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I had mentioned microfilm and microfiche in an earlier posting in reference to researching old theater listings. Interestingly, since those are film media, they have some of the same problems that plague old films (and old slide collections), like vinegar syndrome, warping, etc. They can be easily digitized, though, using specialized equipment.
I remember seeing “Lethal Weapon” there in 1987 (hopefully my recollection of it being shown there is correct! I seem to remember an old-fashioned type ice-cream parlor popular with tourists nearby … or at least somewhere on Scottsdale Road.
Michael, thanks for doing the research! I lived in Tempe, so I probably saw it at the Camelview. The Camelview was always my favorite, I saw stuff like “Madame Rosa, "Black and White in Color,” “Wifemistress” and a slew of other foreign films. Those were the days … I don’t go back to Arizona often at all, but I always try to go to the Camelview when I do (I saw “The Celluloid Closet” there in ‘96. Again, thanks for the great work!
Thanks for your reply … sounds like I’ve most likely confused the two locations in recollecting the movie. I suppose the only way to tell would be to look through old microfiche rolls from the time period for movie ads in the Phoenix Gazette and the Arizona Republic. For years that was how daily printed newspaper editions were archived. I’m not sure what’s happened to all that old material in the digital age. Digitized and available for a price, I’ll bet!
Your 70’s and 80’s compilations reminded me of all the movies I saw at the Cine Capri back in those days. Thanks for putting those together!
One question: I distinctly recall seeing “Jaws 3 in 3D” at the Cine Capri. I guess having to use 3D glasses, plus it being such a bad movie, made it stick in my mind! Maybe I have confused it with another theater? I remember the curved screen and all the seats with no aisle in the middle.
The Meffifield area is undergoing redevelopment, and I think plans include demolishing these theaters at some point, as the land is probably quite valuable. Right now there are two huge buildings going up next to the theaters. Fairfax County has a plan for the area to be some kind of “urban village” which evidently does not include movie theaters. People seem to go less and less to see movies theatrically, and theaters take little to no care with presentation (image out of focus, framing problems, etc.
I do recall adult/pornographic films being shown there as well, but can’t recall exactly when, maybe the 70’s and 80’s.
I went to graduate film school at the Univ. of Miami from 90-93 and lived in South Miami until 94. As a student I saw all kinds of movies there, like “Silence of the Lambs,” “Jurassic Park”, etc. etc. It was right across from campus. I helped a fellow grad student by making arrangements with the theater manager to shoot a scene from his thesis film there, in the morning before it opened. I heard that Jonathan Demme was an usher there as a young man but I don’t know if that’s true or not. It was in this strip mall right on US 1 that included other places popular with students, like Spec’s Music and the CD solution (a used CD exchange). Not sure if those places exist anymore in the age of the iPod. They used to do a ton of sneak previews there for the major films coming out.
Channing, thanks for the memory jog … I do remember Nick Salerno introducing a reconstructed version of “A Star is Born” in Neeb Hall in the early 80’s (I attended ASU from 1981-1985). His show on Channel 8 was “Cinema Classics.” The theater I’m trying to remember was definitely on Broadway Road, just East of Rural, it was a single screen and got split into two near the end of its existence. Last thing I saw there was “The Hunger.” It was a big white stucco building with a marquee. I don’t recall the University II at all, just a new AMC multiplex they built on University and Rural, which is probably still there. It’s funny how movie lovers like to reminisce about movie theaters. Last time I was in town I was pleased to see that Harkins still has the one small art house, the Camelview. Our French teacher in high school would take us there on field trips to watch French movies like “Madame Rosa” and “Argent de Poche.”
You are so right! I did eat at the Caf Casino near the Cine Capri, but I went many, many times to the one on Scottsdale Road. It was a rather unusual cafeteria-type setup, with round outdoor patio tables, complete with umbrellas, but indoors! It must be gone now, too. The mall that was across from it (it’s on the tip of my toungue, but I’ve drawn a blank on the name) is also gone. When I was there in the Fall of 2000, it was closed and just about to be torn down. Was it at Scottsdale Rd. and Thomas? Speaking of Scottsdale Road, how about the El Camino? That was a great theater, gone now too, I suppose. I saw the first “Star Trek” movie there in 1979. I saw “Lethal Weapon” at the Kachina, and also many movies at a white stucco theater in Tempe near Rural Road and Broadway (“Jaws”, “Chariots of the Gods”, I’m dating myself!). That one was a single screen that was split into two and then it died at some point. Can’t remember the name, unfortunately. Also, there used to be a small movie theater on the ASU campus near the School of Art. What was the name of the movie critic who would appear on Channel 8? He taugh some film courses and would introduce films there. Talk about senior moments, I know it was Nick something or other …well, that’s enough rambling!
Well, Landmark Theaters just opened (Jan 2004) the “E Street Cinema” on E St. between 10th and 11th in DC. I’ve been there once (it’s very, very nice) but I don’t know if one of the auditoriums is in fact dedicated to the Biograph.
I’ve been to the Biograph many, many times. One of the oddities of it was that when you bought your ticket, you were given an old metal token (NY subway-style) and you used it to get through a turnstile into the theater! When it closed they sold all their old vintage one-sheets and my husband bought the one for “Bullitt”, which we had framed. Towards the end they were showing porn (video projected, but projected nonetheless) during the day, I guess for extra income. It seems even porn lovers can be purists and theater lovers! There’s nothing like seeing a movie in a theater. There’s no repertory theaters anymore in this area, so we really miss the Biograph. Nearby the Key in Georgetown was also an art/repertory place, but it died too.
I was in high school in the mid seventies in Tempe, and attended six or seven midnight screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which they showed for years and years. I remember they also showed “Pink Flamingos” a lot—I also saw that there. When I was in college at Arizona State, my friends and I saw movies there constantly as it’s right on the edge of campus and within walking distance of many of the dorms. At that time (70’s and 80’s) it was one of those charmingly run down places with ancient, uncomfortable creaky seats (the original ones, probably. the Biograph Theater in DC was like that, too). The lobby had a mural that was made up of a collage of cut-up movie posters, glued to the wall and covered with some kind of shellac. I first moved to Arizona in 1972 at the age of 10, and one of my more vivid memories of the time is of going with my mother (a professor at ASU) to see something or other at the Valley Art, and seeing a surrealistic coming attraction trailer for “El Topo.”
I have many fond memories of this theater. I remember seeing all kinds of movies, from “All that Jazz” to really bad ones like “Jaws 3 in 3D”! I recall the screen as being almost semi-circular and really huge. I remember it was on 24th St. and Camelback. I moved away in 1987 and have only been back to Arizona a few times; since the theater was demolished, what has been built on the site? Just curious …