One of the things I enjoy the most about hosting this site, is the fascinating things I learn about my community and the people in it. I’ve known for a long time that Harkins Theatres was a locally owned business, but I didn’t know it had such a rich history of entrepreneurship and determination. The first theatre was opened in 1933 by Red Harkins, an 18 year old dreamer who was good looking enough to compete with the likes of Clark Gabel and Gary Cooper. He ran out of money on his way to Hollywood and lucky for us, settled in Arizona to start his theatre empire. The company passed to his son Dan upon his death in 1974 and using his sheer determination and innovative thinking, Dan turned it into the small empire that it is today. The company owns 31 theatres in Arizona, most of them in the Phoenix metro-area. In the past few years, new theatres have been opened in California, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. My favorite Harkins Theatre is Camelview in Scottsdale because if features all the independent and documentary films and those that you just don’t see in the big multi-plexes.
If you’d like to read the story of Red Harkins and his son Dan, follow this link.