Kachina Theatre

4305 N. Scottsdale Road,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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Showing 1 - 25 of 28 comments

APietrzak on July 12, 2020 at 4:02 pm

I added some new pics in the photo section of the Kachina and a newspaper advertisement for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

Gpracer on June 13, 2018 at 7:48 pm

I worked there while in high school during Batman and The Abyss, was there on the closing ceremony. Still have some of the letters from the marquee outside.

MSC77 on March 29, 2018 at 9:14 am

I’m passing along the link to a new historical article about large format and roadshow presentations at this and other Phoenix area cinemas.

cineramafan on March 11, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Someone mentioned “How The West Was Won.” So this theater was capable of showing 3-strip Cinerama? So wish I had taken pictures of it too…

cineramafan on March 11, 2018 at 7:25 pm

I believe it was still there when I lived in Phoenix briefly in 1994. The exterior was beautiful, “Kachina” spelled in beautiful lettering, but I unfortunately didn’t get to see any film there. One film they presented was the restored “El Cid,” (restoration supervised by Martin Scorsese), which I could really kick myself for not seeing in that particular theater. They had prepared the restoration for a laserdisc (Criterion?) and were using screenings to promote the laserdisc, if I remember correctly. I believe the new print of “El Cid” was in 35MM, and I had hoped for a 70MM version. Maybe that’s why I put if off and then missed out all together. What a pity to lose such a beautiful stand-alone theater.

Ilovedscottsdaleinthe80s on October 4, 2017 at 11:14 pm

I loved this theater so much growing up in Scottsdale in the 80’s. Does anyone remember (or were you at) the opening night of Return Of The Jedi? There was a line double wrapped around the theater. I wasn’t there early enough for the first showing of the night but caught the second showing. Some kids came out after the first showing and shouted “Darth Vader dies”. Still kills me to think about that. What a great time to live in there! Think I’ll go over to the Grapevine for a lavish pizza now or hang out at The Backstage and Alley Cat! 😁

Pbphil on September 23, 2017 at 9:39 pm

I remember my parents taking me to see How The West Was Won. I was only about 9 years old, so I don’t imagine I sat for 3 hours then. Just finished watching HTWWW and watched it to the end; 55 years later. Decided to search on Kachina, and glad to see what the theater looked like. Wish my parents were alive to call them up and tell them about Kachina. Happy and sad both at the same time right now.

movieguyphx65 on April 6, 2016 at 2:36 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.

rivest266 on November 14, 2015 at 6:23 pm

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

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm

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.

marxvideo on December 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

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.

truescottsdale on March 24, 2012 at 12:50 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.

chrisxxx on June 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm

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

sylvedore on January 8, 2011 at 2:39 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.

rivest266 on January 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

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 on June 4, 2010 at 3:01 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.

Coate on January 11, 2010 at 7:19 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.

Cheyenne on January 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

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.

stefanyoungs on June 22, 2008 at 2:41 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.

LosArcosDownstairs on May 20, 2008 at 1:45 am

I saw Batman there in Summer ‘89 when I was 16, just before it closed down. It was the premiere showing at Midnight. SWEET— both the movie, which the kids treated like a rock concert, and the tasty, tasty joints I toked with my friend in the parking lot before hand. Good times, good times. Why isn’t the downstairs theatre that was inside Los Arcos mentioned on this site? Oh yeah, to “UM”…. yeah, you’re thinking of the Sugar Bowl, which is still there on Scottsdale Rd. S of Indian School.

upmaurer on April 10, 2008 at 7:12 pm

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.

bgilmore on January 24, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I remember one thing that haunted me about this theatre just before it was torn down. While it was fenced to be demolished, I noticed that some artist had painted a mural on the brick side of the theatre. The painting depicted the illusion that there was a hole knocked through the surrounded brick (starting with bricks painted on real brick) and inside the hole you could see the charactors from The Wizard of Oz dancing down the yellow brick road. I think I heard later that this was the first movie ever screened at the Kachina. I thought it moving that the artist went to all this effort even though I think when it was made he knew the work would soon be demolished. I regret to this day that I did not photograph it. If anyone has any, please post.

9262692 on December 14, 2006 at 12:45 pm

When was it built and I would love to see some better exterior and interior photos? Thanks.

stefanyoungs on October 23, 2006 at 8:19 pm

I used to be an asst. manager / projectionist there in 1987. It had a decent lobby and snack bar, I guess I don’t agree with the description from above. I’ll have to look around and see if I have any old photos of the place. There is no longer a “new” theater in its place anymore. Big money came in and built the Galleria Mall, which promptly bombed and lost investors millions of dollars. That mall was empty for years. Around 1994 a film crew showed up and shot quite a lot of the film “Tank Girl” inside the empty mall, that was once Kachina space.

Celluloidkid on March 20, 2006 at 5:52 pm

…I Remember my parents taking me to the Kachine Theater to see “Meteor” in 1979 W./ Sean Connery and Natalie Wood. I also remember seeing a Re-Issue of “The Wizard of Oz” on the big screen at this theater, as well the last film ever shown was a Re-Issue of “Gone W./The Wind”. I remember when the Kachina was being torn down who ever owned the theater gave awaay the seats, screens eveyhting, which was so sad since once the theater was gone it become nothing but a parking lot.
Phoenix and Scottdale are bad for not preseveriing the past and trying to save these great old theaters.

Thas what I like about Denver, Colorado is that the city saved one of its old movie theater “The Myan” which is great because future generations can enjoy the past & see what going to the cinema was all about!