TULSA, Oklahoma -- From a ground swelling of support to a groundbreaking - fans of the Admiral Twin are determined to see the Tulsa icon resurrected.
A public groundbreaking ceremony was held Saturday, June 11 for the popular drive-in movie theater that burned to the ground in less than 30 minutes on September 3, 2010. The screens were painted plywood attached to a large wooden framework.
Owner Blake Smith and Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett were two of the citizens on hand to grab a shovel and dig in. About 100 people were on hand for the mass groundbreaking - and they brought their own shovels.
"I thought it might just be me and the architect standing out here, but whoa, what a surprise," said owner Blake Smith.
The rebuilding plans call for a $400,000 steel structure with screens on both sides. Donations totaled $30,000 thanks to a nostalgic fan base.
"We are supporters of Tulsa. Tulsa has a heritage and an inherent culture that we want to support and Admiral Twin is a part of it," said Admiral fan Dominic Spadafor.
Dozens of families are waiting for it to open back up.
"Everyone has probably come out at one point or another and watched a movie or two, so we wanted to bring the little ones out and let them be a piece of the history" said Tulsa resident Tim Pannell.
Smith was aiming for a July 4th opening, but hit some roadblocks.
"Permitting and safety issues, engineers, architects, trying to get everyone to agree what the heck they are doing, it takes a while," Smith said.
|Admiral Twin Fire 9/3/10|
The drive-in theater first opened in 1951 the Modern Aire. It became the Admiral Twin in 1952 when a second screen was added.
The Admiral Twin Drive-In was featured in Frances Ford Coppola's classic 1983 film "The Outsiders" based on the novel by Tulsa author S.E. Hinton and set in the 1950s.
Construction should start next week and the owner plans to be open by mid-August. He's also considering extending the movie season this year to make up for lost ground.
|Memories Of Tulsa's Admiral Twin|
Smith said he secured the funding through Security Bank in Tulsa.
Tell us your memories about - and hopes for - the Admiral Twin in the comments section below.