Solving this case was simple - I saw it too.
October 12 1961: News commentator Frank Edwards saw a UFO that looked to him like a rotating sphere with a belt of white lights around the middle, a red light on top, and some green lights on the bottom. He was in a multistory building in downtown Indianapolis, looking southeast. As a result of his reaction to (and broadcasts about) this sighting, he was fired from his job at WTTV TV. He then started on his first UFO book, "Flying Saucers - Serious Business."
On that date, I (the author of this page) was with my family at the Twin Aire drive-in movie on the southeast side of Indianapolis (corner of Keystone and Hoyt, now called Canby Park). We were watching the Disney film "Pinocchio". There, I saw a row of bright white lights with a red light over it and two green lights under it, in the sky behind the car. The white lights seemed to appear at the right end (my right), move across, and disappear at the other end. There were gaps in the lights. The whole thing looked like a slowly rotating disk with white lights around the rim.
I asked my father what it was. He said to keep watching it and I would find out. It flew closer, and I could then see that the lights formed capital letters, moving across the sky. It was an ad for the Autorama car show at the State Fairgrounds. The lights were on an electric sign attached below the wings of a small airplane. The red light was on the top of the plane's cabin, and the green lights were on the landing gear.
I did not find out about the location and date of the Frank Edwards sighting until 1996. When I did find out, I remembered the date, as my sighting was on Columbus day (this was before Monday holidays). I triangulated his sighting data, and it showed that what I saw was the same UFO Frank Edwards saw that day. The description, date, location, and time all match.
Frank Edwards started writing his book after he lost his job. Meanwhile, we went to that Autorama car show in the ad. There, they had the "car of the future". Here is a picture of the "car of the future" I saw at the show. It was a hovercraft. It looks more like a "flying saucer" than the one Frank Edwards saw. And he said flying saucers were "serious business".
I guess it was "serious business" after all. It was an ad!
The Twin-Aire drive-in has since been turned into a park. But I have a map that shows where it was. Daylight-Saving Time destroyed the drive-in-theater industry, by making the time between dusk and curfew too short to present a feature film.
The UFO as I saw it.
The car of the future, 1961
One other fact is quite interesting. Up to that point, I had not been exposed at all to the concept of UFOs or flying saucers from outer space. I had a Wham-O Pluto Platter (the predecessor of the Frisbee) and a turbine kite, but I didn't connect either with outer space. They were both aircraft. They needed air acting on their surfaces to be flown. All of my thoughts of "spacemen" were based on either the Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers comics (with their finned rockets and aliens of various colors), or the real Project Mercury (Alan Shepard flew earlier that year, and Gus Grissom flew two weeks after this sighting). And I had thought that my two earlier "sightings" were man-made aircraft or rockets.
Yet, when I saw this weirdly lighted object, the first thing I thought of was a spaceship full of aliens. Why? I don't know! It doesn't make sense.