Tuesday, September 07, 2010

drive in movie.

One of my most favorite historic Tulsa landmarks, and one of the last all-wood construction drive-in theater's from the 1950s, burned to the ground Friday afternoon.

The Admiral Twin drive-in was built in 1951 and sits just off "Route 66". My parents lived off of Admiral street in Tulsa, OK back in the day, when they were a young married couple. The drive-in was a good value for their weekend entertainment!

They would all pile into the same car with my two aunts, their husbands, and the half a dozen kids between them. (They all lived within a block or so from each other). You paid by the carload back then, like $5/car if I remember my mom right. When my mom was still in high school she said they would cram into every nook and cranny of the car to get as many as possible into the movie on that $5, even some in the trunk!

They brought their own snacks and if you've been to these old fashioned drive-ins, remember you had to hang the little speaker on the rolled-down window glass so you could hear the movie.

I went to this drive in as a kid, and I have taken my kids to this drive in as well. The last movie we saw here was Madagascar I think, so it's been a few years. They didn't have the hanging speakers anymore, you tuned into a local AM station to hear the movie through your car speakers.

The last movie showing on last Friday as it burned? The Last Exorcism. Sort of freaky, right?

There's a grassroots campaign in place (already!) to fundraise and try to rebuild. This year was the 60th season of the Admiral Twin. The last movie scheduled for this season would have been the Outsiders, a local favorite since it was shot in Tulsa.

I do hope they're successful in their rebuilding efforts. Really, how much more wholesome can you get than a carload of family & friends and a drive-in movie...


  1. Oh wow! How terribly sad! I think it's great they're wanting to rebuild. There is a drive-in in Dodge City, KS but we've never been. I think the last movie I saw at a drive-in was Superman. Not the new one, the first one, when it originally came out! Ha!

  2. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Oh my gosh! That is awful! There are so few drive-ins left. My family loves going to the drive-in. Hopefully they will be able to rebuild.

  3. That is so sad! Watching a piece of history go down is hard. And yes, it is freaky that The Last Exorcism was playing when it caught on fire!

    We had one in my hometown when I was growing, but it had shut down. We watched shrubbery grow all around it and it becoming run down. I wished I had gotten to go before that happened. Btw- We aren't geographically too far apart. I am in Frisco, which is north of Dallas.

  4. Thats so sad. I grew up going to the drive in. It was fun and free (literally sometimes as stuck in back of vans etc!) Now there is only one left in Sydney and it is under threat of closure.

  5. That is so sad, I hope they can rebuild.

  6. "Really, how much more wholesome can you get than a carload of family & friends and a drive-in movie..."

    You forgot to add "... in OKLAHOMA!" :-)

    I have lots of good drive-in memories with my parents and then later my friends. I hope this one can rebuild. It's a part of our history that shouldn't be lost.

  7. Sad indeed. But I'm fascinated by the photos. Are you sure this was real and not a David Lynch movie?!

    Back where I grew up, the drive in was the place that teenage kids went to get drunk and make out. I was the square who insisted on being the designated driver.

  8. So sad! I have great memories of going to the drive-in! We don't have any locally anymore...they all went out of business! :( Hope the efforts to rebuild yours is successful.

  9. I used to love drive-ins and grew up with them. There are so few left. Another piece of nostalgia "gone with the wind". Too bad.

  10. We have a few left here in middle Tennessee. We love to go. My husband and I had many dates at the drive-in in the early 70's. So they bring back lots of great memories for us. We actually took our new baby 32 years ago to see "The Empire Strikes Back".

  11. I'm sorry to hear that it burned down. Some of my most wonderful memories as a child was going to the drive in. We even did the carloads of teenagers for $4 a car...hopefully they will be able to rebuild!

  12. Jeez, Ang, depressing much? Just kidding, that really is sad but I'm impressed by the already-started rebuilding efforts. That's cool.

    (And having just read Big In Japan's comment, I am now thinking that she and I never went to the drive-in with the same people... 'cuz otherwise I would have been the designated driver. Hmmmm.... mulling that over now. For a designated driver, my memories of highschool sure are hazy...)

  13. Heart-breaking! The first time our parents took us to a drive-in was to see Goldfinger. They thought the four of us would just fall asleep, 'cause it wasn't exactly age appropriate at the time. But we stayed up for the whole thing!

    We did have a drive-in/weekend flea market in our current area but about 3 years ago they shut down. So sad. One of the best things about going there was the "vintage" play area. It had real teeter-totters and giant aluminum slides. Ahhh, the good old days. Hope the rebuilding is successful.

  14. The drive-in was our family entertainment treat when I was young, too, although I think every one that was around when I was a kid in central Indiana is gone now. The first movie I remember seeing at a drive in was 'Hey, There, It's Yogi Bear'...RC colas in a cooler,grocery bags of popcorn and a blanket on the car roof, with the window speaker turned way up so we could hear.
    When I was a teen, someone asked me if I would go to a drive in on a date with a boy and was shocked when I said 'Sure!'. I had no idea that OTHER folks didn't go to watch the movies...


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