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TV & Movies

Stay Gold, Danny Boy

A House of Pain MC blew up his life to create the ultimate shrine to his favorite movie, 'The Outsiders.' Was it worth it?
Matt Barnard/Tulsa World/AP

F rom the street, the house doesn’t look like much. Its once-quaint exterior is caught somewhere between off-white, yellow, and brown, depending on the thickness of the layers of dirt. A rusted chain-link fence matches the patio furniture on the front porch. A craftsman bungalow in the Crutchfield neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the home contrasts starkly with the mansions and manicured lawns across town that once belonged to oil tycoons. And yet the owner, Daniel O’Connor, refers to it as a “national treasure.”

Danny Boy, as he was known in the hip-hop trio House of Pain, looks different than he did in the Nineties. He’s filled out more of his six-foot-six–inch frame and replaced gold chains and ombre shades with flannel button-ups and a North Face fleece vest. The goatee he sported in the music video for the party anthem “Jump Around” is now a salt-and-pepper beard. But the biggest transformation came in 2016, when O’Connor purchased this rundown Tulsa relic with dreams of restoring it to look as it did in The Outsiders — Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 film adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s 1967 coming-of-age novel. The house served as the onscreen home of orphaned brothers Darry, Soda Pop, and Ponyboy Curtis. O’Connor bet his life savings that fellow fans like him would want to take a peek inside.

“People come to the Outsiders house because they want to touch terra firma,” he says. “They want to go where [Matt Dillon] stood in the front yard and Patrick Swayze did a handstand on the fence. I can’t lift the house, move it somewhere else and still have the same effect.” 

The vision came easy, but creating the Outsiders House Museum — a 1,400-square-foot shrine that’s part time capsule, part pop-culture history lesson — would require a three-year gut renovation, tens of thousands of dollars, and a cross-country move from Beverly Hills. 

When 16-year-old Tulsa native Susan Eloise Hinton wrote The Outsiders in 1966, she was averaging a D in creative writing. “Probably because I was paying more attention to writing my book than to what I was supposed to be doing in class,” Hinton, now 73, says over the phone. It wasn’t all for nothing. That class led her to the Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” that inspired the novel’s most iconic and oft-repeated line, “Stay gold.” 

The rest was based on Hinton’s high school experience and her observations of two real-life rivals: the Socs and the Greasers. In a classic tale of the haves versus the have-nots, the Socs, letter-jacket-wearing “West-side rich kids,” face off against the Greasers, switchblade-toting rebels with slicked-back hair. The story centers around the three Curtis brothers. Woven throughout are themes of love and loss, scenes of fist fights and friendship, and — notable for the era — lots of tears from macho boys trying their best to be men. 

The Outsiders has captured a wide audience since it was first published in 1967. By its 50th anniversary, the book had sold more than 15 million copies, been translated into 30 languages, and was ranked among the most influential young-adult novels of all time. It’s still taught in schools around the country. And were it not for one very determined librarian, the movie version might never have been made. 

In 1980, Jo Ellen Misakian sent a copy of the book and a petition signed by her students in the farming community of Fresno, California, to director Francis Ford Coppola, imploring him to take The Outsiders to the big screen. Had it gone to his usual fan-mail address, Coppola likely wouldn’t have read the letter or, eventually, the book. But he did, and almost 40 years later, the director — whose 2005 extended version of the film, The Outsiders: The Complete Novel, will see a 4K rerelease in November — still remembers that letter well.

“It was very fat and thick. When I opened it up, I saw the letter from the librarian, and then realized the fatness was from the many, many, many, many sheets of children’s signatures. And, you know, I was a camp counselor when I was 17. I love working with kids. … So when I saw those little signatures — you could tell every one was real — I was very moved and touched,” Coppola recalls. “I said, ‘Well, I have a bunch of kids who have voted for me to do a movie from a book they love, so I’m going to at least read it and see if I’m able to.’ ”

The director was touched by the book and S.E. Hinton’s honesty.

“What appealed to me was that it says something that I’ve always known, which is that children are capable of deep, deep, deep feelings of love,” he says.

Coppola was sold — now he just had to figure out how to make the movie. At the time, his company, Zoetrope, was facing possible bankruptcy. The budget was tight. Coppola’s longtime producer, Fred Roos, told The New York Times in 1983 that the film “had to get developed in the cheapest possible way or not all.” 

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O’Connor spent hours studying film stills to restore the home to look exactly as it did in the movie. The museum now serves as a backdrop for fans to take pictures and reenact their favorite scenes. Phil Clarkin*

Despite this, Coppola and Roos pulled together an all-star cast consisting of established heartthrobs Leif Garrett and Matt Dillon, and up-and-comers Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, and Tom Cruise. The honor of playing the lead character, Ponyboy, went to C. Thomas Howell. Diane Lane, in what would be her breakout role, was cast as the pretty and popular Sherri “Cherry” Valance. Hinton was hired as a consultant and would also go on to have a cameo in the film.

Coppola and his team could have filmed the entire movie on a set in Hollywood, but the director chose to take the production to Tulsa.

“There was this real-life basis of the story because Susie was from Tulsa,” the director says.When she was writing about high school, the poor kids and the rich kids and that theme, she knew it firsthand, so I wanted to know it firsthand.”

One of Tulsa’s oldest communities, Crutchfield was originally home to blue-collar families and several manufacturing plants. Coppola selected the dilapidated craftsman there for the Curtis brothers’ home because he liked the weeds that had sprouted up in the yard. The large lot also provided ample room for crews and it was close to other filming sites, including Hinton’s alma mater, Will Rogers High School. 

“A director’s main job is to make about 100,000 decisions a day. And fast, because, you know, in the movie business time is money,” Coppola says. “When I can’t make a decision, then I ask myself, ‘Well, what’s this movie about? What’s the theme?’ “

Often, he says, the theme can be distilled down to a single word.

“Everyone thinks that The Godfather is about family. But no, The Godfather is about succession,” he says. “If anything, that’s what The Outsiders was about — family.”

The director had an interesting approach to character development, too. Offscreen, Coppola stoked the rivalry between Greasers and Socs by giving the latter nicer hotel rooms and pitting the two groups against each other in games of flag football and soccer. He unsuccessfully tried to persuade Dillon to spend a night in jail, but the Greasers did sleep over at the Curtis brothers’ house and, at Coppola’s request, cook a meal together.

“Well, I don’t cook, Tommy Howell doesn’t cook, Swayze doesn’t cook — so it was a disaster,” Lowe says in the extras of the film’s 2005 DVD release. “We were in character for hours and hours on end. … It finally ended after Swayze pulled out his guitar and started doing Springsteen songs, and I think at that point Francis had had enough.”

But Coppola’s commitment rubbed off on the young actors.

“Good directors provide authentic backgrounds for artists to be able to provide an authentic performance, and I think Coppola was sort of famous for creating that arena for his actors to work in,” Howell says. “That really shows in The Outsiders.

Both Howell and Hinton, who was dubbed the “Greasers’ den mother,” recalled what took place at the house after the “rumble,” the climactic fight scene following the stabbing of a Soc. 

“I’ll never forget the night that we filmed that scene,” Howell says. “Tom Cruise shows up with no tooth in his head. He went to the dentist and had some capped tooth or veneer removed on his own, and he was like, ‘Isn’t this cool?’ Of course, the scene opens up on a big closeup of him with a missing tooth.”

It was these kinds of little details that made moviegoers fall in love with The Outsiders. 

In the spring of 1983, when O’Connor was 13, a friend invited him to tag along to see the new Coppola movie. “I went in sight-unseen and came out and my head exploded,” he says. “I could relate to the story so much.”

His father went to prison when he was two months old, and his mother, who he says never really wanted kids, moved him and his siblings from Brooklyn to California’s San Fernando Valley. 

“We lived in a neighborhood where a lot of people had both mom and dad, double incomes, nice cars, Lacoste shirts, and all the stuff that we could never afford,” he says. “I talked different. I walked different. The music I liked was different, so there was a [learning] curve, and in that era, kids were rough on other kids.”

O’Connor also saw himself in the hardened New Yorker Dallas Winston, played by Dillon.

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In a still from the movie, Dallas Winston (played by Matt Dillon, center) and fellow Greasers Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio, left) and Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) talk next to the Curtis brothers’ house, and what would eventually become the Outsiders House Museum. © Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

“Ponyboy resonates with a lot of people, but for me I was never an introverted smart guy who was struggling. I was the complete opposite,” he says. “I’m an egomaniac with low self-esteem, so I’m like, ‘Look at me, look at me!’ Then, the next minute, ‘What the fuck you looking at?’ ”

O’Connor laughs at this last part, but it doesn’t mask the pain, at least not all of it.

“All I ever really wanted was a group that looked like The Outsiders did,” he says. “It was them against the world. I felt like it was me against the world, and if I had just a few more of us, I stood a better chance.” Later, he circles back: “I think people search their whole lives for that kind of connection with a group.” 

Over the course of his 52 years, he’s joined just about every kind of group he could find — rap groups, graffiti crews, motorcycle gangs — to make up for what he felt was lacking at home. The most high-profile of these, of course, was House of Pain. 

In 1992, O’Connor and two of his high school classmates — taking the names DJ Lethal and Everlast — burst onto the scene with what would become a multiplatinum-selling album and their particular brand of bar-brawling, Irish American toughness. Their eponymous album’s hit single, “Jump Around,” made it to Number Three on the Billboard charts that year.

Despite their early success, the group disbanded before the end of the decade. Everlast embarked on a solo career. DJ Lethal eventually joined Limp Bizkit. O’Connor went into a downward spiral. In 2021, he recounted for Page Six how he burned through millions of dollars paying for drugs and alcohol. He was sleeping on a couch in a warehouse, had a warrant out for his arrest, and was struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

George Carroll, better known as Boston rapper Slaine, met O’Connor while he was in the throes of addiction.

“He was at his bottom, but it didn’t feel like that to me because, you know, he was Danny Boy. It was the guy who was on a [House of Pain] poster on my wall growing up,” Carroll says. “It wasn’t shocking to me that he had a drug problem. I had a drug problem too.”

Eventually, O’Connor and Carroll, along with the rest of the House of Pain and Ill Bill, formed the supergroup La Coka Nostra in 2004. When they arrived in Tulsa in 2009 to play Cain’s Ballroom, O’Connor didn’t know it, but his life was about to take a turn.

“I kept thinking, ‘Tulsa, Tulsa, Tulsa, why does that sound so familiar? Oh, my God, I think The Outsiders was filmed here,’ ” O’Connor says. He and Carroll were on their way to the mall when he had the epiphany. Their cab driver confirmed his suspicions and Danny paid him $100 to chauffeur them around to the remaining filming locations. Some — like the Admiral Twin drive-in — were easy to find, but the exact address for the Curtis brothers’ house wasn’t listed online. Knowing it was near Crutchfield Park, they headed there first and found it two blocks away. 

“I remember being in front of the house and just being in awe. I think I stood there for 20 minutes with my mouth on the ground, just going ‘Oh, my God. This thing is still here. What a gem,’ ” O’Connor says. He snapped a photo on his Blackberry and uploaded it to Facebook. All day long, his phone vibrated across the table in the tour bus as the “likes” rolled in.

“I was getting question after question: ‘Where are you?’ ‘What is that?’ ‘Are you kidding me?’ ‘I worked on the Warner Brothers lot the last 20 years — where on the lot is the house? I’ve never even stumbled across it.’ I’m like, ‘Dude, it’s not on the Warner Brothers lot.’ ‘Where is it?’ ‘Tulsa.’ ‘What’s a Tulsa?’ ” O’Connor remembers, laughing. “People were shocked. And I would have been asking those silly questions myself because it just didn’t look real. It was almost like a Photoshopped image of me standing in front of stock footage from the Sixties.”

At the time, the house was on the market for just more than $50,000. “I had no business buying the world’s largest movie collectible,” O’Connor says. “Although I was smitten with the idea, and couldn’t believe we found the house, I had to let it go.”

“I had no business buying the world’s largest movie collectible.” —Danny Boy O’Connor

Still, he kept tabs on it, stopping by once a year between gigs. His wife bought him his first piece of movie memorabilia: a limited-edition poster on which the Outsiders cast’s illustrated portraits appear next to a rail yard sunset and the film’s evocative tagline: “They grew up on the outside of society. They weren’t looking for a fight. They were looking to belong.” 

Seven years after he first laid eyes on the house, he would buy his second collector’s item: 731 North St. Louis Ave. O’Connor had become increasingly worried that the house would be demolished — a fear he later learned was justified, as it was on a short list for tear-downs. He tracked down the owner’s number and had a friend inquire about the price in case his reputation preceded him and the owner thought he was rich.

“I’m not,” O’Connor says. “I made more money on accident in the Nineties than we ever made in the 2000s on purpose.”

According to a Tulsa County Clerk filing, O’Connor purchased the home for $7,500, but O’Connor estimates the total to be closer to $20,000. No one left him a key so he broke in the back window. “There were roaches, there was dog shit, there was Pampers — it was waist-high,” O’Connor says. “I thought, ‘I have bitten off so much more than I can chew.’ “

Even if he had known how to restore a century-old home, O’Connor had no money and, with La Coka Nostra’s recent breakup, no work on the horizon. So, he put together a GoFundMe campaign. His plan had initially been to keep the house for himself, hang up his movie poster, and call it good. Maybe, once in a while, if other fans stopped by and asked nicely, he’d give them a tour. But all that changed.

“I knew I couldn’t go asking for money unless I was going to do it for the people,” O’Connor says. That’s when the idea for a museum was born. To oversee the renovation, O’Connor relocated from Los Angeles to Tulsa and moved into the Mayo Hotel downtown. A lot of people — including his wife — thought he was crazy.

“They thought I had relapsed,” says O’Connor, who has been sober now for almost 17 years. “They wondered if I was absconding from the law, hiding out.”

One person who wasn’t surprised was Carroll. He’d seen firsthand how “urban exploration” had helped his friend stay out of trouble on the road. When O’Connor has a vision for something, Carroll says, he goes for it.

“Danny has a very creative mind and also a very nostalgic one,” Carroll says. “He thinks outside of the box.”

Carroll, who has filmed several movies in Tulsa, also understood why O’Connor fell in love, not just with the house, but with the city.

“Every 20 minutes there’s a train going through town and people here are friendly, the buildings are beautiful, the gas is usually two-something, and there’s good hamburger joints,” O’Connor says. “You can still have an authentic American life here. … There’s such a strong soul to Tulsa.” 

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In addition to behind-the-scenes photos taken on set and rare posters, the museum boasts items worn by various cast members. For those who want their own ‘Outsiders’ outfit, O’Connor leaned on his experience designing graphics for House of Pain to commission original T-shirts, hats, and other merch for the museum’s gift shop. Phil Clarkin*

The question was whether Tulsa would fall in love with him. At first, O’Connor admits, there may have been some apprehension around him buying up a site that many locals felt personally attached to. Nearly everyone in town had a connection to the film — they or someone they knew was an extra, they helped scout locations, or maybe they’d had a night out with two no-name actors named Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe. Slowly, more and more people stopped by. Once they saw O’Connor’s passion and the work he was doing, many shared stories or collectors’ items of their own.

“I noticed there’s a tipping point in people where they’ll say, ‘Let me run back out to the car,’ and then they give us what it is they were wanting to hold back,” O’Connor says. 

Others offered their services. Curators at the nearby Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture and Woody Guthrie Museum helped install the exhibitions. Someone volunteered to mow the lawn. Another guy donated an $8,000 HVAC system. A dad and his two kids did tiling work on the weekends. 

“I’ve had people come from all walks of life to try to help me. It’s usually the people with the least to give that have given the most,” O’Connor says. “It’s taken a lot longer than if I had a million dollars in a briefcase and a blueprint, but I don’t know that I’d have it any other way.”

As for the GoFundMe? It surpassed the $75,000 goal. Most of the donations came from average people, fellow fans — $5 here, $20 there — but there were some big-name donors, too, most notably Jack White, who gave $30,000 in 2018. Other celebrities, from Billy Idol to Leonardo DiCaprio, have dropped by and shown support in their own ways. But the ultimate stamp of approval came in the form of a check from Hinton herself.

Hinton didn’t immediately take to O’Connor. Every time he rolled through town, he would tweet at her — something like, “Can’t think of going to Tulsa without shouting out S.E. Hinton and The Outsiders.” His tweets went unanswered until, eventually, she replied and offered to meet up for a drink. O’Connor, who has rubbed shoulders with Hollywood A-listers and never gets starstruck, almost chickened out.

“It was like stage fright, but I’ve never gotten stage fright in my life. I just really had this feeling like, ‘I’m going to fuck this up,’ ” O’Connor remembers. “I’m going to say something that’s going to turn her off, and she’ll be like, ‘Oh, you’re not what I thought you were.’ I was terrified, but I got there and told her, ‘I don’t drink. When I drink, I break out in handcuffs, but it’s so great to meet you.’ From there, we just hit it off.”

Hinton shared the GoFundMe page on social media and tweeted her support. Later, she handed O’Connor a check for $10,000. “I almost had a heart attack. She was the first big donor,” he says. Later, she’d write another check for $15,000 and donate her leather jacket, one that Dillon and Howell wore during the movie. She isn’t the type to gush, but the author dotes on O’Connor like she does her “Outsiders boys.” 

“He’s done such a fantastic job,” Hinton says. “He was so careful to get all the details right. It’s kind of amazing the way they matched everything. He’d get out colored stills and look at it and try and match this and that.”

Even though O’Connor took the house down to the studs and everything inside is new, it’s made to look old, like it did in the film. The bathtub is purposefully stained, and there’s “fake” dirt. O’Connor used a stencil to re-create the look of the original yellowed wallpaper, and spent hours tracking down look-alike furniture. 

Museumgoers can sit at Ponyboy’s desk or pose with a faux chocolate cake, like the one the brothers eat for breakfast in the movie. In the bathroom, there’s a towel signed by Lowe to commemorate a steamy shower scene. It’s a gift from when the actor visited the museum on his 53rd birthday in 2017. He posted a shot of himself and his son out front with the caption “#birthday visit to where it all started. Thirty five years ago to the day. Passing the torch (or towel?).”

Scattered throughout is the museum’s growing collection. O’Connor estimates that he has 500 different editions of the book, each with a different cover, in every language it’s been printed in, along with the original worn-on-screen versions of iconic costumes, like Cruise’s rumble outfit and Estevez’s Mickey Mouse muscle T-shirt. There’s Hinton’s high school yearbook, and even a 1949 Plymouth Super Deluxe in the yard, a car just like the one Estevez’s character drove. But there’s no better backstory than the one associated with Coppola’s long-lost director’s chair.

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Coppola’s director’s chair, seen here, is among the crown jewels of the collection. Phil Clarkin*

As O’Connor tells it, a homeless man wandered onto set one day and started walking off with the chair. Security stepped in to try to stop him. Coppola, who was in the middle of a scene, said, “Listen, if he wants it that bad, let him take it. Everyone back to work!” A week later, the Tulsa Police Department got a call about a guy living behind a liquor store: “He’s drunk, playing out in traffic, and people are worried.” An officer showed up and told him to grab his stuff, but then noticed the chair and asked where he got it.

“Like a good alcoholic, the guy says, ‘That’s not my chair. You want that chair?’ ” O’Connor says, chuckling. “He’s like, ‘You’re damn right I want that chair.’ [The cop] put Coppola’s chair in the back of his cruiser and told the guy to pound sand. He kept it in his collection for 34 years, and his missus said she’d been polishing it with Pledge for as long as she could remember. Then, he started seeing articles and TV interviews with me and thought it was only right that he donate it.”

O’Connor sometimes worries that someone who’s donated an item will show up and wonder where it is. In a house that’s “window rich and wall poor,” as he puts it, it’s hard to display everything all at once, but he’s been dutifully cataloging the submissions and hopes to one day have a digital archive for people to peruse online. 

O’Connor can think about these sorts of things now because he’s made it through the three-year renovation, but it wasn’t long ago that his life felt like “one big game of Whac-a-Mole.”

“This whole project has got me wearing 100 different hats,” he says, surrounded by boxes, two months before the museum opened in August 2019. “I’m the PR guy. I’m the marketing guy. I’m the designer of merch. I’m the seller of merch. I’m the accountant. I’m the foreman. I’m the designer. I’m the creator. I’m the owner. I am overwhelmed.” 

There were days when volunteers who had promised to help got busy with their own lives. Or new problems popped up, like permits or parking, and the project would stall. The stress of the move and the renovation took a toll on his personal life, too. 

“My marriage fell apart during this whole thing,” O’Connor says. “It put a lot of stress on me, and I took a lot of that out on [my wife] inevitably, unintentionally.”

Through it all, he admits to second-guessing himself, but won’t go so far as to say he ever thought about quitting: “It’s kind of like being in a band. If you want to be in a band, you have to spend a lot of years eating ramen. And there were a lot of ramen dishes being served in Tulsa during this thing.” 

It was the little things — like feeding a pack of feral cats that hung around the house — that kept him going.  

“I’d be having a bad day,” O’Connor says, “and then I would just look at these cats on the front porch. It’d be freezing outside, and I’d say to myself, ‘Today, if the best you can do is stay sober, feed cats, and make it to the next day, you’ve had a great day.’ ” 

The museum officially opened two summers ago with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Hinton, Howell, and the mayor of Tulsa. For now, it’s open to the public only on weekends. A $10 ticket gets you access to the house and a handful of volunteers who provide commentary on the collection. Private tours can be arranged in advance.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with roughly 600 people passing through each week. O’Connor isn’t surprised — “This is the high holy ground for any Outsiders fan,” he says — but what did shock him was the multigenerational appeal.

“I thought it would be a bunch of middle-aged people like myself, mostly guys, that would want to come by and do backflips off the fence and show me their switchblades,” he says. “And really, it’s been more seventh- and eighth-graders with their family.” 

The movie will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2023. It continues to resonate, O’Connor says, because everyone can relate to feeling like an outsider at some point in their life.

“I think, as a nation or as a people in the past, we’ve looked at pop culture as being disposable,” he says, before launching into a story about a guy who used to dumpster-dive behind Universal Studios, picking out drafts of old cartoons. He collected them, and decades later ended up selling them for a fortune. “Now, the things that were once-disposable to us become more important than, say, a Chagall or a Monet. … I’ve been to Amsterdam and seen [Rembrandt’s] The Night Watch — what a brilliant painting it is, but I don’t relate to that in any way. There’s no part of my DNA in that. The Outsiders is like a rite of passage.”

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In 2016, the city of Tulsa renamed the two streets that intersect near the Curtis brothers’ house, now known as The Outsiders Way and Curtis Brothers Lane. Phil Clarkin*

Hinton, for one, is grateful the museum will be around for the film’s 40th anniversary because it takes some of the pressure off of her. The author, who has lived in Tulsa most of her life, no longer visits schools, and rarely gives interviews. She’s grown tired of answering the same questions and telling the same stories. She says she’s content to be a citizen of Tulsa, rather than a celebrity of Tulsa. 

“You’re not gonna catch my picture on the society page,” she jokes. “And I’m not leading the Outsiders tour of Tulsa — which I’ve tried to make clear to my fans. They seem to think if they come to see the Outsiders house I can meet them for lunch. I’ve gotten very good, over the years, at being able to say no to people.”

Now, with the museum, she says they’ve really got something to see. When asked what she wants her legacy to be, Hinton gives a modest answer: “People write me that [The Outsiders] changed their life. Now, I’m not anyone to change anybody’s life. But when they start saying, ‘It changed the way I look at things. I’m not quick to judge anybody anymore. I’m open to having different kinds of friends.’ You know, that’s a good legacy to have. I’m pretty proud leaving that.”

O’Connor is still at the museum most days. And his to-do list has only gotten longer. He’s working to create a 3D tour of the museum for teachers to use in the classroom, and he just bought the house across the street, with plans to turn it into a themed Airbnb. He’s also started collecting items from Rumble Fish, another of Hinton’s books that Coppola optioned and filmed in Tulsa. Then there’s the events schedule.

In September, O’Connor orchestrated the first public screening of the film’s digitally remastered Complete Novel cut, which includes new music, as well as several scenes that didn’t make it into the original theatrical version. (On Nov. 9, Warner Bros. will release both the extended and original versions as part of a special collectors’ edition; the director’s cut will also be available for streaming on HBO Max, beginning Nov. 16.)

It’s not uncommon for the cast to make appearances at these events or to be the main draw. Howell, who took up the guitar during the pandemic, played two sold-out concerts at the house in August, and will perform again in December. There are a few big names, like Cruise and Coppola, who have yet to visit, but O’Connor says he won’t be surprised if one day he gets a call, asking if they can come by for a private tour. The director, for one, says he would like to visit the museum if he’s ever back in town.

“One of the tough things about being in the movies is that all the friends you make and the places you grow attached to, ultimately, you have to say goodbye to,” Coppola says. “So I was pleased to hear that the house was going to be preserved and remain as I remembered it.”

As for O’Connor? He isn’t going anywhere. Tulsa is home now. He has a key to the city, and even spoke at a local high school’s graduation, a fact he finds funny given that he never made it beyond the ninth grade. He hasn’t had a lot of time to reflect on the past three years, but went on camera recently to talk about his experience and the kindness of Tulsans for the remastered release of the film.

“I watched myself in this thing for the first time, which I never do. I can’t stand the sound of my own voice and I find fault in everything I’ve said, but I watched this and started to tear up, because I saw a softer, gentler man than I had ever seen in myself,” he says. “I’m always, you know, on my tough-guy shit, but this thing has softened me into the man that I always thought maybe I could be if I wasn’t so afraid to let my guard down.”

It sounds like a line written for a Greaser. Stay gold, Danny Boy.