Jaime's Local Love: Harkins Theatres

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

We are wrapping up our month of Jaime's Local Legacies with a business 85 years old in the Valley-- Harkins Theatres.

The company grew from a single movie house in Tempe to the largest independently-owned exhibition company.

It all started with Dwight "Red" Harkins. In 1933, at the height of the Depression, Red opened Tempe's first movie house, The State Theatre. Over the next 40 years, Red's business expanded to a chain of five movie theaters throughout the Valley.

[VIDEO: Harkins Theatres is a mainstay in the Valley with a rich history]

Red passed away in 1974 leaving his oldest son Dan, a junior at ASU and General Manager of the chain, as head of the family business. Since then, Dan has dedicated himself to two goals: expanding the Harkins business and enhancing the movie-going experience.

Each theater purchased would be completely upgraded with state-of-the-art amenities. 

With all the growth and modernization he inspired, Dan never forgot the simple magic of movies. He used his love for movies and natural showmanship to make each guest’s visit to the theater a memorable event.

[SLIDESHOW: Jaime's Local Love]

Notably, Dan introduced midnight movies and hosted the world's longest-running 3D film festival.

One of the most beloved innovations was the popular Loyalty Cup and T-shirt program, bringing Harkins’ fans back again and again to enjoy discount concessions along with the latest blockbusters.

In order to expand the variety of films available to local movie connoisseurs, he created Arizona's first foreign and art film program, a Harkins tradition that continues to this day. Harkins Valley Art, Shea 14 and Camelview at Fashion Square are dedicated to showing these special releases.

Harkins Theatres continues to redefine movie-going for loyal guests with innovative programming and sound systems, laser projection, plush Ultimate Lounger™ reclining seats, in-lobby bars, reserved seating, mobile ticketing, Cine 1™ and Cine Capri auditoriums, in-lobby PlayCenter and signature gourmet snack bars.

[VIDEO: How things have changed since 1933 at the The Harkins Theatres]

Harkins Theatres’ passion for excellence, creativity and community involvement was initiated by its founder, Red Harkins, and goes far beyond the world of movies.

This tradition continues as Harkins Theatres has helped set a new standard for charitable giving in the Western U.S. in a multitude of ways. Charity premieres and screenings, in-kind donations and public service announcements on the movie screens are just a few ways Harkins supports its communities.

The company has helped many schools and organizations to raise millions of dollars and has worked with dozens of groups, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Arizona Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Alzheimer's Association, Phoenix Children's Hospital, and many more.

Website:  https://www.harkins.com/

Facebook: HarkinsTheatres

Twitter: @HarkinsTheatres

Instagram: HarkinsTheatres

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