Route 66 News

Admiral Twin Drive-In used for an immigration naturalization ceremony

Drive-in theaters this year have been used for several new purposes, including concerts and church services, because of their ability to foster social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa found another new purpose — a site for an immigration naturalization ceremony.

According to a Tulsa World report, 55 immigrants from 22 countries took the oath of allegiance to the United States on Thursday at the Route 66 outdoor movie venue.

Ceremonies usually are held at City Hall, but it could only do 10 people at a time because of coronavirus restrictions. Officials began looking for an alternative and preferably outdoor venue. When approached, the owner of the Admiral Twin was happy to help.

Admiral Twin owner Blake Smith said, “We’re incredibly thankful to be able to have the environment that we do that can allow this sort of thing, especially in a time where we have to put some space in between ourselves and others.
“Tulsa has always been a welcoming and resilient community. That was best shown when our theater burned down and our friends rallied behind us and helped us build it back better,” he said.

The newspaper had these details from the ceremony:

Along with any accompanying guests, the new citizens stayed mostly in their cars, where they could tune in to the ceremony on their radios.
They got out briefly to take the oath of allegiance.
The mayor and other ceremony officials occupied a temporary stage set up in front of the drive-in screen.
Bruce Paulin, Oklahoma City field office director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, read aloud each country represented and asked those in their cars to honk their horns three times for their country of origin.
“This is a new experience for us, doing this at a drive-in theater. So we’re trying to make it as fun as we can,” he said. […]
At the close of the ceremony, the new citizens stood outside their cars once more, waving small American flags while a drone overhead took a group photo.

The newly minted U.S. citizens also could register to vote, just before the deadline for the Nov. 3 general election.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum posted photographs on Facebook from the event:about:blankFacebook URL

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The Admiral Twin Drive-In opened in 1951, and its second screen was built a year later. It sits off the older Admiral Place alignment of Route 66.

The Admiral Twin also served as an inspiration during a scene in Tulsa native S.E. Hinton’s best-selling novel, “The Outsiders” and the film version directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

fire destroyed the drive-in’s twin screens in 2010, but donations and public sentiment prompted its owner to rebuild and reopen in 2012.

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