Admiral Twin Drive-In reopens

TULSA - Nearly two years after it burned to the ground, the Admiral Twin Drive-In reopened on Friday.

The Admiral Twin was destroyed by a massive fire in September 2010.  Flames tore through the screens and left nothing standing but the wooden frames.

No cause was ever determined.

With no insurance policy on the drive-in, the owners were greeted by a community effort that raised sufficient funds to rebuild.

The new structure cost about $700,000 to build.  About $30,000 came from private donations.

Since the fire, reconstruction hit several snags along the way, but co-owner Blake Smith is excited to reopen at the peak of the drive-in season.

Smith says the money and continued support from the community are what helped bring the Admiral Twin back to life.

"It's hard to do a business plan that really peaked in the '60s and try to get somebody in 2012 to go, 'Hey, that's a good idea.  Let's loan you a lot of money and see how it goes'," said Smith.  "The city and everybody stepping up, that's what really helped us."

The Admiral Twin, which opened in 1951 and added a second screen in 1952, was featured in Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 movie "The Outsiders."

The gates opened at 7 p.m. Friday.  The movies began at 9:15 p.m.

The first films slated for the Admiral Twin include Rock of Ages, Men in Black 3, The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman.

Hours before the films began, many people were lined up outside the gates in their vehicles, including Kenneth and Michelle Williams from Claremore.

"We've been coming for years and years and brought our daughter out here for years and years," said Michelle.

The Williams said there was no way they were going to miss the re-opening.

"Drive-ins aren't popular across the country anymore, so to keep one here in Tulsa is quite surprising and great," said Kenneth.

One vehicle ahead of them was Tulsa resident Bart Ford, who was waiting patiently, along with a friend, for the gates to reopen.

"You have to have things that say this is Tulsa, and with Admiral Twin, this is Tulsa," he said.

Friday's reopening is a sneak peek so people can see what's going on there while the work continues.

Smith says they hope to have the official grand reopening celebration sometime in July.

For admission information, and to see what movies are playing at the Admiral Twin, click here 

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