Editorial: The images of the Admiral Twin Drive-In engulfed in flames were striking.
Some 60 years of family memories going up in smoke. Within minutes what was a landmark along Tulsa’s I-244 expressway standing some 9 stories tall was a charred, skeletal ruin. The radio talk show airwaves lit up with calls and shared memories. Personal adventures to the drive-in as children and had brought their own kids and grand kids over the years – all comprise what marketing people call "good will" or collective regard.
It was another icon of the great City of Tulsa gone. Without warning or ample time to get memories and emotions in check, it was gone, just one week shy of the last weekend of the season. Fire placed plans for the upcoming 2011 season’s 60th anniversary on hold, the future uncertain.
Luckily, that uncertainty lasted less than 24 hours as the citizens of Tulsa stepped up and offered of themselves in a way that has made Oklahomans famous. Locals flocked to the site to make donations and pledge support. Tulsa Today covered the story Friday and our Publisher took calls on The David Arnett Show on AM 740 and FM 102.3 Saturday afternoon. More stories will follow.
In an economy that does not lend itself to easy giving, Tulsans pitched in to help. A fund was established, social networking sprang to life and, all of a sudden, what seemed a long shot to rebuild suddenly became plausible, even before the smoke cleared.
This great public regard, it would seem, encouraged the ownership of the Admiral Twin to be optimistic. The storied drive-in could be showing movies – maybe – as early as next spring with such a large outpouring.
It is something that Tulsa has needed for a good long time – common cause.
In a year that has seen police and firefighters laid off, elected officials under fire and bickering among themselves, and long dark stretches of road that used to be lighted highways – this is different. The grass roots effort to save an icon of Tulsa history and a bit of the history of the national icon Route 66 is real. It is a breath of fresh air. There is no posturing, no political maneuvering among career politicians, it’s just regular people stepping up to lend a helping hand.
If you want a chance to invest in a piece of Tulsa pop culture history, funds are still being accepted at the main fund :
PO BOX 471316
Tulsa, OK 74147
Bigfoot Prints are selling t-shirts for $10 a piece with all funds donated to the rebuild effort. A benefit concert is being planned for October 13 at the Rose Bowl Event Center on 11th Street. Finally, there is a PayPal account that has been activated for direct donations, accessed at tiny.cc/admiraltwinfund.