JUST VISITING? LIVING LOCAL? WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
PHOTOS
HOURS
LOCATE

Admiral Twin Drive-In

Tulsa

7355 E. Easton St.
Tulsa
918-392-9959

Sock hops, poodle skirts, malts and a trip to the drive-in … most of these are lost in time, the 1950s to be exact. But believe it or not, the drive-in movie theater, which had its heyday in the ‘50s and ‘60s, is still alive and kicking. Right on the outskirts of north Tulsa stands the majestic Admiral Twin, a dual-screened drive-in theater authentic enough to take you back to old episodes of Happy Days, yet modern enough to make you tempted to go there every weekend this summer. f you’re still not sold on the idea of watching a film at a drive-in theater, consider this: the Admiral Twin’s screens are as big as an IMAX, which makes for a powerful viewing experience. Also, every ticket gets you access to a double feature. One of the films will be a first run, while the second feature is a movie that’s been out a little longer, so you get more bang for your buck. The atmosphere is laid back, with children playing in the grass while their parents watch the films. Many people come in their pajamas or hair curlers. Plus, the prices are out of this world. Tickets are just $7 for ages 12 and up, and just $3 for ages 3 to 11. The Admiral Twin’s movies are typically family fare, rated G and PG, like superhero flicks and animated features, so it’s a great way to entertain the whole family on the cheap.

LEARN MORE
June 2016

Now That’s the Ticket

Sock hops, poodle skirts, malts and a trip to the drive-in … most of these are lost in time, the 1950s to be exact. But believe it or not, the drive-in movie theater, which had its heyday in the ‘50s and ‘60s, is still alive and kicking. Right on the outskirts of north Tulsa stands the majestic Admiral Twin, a dual-screened drive-in theater authentic enough to take you back to old episodes of Happy Days, yet modern enough to make you tempted to go there every weekend this summer.

Blake Smith, co-owner of the Admiral Twin, says working at the theater is second nature to him. The drive-in has been around since 1951, and Smith’s father bought it from its previous owners in 1987. He later sold it to Smith in 2000, who has co-owned it with a partner ever since. “I love movie theaters probably more than I love movies,” Smith explains, joking that watching a flick feels enough like work to him that he does anything but that when he has down time.

In addition to the theater’s historical nature, the Admiral Twin has another, much more recent claim to fame. Its large wooden structure, the screen tower, burned down in 2010. The original tower was unique for an old-fashioned drive-in because it had two screens, a rarity made necessary because of the way the Admiral Twin’s property was laid out. The fire that burned down the tower — a surprise to locals who could see the billows of smoke rising into the north Tulsa sky that day — left Smith and his partner shell shocked.

“I got a call, and it was almost burned down by the time I drove all the way over,” Smith explains. “I was surprised at the severity of what happened in some ways. There was a little bit of shock at what happened. And then it felt like the city just stopped. People came out and were taking pictures. People were crying. They were giving us money (and asking) us to rebuild. It was a strange feeling.”

At first, Smith didn’t know what to do. He had no insurance on the drive-in, and was at a loss as to how to recover. But then, he says, Tulsa came together to donate money to help the Admiral Twin get back on its feet. With the chance to rebuild, Smith and his partner were able to make some significant upgrades to the drive-in, and today’s theatergoers are reaping the benefits.

The Admiral Twin’s screens are as big as an IMAX, which makes for a powerful viewing experience.
The Admiral Twin’s screens are as big as an IMAX, which makes for a powerful viewing experience. 

“When we figured out how to go forward, our decision was to close the old concession stands and put in a new concession stand underneath the tower, and to put in new bathrooms. The old bathrooms were kind of exposed to the outdoors, and now everything is inside.” Another benefit of the upgrade was that Smith was able to bring in new digital projectors to replace the old 35-millimeter projectors that are no longer in use in modern movie theaters. When the drive-in reopened in 2012, people came out in droves to support it, and they have been coming ever since.

If you’re still not sold on the idea of watching a film at a drive-in theater, consider this: the Admiral Twin’s screens are as big as an IMAX, which makes for a powerful viewing experience. Also, every ticket gets you access to a double feature. One of the films will be a first run, while the second feature is a movie that’s been out a little longer, so you get more bang for your buck. The atmosphere is laid back, with children playing in the grass while their parents watch the films. Many people come in their pajamas or hair curlers, says Smith. He doesn’t mind that, as long as people are respectful of each other.

Plus, the prices are out of this world. Tickets are just $7 for ages 12 and up, and just $3 for ages 3 to 11. The Admiral Twin’s movies are typically family fare, rated G and PG, like superhero flicks and animated features, so it’s a great way to entertain the whole family on the cheap. If you want a special treat, you can enjoy the drive-in’s concession stand, which has a full kitchen with a fry cook that serves up burgers and fries, chicken strips, hot dogs, candy and, of course, popcorn.

Smith suggests bringing a lawn chair or a blanket, plus some bug spray. He also recommends coming early so you can get a good parking spot and take advantage of the concessions stand before the line gets long. If you get there late, you’ll probably still be able to see your movie, because the property can accommodate around 800 cars on each side of the screen towers.

Be sure to bring a boom box or portable FM radio, because you need an FM channel to hear the movie’s soundtrack. And don’t worry if you get ready to head home only to find your battery’s dead, because Smith and his crew have a jumper kit to help jump-start your car if you need it.

All in all, Smith says, the drive-in is a shared experience that’s all about community. “The drive-in is much more about the experience of coming out with your friends and family and hanging outside. It’s like going to a July Fourth party.” Except, of course, that the party lasts from March when the drive-in opens to around Halloween or later, depending on weather.

LOCATION
 

The information for each business is accurate to the best of Preview’s knowledge. We suggest that you confirm information with each business. If there are any errors, message us and we’ll make every effort to correct or revise. We also ask readers to let us know when one of these businesses fails to meet expectations. Businesses that appear in these listings, unless otherwise noted, accept most major credit cards.