Inspiration for column topics come from many places.

“Give me a column idea” is a common phrase I often snap to my wife Kathy.

She usually comes up with two or three great subjects. And while often the ideas never make it on paper, she usually jars my brain.

Sunday morning while listening to my MP3 player, Chicago was playing the hit song “Old Days.”

“Good times I remember

“Fun days

“Filled with simple pleasures

“Drive-in movies.”

(Now, honey, it was Chicago that said “I remember.” She just hates it when I start a sentence with “I remember when”!)

These days millennials only know about drive-in movies if they watch “Grease” or “Twister” and “Grease” turned 40 years old this year and “Twister” came out 22 years ago.

Going to the drive-in was a special event in my youth as we didn’t start going to the Plaza Theater until we were middle school age.

Mom popped a bunch of popcorn and brought along sweet sun-brewed tea in mason jars. Wax paper used under the lids kept them from leaking.

One of the first drive-in movies I recall at the Abilene Drive-In located on south Fair Road was “The Magnificent Seven.”

It was released in 1960 so I was pretty young.

What a cast! Yul Brynner (the first actor to shave his head), Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn.

The “Theme from The Magnificent Seven” would later be referred to as the Marlboro song back in 1963 when cigarettes could be advertised on the television. Cigarette commercials were banned from the airwaves in 1971.

It was composed by Elmer Bernstein and received an Oscar nomination for best score. It was also the LP playing as a certain junior high girl and her best friend Jill practiced twirling their batons.

“Return to the Planet of the Apes” was another movie that played at the drive-in in 1975 that strikes a cord in my memory.

I’m sure there were many as the drive-in was great on date night.

Although that didn’t workout so well in 1978.

Our daughter Robin had just been born in February.

That summer Kathy and I decided we needed a night out but who could afford a babysitter?

She packed the diaper bag, tucked Robin into her carseat in the front seat of the 1967 Chevy Impala and we headed to the drive-in in Manhattan to see Irwin Allen’s new movie “The Swarm”.

Allen had just had successful hits with “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno”.

We never did get to see the movie. Despite many efforts, the temperature was just too high and the air was muggy. There was no wind. It was much like the weather we had yesterday and are expected to have today.

Most vehicles, like ours, did not have air conditioning.

We tried everything, cardboard fans, cool water, sitting outside, and nothing would cool off our tiny daughter.

Now our 12-year-old grandson Landon has indicated he wants to go to a drive-in movie.

Believe it or not, the Kanopolis Drive-In operates on weekends from April to mid-September.

We’ll see! Maybe when it cools down a little, Landon.

Contact Tim Horan at

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