Rising from the Ashes

The completed Cine Capri Model. Photo by Jim Peterson.

In the months that followed the loss of the Cine Capri I kept wondering if there was some way I could take something so negative, and turn it into something positive. One of the things my father taught me was the virtue of community service, and I wanted to do something to honor both my dad, and the theater.

I made a few phone calls and was referred to Harold Williams, a local architect. Not only he had served on the Save the Cine Capri committee, he also had a copy of the blueprints, courtesy of the Haver family. (The late Ralph Haver had been part of the team of architects who designed the original Cine Capri.) All it took was one phone call, and I got my very own copy of the blueprints.

Funny what can happen when the right woman gets her hands on a set of blueprints. Think of it as, Honey, I Shrunk the Cine Capri. My mission was to rebuild the original Cine Capri, albeit on a bit smaller scale, as in quarter inch. (One quarter inch equaling one foot.) I would commission a 1/4 scale model from the original blueprints, and do a charity fundraiser in my father’s memory.

Harold and I spent the next few weeks looking for the right model builder before awarding the project to Doyle Hostetler. As soon as Doyle started work I started planning the fundraiser, but it proved to be a much more daunting task than I expected. The first event planner I hired just didn’t see my vision, and after much frustration, I finally had to let her go. Fortunately, it came all together once The Arizona Historical Society, and my second event planner, came on board. The model unveiling, and the charity fund raiser, would be included with the opening for two other museum exhibits. It would turn out to be the perfect opportunity.

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Work begins on the Cine Capri model. Photo courtesy of Doyle Hostetler.
The model takes shape. Photo courtesy of Doyle Hostetler.
Replicating the copper fascia. All of the details from the original were reproduced for the model. Photo courtesy of Doyle Hostetler.

The Cine Capri Model Unveiling

The Cine Capri Model. Photo courtesy of the Gayle Martin collection.

The Cine Capri Model was officially unveiled to the public on Saturday, May 15, 1999, at the Arizona Historical Society Museum, (now the Arizona Heritage Center at Papago Park). The festivities included a silent auction and a slide show presentation in the museum auditorium chronicling the history of the original Cine Capri. The silent auction included paintings of the Cine Capri, opening night photos signed by Charlton Heston, and an original, unpublished Family Circus cartoon created by Bil Keane exclusively for this event. After the slide show, the model was officially unveiled to the public, with George Aurelius, Wayne Kullander, and local architect Harold Williams, a member of the Save the Cine Capri committee doing the honors.

Along with preserving the memory of this iconic Phoenix landmark, this event raised money in my father’s memory for two Valley charities; The  John C. Lincoln Health Foundation and The Arizona Historical Society.

My dad, W.E. “Bill” Homes, Jr., served on the John C. Lincoln hospital board of directors for twenty years, six of them as chairman. During his tenure, John C. Lincoln Hospital became a Level One trauma center.

The other charity was the Arizona Historical Society, without whose help this project would not have been possible. Their mission is, “to collect, preserve, interpret, and disseminate the history of Arizona and the West,” and the original Cine Capri was most certainly a part of central Arizona history.

Thanks to silent auction, and donations from other friends and supporters, each charity received a generous donation, and the museum was gifted with the Cine Capri Model, which remains in their permanent collection.

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Gayle Martin at the silent auction. Photo courtesy of the Gayle Martin collection.
George Aurelius, (left), Wayne Kullander, (center), Harold Williams, (right), and Gayle Martin, (right) prepare to unveil the Cine Capri Model. Photo courtesy of Gayle Martin collection.
George Aurelius, (left), Wayne Kullander, (center) and Harold Williams, (right), unveil the Cine Capri Model. Photo courtesy of Gayle Martin collection.
Wayne Kullander admires the Cine Capri Model. Photo Courtesy of the Gayle Martin collection.

The Cine Capri Museum

Construction of the new Cine Capri is nearly complete. Photo by Gayle Martin

In the spring of 2003, I was asked to help with the museum display for the New Cine Capri at the Scottsdale 101. Of course I was more than happy to provide historic photos from the original theater.

The museum was located on a sidewall in the lobby, complete with some of the salvaged ceramic jade tile from the original theater. The first half of the display would tell the story of the construction of the original theater, with the second half being about its demise.

A few days before the grand opening we all met at the new Cine Capri to put the display together. While the construction crew was busy putting the final touches on the building, a group of volunteers, including yours truly, and someone The Arizona Historical Society Museum, began putting the exhibit together under the supervision of Brian Laurel, marketing director for Harkins Theaters. We started with the usual prep work of vigorously cleaning the display area, as dust can be extremely harmful to historic artifacts. Then it was time to cut pieces of the original gold curtains, hang photos, and organize the rest of the display. By the end of the day we were tired, but our task was complete, and we were pleased with the results. It truly was a labor of love.

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Display of the construction of the original Cine Capri. Photo by Gayle Martin.
Display about the demise of the original theater. Both cases also contain artifacts from the original theater. Photo by Gayle Martin
Theater patrons admiring the display. Photo by Gayle Martin