All that separated the dozens of people staking out “The Outsiders” House on Saturday from a VIP event that afternoon was a weathered chain-link fence.
So, as the book’s author S.E. Hinton mingled with folks inside the barrier, dozens of eyes peered through to catch a glimpse. When Ralph Macchio, who played greaser Johnny Cade in the 1983 movie adaptation, was ushered to the side of the house for a photo opp, the fans saw that, too.
People staking out the house isn’t all that uncommon, said Ron Collins. He lives across the street from 731 N. St. Louis Ave., and said ever since Danny Boy O’Connor bought the property to turn it into an “Outsiders” museum, people stop by.
”Not like this,” he added.
On Saturday the sidewalk in front of the home, which is famous for housing the Curtis brothers in “The Outsiders” film, was packed with people.
They had been there since about 8:30 a.m., Collins said.
That’s because less than 12 hours later, Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Darren Dalton and other “Outsiders” insiders were scheduled to appear at a museum fundraising event and 50th anniversary celebration at Cain’s Ballroom.
Some of the spectators came to the house because they were in town for the event and needed to kill time, others because they had a hunch something would happen there Saturday.
That former was the case for 16-year-old Sidney Graham and her mom, Debra Ross. They had traveled from Norman to go to the benefit event.
Sidney wore a dark-colored bandana tied in a thick strip around her forehead. Moments before discussing her take on the book and movie, she knelt for a photo in front of the street sign that designates the intersection as “The Outsiders Way” and “Curtis Brothers Lane.”
She discovered “The Outsiders” book when she was in eighth grade and fell in love.
As far as what exactly she loves, that’s a bit harder to put into words.
“Everything. The story. The way it just…,” she trailed off. “Everything.”
Sidney said she feels a particular affinity for Ponyboy Curtis because, like the 14-year-old, she feels stuck.
“He just wants to get out, and I want to get out, but we’re trapped. I just haven’t killed anybody yet,” she said. “Yet.”
Mother and daughter duo Amanda and Lucy Latta knew about the Cain’s event and showed up Saturday just to see if anyone was there.
The two are fans of the book, and scope out the home whenever they are in the neighborhood, which is often considering their favorite Mexican restaurant, El Rio Verde, is in the area.
They walked up to the sidewalk around 2:30 p.m., just as Hinton exited the house and made her way to the backyard. Through the openings in the chain-link fence, they got a glimpse of the author passing by wearing a flowing, white shirt.
“If I see Rob Lowe, I’m going to freak out,” Lucy said a while later. Lowe played Sodapop Curtis in the movie.
In the end, it was Macchio that Lucy saw and who caused her to freak out.
About 3 p.m. the man, wearing a black baseball cap and a blue plaid shirt, walked over to the fence to take photos with fans. He was met with screams from the crowd.
Jolie Slakey, 14, stood nearby with two friends nearly crying after she took a photo with him. She had traveled to the event from Cooper, Texas.
As Lucy and her mother walked back to their car with their own Macchio photo, Lucy said to no one in particular, “Oh my god!”