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I first came across the Lensic when I moved to area in 1993. I took in a movie (To Wong Fu with Love – Julie Numar?) just so I could take a look inside. There were rumors about closing it at the time. I haven’t been back to see the renovations, but I’m glad they removated it rather than close it.
The Orpheum is a “Must-See” for anyone visiting Phoenix… it’s a gorgeous masterpiece of architecture. Go on one of the free tours, catch a show, and experience an old silent movie accompanied by the theatre organ.
Two other things I don’t think anyone has mentioned so far: I understand there was a search light at the top of the tower which used to revolve when there was a show going on. Also, from the downstairs lounge area, there was a glass ceiling on the one side which allowed you to look up to the street level above and see the people walking by.
I remember the Rivoli showing mostly or only Disney movies when I was young, perhaps sometime between 1960 and 1970, or at least only G Rated movies.
I remember my mom taking me to see “Gone With the Wind” for my first time. I believe it was at the International, because the only other theatre we went to, the Rivoli, I remember as showing mainly/only Disney films. I loved the curtain opening automatically, slowly, majestically at the beginning of the film, and loved their short intro to the main feature: “RKO International” (with picture of Medieval trumpeters) followed by “Feature Presentation” (with picture of a motion picture film reel moving). I can still hear the music background that went to this in my head and wish I had a copy of this intro! Thanks to those who provided the links to the old photos!