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I believe the Cineplex Odeon was new when the Galleria was built. I was working there for the “grand opening”, if you will, and they were still bringing in the components of the theater. The owners of the Galleria basically bought up that big plot of land, tore everything down that previously existed, and then built the Galleria complex on top of it. The Cineplex Odeon was just part of that structure.
I think I remember the El Camino as well although that was in a slightly different location, if I remember correctly. I think I only went there once. I don’t remember much about it, to be honest.
This was a very interesting and great theater to view a film. It was never quite as popular as the not-so-far away Cine Capri but still held a charm all to itself. It had a very distinctive air about it, one that I still remember well. I remember that it had an interesting glow on the walls once the movies were playing. The Kachina showed midnight movies during the mid to late 80’s, right before it closed. I remember seeing “The Adventures of Baron Munchassen” and “The Abyss” there. Both films were made better and more “mysterious” by seeing them there, especially at a midnight showing. Ironically, I worked at the theater that was later built only 2 years later on that very spot, the Cineplex Odeon at the far end of the Galleria, which was right down the escalator from TGI Fridays. The Cineplex Odeon had this ploy that they could get out of bankruptcy by charging patrons for butter. Needless to say, almost every customer was outraged by the idea, and the theater didn’t last long. The bland and boring interior design of the newer theater only exacerbated the true loss of the Kachina and it always felt eerie on the inside.
The Cine Capri was truly a beloved piece of Phoenix history and it was a real tragedy to have it lost forever. Many groups tried to stop the demolition over the years; the best they did was post pone the inevitable. Like many other people that posted, if a movie came out that I was really excited to see, this was the only place to see it. I waited in multiple lines that wrapped around the parking lot on opening nights just to see a movie there. I was priviliged to see the Star Wars re-releases, the opening of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, “Citizen Kane”, “Doctor Zhivago”, “The Lion King”, and probably many more. One that particularly sticks out in my mind was a day viewing of “The Silence of the Lambs”, one where I snuck out of a college course just in order to take it in. The theater truly had no equal and I could hardly believe it when they finally tore it down.