“You know she comes around
She about five feet four
From her head to the ground” – Them
Thanks for checking back into part two of my St. Patrick’s Day 2023 post (If you missed part one, you can scroll down below this post, or click here for part one published a few days ago).
Well, my baby is a little taller than 5’4″ but she comes around and we go places and we see things. One of our favorite cities for a day trip or a quick overnight trip is Tulsa, Oklahoma, because of its’ proximity (just about 90 miles west) from our home in NW Arkansas. We’ve been to numerous plays, concerts, parks, dining establishments (shoutout to downtown Ti Amo’s, our favorite), and retail outlets throughout Oklahoma’s second largest city.
If you read the previous post then you know I mentioned Daniel “Danny Boy” O’Connor and featured his rap trio, House of Pain. O’Connor was born in New York in 1968 and moved to L.A. when he was six. It was in L.A. where he would meet his rap partner, Erik Schrody, aka “Everlast” and form the group with the hit single “Jump Around.” O’Connor played the role of art director for the group by designing logos and branding, and he was also the hype man and co-rapper with Schrody on their three albums. After the group disbanded in 1996, and drugs and alcohol sidetracked O’Connor’s life on multiple occasions through the years, Danny Boy sobered up in 2005. It would be a few years later that a new passion would capture his imagination, and it just happened to be located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Let’s do it for Johnny!“
A lifelong fan first of Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation and later of S. E. Hinton’s book The Outsiders, O’Connor took a visit to the house where the lead characters of the film, the Curtis Brothers, lived while he was at a tour stop in 2009 in Tulsa with his supergroup La Coka Nostra. A 13 year-old O’Connor had found relatability in The Outsiders’ story of broken homes and brotherly love many years earlier when he first saw the movie.
Unable to afford the house when he first encountered it, he bought it in 2016 sight unseen for $15,000. When he first went inside it was falling apart, but with the help of friends, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, local business and individuals who volunteered, the restoration began.
Despite the fact that his only memorabilia from the film was a poster, he decided to turn it into a museum. Preserving the Curtis brothers’ home gave O’Connor a chance to give back, and “to be of service in his new surroundings.” Before he undertook the extensive project, however, O’Connor sought out the author, S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton, a lifelong Tulsa resident.
Hinton, who had written the book as a teenager, gave more than her blessing to the project. She made the first large donation – $10,000, and provided O’Connor with a brown leather jacket worn by both Dillon and Howell in the film. In 2016, the street signs on the corner were changed to “The Outsiders Way” and “The Curtis Brothers Lane.”
O’Connor’s original estimate was that it would take six months to get the museum up and running. After raising funds the house went through extensive renovations to restore it and maintain its authenticity from the film. A GoFundMe was set up for additional funds, and notable donors through the years have included Jack White and Billy Idol. Also to raise funds, screenings of the film were organized in which C. Thomas Howell (aka “Ponyboy”) attended. After 3 1/2 years of work, and rehab estimates in the $175,000 range, O’Connor opened The Outsiders House Museum in Tulsa on August 9, 2019.
Many of the original stars have stopped by the house and as recently as October of 2022, Ralph Macchio returned to Tulsa on a tour to promote his new book and made a stop by the house. Today, the 1,400-square-foot interior is filled with furniture, memorabilia, paintings, foreign editions, rare photographs by David Burnett as well as many wardrobe pieces and props. As my wife and I wandered through the house and gift shop, we had almost long forgotten that Diane Lane was the lead female, and that one-time rock star Leif Garrett played a prominent role as a “Soc” in the movie.
For myself, the movie was one of those that came on TNT or TBS a lot during the 80’s. I would always catch bits and pieces of it through the years making sure I tuned in for the rumble between the greasers and the socs in the park, or for Dally’s last stand at the end of the movie (He’s just a kid!!!). I didn’t come from a broken home like the Curtis brothers or like Danny Boy O’Connor and I never particularly related to one group or the other like so many of S.E. Hinton’s readers did through the years, but I always appreciated the depiction and tale of the two classes and their very real struggles as teenagers. Not that it was unusual, but I also think we all had that friend that signed those end of school yearbooks with the phrase “Stay gold.”
Neither my wife or I had seen the movie in probably 30+ years so we re-watched the movie (streaming on HBO/Max) a day or two after getting back home. I didn’t realize how short the movie actually is barely clocking in at 90 minutes, and forgot about the very fake background when Pony and Johnny are marveling at the golden sky while hiding out from the law. Regardless, it was fun watching all of these famous actors just starting out in the early 80’s. Someone could probably remake the movie but there’s just no way they could put together a comparable fairly unknown cast like the one that assembled under the watchful eye of Francis Ford Coppola in Tulsa, Oklahoma so many years ago.
“If all I get is sobriety, then that connects me with a power greater than myself, a power of my own understanding, and it allows me to trust God, clean house and help others — and my whole primary purpose is that. Not to buy sneakers or to make money or to shine like fluorescent. That is not the deal. The deal is to trust God, clean house, help others and if I stay sober one day at a time, I can stay happy, joyous and free.” – Daniel O’Connor
Good for you, Danny Boy. Good for you and may you forever stay gold.
“You know she comes around here
At just about midnight
She make ya feel so good, Lord
She make ya feel all right”
Formed in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1964, the band Them featured legendary lead singer Van Morrison along with Alan Henderson, Ronnie Milling, Billy Harrison and Eric Wrixon (also a founding member of the band Thin Lizzy). Morrison would leave the band in 1966 after two top 10 UK hits, “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” and “Here Comes the Night.” But it would be today’s featured song and video that would receive a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1999 and would be listed as #81 on VH1’s list of the 100 greatest rock songs of all-time, and is frequently mentioned among Rolling Stone’s Greatest 500 songs of all-time.
Written by Morrison when he was just 18, and covered by The Doors and Patti Smith among others, this song was the B-side of the single “Baby Please Don’t Go.” Enjoy this classic song from 1964 featured prominently in the beginning of Coppola’s film from 1983 adapted from S.E. Hinton’s book in 1967 based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Got it? This is the Irish band Them with Van Morrison and “G-L-O-R-I-A.”
Here are those first few minutes of “The Outsiders”featuring “Gloria…”
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Danny Boy O’Connor for his love and passion for a group of “greasers” in late 60’s Tulsa. And of course, a happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, and may you find a rainbow that leads you to a pot of gold. Or, at the very least, stay gold.