Bethany Theatre

2324 W. Bethany Home Road,
Phoenix, AZ 85015

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Harry L. Nace Theatres, Plitt Theatres

Firms: Elmo K. Lathrop & Associates, Jim Coles & Associates

Previous Names: Bethany West Theatre

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Bethany Theater

The Bethany West Theatre opened on April 25, 1962. I remember seeing “The Black Hole” here as a kid in 1979. I also remember seeing a really awful film in 1981, which also happened to be the last film shown here.

The theatre has remained standing for years after with the marquee sign saying ‘Closed for Renovations’.

The one thing I do remember is that this theatre was built like a long shoe box - similar to the Kachina Theatre, Scottsdale.

Contributed by Shannon Laine

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

Deavenson on April 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm

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

Tucsonman on August 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm

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

jimmyjay1949 on October 14, 2014 at 6:30 pm

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).

sakredkow on July 5, 2015 at 8:26 am

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.

rivest266 on November 15, 2015 at 6:09 am

April 25th, 1962 grand opening ad in photo section

buckylarue on January 20, 2018 at 3:20 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.

MSC77 on March 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm

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

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 23, 2018 at 3:48 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 16, 2022 at 4:38 pm

The article rivest266 just posted says that the yet-unnamed theater on Bethany Home Road was designed by Elmo K. Lathrop & Associates. The finding aid for the J. Evan Miler Collection of Cinerama Theater Plans at UCLA also lists Elmo K. Lathrop as the architect of the Bethany Theatre. The 1962 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists Lathrop’s address then as 4201 N. 2nd Ave, Phoenix, Arizona.

As near as I can puzzle out from the scant information on the Internet, the Jim Coles & Associates that operated in Phoenix in the 1960s was an interior design firm. There is an architect named Jim Coles currently practicing in Idaho, as head of Design West Architects, but I doubt it would be the same guy, sixty years later.

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