Monday, September 6, 2010

A Tulsa Icon: The Admiral Twin Drive-In

This past Friday I was at work and around 2 pm my boss saw some flames & smoke across town out of our window. I didn't get up to look & didn't think much of it. Not long after that I received an email from my sister with a picture from an iPhone & my heart just sank.

It was the Admiral Twin Drive-In movie screen up in flames.

I couldn't believe it...I have been driving by this structure my entire life and it was still in business and doing well. It had been in business 60 yrs this year.

I have grown up knowing that part of town pretty well. My dad grew up just blocks from it and both my parents grew up going there. Its one of the only operating drive-in's in the state.

Earlier this year they just celebrated the anniversary of The Outsiders, which parts of it were filmed there.
The news Friday spread very quickly around town and through Facebook. People were talking that maybe it was on purpose to collect insurance. But the owner came out and said he didn't have any insurance on it because it was a wooden structure. The cause is still unknown. He said it would cost around $300,000 for a new screen and that the future didn't look good.

Not long after that a Facebook group was started named Save the Admiral Twin Drive-In. As of now, it is up to 21,351 members. A bank account has been established for donations, here is the info:

ATTN: Admiral Twin Drive-In
Security Bank
PO BOX 471316
Tulsa, OK 74147

I haven't driven by because I'm sure it looks awful! There were talks it could be rebuilt by next May, so we'll see. It won't be the same, but I definitely want it to stay in business continue to make memories for Tulsans!

May 24, 1951 - Admiral Twin opens as the Modernaire with one screen. Tickets were $1 a carload and featured live entertainment by Johnny Lee Wills.

1954 - A second screen is added to accommodate the crowds.

1982 - Francis Ford Coppola films part of "The Outsiders" at the drive-in.

1994 - Moviegoers can listen to the movie on their FM radios.

2001 - Admiral Twin marks its 50th anniversary. It had just undergone a $100,000 renovation.

2005 - The drive-in wins a $35,000 makeover from the Save-A-Landmark contest sponsored by the Hampton Hotels.

2010 - The drive-in begins celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Sept. 3, 2010 - Admiral Twin burns down.

Sept. 4, 2010 - Owners say they hope to rebuild.

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