Kachina Theatre

4305 N. Scottsdale Road,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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Kachina Theatre 1985. Photo courtesy of the Vintage Phoenix Facebook page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in November 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 19 comments)

stefanyoungs
stefanyoungs on June 22, 2008 at 5:41 pm

chuck1231, the IMAX theater that went in was on the other side of 5th Ave and Scottsdale, just a little futher south-west. That is now also gone. What actually replaced the Kachina on the N.W corner there was the part of the failed Galleria that had the TGIF Restaurant. If you google streetview it you can see the now closed TGIF and the escalator. I had a lot of good times in that place, some of it very illegal.

Cheyenne
Cheyenne on January 11, 2010 at 12:30 am

I saw “How the West Was Won” at the Kachina Theater, I think in 1963. It is still one of my favorite movies. It was nice to see the old pictures of the theater that a previous poster had. I recently got the movie on DVD. They did a good job of hiding the lines from the 3 cameras. There was also an ‘extras’ DVD that told the history of Cinerama. I never knew that George Peppard’s stuntman was so badly injured in the train scene.

Coate
Coate on January 11, 2010 at 10:19 am

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 6:01 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 1:42 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 5:39 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 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm

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

truescottsdale
truescottsdale on March 24, 2012 at 3:50 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.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 18, 2012 at 9:40 am

Described in this 1961 trade article: Boxoffice

marxvideo
marxvideo on December 29, 2012 at 12:08 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.

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