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
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silent auction included paintings of the Cine Capri, opening night photos signed by Charlton Heston, and an original, unpublished Family Circus cartoon created by Bil Keane exclusively for this event.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, “tocollect, 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.
For over thirty years the Cine Capri Theatre stood on the corner of 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix, Arizona.
For those who grew up in Phoenix, the Cine Capri was where many had their first date, or where they stood in line for hours to see such blockbuster hits as Star Wars. It was certainly that for me, but it was also a whole lot more. It was, literally, a part of my family. My father was W.E. “Bill” Homes, Jr, and our family business, Homes & Son Construction Company, Inc., built the theater.
Years later, as my father was dying of cancer, the local media was abuzz with the news of another developer’s plans to demolish the Cine Capri to make room for an office building. Dad and I talked about it, and even though he tried to downplay it, I knew the loss of this iconic theater was breaking his heart. But he also thought that perhaps someday the Cine Capri would be built again.
As fate would have it, my father passed away a few months before the original Cine Capri’s demolition, and I soon found myself as the keeper of the Cine Capri flame. Over the years I have spent a great deal of my time and energy to that end. So, to mark the twentieth year of my father’s passing, I’ve created this website to tell the story of a unique and special Valley landmark, and my own journey of keeping my father’s legacy alive.
Gayle Homes Martin, May, 2017
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