One evening back in February, 2002, a friend and I were driving down a lonely stretch of highway on our way to Yuma, Arizona, when my phone rang. Back then you could answer your phone while you were driving, so I took the call. Harkins Theaters would be recreating the portico columns from the original Cine Capri on the new Cine Capri, but first they needed the renderings from the original blueprints, and did I by chance have them?
Well, yes and no. No, I didn’t have them on me at that exact moment, but no worries, I would be happy to provide them with a copy as soon as I got back to town. And, true to my word, as soon as I got back I delivered a copy of the column drawings to the subcontractor and voila, the columns were rebuilt. I guess we could say this was my personal contribution to the new theater. And what an honor and a privilege to be able to do so.
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.
On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, the new Cine Capri at the Scottsdale 101 had its official grand opening. And while we weren’t able to have Charlton Heston this time around, local radio and television personality, and long-time Valley resident Pat McMahon was in attendance. During the grand opening ceremony Dan Harkins took the time to thank everyone involved, including yours truly. And while the architectural style and lobby differ from the original theater, the auditorium and film going experience was much the same as the first Cine Capri. I was also pleased to see just how many people stopped by to look at the exhibit. I’m glad I was able to be a part of it. The old Cine Capri may be gone, but it will never be forgotten, and I think my father would have been pleased.
On Saturday, June 28, 2003, a few days after the opening of the new Cine Capri at the Scottsdale 101, Wayne Kullander invited George Aurelius and me for a special, behind the scenes tour of the new theater.
Wayne Kullander and George Aurelius have a long history together, as Wayne worked for “Uncle” George, back in 1966, when he was the inaugural manager of the original Cine Capri. And, watching these two men together was like watching two kids in a candy store. “Uncle” George was in his nineties, but you wouldn’t have known it. Even after all the years that had passed, both still enjoyed each other’s company. Along with reminiscing about the past, they talked for what seemed like hours about about the changes in sound and projection systems, seat design, and concessions. But for me, what was the most gratifying, was to see George Aurelius, the man responsible for the creation of the original Cine Capri, and the man who gave the theater its name, give his stamp of approval to the new Cine Capri.