When Ron Howard directed “Cotton Candy” in 1978 at Lake Highlands High, he was just 24 years old and known to most as Opie Taylor from “The Andy Griffith Show“ or Richie Cunningham from “Happy Days.” Today, after Academy Award and/or Directors Guild nominations for directing “Cocoon,” “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Frost/Nixon,” “Rush” – and my personal favorite, “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” – he’s one of the best-known and most-respected directors of all time.
“Cotton Candy” has never been released on DVD and it’s rarely seen on old movie channels, but soon you can see it on the big screen. Alamo Drafthouse Richardson will show “Cotton Candy” at 7 p.m. May 25 as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the film. Tickets will likely go on sale May 21 (check your Alamo or Fandango app closer to May 25 for purchase details). Howard’s brother, Clint Howard, who stars in the film and had roles in “Apollo 13” and many other great movies and TV shows, will be at Alamo for the event.
“Cotton Candy” is the story of teens determined to win their local Battle of the Bands competition, but they first must defeat Rapid Fire, the town’s rival band. The competition was filmed at Town East Mall in Mesquite.
While Ron and Clint were making “Cotton Candy” in Lake Highlands, their parents came along and stayed in the home of Jimmie Fountain, LHHS principal at that time. You can read more reminiscences from former Wildcats here.