In 1965 a teenage Tulsan began writing a book that would forever shine a glaring spotlight on the injustice of the haves and have nots in the teen hierarchy, a book that would expose the battle of the two sides of the tracks, a book that would label by name the Socs and the Greasers, a book that on a much much smaller scale would help hone my path almost three decades later at the start of my teen years. That Tulsan is S.E. Hinton, that classic work is The Outsiders, and to this day it is one of a handful of books that can speak to virtually any young person through its honest, timeless approach.
The first time I read The Outsiders, just on the verge of having “teen” added to my age, I understood the characters perfectly. A youth from a family of average means with a budding affection for punk music, a preference for reading the classics over teen girl rags, and an already deeply instilled distain toward anyone with an undeserved sense of entitlement, my placement in an upper crust middle school was fodder for serious clashes. But the real influence of The Outsiders for me came a few years later in high school, when an English teacher who was forever encouraging my writing and art in spite of my firm belief that I could produce nothing “good enough” because I was not a worldly adult like the authors I enjoyed was the first person to inform me of two things I did not know about S.E. Hinton: one, that she wrote The Outsiders in her teens and two that she was a she. The knowledge that a teenage girl could write so truthfully about life, that young women were not limited to writing fantasy and romantic garbage, changed my view of what I could and could not do at that young age and for that I will be forever grateful to Ms. Hinton.
That cherished place The Outsiders holds with me led to the overwhelming joy I felt when I moved to Tulsa a decade ago and discovered that the drive-in used in the film adaptation of the book still stood. Many times in the tenure of both my stays in Tulsa I attended films at the Admiral Twin and those are among the good memories I have of the town. And vividly I remember exactly where I was as I watched with horror and heartbreak three years ago as the breaking news showed the wooden structure engulfed in flames burning to the ground in the late summer heat.
After a heartwarming outpouring of support from the community, the Admiral Twin is now rebuilt, a metal structure this time with a pristine new concessions building for its foundation. While I rarely spend much time in Tulsa now, it was a nice trip down memory lane seeing a film with my family at the Admiral Twin for this post as they have done a fine job in rebuilding and preserving for future generations a Tulsa, Route 66, and Outsider landmark.
The Admiral Twin Drive In, located at 7355 E Easton St in Tulsa Oklahoma, was built in 1951. Originally known as the Modernaire, the second screen was added in 1952 and the name changed to Admiral Twin. On September 3, 2010 the Admiral Twin screen burned to the ground, but reopened in the summer of 2012 after a costly rebuild. Most known for its role in the film adaptation of The Outsiders, the Admiral Twin is a Route 66 landmark and has two screens and a 1200 car capacity. Admission is $7 per adult and $3 for children 3-11 years of age. For more information, visit http://www.selectcinemas.com/index.php/admiral/or call 918-392-9959.