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Librarian recognized at The Outsider's plaque dedication at Circle Cinema

Outsiders Circle Cinema.png
Posted at 4:09 PM, Sep 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 07:47:57-04

TULSA, Okla — Sunday afternoon a special dedication took place at Tulsa's oldest and longest standing movie theater, Circle Cinema as one of the filming locations for the film The Outsiders.

City leaders unveiled a plaque at the theater recognizing it's historical significance in the iconic film.

The Outsiders movie starts with an opening scene with Ponyboy at the Circle Cinema movie theater.

Now, almost forty years later, the movie was released, the theater is being honored by city leaders.

The dedication ceremony was open to the public.

A few people in attendance for the ceremony were Danny Boy O'Connor with the Outsiders House Museum, the Co-Founder of Circle Cinema Clark Wiens, and Tulsa's Mayor G.T. Bynum.

“What the outsiders continues to do is give us an opportunity to celebrate the best of Tulsa. That we have one of the best authors in the history of American literature is a Tulsa. One of the great books in the history of American literature is written by a Tulsan. One of the best films of the 20th century was made here in Tulsa and now it’s become this attraction for artists like Danny O’Connor or Leonardo Di Caprio in the last month who loved the movie, love the house, love that book, and wanted to come see the house and are attracted here to Tulsa", Bynum said.

Jo Ellen Mazakian played a key role in getting The Outsiders on the big screen.

When she first read The Outsiders novel, she and her students loved it.

“In 1982, boys weren’t reading and they were not’ reading because there were no books that spoke to them and their needs," Mazakian said.

She knew the world needed to learn about The Outsiders, so she and about 100 of her students took action.

“We circulated a petition for Francis Ford Coppola, well we actually circulated to make it into a movie, kids signed it," she said. "Then, I said oh, I’ve got this petition now, I've got to do something with it."

And she did.

She bought a paperback book, put the petition in, and wrote a letter to Francis Ford Coppola.

To her surprise, he replied back with a letter letting her know they were planning on making the film.

Within two years the movie was made.

Just like the novel, the film was a hit at the box office.

Thousands of teens have seen the iconic film, which was filmed in Tulsa.

Outsiders fan Luisa Toruno traveled all the way from Dallas just to make it to the screening of the 4K restoration of the film at Circle Cinema.

“I really resonated with it because you can really understand pony boy going through all this stuff, even if you don’t go through what he’s going through and I think it’s a really fun story," Toruno said.

Almost 40 years later, the story came full circle.

“To have a 4K restart version of the outsiders here today at the place it was filmed at with the librarian who wrote the letters to make all this happen is mind blowing.”

Mazakian traveled from Fresno, California to attend the plaque dedication ceremony, where s special surprise awaited her.

“The mayor just awarded me the key to the city. I’ve never had a key to a city, any city, anywhere", Mazakian said.

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