Chris-Town Theatres

5705 N.19th Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85015

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Clyde Griffen manager

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This is part of an outside mall multiplex built in 1967. The main 922 seat auditorium is quite massive and was Phoenix’s first THX theater.

“I remember seeing "Superman" and a host of 1980’s blockbusters here. The only down side to this auditorium is that the screen is far too small.”

The theater closed in April of 2007 and was demolished in May 2007.

Contributed by Shannon Laine

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 31, 2009 at 7:40 pm

The architect of the original single-screen Fox Chris-Town Theatre was Bud Magee. Photos of this theatre and of the Fox Buena Vista in Tucson, designed by the same architect, appeared in the May 15, 1967, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The Fox Chris-Town opened with 922 seats.

In 1971, a second auditorium with 834 seats was added and the house, still operated by National General, became the Chris-Town 2 Theatre. Architects of the expansion project were Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner of Los Angeles, who were designing many of NGC’s new and expanded theaters in the west and southwest at this time. The expanded theater was the subject of an article in the August 30, 1971, issue of Boxoffice.

As I noted in my 2006 comment above, when Harkins Theatres expanded this complex to 11 screens in 1996, the design was done by architect Scott Walker of Phoenix-based CCBG Architects.

looker1208
looker1208 on November 18, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I saw so many movies at this place, I couldn’t count them all. There were even Summer kids movies for 25 cents. There was nothing like spending most of a hot day there for less than a dollar. In a way I’m glad I moved away from Arizona several years ago. It just kills me that most of the places in Phoenix from my childhood are gone. I am glad for the memories though: Bob’s Big Boy on Thomas and Central, Bill’s Records at Park Central Mall, Legend City, concerts at the Memorial Coluseum, The Palms Theatre on Central, Odessey Records on 12th Street and Camelback, chasing The Monkees from Sky Harbor to Mountain Shadows Resort in my 1961 Galaxy 500, KRUX, KRIZ, John’s Green Gables on Thomas and 24th Street. It’s like a flood.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 22, 2009 at 12:50 am

I’ve come across a couple of references to architect Bud Magee as Charles Magee and Charles “Bud” Magee. In addition to the Christown, and the Buena Vista at Tucson, he designed at least one other NGC house, the Fox Theatre in Provo, Utah, opened in 1967. There’s a rendering of the Provo Fox in Boxoffice, April 24, 1967.

movieguyphx65
movieguyphx65 on July 12, 2010 at 8:36 am

The old Christown Theatres went from 1 screen to 2 then to 5 then to 11. Theatre 3 was the large auditorium which featured 922 seats, THX sound and 70MM capability. I was fortunate to see many of the big blockbusters in that autitorium and several in 70MM…. RAISE THE TITANIC, THE BLACK HOLE, DISNEY’S SLEEPING BEAUTY, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, STAR TREK 4 THE VOYAGE HOME. Also saw ROCKY, SUPERMAN, STAR TREK II, GANDHI, TOP GUN, AND TITANIC among others in that auditorium. Does anybody know if Harkins kept the 70MM projectors when he closed this theatre or the old Cine Capri? If he did, he needs to have a 70MM FILM FESTIVAL like the great movie exhibitors do in Europe. Anyone wanting info on these festivals can look them up on the great website 70MM.com.

rivest266
rivest266 on January 8, 2011 at 7:40 am

Grand opening announcement at
View link
and
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Great ad,great Seller’s Flick,Thanks Mike.

chrisxxx
chrisxxx on June 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Of the the numerous movie theaters I have frequented over the years of my life, Chris Town Theater is the one frequented the most frequently. I was raised in Phoenix but am now living in Northern Arizona. I just learned that the theater has been demolished and it is sad because so many great memories are tied to this theater. I guess it’s true that all good things must come to an end.

Moviemac
Moviemac on February 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I remember this theater and mall well from my youth. We used to come to this theater to see many movies in my high school days. I remember seeing Friday the 13th part 3 3D and Rocky movies in the HUGE auditorium. I was in awe of the sheer size of the place. It was awesome. Now, almost all of the theaters I went to in my younger days and the old , big movie houses and malls are gone except for the Valley Art theater in Tempe. As a movie buff and a history teacher, I hate the fact that AZ does a terrible job of preserving their historic buildings and our past, in the name of progress. Maybe someday, we will. At least we still have the Orpheum.

Jeff_Durbin
Jeff_Durbin on October 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

I used to be a Doorman for this theater in high school, 1979-81. Mr. Griffith was the manager and he came from the Fox Theater in downtown Phoenix. He was a Doorman and Usher back in the 30-40’s and he was close to being in his 70’s or 80’s back then. I’ve seen a photo of him as a kid and he looked the same. We had a man named Larry that made popcorn all day and I think he was either a genius or a moron, he was in his 60’s. Many of my friends worked there, Robert Rosell, Tim the Karate dude and David Butterworth, a couple of hot girls including the best of all time and I should have snagged, Christine Holland. Love’s Restaurant was next door, a great BBQ place. We were robbed several times, including twice by the same gang. They claimed to have a sniper across the street, they worked over Larry and ran out the back door. There was a special hatch on the roof and the police would watch for car thieves, I’d go up there to hide and kiss the girls. The Elephant Bar was across the street and we would get drunk and eat at Peter Piper Pizza. Back then you could drink at 18 years, so that meant you could drink at 16. I could tell you several good stories but I would get in trouble. We often would allow other theater employees to watch movies for free back then. There were days of glory and I had a blast. There were many celebrities and stories behind the scenes back then. The main theater had lots of props and novelties from former movie events, like from Wallace and Ladmo. Thank you Lila, Mr. Griffith, Russ and everyone that was kind to me. Thank you to all the pretty ladies that worked there too. I had it made and didn’t know better. Jeff Durbin, Paris France

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

The August 30, 1971, Boxoffice article about the addition of a second auditorium to the Chris-Town Theatre, which I cited in an earlier comment, can be seen online at this link. From the photo on the first page of the article, as well as various parts of the text, I get the impression that the Chris-Town 1 and Chris-Town 2 didn’t share any common areas inside, though the article never explicitly says that this was the case.

As I noted earlier, architects Pearson, Wuesthoff & Skinner designed the Chris-Town 2.

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