Tulsa TV Memories      

"The Outsiders" movie, shot in Tulsa, page 1 (page 2)

Opening credits
Opening credits from a sneak preview of the new "The Outsiders - The Complete Novel" DVD. Class link

A new deluxe DVD release of "The Outsiders - The Complete Novel (Two-Disc Special Edition)" is now available. 22 minutes of footage have been added back to the film, making it truer to the novel. The music soundtrack has also been changed to great effect.

The DVD includes two featurettes especially relevant to this site: "On Location with S.E. Hinton" and "The Outsiders on Location".

The world premiere of the new "The Outsiders" took place at the Tulsa AMC Southroads 20 on Sept. 8, 2005, with author S.E. Hinton, stars C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio, and DVD co-producer Kim Aubry in attendance. Details at the Outsiders Book and Movie site.

The opening scene of this new version is set at Tulsa's Circle Theater. See the screen capture below.

(via email, 6/12/2005) Rob Bowe (from Tulsa's own Rhythm Lizards band) said:

During the filming of both "Rumble Fish" and "The Outsiders" I was Asst. night manager at the Excelsior Hotel, now the Doubletree. We had the contract to house the actors, stunt men and crew for both films. I have a couple of bits that may be of interest to some.

All the boys in "The Outsiders" were usually bouncing off the walls. We got LOTS of complaints from other guests, especially since night scenes were filmed in the wee hours and they would return to the hotel at 4 or 5 am.

One night, the now hugely famous Tom Cruise came up to the front desk and gleefully popped out one of his front teeth (it was one of those snap in/out false teeth) and gleefully dropped it on the desk in front of me. I calmly told him we only accepted cash or credit cards.

By far my favorite memory was of "Maestro" Carmine Coppola, Francis' father who wrote the score for "The Outsiders". He quite demurely came to the desk at 2 or 3 am to ask me if he could be allowed to go into the lounge to use the piano to work on the score.

I had just purchased a Moog Opus 3 synthesizer, one of the last analog synths before computers and presets became the norm. It could do orchestrations with strings, horns and organs.

I told him that I really could get in trouble by allowing him into the bar after hours but that I would be honored if would use my keyboard and I went home (a whopping 3 minutes away) and fetched it and a pair of headphones and went up to his room and set him up and watched with glee as his face lit up when he heard the sound this keyboard was capable of creating.

About a week later, he informed me that he was done with the keyboard and thanked me for allowing him to use it. Now I can go to my grave with the knowledge that he wrote a lot of that score on MY keyboard. Granted, Stevie Wonder's (actually one of my all-time favorite musicians) sappy theme was less than memorable.

Also, Patrick Swayze was quite interested in the synth and we spent a lot of time talking about music, the film industry and the band he was in back in LA. Swayze and I became pretty good friends while he was in town; he was one of the nicest ones of them all.

I was also told by upper management that the stuntmen were not happy that they could not get a drink after work (since all bars were closed by then, not to mention "liquor by the wink") so I was to open the lounge when they came in and that they were allowed two drinks each with me as bartender. This was always fun since I was frankly sick of dealing with all the kids (Estevez, Cruise, Howell, Macchio...) and their unending pranks.

Watching the young and beautiful Diane Lane was always a high point of the day!

The Circle Theatre

The opening scene of the new version is set at the Circle Theater, now in the process of renovation as the Circle Cinema. Independent films, such as "The Aristocrats" and "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room" (reviewed on this site), are now being shown at the new smaller and adjacent Circle 2. The main screen will be open again in 2007. Built in 1928, it is the oldest Tulsa theater still in existence. Here's the history of the Circle at their site.

'The Outsiders' opens at the Bowen Lounge
Dallas (Matt Dillon) loiters at the entrance to the Bowen Lounge on the Corner of Dreams. This is the original opening.

11th Street Cleaners
Dally, Ponyboy and Johnny head east from the Bowen, toward the 11th St. Cleaners and the Gay '90s Club.

The Pines Restaurant

Then they leap 8 miles across town to the remnants of the Pines Restaurant, on Pine St. between Sheridan and Memorial.

(from Guestbook 191) John Young said:

I just looked over the "Outsiders" section...one of the vid-caps features a picture of the signage from the old "The Pines" restaurant. That restaurant was owned by my uncle, Gene Kernaghan. For whatever the reason, Gene closed (or more likely, sold) The Pines and then opened The Bamboo Lounge, probably the first "gay bar" in town.

Gene was quite the character. To say he was "flamboyant" would be like saying, "the sun is kinda warm". He got in a bit of trouble a few years back when one of his employees served an (allegedly) "obviously drunken patron", who then went out and got himself hurt. Poor Gene was devastated. The family of the patron sued Gene for umpteen dollars and a "Sheriff's Auction" was held to pay off the fine which, if I recall was around 100,000 dollars.

Gene got the last laugh, though. He had a prized fire engine red Cadillac convertible with a pristine white top. Knowing Gene was going to have to sell it at auction for a mere fraction of its actual worth, one of Gene's friends came to the auction, bought the car for like 1500 bucks and then, after the auction was over, signed the title back over to Gene. Why? Because Gene would give anyone the shirt off his back. He was just that kind of guy. He may have been "down", but he was never "out"...especially of friends.

Gene's passed on now, but that Pines sign and the Bamboo building are still there.

Admiral Twin

Our family saw both pictures at the Admiral Twin when they came out. Maybe our '63 Impala station wagon is in there!

(via email, 9/15/2005) Donna Leming (driver of the red MG) said:

It does look like someone is in the car with me. I'm sure I didn't know him though or I probably would have remembered.

Thinking back, they did do at least three takes because I now remember that they started out with the Mustang right behind me. They moved it a car or two back because the little MGA is a scene stealer, so it seems.

I also remember we couldn't have done too many more than three. The time between takes is always a bit long, especially if they want to re-set something - like a car - and MG's aren't very thrilled with long-term idling! We were all supposed to keep the vehicles running between takes and I had to tell somebody that they would have to count me out soon if things weren't sped up a bit, she wasn't going to last long.

Admiral Twin playing 'Beach Blanket Bingo'
The Admiral Twin Drive-In Theatre (still at 7355 E. Easton St. today.)

Concession stand
fX placed the Twin's projection booth on top of the concession stand! Ponyboy and Cherry enjoy the outdoor seating.

Buster Keaton and Deborah Walley

Silent film star Buster Keaton (seen here at KVOO) and a bounteous Bobbi Shaw in "Beach Blanket Bingo", the movie within a movie. Today, Bobbi Shaw Chance is a respected acting teacher in Los Angeles.

This "Dairy Queen" was originally a Tastee-Freez
The location of this "Dairy Queen" in the movie was in dispute until Rob and Logan Bowe discovered...

The view today, courtesy of Rob Bowe, 6/20/2005
... this site near the southwest corner of 33rd and N. Peoria. Compare the two pictures closely.

(via email, 6/20/2005) Rob Bowe said:

I took my son Logan and perused the two likely spots, the 33rd and N. Cincinnati spot and Melissa (Clark)'s idea on 46th N. (near Cincinnati). And are you ready for this? It is neither in my opinion.

My brother and sister went to Hawthorne Elementary in the late 50s and early 60s. There was a Tastee-Freez next door to the south on the southwest corner of 33rd North and Peoria where we used to go for ice cream way back when.

Attached is a picture I took today of that Tastee-Freez. It is now J&J Appliance and is an appliance hospital of sorts (more of a junkyard than anything). If you notice in the screen capture, there is a utility pole behind with a light on it and a short pole (the electric service pole most likely) just behind the store. There they are in the new pic.

There was also a tree behind the store in the old screen capture, there in the new shot is the tree, dead but there, and a new one behind it. Also the trees to the left of the screenshot have filled in considerably since then. Also, the sign pole is in the right spot as well.

I do believe the location has been found once and for all.

As I recall, there was a vacant spot to the right (north) of the picture where Coppola's daughter asks for change from Dallas and the "fugitive" boys. It is now covered with appliance carcasses and the building has been added on to as a repair shop.

The guy that owns the business said that he started there in 1989, so there was plenty enough time for it to have been sitting vacant during the shoot.

Note that Rob said it was a Tastee-Freez in his experience, yet it appears to be a Dairy Queen in the movie...

(via email, 6/22/2005) Rob Bowe said:

I finally got with Melissa Clark and she remembers it as a Tastee-Freez. We also think that the earlier report of a TF at 33rd and N. Cincinnati (we both agreed that there really never was either a DQ or TF there) was actually misreported and is actually the same one I took the photo of.

OK, here it is, I just called the Central Library reference desk and they were gracious enough to look in the 1968 Tulsa City Directory and at 3242 N. Peoria, (at the corner of 33rd and N. Peoria) operated by Mary Hillard, was a Tastee-Freez!!!!!

Look at the photo of a Chicago Tastee-Freez at Roadside Architecture. The same distinctive structure is there.

(via email, 6/22/2005) Rob Bowe said:

The film location was a TF the whole time, until it closed, I am guessing in the late 70s or the very early 80's. The film crew made it a DQ for the movie since it was long closed for business. (My son asked why it had to be a DQ in the movie and I could only guess that it was because Hinton may have written it that way.)

I don't think any TF's turned to DQ's. The 46th N. Dairy Queen did turn into a TF, then "the Freeze" (they just painted over "Tastee" on the sign) about 15 years later. It is still in operation.

So it appears that Rob's 33rd N. & Peoria Tastee-Freez was redressed for "The Outsiders" as a Dairy Queen for the movie. Those struts holding the sign up do look a bit light (see below picture). Case closed?

(via email, 9/25/2005) Wanda K. Baker said:

I'm Melissa Clark’s older sister and just read over the posts. Point of correction to Rob Bowe's post:

The Tastee Freez on 46th St. N. never was a Dairy Queen. It was built as a Tastee Freez ca. 1962, and continued to be one through the 70s, if not beyond. Likewise for the one on north Peoria. The Tastee Freez on north Peoria was owned at one time by the parents of a kid named Mickey Holt, who lived in our neighborhood.

I'm not sure, but I don't remember Tulsa having any Dairy Queens until the 1970s.

Dairy Queen
Another view from the movie

DQ at 38th and Peoria
Just for fun, here is a real 1950s Dairy Queen.
Courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa

DX station
This DX station is at Main and Cincinnati in Sperry (also ID'd on the Outsiders Book and Movie site).

Sperry DX station
Here it is, circa 2007

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