|Looking west on Admiral Place. Playing at the Twin: "Sergeants
3" (1962); "The Marriage-Go-Round" (1961), written by future
"Outer Limits" creator Leslie Stevens,
starring Julie Newmar; "From The Terrace"
(1960) with Paul Newman. Note the A&W Root Beer stand, Calvary Baptist
Church (still there today), and the Thom McAn shoe store. Courtesy of the
Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa
Google Street View of this location
|The same scene in 2008. "Drive" down Admiral by clicking on the
arrows, and using your up/down/left/right keys.
Points of reference with the above photo: Calvary Baptist Church; the Thom
McAn sign is still in use; telephone/power poles are in the same locations.
The Google wide-angle lens stretches out the apparent distances.
Go west a little to find the culvert on the right; it appears to be where
the Admiral Twin sign stood. You can check this by turning to the north to
see the theatre standing behind I-244, which cut off the Twin from its original
Admiral entrance. Go west down Admiral to 73rd E. Ave. (just before the church),
turn right, and go forward through the overpass, and you will find the Twin
on your right.
The Git-N-Go store (but not the sign), and the Banfield's building seen in
the photo below can also be found in this Google Map. Again, distances are
deceptive due to the normal/telephoto lens used by the 1962 photographer
vs. the wide-angle lens on the Google car.
|Looking north from Admiral Place. I was probably less than 1/4
mile from the photographer when this was taken, since Mitchell Elementary
School was and is just north of the drive-in, and we lived just a couple
of blocks further to the north. On the far right, you can see houses that
were given a free sound hookup, and thus free movies every night! Courtesy
of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa
|Looking east on Admiral Place. Memorial Place intersection hanging
stoplights are in the far distance. There is the
Git-N-Go again, and Eastgate shopping
center's distinctive sign further on down the road. Courtesy of the Beryl
Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa
Joel Burkhart drew cartoons
in 1961 advertising the Admiral Twin's new in-car
The GCC "Feature Presentation"
trailer and the Village Theatre, owned by Alex Blue
Admiral Twin Drive-In Checklist
(from GroupBlog 260) Andy Holthouse said:
This is a great website! It sure brings back a lot of memories for me. I
grew up on N. 75th E. Ave., right next to the old
My first "real job", other than newspaper delivery, was at the Admiral
Twin Drive-In. Several of my best buddies worked there, too. In the summer
of 1967, we used to procure quarts of beer, then climb up the screen tower
inside all the way to the top. It was a 2x4 wood ladder that ran straight
up. The pigeons that roosted in there would scare the bejeebers out of us,
but nobody ever fell, thank God. We would sit up on the roof of the screen
tower and drink beer. I can remember walking right up to the edge of the
roof and looking down to the parking area below. Had the manager known we
did those things, we would have been fired.
Even to this day, I know just about all the scenes to the movie "The Dirty
Dozen" since I saw it at least 20 times that summer.
BTW, if anyone ever got sick at the Admiral Twin after eating popcorn in
the summer of '67, it wasn't my fault. There was a crazy guy who used to
work there who took great delight in boxing up nice big juicy junebugs in
the popcorn boxes. He'd make the boxes with the junebugs real fat and over
filled. That's how he knew which ones had the bugs in them after he'd stack
them. Then, he would dole out the big boxes to people and watch them go back
to their cars. It's funny, but there were never any complaints about that.
I suppose crunchy popcorn was indistinguishable from june bugs in a dark
I can still remember when Glenn's '55 Ford station wagon got away from him
one day when we were picking up trash and it rolled driverless all the way
from behind the concession stand to the front row without hitting any speaker
poles. It actually turned and stopped all by itself down there.
Yeah, we sure had fun at the Admiral Twin. Of course, we had fun at The Airview
Drive-In as well. We used to "jump the fence" at the rear of the lot and
get in for free. We'd just go up and sit in the cold metal chairs in front
of the concession stand and act like we had paid. Only got caught a couple
||The Twin was a shooting location for Coppola's "The Outsiders" (1983).
See and read more on TTM's "The
The people who lived behind the Admiral Twin had a complimentary audio hook-up,
allowing them to sit outside and watch a movie.
The webmaster said:
||I grew up at 7151 E. Jasper, near the Admiral Twin.
From the top of our tree, I could see the screens of both the Twin and the
Airview Drive-In over on Pine Street. I yearned for Superman's gifts of
super-hearing and super-vision so I could tell what was going on for free.
(Sound at the theatre was provided by a tinny speaker in a heavy duty enclosure
hung on the inside of the car window. At the Admiral Twin today, you tune
in the sound on your FM radio -- a big improvement.)
I recall seeing "The Nutty Professor", "Pillow Talk", and numerous Elvis
movies at the Admiral Twin. We also saw the first part of "Bye Bye Birdie",
the second-billed movie one evening. It was deemed too silly to watch when
it got to the split-screen scene where teen-aged girls sang on the phone
to each other. Our family drove out in disgust.
We never drove out on an Elvis movie, even though
some of his movies had a high embarrassment factor. The Colonel bought some
real loser tunes (probably for a song); only Elvis could have survived performing
them in public. Not to put down the King's movies...they're still great fun
We caught most of the bikini beach/surf movies. One time, movie star (and
Oklahoman) John Ashley and his then-wife Deborah Walley made an appearance
at the Twin in support of one of the "Beach Party" movies. For some reason,
I remember hearing someone say that she had a "marvelous complexion".
The Admiral Twin's playground had one of those elephant-shaped slides, a
swing set, and a merry-go-round with a dimpled steel base for
I liked to save ticket
boxes to use in my own theatre in our garage. I had
a toy 8mm projector, and usually showed a silent movie about a chimpanzee
who got into mischief, tearing up a pillow at the end of the reel.
Here are pictures and the sound
of our Brownie 8 home movie projector (not a toy!), plus
pics and comments about the Cartoon Hut at Sipes, and Laurel & Hardy
movies shown at Shotgun Sam's.
(from Guestbook 128) Booger Red said:
I thought the anticipation of Tulsa's Admiral Twin drive-in was a big part
of the escape to fantasy. Those who remember the 4 lanes all the way to Admiral
Blvd. that were separated by a tall hedge in between. On weekends cars would
pack the 2 entry lanes hours before sundown, to get their favorite spot!
The big neon sign had the colors that would be imbedded in your memory, to
remind you of the enjoyment you could have. Double features allowed more
time for us kids to play on the swings & slides, because we were "Hyped"
starting from the middle of the week, when we heard we were going. The
were the best! All ages got it, and enjoyed them.
(from GroupBlog 315, 9/3/2010) The webmaster experienced the last picture
show at the Twin
Gaye and I were near 17th and Sheridan this afternoon when we got the news.
We drove over and parked just off Admiral Place and walked to the entrance
(the access road was blocked by a police car). You can see what we saw below.
We were there last Saturday for what I guess was to be the "last picture
show" for the Twin. Our first choice had been "The Expendables", but there
was a problem with the projector on the east side. So, with qualms, we went
with "The Last Exorcism" on the west side.
We bought hot dogs and nachos and a big pickle from the concession stand.
I brought some Miller High Life in a cooler to wash it all down. We also
brought a Milky Way candy bar and some already-popped microwave popcorn.
(I had diligently used the Admiral Twin Drive-In
Checklist on this site.)
The weather was nice enough to sit outside the van on folding chairs.
As had been the case for quite awhile, the screen was so dark that we missed
some of the details. That was just as well with "The Last Exorcism", as it
creeped Gaye out. Soon, our neighbors with kids left the theater, probably
for the same reason.
Gaye didn't last much longer. We skulked out of the theatre after finishing
the snacks. I think that is the quickest I have ever left a drive-in since
my family drove out of the Twin in disgust with "Bye Bye Birdie" in 1963.
In my mind, the Twin's screen had been doomed for years. The only surprise
to me was that it lasted so long in such a condition. The painted-over tiles
were poor light reflectors, there were holes in the structure, and it seemed
to be inviting a tornado to knock it down or rip it apart from the inside.
It was hard to imagine any way the 60-year-old, 9-story structure could stay
intact much longer. The Hampton Hotels' award of $35,000 didn't manifest
itself on the screen (mentioned in GB 179
five years ago).
Now I read that it is unlikely that the Twin will return due to the cost
of a replacement. I'm not sure what else could be done with that land; maybe
become a part of my old elementary school, Mitchell, or a park, if the city
had funds to do it (also unlikely).
I grew up just a couple of blocks from the Twin. It was only two years old
when I arrived in the world, but I've outlived it.
Photo courtesy of Gaye Brown. Sorry for the goofy look on my face,
but I guess it is reflexive.
(from GroupBlog 315) Former Twin projectionist Scott Linder said:
It is very interesting to see the photos and video of the Admiral Twin screen
tower, and to recall my memories of working there as a motion picture operator
a few decades ago.
The screen surfaces were indeed made of plywood, and had received many coats
of flat-white paint over many years. It might be of interest to some that
during the glory-days of drive-ins in the 50s, the SMPTE engineers did extensive
work on improving screen luminance and maintenance for drive-in theatre
The best method was to use bright corrugated aluminum sheeting as the screen
facing. The corrugations ran vertically, using galvanized fasteners. This
prevented rust and "screen-streaking" during rain and winter weather. Then,
this bright metal surface was given a single light spray-coat of white gloss
enamel paint. During the day this surface looked "mottled" and un-even, but
it provided a beautiful picture at night. In addition, it lasted for years
and could be easily cleaned with water before each season, preventing numerous
paint-jobs. AND it was fire-resistant.
As to the technical benefits, the brilliant aluminum greatly improved screen
luminance and the white coat corrected color balance. The vertical corrugations
spread the projected image slightly and made the picture brighter to off-axis
In addition to screen treatments, the projectors were equipped with "drive-in"
5-blade shutters that passed more light, even though they increased flicker.
This was considered an acceptable trade-off and the added flicker was only
apparent during fast-action shots. The fastest F-stop lenses were used to
provide best focus. Of course, the largest lamps possible were used and they
were always water-cooled, along with film gates to control film buckling.
The Admiral Twin screen was most likely just a victim of age, although it
will be interesting to know what the fire inspector finds as the cause.
But what's this? From GroupBlog 322, 3/3/2011:
Webmaster: The Admiral Twin will return this year!
Story at KTUL.