Buena Vista Theatre

251 S. Wilmot Road,
Tucson, AZ 85711

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Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

MSC77 on February 25, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Here’s the link to a new historical article about large format and roadshow presentations at Buena Vista and other Tucson cinemas.

rivest266 on October 20, 2016 at 6:18 pm

February 10th,1967 and March 31st, 1972 grand opening ads are in the photo section.

dallasmovietheaters on June 30, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Architectural firm of Friedman & Jobusch designed the original 820-seat single screen theater.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on July 15, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Syufy/Century operated it for a bit after Mann pulled out.

Tucsonman on June 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I’ll explain the ownership records. So, it was originally operated by Fox West Coast Theatres (a subsidiary of National General Corporation). In 1973, National General Corporation liquidated, & sold its theaters’ buildings to Mann Theatres.

ClassicProjectionist on June 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm


I never worked at the Buena Vista. I used to hang out in the booth when I was in Jr. high school and during my early high school years.

Proximity detectors were installed @ the B.V. w/Annie. New technology that was not very reliable. On one occasion the Projectionist was at the rewind bench during closing credits. Proximity detector failed and flashed tails which I caught. One angry Projectionist!

I was, for a time, involved with the Fox restoration and got to know the Osuna’s and Fred by meeting them at a Fox event. Fox restoration was a fiasco. They did not even consult with the professionals that set-up and ran that theater.

I do not know of any pictures of the BV interior. I wanted to gain access after its closing, but was unable to do so. I never went into it after it became that alternative entertainment venue.

As for B.V architecture. 2 projection booths at ground level separated by the snack bar. Auditorium walls were stone marble walls & curtained screens.

IA on January 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

You must mean either Dan Traweek or Tim McClanahan. Yes,
I knew both Ben Osuna and his Father. Also know Fred Zimmerman. Was Chuck Steger Manager when you worked there?

CSWalczak on October 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Here is one person’s reflection on going attending the Buena Vista accompanied by a small picture.

ClassicProjectionist on October 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hello IA, I hope you receive this message!

During the 1970’s and early 1980’s there was a young lad who spent a lot of time in the Buena Vista booths watching the Projectionist ply his trade. Not sure if you are that same Projectionist, but if you are, I hope all is well and would love to touch base with you.

Having spent time at the BV, it was not, and I repeat not a 70MM theater. XLs were installed. One screen was change-overs and the other platter equipped.

I remember when cue proximity detectors were installed with “Annie”. IA, do you remember what happened with those detectors…I was in the booth when something happened.

The El Dorado was 70MM!

IA, did you know Fred Zimmerman and Benny Osuna Sr and JR??

Logan5 on February 27, 2012 at 3:04 am

The Buena Vista was part of the Mann chain when I lived in Tucson in the late ‘80s.

rdub on January 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

WOW!!! Thank you!

rivest266 on January 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Grand opening ad from February 10th, 1967 is at
View link
Twins from March 31st, 1972
View link

rdub on December 17, 2010 at 11:23 am

Hi all, we’re working on a film/documentary and are looking for some pictures of the Buena Vista. Besides what I’ve found online (mostly pics of the theater after closure), would anyone know who I could contact for some pictures of the theater in its day? I.E. Owners, etc.

Any assistance would be appreciated! Thanks

Coate on July 19, 2010 at 12:54 am

IA: Why do you believe Buena Vista was never equipped with 70mm projection capability? During what timeframe did you work there? Are you familiar with the theater’s entire history? And why do you list (in the comment above) that El Dorado was equipped with a Dolby CP100 when they opened in 1967 (they got the CP100 in 1979)?

IA, please email me if you’d prefer to discuss in private rather than clutter up this page with a bunch of back-and-forth chatter.

Coate on May 31, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Dolby’s install records indicate a Dolby CP-100 was installed at Buena Vista in late 1978. “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom” (1984) was advertised as a 70mm presentation.

IA on May 31, 2010 at 5:37 pm

The Buena Vista did have 70mm projection capability…at least according to trade reports and projector manufacturer ads. As well, Dolby installation records show a CP100 was installed in the late 1970s.
posted by Michael Coate on May 7, 2010 at 7:49am

I was projectionist at BV and installed projection equipment in BV I
and BV II. No 70mm. Maybe you are thinking of El Dorado around corner and up the street.

BV I and BV II: Simplex XL 35 projectors
Simplex sound
JBL speakers

El Dorado: Century 35/70 projectors
Altec tube amplifiers
Dolby CP 100

TLSLOEWS on May 20, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Thanks Micheal.

Coate on May 7, 2010 at 10:49 am

The Buena Vista did have 70mm projection capability…at least according to trade reports and projector manufacturer ads. As well, Dolby installation records show a CP100 was installed in the late 1970s.

IA on May 7, 2010 at 12:20 am

Kirk,70mm projectors were never installed in BV.

Coate on March 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm

<<< *Michael, Are you sure the opening attraction was not “A Man For All Seasons”? * >>>

I’m certain the opening attraction was “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” (per a microfilm check of the original newspaper ads). “A Man For All Seasons” opened a couple months later.

kencmcintyre on March 15, 2010 at 5:45 pm

The theater can still be seen on the map view, which probably dates back to 2007. The Hampton Inn mentioned on 1/7/08 has now been built on the theater site.

KJB2012 on March 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Did they ever screen 70?

IA on March 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Michael, Are you sure the opening attraction was not “A Man For All

Coate on October 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

The Fox Buena Vista opened on February 10, 1967. The debut attraction was “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 1, 2009 at 1:55 am

The architect of the original single-screen Fox Buena Vista Theatre, which was opened by National General in 1967, was Bud Magee. Photos of the Buena Vista and of the Fox Chris-Town Theatre in Phoenix, also designed by Magee, appeared in the May 15, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The house originally had 802 seats.

The expansion of the Buena Vista to a twin took place in 1972, when a second auditorium seating 554 was added. This project was the subject of an article in Boxoffice of June 12 that year. The article failed to name the architects of the expansion project, but it was almost certainly done by the Los Angeles firm of Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner, who were doing most of NGC’s projects in the west and southwest at the time, and had designed the similar expansion of the Chris-Town in Phoenix the previous year.