Friday, September 3, 2010

R.I.P. Admiral Twin Drive-In

I got word from Marian Clark, via our Route 66 Yahoo group, that the iconic Admiral Twin Drive-In on Route 66 here in Tulsa was on fire. Although I'd just walked into the house, I grabbed my camera and drove across town to the site. Sure enough, it was a smoldering superstructure by the time I got there. They weren't letting us mortal humans anywhere near the site, but I managed to get this shot from my moving car through a chain link fence. The blackened uprights being sprayed are the bones of the huge two-sided screen. This picture is from a news report that was just posted.
Here is the drive-in in better days.
To the best of my knowledge, it was still a vital business this summer, with double features on both screens on weekends. I have also heard that it was quite well-attended.

I took this picture last year because I wanted to see how the Admiral Twin would look at dusk. The fact that I never actually attended a movie there is making me very morose. How many times have I said, "I really need to get to the Admiral Twin before they close for the winter"? As with most people in my age group, I grew up going to drive-ins, both as a child with my parents and later on dates in high school and college. I mourn the loss of yet another of these pieces of our country's entertainment history.

The Admiral Twin was featured in the movie "The Outsiders", but that didn't mean as much to me as another fact. One of my all-time favorite books, "TheFlamingo Rising", was about a family that lived in the structure between the screens of a two-sided drive-in. The author of the book, Larry Baker, got the idea for the location because he ran the Admiral Twin for a time in the '60s and '70s and often fantasized about what it would be like to live between the screens. I knew this long before I had any thoughts of moving to Tulsa, and when I did relocate here, the Admiral Twin was one of the first places I had to visit.

I am mad that I never attended a movie there. I'm sad for Tulsa and for Route 66. We cannot afford to lose another drive-in. This is not a good day.


Tbirdonroute66 said...

We too are disappointed that the Admiral Twin is gone. We went to the SkyView Drive-In in Litchfield, Illinois last weekend. We were planning for a visit to Tulsa and Admiral Twin was on our must-experience list. Thanks for letting us know.
Keep up the good work at the Station and thanks for sharing stories of visitors in your blog.
T-bird and Mustang in St. Louis

Mike said...

Did you ever see the movie "Flamingo Rising"?

Laurel said...

Tbird -- Thanks for reading this blog! But sorry to hear you hadn't been to the Admiral Twin before it's demise.

Mike -- Yes, I've seen the movie several times, but it just isn't as good as the book, in my humble opinion.

David Burklin said...

Looks like the rebuild is coming, even if delayed.