Bethany Theatre

2324 W. Bethany Home Road,
Phoenix, AZ 85015

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 23, 2018 at 11:48 pm

MSC77: A brief article in Boxoffice of May 14, 1962, did say that the new Forman-Nace house in suburban Phoenix was called the Bethany West Theatre, but didn’t say why.

MSC77 on March 8, 2018 at 9:30 pm

Why was this theater called Bethany West during the early years of its life before they settled on, simply, Bethany?

buckylarue on January 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

Spent many Saturday mornings with friends at the sci-fi/horror matinees from around 62 to 67, Also saw Earthquake there. I think the closure was to install the speaker and audio system for Sensurround before the premiere. Movie scared the **** out of me when the quake hit…yeat I still wound up in San Francisco, until the quake of 89 convinced me to move away.

rivest266 on November 15, 2015 at 2:09 pm

April 25th, 1962 grand opening ad in photo section

sakredkow on July 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm

I saw a lot of movies there in the 1960s – jimmyjay1949 above probably took my ticket many, many times. My brother and I walked up from North Black Canyon townhouses and spent fantastic afternoons there. Maybe stopped at Der Wienerschnitzel (sp?) for a spicy hot dog afterwards.

jimmyjay1949 on October 15, 2014 at 2:30 am

I began working at the Bethany in December 1967. I started as an usher and I was making $1.00 an hour. The movie that was playing when I started there was “Gone With The Wind” (hard tickets). It was the most fun job I ever had. The Bethany was one of the movie theaters owned by Harry Nace Theaters. Their office was 1407 E. Thomas Rd. in Phoenix. Harry Nace Theatres also owned and operated our sister theater the Kachina in Scottsdale. The Bethany and the Kachina were always competing to see who was best. Our staff at the Bethany was very much a family. I still miss our truly great manager, Mr. William Philo and all of the friends I made while I was there (especially Joe Tisdale).

Tucsonman on August 31, 2014 at 1:33 am

As early as 1966, it was operated by Nace Theatres. Here’s the source:

Deavenson on April 21, 2013 at 1:41 am

I remember seeing Noah’s Ark with Eliot Gould and Ricky Schroeder there June of 1980.

dickneeds111 on June 10, 2012 at 12:46 am

When the Saxon theatre played Earthquake in Boston in Sensurround Some of the plaster in the ceiling came down according to reports I read. I had seen it in suburban Framingham a few weeks before it came to downtown. The Saxon only played one more sensurroud film and that was Battlestar Galactica. I took my youn son and there were no more problems. The rest of the sensurrounf films, Midway and Rollercoaster played in suburban Braintree at the General Cinema 4 or 6plex and no more in Downtown Boston.

Allan on January 8, 2011 at 7:40 am

The last movie I saw at the Bethany was one of the Witch Mountain movies in late 1981 or early 1982. Nice single screen theatre. As mentioned above it sat empty for quite a few years and then was demolished for a strip mall with Big Lots.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 13, 2010 at 12:34 am

Shannon,What was the last movie to play there.didn’t notice if was mentioned above.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 13, 2010 at 12:33 am

We played “EARTHQUAKE” and “MIDWAY” in Sensurround in The Imperial Theatre in Augusta and no damage was done to that theatre built back in early 1900’s..Don’t believe it closed a theatre,if it did it was shoddy work done building it.

movieguyphx65 on July 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I also remember hearing about structural damage during the Bethany’s engagement of “Earthquake” in late 74' early ‘75. I do believe it was closed for a week for some repairs. I was not fortunate to see “Earthquake” at the Bethany, but got to see it later that year at The Hayden West Theatre off Grand and Indian Schoool. The Sensurround was awesome. I remember my dad feeling a bit shaken up after the show. My brother and I loved it though. I do believe “Earthquake” was the only Sensurround showing at The Bethany. After that, both “Midway” & “Rollercoaster played in Sensurround at the Camelback Theatre near Scottsdale Rd.
Wish we Still had theatres like the Bethany and theatres that would play Sensurround like the film fest this past June in Germany.

suzk on February 28, 2010 at 9:01 am

I just came across this site. Wow! I am from Phoenix and I remember watching the midnight movie, “Rocky Horror Picture Show!” Good times!! It’s to bad that its gone. I wonder if Metro Center is still around!?

looker1208 on November 19, 2009 at 3:03 am

About the same time they installed the speakers for Earthquake, Led Zeppelin’s movie The Song Remains The Same came out. It was amazing seeing at the Bethany through those speakers!

dantsea on August 10, 2008 at 7:59 am

Ah, I remember the Bethany! That was the theater I was allowed to see a movie on my own for the first time… and it was The Black Hole. The McDonalds across the street from this place was cool, too, it had that kid’s play area made up with old railcars.

xdouggx on August 22, 2005 at 2:53 am

Wow – I’m shocked to see people talking about SENSURROUND (from when Earthquake played there) having damaged the Bethany! I always thought I had sort of made that urban legend up in my own mind! I saw EARTHQUAKE only a few days (or maybe even the first night) it opened – the theatre was sold out, we were in the front row as a result, and it was L-O-U-D. As I recall, they had torn out a row or two of seats at the back of the auditorium to place the truly impressive row of speakers – we were a bit freaked out when we first walked in and saw them. No joke, the floor was really vibrating, so were the seats, and after 15 or so minutes of fairly well done (for the 70s) earthquake footage, we were pretty rattled ourselves. A few weeks later, the theatre closed for repairs (of some sort – that’s when the rumour started that they had damaged the building’s foundation), and it was closed for at least a week – I think longer. I’m pretty sure they re-opened with Earthquake and ran it a bit longer. I had heard then that it was no longer being played nearly as loud. Years later, probably in 1984 or so, I stopped by and found the front door open (it had been closed for a couple of years with the TEMPORARILY CLOSED letters on the marque already falling off). I found a guy in the dark, QUIET auditorium who said he had bought (or was trying to buy) the theatre and re-open it to show retro movies and sell BOOZE! He was trying to get a liquor license at the time (he had the sign in the window, I think), and I made it clear that if he did re-open it, I wanted to work there. I really liked that theatre as a kid – saw tons of movies there (Bad News Bears in Breaking Training, Rooster Cogburn & the Lady to name a couple) and I thought his idea was really cool (being a fan of the Sombrero and all). Never heard from him again – theatre never re-opened, but I’ve been to that type of theatre in Colorado Springs since then…

Lichty on June 26, 2005 at 12:55 am

My brother & I went to the Bethany West Theatre most Saturdays when we spent a year in AZ in the early 1960’s. What I remember about the theatre was the curtains. Two red curtains parted drawing back from the middle; afterwhich a second curtain was raised up to expose the screen. It was quite lavish to a 12 yr old girl.

bjohn on April 17, 2004 at 5:02 pm

Urban myth? Quite possibly. I have heard conflicting stories about the demise of the Bethany.

RobertR on April 12, 2004 at 9:29 pm

Wasent that an urban myth about “Sensouround” causing structural damage? In NY it played in so many really old theatres and never heard of any where it happened?

William on April 12, 2004 at 8:50 pm

The Bethany Theatre was equipped with a Norelco 70/35mm projection equipment package with a full 6-Track Stereo sound system.

bjohn on January 15, 2004 at 11:12 pm

I was told that the Bethany was closed because it developed serious structural damage from the “Surround Sound” system that was installed there in the late 70s. I hope someone comes up with a picture of this theater, it was my favorite cinema growing up in Phoenix in the 60s and 70s. Seeing “2001” there was an unforgettable experience.

Mrbobo on January 7, 2004 at 6:20 pm

The Bethany Theater was located on the north side of Bethany Home Road and 23rd Ave and was operated by Nace Theaters. It opened in April 1962 and I believe closed in 1982. The theater ultimately closed because it was about a mile from a mall 6 plex and a 5 plex that were able to get more popular films to play at them.

Sbilly69 on October 15, 2003 at 4:08 am

This message is for Charlene, who wanted to know the location of the Bethany theater in Phoenix, AZ., and also applies to anyone else wanting to know the location of this theater.

I remember this theater well, and do remember that it was closed for many years with, as the article says, with a message on the marquee claiming to be closed for renovations before being demolished, as I passed by on occasion. Being used to seeing this theater there, on one trip passing by the theater I was shocked, as it wasn’t there anymore! It seemed that just overnight it was GONE, just a vacant lot!!! It happened so fast!

I beleive that the Bethany theater was on Bethany Home Road in Phoenix, AZ on the north side of Bethany Home Road, just east of Interstate 17. Great place for a theater, with freeway access! I wonder why they closed and demolished the building? There is a shopping center on the site of the Bethany theater. Charlene, why don’t you E-mail me at Do you live in Phoenix, AZ?

Charlene on April 3, 2003 at 8:01 pm

I have been trying to figure out what the old location was for the Bethany Theatre. You list the Bethany but do not give it’s old location. Could you help me?