Kachina Theatre

4305 N. Scottsdale Road,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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Kachina Theatre circa 1964. Photo courtesy of the Vintage Phoenix Facebook page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in November 10, 1960, this theater had virtually no lobby, small restrooms, and a smaller snack bar. The seating area held up to 600 people. The screen was curved and huge. The outside had a Cinerama logo, but by the time it closed, the inside looked like it had been remodeled to a shoebox length (a BIG shoebox length).

Contributed by Sly Dog

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Coate
Coate on January 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm

The Kachina’s grand opening was on November 10, 1960. The debut attraction was “Butterfield 8.” The initial operator was Harry L. Nace Theatres.

sylvedore
sylvedore on June 4, 2010 at 11:01 pm

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.

rivest266
rivest266 on January 8, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Grand opening ad is at View link

jstw, was that Cineplex Odeon called El Camino? It was an Plitt before Cineplex Odeon took it over.

sylvedore
sylvedore on January 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm

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.

chrisxxx
chrisxxx on June 14, 2011 at 1:42 am

Saw many movies here, then afterward went shopping. Can’t beat Scottsdale for great shopping malls.

truescottsdale
truescottsdale on March 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

I know for sure I saw Batman here. As well as, The Goonies, Return of the Jedi, and Star Trek 4. I want to say I saw Back to the Future here as well but do not know for certain. I do remember the theater that replaced it kinda, it was down an escalator, underneath a TGIF. They also built an real IMAX screen southeast of the location of picture above. That I remember going to in elementary school as a field trip. Oh Dale of yesteryears, in the days that Drinkwater reigned.

marxvideo
marxvideo on December 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Dr. Zhivago was playing here the first time my family visited Scottsdale. It is the only movie I saw at the Kachina. As you drove by the outside was very colorful and modern-looking. I seem to recall it was the “Kachina Cinerama” then, but maybe it was just promoting the 70MM screening of Zhivago. I got Mom to drop me off, a bit late for the start, so I don’t recall how the curtains opened. But when I stepped into the blackness I could sense the awesome proportions … on the screen a train was chuffing across a vast winter landscape. It seemed to just crawl across the entire length of that screen. It was awesome. Someone posted the Box Office Magazine article on this great theater — thanks! It is still very much real in my mind; perhaps because I live so far away, it never really closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2015 at 7:59 am

The architect of the Kachina Theatre was Ray Parrish, according to the article about the house in the April 10, 1961, issue of Boxoffice, which can be seen on this web page at incinerama.com.

incinerama lacks internal links, so if anyone wants to explore the site here’s their front page.

rivest266
rivest266 on November 15, 2015 at 2:23 am

November 10th, 1960 grand opening ad in photo section.

movieguyphx65
movieguyphx65 on April 6, 2016 at 10:36 am

This was one of the last great single screen theatres in the Phoenix area. I had the pleasure to see some big screen titles there including The Deer Hunter, The Last Emperor and The Mission. Also saw Fatal Attraction there opening weekend. The Kachina had a small lobby and a great big curved screen. Sad too have seen this one close as the Now defunct Galleria put this single screen out of business.

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