From The KOTV Vault: Vote To Outlaw Public Dancing In 1978 Henryetta


Friday, September 14th 2012, 6:48 pm
By: News On 6


Editor's note: Moving day for News On 6 is just a few months away, so we're busy taking inventory of everything in our current building.  We've checked thousands of old videotapes and we're sharing the best of what we find on the air and online.

The 1984 movie "Footloose" is about a big city kid who moves to a small town where dancing has been banned.

The story was loosely based on real events that happened in Elmore City, Oklahoma.

Turns out it could have been about Henryetta, a town that banned dancing in the 1970s. What followed was a lot of controversy - all leading up to a big dance-off in September of 1978.

There's an ordinance against public dancing in this Oklahoma town. You can dance in private clubs, not in public ones. They held a non-binding election to gauge public opinion.

Rex Daugherty was at the Labor Day parade talking to folks. 

"I just can't believe they'd have a law like that - a city ordinance," one person said. "I believe in dancing, and I want my children to dance. I think it's healthy."

Another disagreed.

"I think it's wrong here on Main Street. I just don't think it's a fit place for dancing."

So, the ordinance against dancing passed, and some folks decided to try to get arrested for public dancing. They advertised a big dance in defiance of the local ordinance.

It's all fun and games tri somebody called the cops.

The controversy must have died out 'cause there weren't any more stories about it.

Flash forward to 2012 – and it's still illegal to hold public dances in Henryetta - even on Main Street.