SE Hinton joins Ralph Macchio at the Tulsa Bestseller Tour event

In 1982, Ralph Macchio and his pals from Fat visited Tulsa for the filming of “The Strangers”.

In 2022, Macchio returns to Tulsa to meet S.E. Hinton on stage at her high school Will Rogers.

Hinton wrote the evergreen youth novel The Strangers while she was a student at Rogers. The movie was based on Hinton’s book and has remained true to it.

Now Macchio is also an author.

Macchio, who played Johnny Kidd in “The Outsiders,” is on a publicity tour to promote his just-released book, “Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me.” The tour brought him to Tulsa for an event Thursday at the Rogers High School Auditorium, where Hinton joined him.

Does Tulsa still want to do it for Johnny, as his co-stars on The Outsiders have announced?

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If that means packing the house, the answer is yes. The event, presented by Magic City Books, sold out long ago. Some members of the audience wore clothes that indicated they admired Hinton, “The Strangers”, “The Karate Kid”, or all of the above. Upon his introduction, Hinton and Macchio were treated with a standing ovation.

Macchio asked Hinton to be a part of the event. She said she would be happy to join him if he wanted her there. “Awwws” came from the crowd when she talked about doing this to one of her “boys”. She was kind of a young den mother in the cast while working on The Strangers.

Macchio earned “The Outsiders” recognition prior to his participation in the film. He read the book as a child and said it had a profound effect on him. He said that reading Johnny’s description in the book made him look in the mirror and imagine that Johnny “looks a little bit like me.”

When he auditioned for “The Outsiders,” he was seeking the role of Johnny. Frustrated when the film seemed to be discontinued, he began taking acting lessons, using a scene from “The Outsiders” in the classroom. Then the movie was played again, and after hearing Macchio do a table reading, a relieved Hinton smacked him in the back and said, “Baby, you’ve given me a good night’s sleep.”

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Outsiders has been praised for setting his young cast members on the paths to stardom. Other Grease representatives are Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise.

Seeing these actors every day while filming “The Outsiders,” Hinton said she sees they have a lot of talent and go places.

You could have told us, said Macchio, laughing at the crowd.

Macchio appeared in the feature film (Up the Academy, filmed in Salina, Kansas) and the television series “Eight Is Enough” before he landed a job on “The Outsiders”. One year later, he starred as Daniel Larseau in “The Karate Kid,” a role that connects with you for life and continues to this day in the Netflix series “Cobra Kai.” Coincidentally, Macchio’s return to Tulsa came on the birthday of William Zabka, who plays Macchio’s opponent in “The Karate Kid” and “Cobra Kai.”

Hinton was asked if she had seen “The Karate Kid” in the theater when the movie was released.

“My first response was, ‘There’s my friend Johnny Kidd,'” Hinton said. “It’s a good movie.”

Macchio said the “Karate Kid” has been an influence and inspiration for generations. His relationship with the “Karate Kid” forms the basis of his book.

He said he had been contacted earlier about writing a book, but the timing wasn’t quite right. When the pandemic arrived, he took advantage of the downtime to start working on the book.

At the end of the event, Macchio received a quote (supported by state representative John Waldron, D-Tulsa. Armed with books, the audience then joined in a long line to have their picture taken with the fat that became a Karate Kid.

See Sunday Tulsa World for more information on Macchio’s book.

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