The Outsiders House Museum
When I stepped out into the bright sunlight… I stretched my arms overhead, arched my back, then fist-pumped the sky. This is the day I would walk in the shoes of The Outsiders cast. Outsiders House Museum, here I come!
A Place in my Heart
Since reading The Outsiders in school, I believed S.E. Hinton deserved accolades for spinning the web that would hold me captive for a lifetime. She wrote the novel in 1967 when she was sixteen years old and published at eighteen. Most of the future cast members were toddlers and unable to read when the book was released.
I was a senior in high school when the film debuted in 1983. In the same age range as the up-and-coming all-star cast, I idolized these hunks. It’s said ‘the book is always better’ but Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of The Outsiders put this statement to the test. I’d love to shake the hand of the person with the foresight to cast the crew. I’ve often wondered if the movie set their course for stardom or if they boosted the movie to the prized place in my heart.
- Actor (age) Character
- C. Thomas Howell (17) Ponyboy Curtis
- Matt Dillon (19) Dallas “Dally” Winston
- Ralph Macchio (22) Johnny Cade
- Patrick Swayze (31) Darrel “Darry” Curtis
- Rob Lowe (19) Sodapop Curtis
- Emilio Estevez (21) Keith “Two-Bit” Matthews
- Tom Cruise (21) Steve Randle
- Diane Lane (18) Sherri “Cherry” Valance
- Leif Garrett (22) Bob Sheldon
Nicolas Cage appeared as a background Soc and the author, S.E. Hinton, played a nurse.
Set in the 1960s, the low-income Greasers, from the east side of town, and the wealthy Socs, from the west side, are rival gangs. A feud that begins at the drive-in theater escalades later that night and results in the death of Bob, a Soc.
Greasers, Ponyboy and Johnny, go into hiding before deciding to face the consequences. A turn of events thrust them into heroic limelight. So a rumble ensues between the Greasers and Socs to avenge Bob’s death. More tragedy occurs after the rumble but no one wins in the end. The story closes with Ponyboy writing a school report about the experience.
The Outsiders House Museum
The house located at 731 North St. Louis, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was built in 1920. The primary film set for The Outsiders movie, it was dubbed the home of The Curtis Brothers’ in 1983.
Danny Boy O’Connor (founding member of the hip hop group, House of Pain) purchased the house in 2015 for $15k, sight unseen. After the house was emptied of detritus, a crew of volunteers shoveled trash for three days before using bug bombs to fumigate the property. The renovation team worked to restore the house to how it looked in the movie.
Along with O’Connor’s vast collection, items and exhibits were donated from fans across the world. Memorabilia spans the entire house.
On August, 9, 2019, Danny Boy O’Connor, C. Thomas Howell and S.E. Hinton joined media, city and state officials, volunteers, and VIP fans to cut the ribbon that officially opened The Outsiders House Museum. Check out the museum’s website here.
My Day as a Greaser
After tickets were secured online, we journeyed downtown to board a black shuttle bus branded with ‘Stay Gold’. I was in heaven. Danny then joined our group for his first tour experience. I didn’t want to invade his space but wish I would’ve taken the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him for saving this piece of history.
Our tour guide simultaneously drove the shuttle and narrated a slideshow to lead the group through everything golden. We viewed snippets of the movie (overlaid with current settings), pictures of the crew hanging out, and the film’s wrap party. Cruising the streets from the film, we passed familiar storefronts, went through the alley, and over the railroad tracks, before arriving at the Circle Theater. We viewed Johnny’s house and the location of the rumble. It rained during filming, so the next day, Francis Ford Coppola sought the help of the local fire department to create fake rain to finish the rumble scene.
We took in the site of the ‘same sunset seen from both the east and west sides of town’. The trees have grown in thirty-six years, but my mind envisioned Ponyboy and Cherry admiring the sunset too. I held my breath as we stopped at Crutchfield Park – the filming location of the fountain where Bob, the Soc, was killed. Soon, I was at the exact location where Dally stopped under the streetlight and pulled out a gun. My mind’s eye saw the brilliant scene as he struggled before death claimed his young life.
Outsiders House Museum: Curtis Brothers
And then…. we arrived at the house on the corner of Outsiders Way and Curtis Brothers Lane. I stepped from the shuttle in awe. The house I had known since childhood came into focus before my eyes. The rusted chain link fence where Darry did a handstand lined the perimeter of the property. I lifted the latch and made my way to the porch. I sat in a metal lawn chair to calm my shaky knees (and to get a picture).
As if in a dream, I walked through the threshold to enter the world of the Curtis Brothers. There were Two-Bit and Steve eating chocolate cake and Sodapop’s naked body, wrapped in a green towel, exiting the bathroom. Okay, that part was in the framed pictures but I could see it clearly.
It’s in the Details
Details, such as the furnished living room, have been recreated, including taped cracks in the walls. The kitchen housed look-a-like cupboards and appliances. A green towel hung over the shower, autographed by Rob Lowe. Photographs, posters, and clothing worn in the movie filled each room. Displayed behind glass are Coppola’s director chair and Dallas Winston’s leather jacket. I paused at the autographed wall to honor Patrick Swayze, whose signature will forever be missed. We viewed movie memorabilia, including a site rental statement, an actor call sheet, and the final script. And Johnny’s switchblade used to kill Bob, the Soc! My shaky legs carried me into Ponyboy’s bedroom, where I sat at his desk to view the infamous beginning of his book report. When I stepped out into the bright sunlight…
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Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.– Robert Frost –