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April 05, 2019


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Any compilation of old photographs will make me tear up at the reminder that Phoenix was once a nice city before it became an automotive wasteland. You didn't need to ask why you loved your hometown because there was enough love in its building stock to tell you. Patriotism that is divorced from this emotional connection is abstract and hollow. It's why America is failing in so many ways. There is simply not enough character in our built environment to remind us who we are. We gave all that up for the empty pleasure of driving from one end of nowhere to the other.

There's maybe a chance for the mesquites, Paradise Mall is on its way to becoming a wasteland. As is Fiesta and Metrocenter.

Thanks Jon. Gloria and I and a bunch of other OLD Arizona residents really enjoy this sorta stuff. We did our time in some of these Theatres. Particularly in the balconies.

Every Saturday I rode the bus with Bucky Nelson from Hayward and Central to the Fox for the Matinee and hijinks by Lew King and his Rangers. Dawn O'Day would sing if we were lucky. Then Bucky and I would go across the street to the drug store and wait for his mom to get off work and drive us home. Pretty adventurous for 6 year olds.

Cine Capri now gone from 2300 East Camelback was designed by Phoenix Architect Ralph Haver son of a bricklayer.

Ed did you run into Gary Peter Klahr?

Couldn't avoid Gary, he was up there shilling for Lou way back when.

On my 7th birthday my mom took me and my guests out to Mesa to Jack Adams Alligator Farm! I must have still been doing well in school.

I really enjoyed this journey in the Phoenix Way Back Machine: The Fox theater remains the palace I remembered. The lounge area, those giant chandeliers, the painted scenes on the walls are vivid reminders of my younger, simpler life. The Paramount/Palace West (as I knew the place during my life in Phoenix) was equally special, and so was the Palms Theater. I'll always remember my Austin America dropping its entire exhaust system (manifold to tailpipe) onto Central Avenue a block from the theater. Jeanne Delmonico and I just picked up the piece, placed it in the car and went on with our date.
I don't remember the film.. but I'll never forget that moment with Jeanne. Or Jeanne.

Thanks for loading up the Time Machine with all these excellent photographs. Such devastating losses.

Ah, the memories of old Phoenix.
I remember going,in the late forties, to The Strand and Rialto on Saturday mornings. They usually played two features, three serials, a whole bunch of cartoons and a newsreel. It kept me occupied and out of my Mother's hair most of the day.
I would get 50 cents and walk to Tenth Street, take the trolley downtown and hit the theater.
Imagine letting your eight year old son do that today.
Nostalgia really is a wonderful thing!
Phoenix in the forties was a wonderful place to be a kid.

1944 thru 1945, I lived at 10th St and Oak. I was I. The 4th and 5th grade. Many Saturdays, my grandmother would give me a quarter to go to the movies. The streetcar ran along 10th street to downtown Phoenix and the fare was a nickel. When I arrived on Washington St., I would choose between the Strand, the Studio and the Phoenix. They all showed a western or another B movie, a cartoon, and, often, a serial. Admission was 10 cents, which left me a nickel for a treat. The Durango Kid, Red Ryder, Lash Larue, Tim Holt, Johnny Mack Brown were the stars. I have very fond memories of those days. Thanks for posting the pictures.

When I was a kid, we usually went to the Cinema Park Drive-In at 7th Street and Missouri, the nearest place in our neighborhood to see movies. By my time, the helicopter-rotor-propelled misting system was gone, alas.

A real treat was going to the Palms. I saw the Guns of Navarone and The Great Race, among other things, there.

I was only to the Fox once, when neighborhood moms picked me to be a chaperone for the little kids for a showing of Babes in Toyland in 1962. Being an ever-so-sophisticated 12-year-old (after all, I started listening to KRIZ and KRUX that year), I thought the movie was as stupid as heck, but I remember being impressed with the theater.

When I was 15, the Ciné Capri opened in my neighborhood. Decades later, when it was faced with the wrecking ball, Pat McMahon spearheaded a drive to save it as a historical structure but failed. (If a 1965 building is historic, then what am I?) What a great modern movie palace it was! I saw The Godfather there. We had to wait in a queue outside when a big summer dust storm temporarily engulfed us, making both the patrons and the movie gritty.

I never did get taken to see Jack Adams' Alligator Farm but remember how it figured into one of the 1960s urban legends. Story was that a big monsoon-triggered flash flood had washed some gators from Jack Adams' into the canal system. Finding both fish and edible garbage in the waters, plus warm temperatures, the reptiles began to reproduce. The Arizona Canal was within a bike ride from my house. I kept an eye out for them, and wondered if they posed a hazard to the teen-agers who water-skied on the canals in yet another Phoenix-specific urban legend.

The Cinema Park drive in was a sweaty go to passion pit in the summer and a steam up the windows lovers pit in the winter.
Where I saw "The Thing." I went to most of the Valleys Drive ins. Now all gone.

Old things

"When I was little anytime my daddy walked up to a windmill he'd take off his hat and grin up at that fan going around. Just grin like an idiot."
Recollection of a plainsman.

I also remember taking the bus down to kids' matinees in the old Fox.

Val Cordova lived just down the street for quite a few years when I was growing up.

Would give anything if they had saved the Palms and Fox theaters - Phoenix has torn down more history than they ever should have - also so many of the stately mansions along Central Ave. When we were dating in the early '50's, we went to the Fox, Paramount and Palms theaters almost every week and they were all so beautiful including the moving clouds on the ceiling! So sad to lose them!!

reading all these stories from a past that only few care to remember, is humbling at the least.
My father reminds me often of his growing up with all these beautiful and interesting buildings.
Thank you Phoenix and thank you to my father

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