Walmart chooses Lawrence for drive-in movie theater event; large recycling center closes

photo by: Courtesy: Walmart

Walmart will bring its drive-in movie theater production to Lawrence's south Iowa Street store later this month.

I’ve long wanted to combine “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Karate Kid.” The movie could have been an hour shorter if Mr. Miyagi would have led that sad-sack group of characters. (Full disclosure: I’m a proud Kansan who has never fully watched “The Wizard of Oz,” despite having a role in a school production.) Well, don’t look for a mashup of the two films, but they are part of a new drive-in movie experience coming to Lawrence this month.

Walmart has announced that the south Iowa Street store in Lawrence is part of the select group of Walmarts across the country that will serve temporarily as drive-in movie theaters. Plans call for a drive-in movie screen — it pops out of a specially equipped semi-trailer — to be set up on Aug. 21 and Aug. 22. “The Wizard of Oz” will play on Aug. 21, while “The Karate Kid” will follow the next evening.

The event is free, but you will need tickets ahead of time. Go to to register for tickets. The site currently lists the Lawrence location and most others as sold out, but I’m not sure about that. The locations were announced only late Wednesday, and the site says ticket reservations may reopen.

I mainly learned about the Lawrence event through a special use permit filing that Walmart made with the city. That application indicates the store will use the westernmost section of its parking lot, the portion farthest from the store, for the drive-in theater. It looks like attendance will be limited to about 75 vehicles, according to the application. So, if you are really interested in going, you may want to be diligent in checking the site for ticket availability.

The application says strict rules on social distancing will apply. People must watch the movies from inside their cars — you get the sound through your FM radio — and people cannot congregate outside.

Walmart announced the idea for a drive-in weeks ago as part of an effort to provide entertainment during the pandemic.

It looks like three other cities in Kansas were selected for the program: Olathe, Gardner and Topeka. Each of them gets one night of “The Wizard of Oz.” (Note to Walmart: I’m probably the only Kansan that hasn’t seen it.) Topeka will get a showing of “Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Olathe will screen “Wonder Woman,” and Gardner will get “The Goonies.”

Movie times are listed as 7:30 p.m.

Yes, I know you want to know: Flying Monkey. Actually, the leader of the Flying Monkeys, thank you very much. (Insert your own joke here.)


Motorists on 23rd Street soon may notice construction work on the former Yokohama Sushi restaurant at 1730 W. 23rd St. It closed months ago, even before the pandemic, I believe. But don’t expect a restaurant to take its place. That wouldn’t exactly be a sign of the times.

What might be a sign of the times: a new TitleMax loan business. If you aren’t familiar with TitleMax, it is one of the largest lending companies in the U.S. when it comes to providing loans that are backed by a person’s vehicle title.

There are several of those types of lenders in Lawrence currently, but TitleMax doesn’t yet have a location in Lawrence. In fact, based on the company’s website, it looks like the company doesn’t yet have any location in Kansas. So, I’m guessing Lawrence is part of a bigger expansion in the Kansas lending market.

The company has filed a site plan with Lawrence City Hall to occupy and remodel the building, but given that the building already is properly zoned for the use, those approvals should be pretty routine.


If part of your plan for extra cash is to sell some of your heavy metal junk (note to wife: I’m not talking about my AC/DC “Back in Black” album,) you have one less place in town to do it.

Advantage Metals has closed its large facility in North Lawrence. The business, which took everything from aluminum cans to scrap vehicles was located at 1545 N. Third St., which basically is at the Tee Pee Junction.

The business’s main sign is down and a smaller sign is encouraging people to visit one of Advantage’s other locations in the region. I called another location to confirm that there were no plans to reopen the Lawrence location, and was told that was correct.

It is a bit surprising, given that Advantage Metals is one of the largest recycling companies in the country. It seemingly spent a good amount of money in 2013 to redevelop the old Kaw Motors salvage yard into a modern facility.

It will be interesting to watch what happens to the property. It is a pretty large piece of property, with easy access to nearby Interstate 70/Kansas Turnpike. It already is zoned for industrial uses. There is no “for sale” sign on the property, which made me wonder whether something else is already in the works for the site. I put a call into a corporate office for more details, but have never heard back. County records show the property is still owned by Kansas City, Mo.-based Advantage Metals Recycling.

Lawrence does still have at least one recycling center for larger items. The 12th & Haskell Recycling Center continues in operation in eastern Lawrence.


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