling and production, storage and transportation, and refining, and retailing, similar to the very successful model used by the Standard Oil Company. The first step in this process was to dissolve the 101 Ranch Oil Company and replace it with the Marland Refining Company. Over the next several years Marland expanded his empire to include production in neighboring states, and by 1919 he had even started large-scale drilling operations in Mexico. The next step in bringing the feverish rate of growth under a more centralized and integrated operation came in early 1921 when Marland consolidated all of his oil operations under the auspices of the Marland Oil Company. Headquartered in Ponca City, where its major refining facility was located, the firm continued its phenomenal growth pattern by absorbing numerous small oil companies such as Comar Oil Company, Tom Jones Oil Company, Kenney-Cleary Oil Company, Francoma Oil Company, John S. Alcorn Oil Company, and many others whose highly competent executives Marland's company usually retained. Additionally, the company opened its first retail gasoline "filling station" in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, in 1920, and that aspect of the business began to experience rapid growth. Marland took a strong, paternal interest in his company and in his employees and provided numerous benefits not normally offered in that era. He furnished company housing at a nominal fee, provided free insurance to all employees, paid wages above the norm for the time, and is generally acknowledged to have provided the best employee benefits and working conditions in the state. Additionally, his donations to local charities and civic projects were enormous, and he sponsored legendary entertainment spectacles for both employees and the general public.[238]

According to an article appearing in Petroleum Age in 1922, the refinery in Ponca City was already one of the largest refineries in the world by 1920:

Located in the heart of the Mid-Continent oil field, the greatest known light oil field in the world, by 1920 the company controlled, with its subsidiaries, over 200,000 acres of proven and valuable oil land within a radius of 100 miles from Ponca City, the headquarters of the company. A study of the map of Marland properties in Northern Oklahoma proves easily the strong strategic position the company holds through its oil resources and large reserves in some of the best pools of this district. Marland oil opened in 1920 the famous Hickman, or now better known as Burbank pool, in the Western Osage; in 1921 the Tonkawa pool in Noble County, within fifteen miles of Ponca City, which promises to produce large quantities of high-gravity crude. It controls almost entirely the Ponca field, one of the oldest and best producing fields in the Mid-Continent, with five producing sands; holds large parcels of oil and gas lands in the Eastern and Western Osage fields, in the Garber, Noble, Newkirk, Deer-Creek and in the Pawnee Payne district. Marland draws its crude from eighteen producing fields with 244 wells and produces, with its affiliated companies, the Comar and Alcorn Oil Companies, over 12.000 barrels per day, sufficient crude for its own refinery demand. Pipe lines extending 271 miles, with thirteen modern equipped pumping stations, radiate in three directions from Ponca City and connect Marland's two refineries with oil fields which have ample unmined production to supply sufficient crude oil for many years to come. The company operates in Ponca City a 10,000-barrel complete refinery, and at Covington a 1,000-barrel skimming plant producing a well-known brand of high grade gasoline and lubricating oils. Nearly two million barrels of steel storage for crude and finished products give the company a strong position in the market, and enabled Marland to begin the storage of gasoline when the refinery price was as low as 12-1/2 cents. The recent raise, totaling so far 3 cents per gallon has greatly increased the value of the 250,000 to 300,000 barrels gasoline the company keeps i» storage against the coming summer demand.[239]

By 1922 nearly 600 Marland stations were found in 11 mid-continent states, from North Dakota to Oklahoma and as far east as Indiana. Growth required capital, however, and Marland was continually strapped. Turning to investment banker J.P. Morgan and Company, Marland was able to secure financial backing for continued expansion, but with expansion came a hefty price. By 1928 Marland had been forced out by Morgan interests who placed former Texaco executive Dan Moran in charge. With orders from Morgan and Company to put Marland Oil back in the black, Moran set out to acquire key assets that would round out the Marland operation, allowing for increased financial stability. With this in mind, Marland management began to look around for a partner, a company with complementary assets, an operation that would perhaps consider a merger.[240]

Marland's exploitation of oil reserves generated growth and wealth that were previously unimaginable on the Oklahoma prairie, and his company virtually built the city from the ground up. Mansions—including the Marland Mansion and Grand Home—were built by Marland and his associates. The "Roaring 20s" came to an end for Ponca City shortly before the Great Depression. After the takeover bid by J.P. Morgan Jr., son of financier J.P. Morgan, Marland Oil Co. merged with Continental Oil Co. (Conoco) in the late 1920s.[241] It was known as Conoco for more than 70 years. The company maintained its headquarters in Ponca City until the 1950s and continued to grow into a global corporation.[242] Marland was later elected the governor of Oklahoma and as a U.S. congressman.

1929: Marland Loses Control of His Company and Marland Oil Acquires Continental Oil

Conoco Inc. was an American oil company founded in 1875 as the Continental Oil and Transportation Company. Based in Ogden, Utah, the company was a coal, oil, kerosene, grease and candles distributor in the West. Marland Oil Company (founded by exploration pioneer E. W. Marland) later acquired the assets (subject to liabilities) of Continental Oil Company, for a consideration of 2,317,266 shares of stock. On June 26, 1929, Marland Oil changed its name to Continental Oil Company and moved its headquarters to Ponca City, Oklahoma. The acquisition gave Conoco the red bar-and-triangle logo previously used by Marland. Conoco used the logo between 1930 and 1970, when the current red capsule logo was adopted. Ponca City remained the world headquarters of Conoco until the 1950s when the headquarters moved to Houston.

1950s - 1960s: High Water Mark for Conoco in Ponca City

Many consider the 1950s and 1960s as the high water mark for Conoco in Ponca City. "Your new job puts you right in the middle of Conoco's worldwide diversified operations," read a Conoco employee handbook published in 1967. "More Conocoans - 3,300 of the oil company's employees -work here than in any other single location. Ponca City is the 'Service Center of the Conoco World.' This is the center for our research, engineering, accounting, computer, pipe line, purchasing, and transportation activities. The oil industry is perhaps the most stable in the country. And the many companies of the Conoco family are right at the top of the industry."[243]

"Since 1950, Conoco's growth has been notably dynamic, moving from a position as a domestic regional company to the full rank of major international," continues the handbok. "Almost 'overnight,' Conco established a fully integrated petroleum operation in Africa and Europe. Conoco is a now company. Enjoying the best overall growth rate among the world's largest oil firms, Conoco is a billion-dollar corporation and interational in scope and operations. Its diversification activities include plastics, coal, plant foods, petrochemical, electronics, nuclear research, and cryogenics applied to worldwide transport of natural gas in liquid form."[244]

"Conco spends about $10 million annually on research and engineering through the efforts of more than 500 scientists and technicians at the company's multimillion dollar research center at Ponca City."[245]

1981: Dupont Acquires Conoco

In 1981, in what was called the largest acquisition in US history at that time, Conoco was purchased by DuPont Company, headquartered in Wilmington Deleware, over the July 4 weekend for $9.7 billion. At the time of the acquisition, DuPont announced that $2 billion in Conoco assets would be sold to reduce Conoco's debt. Dupont began by selling a west coast refinery for $100 million and a group of domestic properties were sold to Petro-Lewis for $750 million. At the time of the acquisition, Conoco was by far Ponca City's biggest employer with 828 employees at the refinery and an additional 3,805 employees working in support services including financial, research,engineering, and service organizations.[246] Thirty years later only the refinery employees remain.

1990: Conoco reaches Environmental Settlement with Ponca City

The NY Times reported in 1990 that Conoco had reached one of the largest settlements ever recorded at that time in a lawsuit over environmental contamination offering 400 families that are neighbors to the Conoco refinery a package of measures worth from $23 million to $27 million, according to various estimates that will allow them to move away "from the acrid odors that have come to signify sickness and death in many households." Conoco executives said the settlement would permit them to create an uninhabited buffer zone around the plant. "We didn't do this for the money, and people are not going to have a good time spending it," said Anna Sue Rafferty, a leader of Ponca City Toxic Concerned Citizens, a community group that helped organize the suit against Conoco. "This has been my home for 34 years. I raised four children here. I love this house, but all I want to do now is get out of it." In response to years of complaints, Federal and state officials along with Conoco executives repeatedly told the plant's neighbors that no toxic substances were evident and that they faced no health risk. But recent tests performed by Conoco on samples of water found underground showed traces of benzene, a known carcinogen, according to Dennis Parker, the refinery manager. Adrienne Anderson, Western regional director of the National Toxics Campaign, which provided technical assistance to people in the area, said privately commissioned tests on water that had seeped into basements regularly showed dangerous levels of benzene, arsenic and about 20 other potentially harmful chemicals. Conoco, a fully owned subsidiary of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement. In a statement Monday, Mr. Parker noted that the agreement says, "No party admits any fault, liability or responsibility for any claims, injuries or damages claimed by any adverse party." Grace Klinger, who learned the chemistry of hydrocarbons to find out what was happening in her neighborhood, said: "When I was growing up, everyone just figured the stink was just refinery stink and if the company said it was O.K. then it was O.K. Now we know better, and it doesn't matter what Conoco says because the truth is out."[247][248]

1993: Major Downsizing at Conoco

Ponca City was hit by major downsizing at Conoco in 1993 when approximately 1,400 jobs were cut, resulting in an annual payroll reduction of $40 million. This precipitated an economic slowdown in the city and county in 1993 and 1994. The unemployment rate, which had always been well below the national average of six percent, jumped to 12 percent and unemployment compensation claims more than doubled from the previous year. While Conoco once accounted for 50 percent of the jobs in Ponca City, after the downsizing Conoco accounted for just seven percent, or 1,400 jobs. According to a study by the International Economic Development Council, "the town’s psychology and identity was rocked by the downsizing of its one major employer."[249]

1998: DuPont Sells Off Stake making Conoco Independent

The NY Times reported in 1998 that in a move that many investors believe was long overdue, DuPont announced that it would divest itself of 20 percent of its $22 billion Conoco oil subsidiary in a tax-free stock offering that could bring in as much as $5 billion. Charles O. Holliday Jr., DuPont's chief executive, said he would dispose of the rest of Conoco "as soon as practical." DuPont bought Conoco in 1981 as insurance against the pricing and supply tactics of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. But oil prices have been far less volatile than it had feared, and DuPont continues to de-emphasize the petrochemical side of its business, so having Conoco as a captive source of raw material is of less strategic importance.[250] A successful road show kicked into gear to sell Conoco to the investment community, culminating in the largest IPO in history, nearly $4.4 billion. Many financial analysts were skeptical the deal would be pulled off, given tremendous upheaval in both the oil and stock markets and a dried-up appetite for public offerings. But company personnel, from top executives to support people, worked countless hours to make the IPO a success. On October 22, 1998, their efforts paid off: Conoco stock began trading again, using a new symbol, "COC," honoring the name it had held for so many years - Continental Oil Company.[251]

2001: The Creation of ConocoPhillips

Two vacant office buildings at Phillips 66's Refinery Complex in Ponca City. On February 17, 2009 ConocoPhillips announced they had decided to relocate all of its 750 non-refinery positions out of Ponca City within two years and that first 250 jobs would be moved in 2009 with 180 jobs going to Houston and 70 jobs to Bartlesville. The positions moving first included jobs in technical services, research and development, engineering and support, human resources and Internet technology, among others. Management met with hundreds of Ponca City employees to tell them the news. "It’s a difficult time in general for all ConocoPhillips employees," said ConocoPhillips spokesman Tracy Harlow. "We made the strategic decision to consolidate locations for the most effective corporate operations."[252] Photo: Hugh Pickens

Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Co. announced on November 18, 2001 that their boards of directors have unanimously approved a merger of equals and signed a definitive merger agreement. The merged company became the third-largest integrated U.S. energy company based on market capitalization and oil and gas reserves and production. Worldwide, it became the sixth-largest energy company based on hydrocarbon reserves and the fifth-largest global refiner. Upon completion of the merger, Archie W. Dunham, Conoco chairman and chief executive officer, would serve as chairman of ConocoPhillips and delay his scheduled retirement to 2004. James J. Mulva, Phillips chairman and chief executive officer, would become president and chief executive officer of the combined company, and also become chairman upon Dunham's retirement.[253][254]

The Associated Press reported that analysts described the combination as a deal done to survive. If Phillips and Conoco hadn't decided to join forces, analysts said they risked losing market share to competitors in an unhealthy business climate for all but the largest petroleum companies reported Alan Clenndenning. "This is absolutely a matter of survival - survival nor necessarily to thrive, but to guarantee they will survive, said Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Fahnestock & Co. In a conference callwith analysts, top Phillips and Conoco officials said the merger would allow them to save at least $750 million annually in part through the elimination of an unspecified number of jobs from the company's combined roster of 58,000 employees. "You cannot say you are cutting cots if you cut less than 5 percent, said Gheit. "And if you want to be aggressive with a sharp knife you can cut 15 to 20 percent, which I see as unlikely." Officials took pains to describe the deal as a merger of equals, tough under its terms, Phillips shareholders wil end up with a 56.6 percent stake in the new company.[255]

Businessweek reported in 2005 chief executive officer Mulva had conceived the bold $16 billion deal that created ConocoPhillips in 2002 that vaulted it into the league of energy giants so large they're called supermajors and was an aggressive risk-taker willing to place multibillion-dollar bets in the most volatile places on earth. All of the industry's big players are swimming in cash, reported Businessweek but Mulva is plowing some 70% of the company's expected cash flow back into the business, compared with 60% at Chevron Corp. and 35% at Exxon Mobil Corp.. "We're aggressive about where we want to be five years from now," said Mulva. "Even with the benefit of hindsight, Mulva has done a lot right," wrote Mark Morrison. "His aptly timed Conoco acquisition put the company in a position to benefit from a new global dynamic of rising energy demand that could last into the next decade. And his bold plans may ultimately prove that he adjusted more wisely and quickly to the changing world of energy than the other majors. Right or wrong, no one will accuse Mulva of being shy."[256]

According to Jim Mulva's presentation to financial analysts on July 14, 2011, ConocoPhillips' view was that the company needed to go up in size. That is one of the reasons for the merger -- to compete around the world. "We also felt, looking back 10 years ago, that there is going to be consolidation in the industry. And that made a lot of sense that we were pretty bullish about oil prices and we feltthe supply and demand situation of oil would get tighter with time."[257][258][259]

2001: Impact of Merger of Conoco and Phillips on Oklahoma Communities

KOCO reported on November 19, 2001 that merger of Conoco and Phillips in 2001 stunned residents in both Bartlesville and Ponca City. "This could be a bad deal for Bartlesville," said an unnerved Bartlesville resident Chuck Tate, who realizes how the economic fortunes of his town are tied to the huge oil company based. "I hope not, but I'm expecting the worst." Bartlesville's fortune has long mirrored the ups and downs of the company founded in 1917 by brothers Frank and L.E. Phillips. There was downsizing after the 1980s oil bust. Bartlesville embarked on a sustained effort to diversify its economy, luring new businesses and factories but nothing to compare to Phillips. During the oil boom 20 years ago, Phillips employed 9,000 locally, half the city's workforce. "Phillips has obviously been a huge part of this town, in my lifetime anyway," said local travel agency executive Gary Spears. "It's scary." Spears said all of his business is directly related to arrangements with Phillips or tied indirectly to travel by Phillips' employees or townspeople who benefit from the company. "When they say the Phillips' headquarters is not going to be here, it's a huge announcement," Spears said. "I don't know what that means at this point. Nobody does."[260]

ConocoPhillips will based in Houston, home to Conoco. It will keep a reduced presence in Bartlesville, Okla., where Phillips employs 2,400 at its headquarters and research facility. "This is really a growth story for Conoco and Phillips," said Conoco CEO Archie Dunham who is delaying a planned retirement to serve as chairman of the combined company. Phillips chairman James Mulva will be chief executive of the company, and become chairman when Dunham retires in 2004. Gov. Frank Keating said the merger was "unavoidable to ensure the survival in Oklahoma of both companies." "While some job reductions will result, I have assurances from the leaders of the new company that it will maintain an even stronger Oklahoma presence," he said.[261]

Also affected is Ponca City, 70 miles due west, where Conoco's refinery and offices employ 1,900 of the town's 26,000 people. "One of the great fears we've had in Ponca City was that Conoco might be the victim of a hostile takeover," said Ponca City Mayor Tom Leonard. "Now that they have created the third largest oil and gas company in the United States, that pretty much eliminates that risk."[262]

2005: ConocoPhillips Closes Demonstration Plant in Ponca City

On October 21, 2004 ConocoPhillips announced that it would shut down its demonstration plant eliminating up to 120 jobs. The plant was built to test technology designed to convert natural gas into liquid fuels. "It is never easy tomake this kind of announcement," said George Paczkowski, ConocoPhillips vice-president of downstream technology in Ponca City, "but we've known this demonstration plant was temporary since we built it. The plant was scheduled to close in July, 2005 eliminating 80 full-time positions and 40 contract jobs. Paczkowski said many of the full-time workers would be reassigned to other positions at the company.[263] "We started the plant to prove our technology to turn natural gas into diesel, and then to provide data for the design of a commercial plant," said ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Shanley Wells-Rau. "In 2005, we said that we successfully developed and proved the technologies. But the company never has moved on to build one commercially. It was never meant to be a long-term, commercial plant."[264]

The Daily Oklahoman reported on December 20, 2008 that ConocoPhillips had sold the company’s natural gas-to-liquids demonstration plant along with the technology behind it for an undisclosed amount of money. The plant was a demonstration project that opened in 2003 and closed in 2005 and had the capability of producing 400 barrels a day of liquid fuels from natural gas. The buyer was Industrial Properties, based in Kansas City who plan to dismantle the plant to resell its steel and equipment.[265]

2009: ConocoPhillips Relocates 700 Jobs from Ponca City

On November 7, 2008 ConocoPhillips announced that the company was planning to downsize their operation in Ponca City and that all 700 office worker positions in Ponca City were being for relocated to Bartlesville or Houson. On November 8, 2008 ConocoPhillips first announced that all 700 office worker positions in Ponca City are being considered for consolidation or relocation. "Consolidation and relocation are options we're looking at," said company spokesman Tracy Harlow. "Any and all options are still on the board right now." Most of ConocoPhillips' nonrefinery jobs in Ponca City werefocused in the credit card, information technology, facilities and other support operations, she noted. A steering committee, including ConocoPhillips managers, was looking at options. The review started November 2008 and had not narrowed into specifics so far, Harlow said. The 750 people employed in refinery operations would not be affected by the review.[266]

The Tulsa World reported on February 17, 2009 that ConocoPhillips had decided to relocate all of its 750 non-refinery positions out of Ponca City within two years and that first 250 jobs will be moved in 2009 with 180 jobs going to Houston and 70 jobs to Bartlesville. The positions moving first include jobs in technical services, research and development, engineering and support, human resources and Internet technology, among others. Management met with hundreds of Ponca City employees to tell them the news. "It’s a difficult time in general for all ConocoPhillips employees," said ConocPhillips spokesman Tracy Harlow. ConocoPhillips originally planned the Ponca City relocation study as a standalone effort in 2008 but falling energy and credit markets forced ConocoPhillips to consider layoffs and include Ponca City into its overall business efficiency study. "We made the strategic decision to consolidate locations for the most effective corporate operations,” Harlow said. “Obviously we are conserving cash right now, so cash will limit relocations in 2009.”[267]

Business Week reported that Ponca City took a hit from ConocoPhillips in February 2009, when the company said it planned to move 750 non-refinery jobs out of the city of about 26,000 to Bartlesville and Houston. But the refinery has remained a key part of ConocoPhillips' operations, said ConocoPhillips spokesman John Roper. Rich Cantillon, president and CEO of the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce, said ConocoPhillips upgraded the refinery last year and is performing another upgrade this year. No new oil refineries have been built in the U.S. since 1976, which is another positive sign for the Ponca City facility's future. "It's not going anywhere," Cantillon said. "We are good to go. Ponca City is a happy, good community. ... It's fascinating to see how (the split) will all play out, but we'll always have the refinery. There won't be any more job loss for Ponca City when it comes to (ConocoPhillips). There could be job growth."[268]

City officials were disappointed in ConocoPhillips' announcement that 750 jobs will be relocated from Ponca City, but expect the community to bounce back. "We would have liked to have seen them expand here. We have plenty of office room for them and had hoped they would grow their operation here," said City Manager Craig Stephenson. "We also understand it's a corporate decision." Mayor Homer Nicholson said Conoco has been a good corporate citizen and he is glad ConocoPhillips has decided to leave Oklahoma's largest refinery in Ponca City. "We are thankful," he said. "We were hoping the business optimization study would give them a reason to expand their business in Ponca City. Unfortunately, that did not happen," Nicholson said. "We have weathered larger reductions in force than this one," the mayor said.[269]

2009: Effect of ConocoPhillips Downsizing on Ponca City

The Tulsa World reported in 1009 that Conoco employed more than 5,000 people in Ponca City before the oil bust of 1985, the year Dave Myers, executive director of the Ponca City Development Authority, pinpoints as "the beginning of the end for us being a company town." The end itself came in 2002, when Conoco merged into ConocoPhillips and began transferring departments en masse to the Phillips campus in Bartlesville. In November 2009, the company announced it would probably transfer the final 700 office jobs out of Ponca, leaving only 750 jobs in the refinery.[270]

Until a few months ago, Fred Holmes worked in research and development with more than 100 other technicians. Then he and his wife had to choose between early retirement or transferring to Bartlesville, an hour and 20 minutes east of Ponca. "It was a 12-hour day any way you look at it," Holmes says. "She couldn't put up with it then, and I didn't want to do it now." After a few weeks, his wife quit the company and invested in a downtown bridal shop, Affairs to Remember. Now Holmes works there, too — recently moving the shop to a larger storefront and adding a catering service. But Homes still resents the company for, as he puts it, "abandoning Ponca City." While he had a small business to fall back on, Holmes has watched friends and co-workers move away to look for jobs elsewhere. "You used to be able to wake up in the morning and know you had a job and know that your family would be provided for," he says. "Now, nobody knows what's going to happen next."[271]

Mike Dove took early retirement when the company moved his entire department to Bartlesville. When he grew up during the '60s, a job with the company seemed like "the ultimate prize," Dove says. Like many of his classmates, Dove went off to college not to escape Ponca City, but so he could come back and stay. "You could pretty much count on a job for life, and it gave you a sense of security and stability. "By the '90s, that wasn't the case at all." For his own two children, both now adults, staying in Ponca City was never an option. "Finding a job," Dove says, "pretty much means going somewhere else."[272]

KOCO reported on November 7, 2008 that City development executive director David Myers said the diversity of the economy would lessen the effect of possible job losses. "The impact of this economically is not nearly as severe as the impact emotionally," said Myers adding that city leaders didn't want to depend on a single employer that could make or break the community and that other employers also make up a big portion of the economy. "Sensor testing is a $6 billion worldwide industry, and we're the only place in the world where you come and have your sensor tested by a neutral third party," Myers said. "Our real concern is with the individual families that might be impacted by this, and we want to make sure that there are some viable alternatives for them to stay here in Ponca City because most of them do want to stay here," Myers said. Barber Barney Barnwell said he has been in this situation before and so has the community. "We can survive," he said. "Ponca can survive."[273]

2010: Possible Sale of Ponca City Refinery

In May 2010, there was a lot of discussion in Ponca City about the possibility that ConocoPhillips was interested in selling its Ponca refinery to another oil company and getting out of Ponca City especially after ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Jim Mulva met with corporate analysts in October 2009 for the ConocoPhillips Q3 2009 Earnings Call and announced that the company's capital budget would decrease by about 12 percent in 2010 and that ConocoPhillips planned to divest $10 billion in refining, exploration, and production assets in a bid to improve its financial position.[274]

At the earnings call on October 29, 2009 Mulva was asked specifically about the possibility that ConocoPhillips might divest itself of some of its refineries and Mulva said that the company was "going through a more strategic assessment [of its refineries] because there are some that are less sophisticated. We will think long-term when the market gets a little bit better about selling some refineries. We think that is going to be subsequent to the next two years for 2012, 2013 and we have in mind a number of facilities that we think might have some value to someone else."[275]

The Tulsa World and the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise report that Mulva appeared before a packed house at the Bartlesville Community Center on May 21, 2010 to present the annual company update, talk about ConocoPhillips' plans for the future, and clarify the company's plans for Bartlesville and for the Ponca City refinery.[276]

Mulva told his audience that employees in Bartlesville and Ponca City have little to fear. Although ConocoPhillips announced last year that it was tranferring or eliminating all 700 non-refinery jobs in Ponca City, ConocoPhillips plans to keep the Ponca City refinery with it's 750 employees. "We will retain only the largest and most sophisticated refineries," Mulva said. "Ponca City is a large and sophisticated refinery that is important to our refinery portfolio."[277]

Mulva added that he didn't forsee any change in the 3,100 ConocoPhillips employees in Bartlesville, and that there was actually room to accommodate an additional 800 to 1,000 more employees in Bartlesville. "There's no change in our long-term plans for Bartlesville," Mulva said. "It's a very important global support center for ConocoPhillips."[278]

"Ponca City Still a Competitive Refinery"

The announcement reinforced a statement made in February 2009 at the time that the announcement was made that ConocoPhillips non-refinery employees in Ponca City would be relocated over the next three years. "The refinery in Ponca City continues to be a competitive refinery," said John A Carrig, President and Chief Operating Officer of ConocoPhillips, when he talked to students as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series at the Michael F. Price College of Business at Oklahoma University. "Like all of our facilities, we are continuing to make investments to enable it to thrive. I don't see any particular change in the outlook for it."[279]

Jim Mulva reiterated in his conference call to financial analysts on July 14, 2011 that in answering a question by Ed Westlake of Credit Suisse that "if we have an alternative to sell one of the less sophisticated refineries in a way, we are not going to delay until this is done accomplishing and doing that."[280][281][282]

Ponca City and the Spinoff of Phillips 66 in 2012

In 1908 E. W. Marland came to Oklahoma after losing his fortune in the Pennsylvania oil fields in the panic of 1907 and by 1920 had reestablished himself and started the Marland Oil Company and building the Marland Refinery in Ponca City. Marland was a visionary and not only pioneered the use of geophysical techniques in the oil industry but was years ahead of his time as an employer providing housing, loans, medical care, and other benefits for the thousands of employees who worked at his refineries and pipelines. The refinery EW Marland built in Ponca City in 1918 has provided employment, opportunities, and benefits to tens of thousands of citizens of Northern Oklahoma in the almost 100 years since the Marland Refinery in Ponca City was built.
Beginning May 1, 2012, the day Phillips 66 was spun off as a separate downstream company, newspaper ads have appeared daily in the "The Ponca City News" asking that Phillips 66 rename its Ponca City refinery the "Marland Refinery in Ponca City" as a symbol going forward of the partnership between the oil industry and the citizens of North Central Oklahoma that honors the legacy of two great oil pioneers who brought advancement and prosperity to Northern Oklahoma, Frank Phillips and EW Marland.[283][284] Full Disclosure

How the Spinoff Affects Ponca City and Bartlesville

Rod Walton writes in the Tulsa World on April 28, 2012 that with the spinoff, Ponca City may not be affected as dramatically by the split as Bartlesville. Going back to the 2002 merger shows that Bartlesville and Ponca City were affected differently leaving the two cities in different situations today."[285]

Conoco employed nearly 1,900 people in Ponca City at the end of 2001, while Phillips had a workforce of 2,500 in Bartlesville. The ConocoPhillips numbers shrunk to only 750 refinery workers in Ponca City but swelled to 3,500 at the shared services center in Bartlesville. Ponca City is now purely a refining town, with Ponca City having lost all 750 non-refinery jobs during the three-year repositioning plan. "Today, we're a refinery town," said David Myers, executive director for the Ponca City Development Authority. "No doubt about it: the merger was not kind to Ponca City." "The dark humorists in that city used to joke that Ponca City got the first name in the merger but little else," writes Walton. "ConocoPhillips opted to shut down a carbon fibers plant early on and eliminated the rest of the 750 non-refinery jobs beginning in 2009.""[286]

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise editorialized on April 29, 2012 that Jim Mulva has "proven to be a true friend to the City of Bartlesville."[287] According to Rod Walton, Bartlesville was a big beneficiary of the ConocoPhillips merger and seems to have lived a charmed life economically over the past ten years. Although the home of Frank Phillips doesn't employ 9,000 company workers as it did in the early days, the 1,000 employees added since 2002 have kept downtown buildings such as Plaza and Adams full of mid-level computer, credit and other support personnel. But now Bartlesville operations are in flux and there is much uncertainty about the future. "All employees are being moved to one of the two companies, with co-workers who once sat side to side now literally shifted to separate buildings," writes Walton. ConocoPhillips will employ about 1,700 people in the downtown Plaza and Frank Phillips Tower Center buildings and in the Adams warehouse. Phillips 66's Bartlesville workforce will number 1,900 people, housed in the main Adams and Phillips buildings and the Research and Development Center on the west edge of the city.[288] The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reported on April 29, 2012 that the "split or 'repositioning' as it has been called by company officials, has required many existing local employees to shift jobs and even physically move from one building to another within the extensive downtown Bartlesville office complex" adding that "while no one can predict the future with perfect clarity, Bartlesville appears no worse for the wear during this complex process."[289]

ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance and Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland reassured its employees in Oklahoma in an op-ed they wrote for the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise titled "ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66 have deep roots in Bartlesville" that "ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 together employ nearly 4,500 people in Oklahoma, an increase in recent years. Going forward, we will both maintain Global Services Centers in Bartlesville providing essential finance, information technology and other vital support to our personnel around the world. Elsewhere, Phillips 66 will continue operating the Ponca City Refinery, by far Oklahoma’s largest, and will remain the leading gasoline marketer. ConocoPhillips will continue producing oil and natural gas from the Anadarko Basin and the Panhandle area." Lance and Garland added that "we continue encouraging both current and incoming employees to maintain our proud tradition of community service. Bartlesville is a special place to work, live and raise a family, and we want to help keep it that way. This is an exciting time for ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66. All of our Oklahoma communities are great homes to our people and businesses, and we both look forward to long and bright futures here."[290]

"The Phillips and Conoco merger has taught everyone, Poncans and Bartians alike, to simply expect the unexpected," writes Walton. "In other words, who knows what ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 will look like 10 years down the road?" "We do have a strong Conoco retiree group that lives here," says Dave Myers. "There's still talk in the community, still those who'd like to go back to the old days. I think most people have moved on."[291][292]

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reported on September 12, 2012 that Greg Garland visited Bartlesville on September 11, 2012 to speak to the Chamber of Commerce and told members of the chamber that Bartlesville is of strategic importance to Phillips 66. “As we were approaching the repositioning and spinning Phillips 66 out of ConocoPhillips, there was never any question that Bartlesville would continue to be a strategic and important part of our company, in the support of our company operations, for a very long time,” Garland said. Garland added that Phillips is “pretty much at capacity” in Bartlesville. “I don’t see us moving a lot of people into Bartlesville,” he said, adding that Bartlesville will always be a core asset for the company. “There’s not big plans to move in a big section of the workforce. We just don’t have the capacity or the space here today to do that.”[293]

Visit of Phillips 66 Leaders to Ponca City

On March 27, 2012, the Ponca City News reported that leaders from Phillips 66 visited Ponca City and were met by community leaders.

On the Phillips 66 side were Bob Herman, Future Lead of Health, Safety and Environment; Pete Stynes, Ponca City Refinery Manager; Larry Ziemba, future Lead of Refining, including Projects and Procurement, and President, Global Refining; Chantal Veevaete, future Human Resources; and Tim Taylor, future Commercial, Marketing, Transportation and Business Development.

On the Ponca City side were City Manager Craig Stephenson; Lee Evans, Chair of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce; David Myers, Ponca City Development Authority; Rich Cantillon, Chamber of Commerce/Tourism Bureau; Carl Renfro, community leader; and Larry Murphy, Chair of the Ponca City Development Authority.[294]

Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland, although originally scheduled to visit Ponca City with his management team, was not able to attend. Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson, retired from ConocoPhillips after 38 years service, was also unable to attend.

Proposal to Rename Phillips 66's Refinery to the "Marland Refinery in Ponca City"

On March 12, 2012 a web site was created asking the management of Phillips 66 to consider honoring EW Marland, the oil pioneer who built the refinery in 1919 and developed the oil industry in North Central Oklahoma by restoring the name of the Phillips 66 refinery in Ponca to its original name, "Marland Refinery in Ponca City," as a gesture of goodwill to the community of Ponca City.

"The Ponca City News" recently announced that with the split of ConocoPhillips into two companies, the ConocoPhillips operation in Ponca City, Oklahoma will soon be renamed Phillips 66.

Frank Phillips, the founder of the Phillips 66 Oil company, was a man who knew how to use his courage and initiative and great administrative ability to create industry and wealth in Oklahoma leaving a legacy in the oil company that bears his name that will always be a monument to his memory.

But there is another Oklahoma oil pioneer who was equally important in developing the oil industry and bringing prosperity and advancement to Northern Oklahoma and that man was EW Marland.

EW Marland pioneered the use of geological techniques in the oil industry and was years ahead of his time as an employer providing housing, loans, medical care, and other benefits for thousands of employees who worked at his refineries and pipelines but Marland lost everything to the powerful JP Morgan banking interests - even losing his name on the oil company that he founded in Ponca City.

It is altogether fitting and proper that Phillips 66 honor the heritage of oil development in Northern Oklahoma by recognizing Frank Phillips and EW Marland.

The executives of Phillip 66 have honored the memory of Frank Phillips by choosing to name their new company for Phillips. We think Phillips 66 should honor the legacy of oil pioneer EW Marland by naming their refinery in Ponca City for Marland, the man who started the refinery and brought advancement and development to North Central Oklahoma.[295]

It would mean a great deal to the residents of Ponca City for Phillips 66 to acknowledge the history and heritage of the oil industry in Oklahoma by honoring these two great oil pioneers, Frank Phillips and EW Marland.

Renaming the refinery the "Marland Refinery in Ponca City" will serve as a symbol going forward of the partnership between the oil industry and the citizens of North Central Oklahoma that honors the legacy of these two great oil pioneers.[296]

A full page advertisement by Phillips 66 announcing its "intent on continually earning the trust of the communities we serve and operating with the highest levels of integrity" appeared in the Ponca City News on May 1, 2012.[297] A quarter-page advertisement congratulating Phillips 66 on its creation and asking Phillips 66 to honor the legacy of EW Marland appeared in the Ponca City News on May 1, 2012.[298][299]

External Links

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About the Author

Hugh Pickens

Hugh Pickens (Po-Hi '67) is a physicist who has explored for oil in the Amazon jungle, crossed the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia, and built satellite control stations for Goddard Space Flight Center all over the world. Retired in 1999, Pickens and his wife moved from Baltimore back to his hometown of Ponca City, Oklahoma in 2005 where he cultivates his square foot garden, mows nine acres of lawn, writes about local history and photographs events at the Poncan Theatre and Ponca Playhouse.

Since 2001 Pickens has edited and published “Peace Corps Online,” serving over one million monthly pageviews. His other writing includes contributing over 1,500 stories to “Slashdot: News for Nerds,” and articles for Wikipedia, “Ponca City, We Love You”, and Peace Corps Worldwide.

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