The Ciné Capri story began in 1964 when the Federal District Court of New York approved Arizona Paramount Theatres’ application to construct and operate a new motion picture theater in the Barrows Plaza at 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix, Arizona. This step was necessary due to antitrust laws at the time.
Once court approval was granted, the Ciné Capri came to life when George M. Aurelius, vice president and general manager of Arizona Paramount Corporation and Henry George Greene, A.I.A., N.C.A.R.B., consulting architect to ABC Theatres, teamed with W.E. “Bill” Homes, Jr., president of Homes & Son Construction Company, Inc., and Ralph Haver, president of Haver, Nunn & Jensen, architects for Barrows Plaza. Rounding out the group was Spero L. Kontos, president of the Los Angeles based John Filbert Company. Their goal was to design, build and outfit a unique, state-of-the-art, motion picture facility that would complement potential neighborhood development and accommodate ever-changing film distribution and exhibition patterns.
–edited from George Aurelius’ personal notes, July, 1998
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.