A ceremony will be staged at noon Friday, Nov. 1 to unveil a plaque at a downtown Tulsa site used as a filming location during the making of the 1983 movie “Rumble Fish.”
Call it a preview of coming attractions.
Danny O’Connor is synonymous with converting a different Tulsa filming site into The Outsiders House Museum. “The Outsiders” is a 1983 film based on a novel by Tulsa’s S.E. Hinton. A home used as a filming location was on the verge of being demolished before O’Connor purchased it in hopes of preserving it. Now the home is a museum dedicated to the film.
Here’s a follow-up project: O’Connor said he came up with an idea to dedicate plaques to film sites around the city to encourage pop culture tourism related to the books of Hinton and the films of Francis Ford Coppola. O’Connor hopes to dedicate 10-12 plaques around the city. The first of them will be unveiled Friday in a downtown Tulsa alley located between Fifth and Sixth streets and Main Street and Boston Avenue.
“It’s the alley used in ‘Rumble Fish’ where a character played by Matt Dillon, Rusty James, has an out-of-body experience. Let’s just call it that,” O’Connor said. “It’s pretty unique because it’s pre-CGI (computer-generated imagery) and they had to build a fake Matt Dillon and get a crane and do all this kind of real cool stuff.”
O’Connor wants to install plaques at “Rumble Fish” and “The Outsiders” sites all over the city.
“We might get some ‘Tex’ locations in there, as well,” he said. “I just wanted people to come here independent of the Outsiders House Museum and say ‘What’s here?’ ”
Ideally, visitors to the city could go online or use an app to go on a tour of filming locations, according to O’Connor.
“Maybe it turns into more,” he said. “Maybe we do ‘UHF’ next or whatever. But for now I’m focused on S.E. Hinton’s movies and books and Coppola’s stuff.”
“UHF” was a 1989 Weird Al Yankovic movie filmed in Tulsa.
Mayor G.T. Bynum will join O’Connor at the plaque ceremony. Hinton could be there, as well, according to O’Connor. He said Price Family Properties granted permission to let one of the company’s buildings be used for the plaque and he said Robert Babcock and ONE Gas paid for the plaque.
The plaque says: “On this location in 1982, director Francis Ford Coppola filmed the iconic alley scene from the movie Rumble Fish, based on the 1975 novel written by author S.E. Hinton. The scene featured Matt Dillon as Rusty James, Mickey Rourke as the Motorcycle Boy and Vincent Spano as Steve. This plaque is dedicated to honoring and preserving the city of Tulsa’s rich motion picture history.”
Hinton has said “Rumble Fish” is the book she is most proud of writing.
Bus tours of “The Outsiders” film locations, including the Outsiders House Museum, will be part of the 2019 Tulsa Pop Culture Expo, set Nov. 2-3 at the former Sears location in Woodland Hills Mall. For information, go to tulsapopcultureexpo.com.