‘The Outsiders’ find permanent home in Tulsa museum linked to film
TULSA, Oklahoma – This summer it was Leonardo DiCaprio. Then it was green day. A small museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, dedicated to a movie classic and run by an artist, attracts big names from the Heartland.
The modest white bungalow with a wide porch was used as a central setting in the 1983 film “The foreignersWhich was based on the classic 1967 SE Hinton novel of the same name.
“It was our ‘Gone with the Wind’. It was our ‘American Graffiti’. Each generation finds cool archetypes of who we could be, and that was the movie to me, ”O’Connor said in a recent interview inside the house. He said visitors ranged “from 8 to 80 – to everything else. It’s usually the whole family. It is a family museum.
Director Francis Ford Coppola shot the film in Tulsa with a young cast of future A-listers, including C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise.
The museum also includes memorabilia from the film set, including furniture, photos, posters, and the leather jacket worn by Dillon’s character, Dallas Winston.
“The Outsiders” is set in Oklahoma in the 1960s and features rival teenage gangs: the Socs, short for Socials, and the Greasers. The house housed the Curtis brothers and a meeting place for their Greaser friends.
The building was in poor condition when O’Connor bought it back in 2015 after visiting tenants and tracking down the owner. Before embarking on the project, he wasn’t sure what to do next, having used most of his savings.
Yet when he was touring the country or just traveling, he was always heading to Oklahoma.
“It’s phenomenal. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. I didn’t know what I was doing. I saw a house from one of my favorite movies, ”said O’Connor, 52.
He started a GoFundMe to raise money for repairs and restorations.
“Tulsans helped me,” he said. “The people in the film helped me. Okies helped me.
DiCaprio, who was in northeast Oklahoma for the filming of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” showed up at the Outsiders House during office hours and toured in July. It has since been photographed at other museums in the area, including the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
“He said every time he made a movie he tried to see a museum,” O’Connor said, adding that the actor had read a television version of “The Outsiders” before.
Soon, other actors of “Killers of the Flower Moon” also stopped.
Green Day, in Tulsa for a surprise show at Cain’s Ballroom, also called and asked to drop by. “They came and were fans too,” said O’Connor, noting frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has ties to Oklahoma – her mother is from Sooner State.
Other visitors have included Hinton.
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O’Connor shares photos of celebrity visits on social media.
Now, O’Connor is gearing up for the screening of a 4K Blu-ray edition of the film, as part of a weekend of events from September 25-26. A plaque will be dedicated to the Circle Cinema in Tulsa, with remarks from O’Connor, Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum and California librarian Jo Ellen Misakian, among others.
Misakian, according to many, was behind the transformation of Hinton’s novel into a film. She sent Coppola a letter signed by more than 300 students explaining that the book was cult read for teenagers.
“The series of miracles that had to happen for him to get the letters is amazing,” said O’Connor.