Things To Think About - Wisdom From Homer

Staying Gold And Scorning Socs - Stopping By Tulsa's Outsiders House Museum





Dear Henry,

Last week I officially crossed into the realm of "Old Person" (my AARP new membership sign-up package has already arrived in the mail), and I wanted to celebrate by doing something awesome. I love the Outsiders (both the movie and the book); fortunately, we live near the Outsiders House Museum. So stopping by to recreate the Two-Bit Mathews (played by Emilio Estevez) Chocolate-Cake-And-Beer scene seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. 

The house is located in the Crutchfield neighborhood of Tulsa, and most homes were constructed during the 1920 and 1930s. The area is within walking distance of Dow Chemical and the former Oklahoma Steel Castings Company and once housed the production staff of both companies. While the neighborhood was always the home of the working class, it was, until the late 1970s, considered a "good" setting. However, the oil crises of the 1970s and the closing of the castings company completely destroyed the neighborhood's economic base. As a result, the area declined hard and fast and became the perfect on-site location for Francis Ford Coppola's movie adaptation of S.E. Hinton's book The Outsiders (review here)

Unfortunately, after the filming wrapped up in 1982, the poor little house was left to its fate, and it would spend the next 30 or so years as a slight step above a flophouse.



The house got a chance at a second life in 2009 when Danny O'Connor (of the House of Pain) had a cab driver take him past the house following his performance at Cain's Ballroom. Danny O'Connor is a huge fan of the story and felt the house had to be saved. In 2015 he finally convinced the former owners to sell the house.  

Work to rebuild the house and create the museum began immediately, with Mr. O'Connor having to enter the house through a window which involved a complete gutting and rewiring of the house. It would take until 2019 for all the renovations to be complete and for the museum to open. Then, of course, COVID took its toll on the museum's first couple of years.

The Outsiders (like A Tree Grows In Brooklyn) was a hugely compelling story in my life, and I was vaguely aware that you could re-create movie scenes at the house. I wanted to do the Two-Bit Mathews cake scene because, while the movie adaptation follows the book storyline very closely, not all the themes made it into the movie (like the horse and the Curtis Brother's love of chocolate cake for breakfast), and this scene plays a very nice homage to those themes. Plus, it makes a great "birthday" picture.

The guides at the house are amazing - not only will they play along and take pictures of your scene recreations, but they are also well-versed in the museum's collection of costumes and props. They can also give you a detailed rundown of what it took to rebuild this house. I must say, I'm highly impressed with the stencil work. 



They will also cue up your favorite scene for you to watch on the sofa, and I picked the moment after Ponyboy (C.Thomas Howell) recites the Robert Frost poem and Johnny (Ralph Macchio) tells him, "That's gold." I made a major faux pas when I requested it, though, I called it the "sunset" scene, and it isn't. While the actors refer to sunsets in the scene (sunsets being a big theme of the book) and the scene was shot at sunset, the scene (as written) actually took place at *SUNRISE*, and now, after that mistake, I  feel like I need to turn in my Outsiders fan club card. To make matters worse, I was totally nostalgic and cried during the scene like a crazy sappy person. The guide told me it happens all the time. I suspect he was trying to make me feel better.

The museum also has a great gift store, where you can pick up tons of Outsiders gear, as well as copies of the book (I grabbed an anniversary edition!). The house is open Fri-Sun 11 to 4, and admission is $10.00 unless you're a Soc; then you have to let the guides grease your hair first.

xoxo a.d. elliott