How to keep Tulsa's iconic drive-in alive and well

Calling all greasers and socs!

Posted: 02/27/2013

Blake Smith, owner of Tulsa's Admiral Twin Drive-In Theater, is excited about Friday's first opening of the season. The theater opened last year, but missed the first six weeks of the peak season. 

PHOTOS: Tulsa's iconic drive-in theater

"There is only a handful of things about any city that gives it its culture, and the drive-in is one of our things," said Smith.

A fire destroyed the original movie screen in 2010, and the Tulsa community rallied for the owners to rebuild.

"Almost immediately [after the fire] people started giving us money and kids were handing us coins," said Smith.

The rebuild includes a new screen, concessions, and bathrooms, but overall the theater has the same retro feel. From a glance, it still looks like the same theater used for the filming of The Outsiders.

The 1983 Francis Ford Coppola film, based on the novel written by Tulsan S.E. Hinton, was filmed in Tulsa, and elevated the Admiral Twin Drive-In to cult status. 

Smith says you can still sneak under the fence just like the greasers did in the film, but he "doesn't advise it." He laughs that he hasn't worked very hard to kill poison ivy growing around the area. 

Now that the owners have listened to the public and rebuilt, Smith says fans need to show up--and pay up--in order for the Admiral Twin to "stay golden," as Pony Boy would say.  Soda and popcorn is the bread and butter of the operation. "If we don't sell concessions, it's hard to stay in business," said Smith.

Admission is a steal. Tickets for two movies are $7 for adults and $3 for children. 

Here is a list of the Admiral Twin's line-up for March 1 and 2, 2013:

  • Jack the Giant Slayer (PG-13) with Beautiful Creatures (Rated PG-13): 7:10 p.m. and 9:10 p.m.
  • Safe Haven (PG-13) with Warm Bodies (PG-13): 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.





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