Since being released in 1983, Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel The Outsiders has found continued popularity and has achieved official cult status. And now, in what is surely one of the most interesting pop culture intersections of all time, hip-hop artist Danny Boy O’Connor from the groups House of Pain and La Coka Nostra has purchased the Tulsa, Oklahoma home where much of the film was shot. He will soon be opening it to the public as a museum dedicated to both the film and Hinton’s original novel.
“…S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel The Outsiders has found continued popularity and has achieved official cult status.”
O’Connor, an emcee and founding member of the trio House of Pain, best known for their iconic 1992 anthem “Jump Around,” performed a show at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa in 2010. He had always enjoyed the city, and frequently visited the filming locations of Tulsa author S.E. Hinton’s novels Rumble Fish and The Outsiders. (The latter is O’Connor’s favorite film, making this endeavor a genuine labor of love for him.) “At that time I noticed that the neighborhood was looking rundown,” he recalls. “It was looking worse and worse every time I saw it, and they were tearing down a lot of houses in the neighborhood. I thought, what’s to stop them from tearing down the Outsiders house eventually? That’s when I started to inquire a little more about the well-being of the house, who owned the property, and what they were planning to do with it.”
In 2016, O’Connor finally acquired the property in an effort to save it from inevitable destruction. “We ended up paying fifteen grand for the house, which I thought was incredibly cheap,” he explains. “I couldn’t believe it could be purchased for such a low amount. Then, when I looked inside, I understood why it was so cheap. It was in terrible shape, in every way imaginable. The foundation was no good, the stem walls were no good. There had been hoarding going on there. The house was filled with garbage and the place was overrun with roaches. You name it, if it was bad, it was in that house.”
“…I thought, what’s to stop them from tearing down the Outsiders house eventually?”
O’Connor, living in Beverly Hills at the time, decided to pack his things and relocate to Tulsa to focus on the restoration of the 731 Curtis Brothers Lane house. Early on he’d planned to transform the house into a private home where he could eventually live. He says the exorbitant cost to restore the house, along with the countless hours of labor involved, made him reconsider. “My initial plans of sleeping in Pony Boy’s bedroom changed at some point, making way for the bigger cause,” he says. That bigger cause was his idea to turn the house into a museum where the public could visit and eventually see movie props and learn about the film and the novel.
O’Connor then asked for help from the general public so he could make this dream a reality. Through a Go Fund Me page and an outpouring of fan love, O’Connor managed to raise $35,000 for renovations. He has also held multiple benefits that have featured various players from the movie, including Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell.
In addition to these things, novelist S.E. Hinton, still residing in Tulsa, has donated an undisclosed amount money. “I thought making the house into a museum was a great idea, but I never would have taken it on,” says Hinton. “Danny seems like the right person for this. He’s very detail-oriented, and I’m happy Danny has taken this on.”
“…rock star Jack White has recently stepped in…”
“It’s been costly and it’s taken a while to get where we are, but thanks to all the help we’ve received, we’re making tremendous progress,” says O’Connor.
In an interesting turn of events, rock star Jack White has recently stepped in (since this interview was conducted) and provided O’ Connor with the necessary funds to complete the project.
As O’Connor and his crew finish up, they have also been rebuilding the general store that was once located behind the house. (It is visible in the revised and re-edited 2005 edition of the film.) He says the biggest headache has been zoning and compliance issues to appease the city. “We have approval to rebuild the general store, but there’s an added condition, which is that we must offer five parking spots with it.”
O’Connor had originally hoped to have the museum completed and opened by the film’s 35th anniversary last March, but renovations have taken longer than expected. Although there is no set date at this time, O’Connor plans to have The Outsiders House Museum open soon. Anyone interested in keeping track of the museum and its impending opening can do so by visiting O’Connor’s Outsiders House Facebook page.