National treasure

Out-of-towner saves neglected ‘Outsiders’ relic.



Rapper Danny O’Connor is renovating the house from the film “The Outsiders.” S.E. Hinton, who authored the book on which the film is based, donated items to O’Connor such as her call sheets, rewrites of the film scripts and a painting of the second book cover.

Evan Taylor

Danny O’Connor was terrified when he learned his offer to purchase a rundown bungalow in north Tulsa had been accepted earlier this year.

The house was home to the fictitious Curtis brothers in the 1982 film “The Outsiders,” but buying it sight unseen was a risky $15,000 investment. 

Trashed, neglected and in disrepair, 731 N. St. Louis Ave. was destined for demolition, but O’Connor couldn’t stand the thought of losing a “national treasure.” 

“I had no business buying a house in Tulsa, but it has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever been involved in,” he says.

O’Connor’s journey to owning and restoring “The Outsiders” house began while watching the movie as a kid. Based on the best-selling book by S.E. Hinton, he says the film’s storyline of rich kids versus poor kids growing up on different sides of the tracks “hooked him in from day one.” Originally from New York, O’Connor felt he could relate to Tulsa’s gang of greasers.

“I came out of that theater, and the first thing I looked to do was buy a pack of cigarettes and get myself a denim jacket,” he says. “‘The Outsiders’ felt like a timeless classic even when it was first released.”

A decade later, O’Connor found success touring the world as a member of the hit hip-hop group House of Pain, but music didn’t lead him to Tulsa until 2009 while performing with the group La Coka Nostra. Between shows at Cain’s Ballroom, O’Connor says he had an epiphany.

“It was like that line in the movie when Matt Dillon says, ‘What do people do for kicks around here?’ I thought, oh my God, ‘The Outsiders’ was filmed here.”

With the help of a knowledgeable cab driver, O’Connor received a personal tour of the movie’s filming locations with stops at the Curtis house, the Admiral Twin Drive-in and Crutchfield Park.

“I posted photos to Facebook, and my phone started ringing off the hook,” he says. “People were like, ‘Where are you?’ I said, ‘I’m in Tulsa!’”

The experience became his inspiration for develop-ing a group known as the Delta Bravo Urban Exploration team that searches U.S. cities for historic movie or album cover locations. On his cross-country travels, O’Connor regularly returned to Tulsa and visited “The Outsiders” house.

“Downtown was getting nicer, but the house kept getting worse,” he says. “I kept thinking if someone doesn’t save it, maybe we should.”

New Tulsa friends helped O’Connor track down the owner. She was willing to sell, and before long the Beverly Hills resident was a Tulsa property owner. 

O’Connor is bringing the house up to code while restoring it as closely as possible to the way it looked during filming. The end product will be an informal mini museum. The rooms will be staged with furniture and fixtures from the movie set and also will house O’Connor’s private collection of “Outsiders” relics. He says the process is a collaborative effort. 

“I’m only one small part of this,” he says. “So many people and neighbors have reached out with their support with offers to do all kinds of work on the house, donate materials or share their photos and stories from the movie. It has been incredible.”

Even Hinton expressed her support for the project, and O’Connor hopes to complete it by the book’s 50th anniversary in April 2017. Ultimately, he envisions offering his own tours of “Outsiders” filming locations. 

“I don’t know how to describe it,” he says. “There’s something really special happening here. Tulsa has left that indelible mark on me, and moving here isn’t out of the question. I want to show other people the wonders of Tulsa.”

 

How to help

Learn more about Danny O’Connor’s project at www.gofundme.com/theoutsidershouse.

Since most of the furniture from the movie set was sold in Tulsa after filming wrapped, O’Connor hopes Tulsans with the original furniture will contact him. The rest of the set’s furniture will be replicated.

The Shrine will present “The Outsiders” House Renovation Fundraiser at 6 p.m., Aug. 6, at IDL Ballroom, 230 E. First St. The event will feature appearances by some of the film’s stars, including C. Thomas Howell (“Ponyboy”) and Darren Dalton (“Randy”); a silent auction; and performances by local artists. Visit www.tulsashrine.com.

 

National Treasure from TulsaPeople Magazine on Vimeo.

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June 2018

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Cost: Free

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Telephone: 191-889-56302

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Cost: $12

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Cost: Free

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More information

Remembering Our Fallen is a photographic war memorial that honors our country’s military Fallen from The War on Terror. Because 9/11 was such a defining moment, this memorial includes our...

Cost: Free

Where:
Muskogee War Memorial Park
3500 Batfish Rd
Muskogee, OK  74403
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Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
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Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
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Legion LIVE! 2018 is a day-long event filled with live music on two stages, broadcast live to troops around the world! FREE and open to the public, the event raises much-needed funds for the...

Cost: FREE

Where:
American Legion Post 1
1120 E 8th Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: American Legion Post 1
Telephone: 918-809-3745
Contact Name: Kasey Rideout

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This annual FREE new home showcase is presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and sponsored by Samsung Electronics.  This year’s event will feature more than 150...

Cost: FREE

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Samsung
Contact Name: Nathan Carter

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Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 191-889-56302

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Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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Still I Rise is a dramatic dance-theatre presentation incorporating all elements of Bharatanatyam, some elements of yoga, theatre, spoken word and music. The performance exemplifies the example of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: South Asian Performing Arts Foundation
Telephone: (918) 625 6037
Contact Name: Mohan Kelkar
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Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
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Shades of White is a play written by Ilan Kozlowski and directed by Rebecca Ungerman.  For mature audiences.

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
John H. Williams Theatre, Tulsa PAC
110 E. Second St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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TULtalk


“Sovereignty” comes to Tulsa for a reading

Monday, June 18, see a staged reading of the buzzed-about new play by Oklahoma native Mary Kathryn Nagle.

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QUIZ: Which Tulsa Mural Fits Your Personality?

Tulsa has a plethora of colorful, vibrant murals! But which one should be the backdrop for your next selfie?

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Video: BA Ninja Warrior

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The Fabulous Mid-Life Crisis

The popular cover band is scheduled to bring the good times (and huge crowds) to Summer's Fifth Night in Utica Square on June 7.

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When you’re 4, everything is super

From the editor: Here's to a super-duper June, Tulsa!

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