Mana Loa Nimitz Lions deliver much needed TLC to former Kam Drive-In on Kaonohi Street

Feb 28, 2024 | Heart and Soul, PC Community

By Barry Villamil

Photos by Barry Villamil

Hard to believe that the former Kam Drive-In location in Aiea has fallen into the current state of being more of an eyesore than its iconic reputation of yesteryear for being the place to go to with your family and friends for a fun and entertaining night out watching the latest movies on the two huge screens that towered over the stalls in the drive-in parking lot. Before there were the multi-plex movie theatres at Pearlridge Center, Kam Drive-In was the outdoor, under the stars, cinema venue that everyone went to if you lived in West Oahu.

This past Saturday, February 23, a group of fellow Mana Loa Nimitz Lions Club (MLNLC) community volunteers set out at 6:30am to do something about the current unkept image of the former Kam Drive-In property. The MLNLC community volunteers focused on clearing out overgrown grass, weeds, and shrubs, trimming back tree branches, picking up rubbish, and bagging all rubbish and green waste for disposal.

The MLNLC volunteers cleaned up and beautified Kaonohi Street fronting Kam Drive-In from Moanalua Road to the KFC location. That portion of Kaonohi Street across from Pearlridge Shopping Center has become a landscaping eyesore for everyone who navigates through the area. The old Kam Drive-In marque now features a rusted, dilapidated steel frame structure that looms above Kaonohi Street.

FLASHBACK, 1970’s: I remember waiting in the long lines in the family car for the gates to open and hopefully find a perfect parking space and properly functioning speaker to watch a movie on one of the two screens. As I got older in the middle 70’s (high school), my buddies from Pearl City High School and I would squeeze into the chosen driver of the night’s car and meet up with other friends at Kam Drive-In. Fun times and great memories growing up together.

One of the last memories for me at Kam Drive-In was with my dad. We watched KILLER TOMATOES and PIRAHNA. They were the worst couple of movies that I have ever watched, but it was great hanging-out with my dad and talking story for four plus hours. I can’t even remember the ending to each movie.

During last Saturday’s MLNLC clean-up and beautification project, memories of the old Kam Drive-In would flash bye during the three hours spent volunteering in the community to make a significant difference with fellow MLNLC members and friends. Mahalo to Dexter, Patrick, Sam, Jadhe, Dennis, Jason, Lee Ann, Dayton, and Bryan T for all their hard work.

I am truly honored to serve the community with PRIDE alongside fellow Mana Loa Nimitz Lions Club members and friends who dedicate their time each weekend to make our community a better place to live.

Mahalo to the gentleman from the community who generously dropped off two big bags of McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and treats for our volunteers to enjoy!