KiMo Theatre

423 Central Avenue NW,
Albuquerque, NM 87102

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DavidZornig on October 19, 2021 at 7:00 am

Additional history credit Joe Sonderman.

September 19, 1927 – The Kimo Theatre, the lavish “Pueblo Deco” movie palace in Albuquerque opened its doors. An overflow crowd watched performances of “mystic rites” by representatives from nearby Indian pueblos and reservations. Isleta Pueblo Governor Pablo Abeita won a prize of $50 for naming the new theater. He combined two Tewa words loosely translated as “king of its kind”. The theatre had deteriorated and was endangered when the City of Albuquerque purchased and restored it in 1977.

davidcoppock on July 22, 2020 at 9:15 am

In 1951, six year old Bobby Darnell was killed wnen a boiler exploded in the basement, while he was going down the staircase from the balcony to the concession stand to get a drink. The explosion destroyed patt of the lobby and the staircase that Bobby was standing on. The theater was closed for several weeks while the damage was fixed. There is a rumour that Bobby’s ghost is seen playing on the staircase and balcony area after the theater reopened? There is also a second ghost of an unknown woman.

David_Schneider on October 7, 2019 at 10:51 am

Albuquerque Journal article from October 6th, 2019 about the history of the naming of the KiMo:

“Six Letters or Less: KiMo Theatre Naming Process Utilized the Power of Community”

Also there’s a recently released book: “KiMo Theatre: Fact & Folklore”

DavidZornig on November 14, 2018 at 6:34 am

Nice exterior photo of the Kimo Theater credit Karen Blaha, from the below Hemmings link. Photo added to Photos Section.

Orlando on September 7, 2018 at 7:44 am

The vertical sign of the Kimo Theatre can be seen in the 1970 Anthony Quinn movie “Flap” during the first 5 minutes. And later on while marching on Central Avenue, the features on the marquee were “Destroy All Monsters” and “The Conqueror Worm”, 2 A.I.P. features. If you look carefully in that scene, SUN ‘N’ FUN are on the front of the marquee. Also the vertical for the State Theatre can be seen. At the end though, two marquees on the Warner’s backlot are seen, one with “Nobody Loves A Drunken Indian” on which “Flap is based and few doors down the high-hat marquee of "House of Wax” 3D museum from the 1953 movie. “Flap” was a flop and played one week during Christmas or New Years Day 1970-71. Each day the ads for the week stated “Starts Today”! Never saw it at the Brandt’s Astor in Flatbush or Century’s Elm in Midwood, Brooklyn. However, it was released by WB, a Kinney Co. on DVD where there is a Kinney Shoe Store next to the Kimo Theatre.

rivest266 on June 12, 2016 at 8:47 am

The November 5th, 1974 grand reopening ad as a adult cinema can be found in the photo section for this theatre.

rivest266 on June 6, 2016 at 4:25 am

September 18th, 1927 grand opening ad in photo section

DavidZornig on May 17, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Circa 1961 photo added courtesy of Bill Redak‎.

spectrum on January 2, 2015 at 4:46 pm

The official webpage links to some nice interior photos – interesting to see that the original proscenium arch has been re-created; the original was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s and was replaced by simple curtained walls – nice to see the original back with the native American symbols.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on December 26, 2012 at 11:32 am

The December 2012 issue of “Signs of the Times” has a long article on the KiMo. Although it’s mostly about the blade sign, it gives quite a bit of historical background on the theater as well. Unfortunately the article is not available online.

CSWalczak on October 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm

An article about the KiMo with pictures is here.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 29, 2010 at 8:09 pm

From the 1940s a postcard view of Central Avenue along with the Kimo Theater in Albuquerque.

TLSLOEWS on April 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Very Very Nice.

Ziggy on August 11, 2009 at 9:01 am


I already find myself having to write a clarification. You did not state that “Pueblo Deco” was coined in 1968, but that “Art Deco” was coined in 1968 (a fact I was already aware of), but it sort of makes me think…..if I want to really be a stickler about things, I wouldn’t use the phrase “Art Deco” either, since it also was just “made up” by someone long after the style came and went.

Oh well, you all go ahead and use the phrase “Pueblo Deco” all you want, and I won’t use it, and we can all be happy.

My invititation to discuss architecture via email still stands.

Ziggy on August 11, 2009 at 8:57 am


I am not writing this in an argumentative tone. I just wanted to state that up front so that people won’t “read” an attitude where there isn’t meant to be one.

Your post regarding the phrase “Pueblo Deco” proves my point. I stated that it must have been made up by someone in the last 30 years or so because it’s certainly not a term that the architects themselves would have used. You state that the term was coined in 1968. As an architectural historian myself, my contention is that the Kimo is not art deco. Even if art deco enthusiasts (of which I am one) were to say that it is, it would only show that those enthusiasts are misinformed.

Again, I am not writing this to start an argument, and if you want to continue this discussion I will be very happy to exchange ideas and comments with you via email. I love discussing architecture with anyone who will listen, and I promise to keep things on a professional, and good natured, level.

ERD on June 16, 2009 at 5:40 am

A very atractive theatre. I am glad it is in good hands.

rt66nm on June 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Yes, its well worth the 15 minute stop as you could probably find a parking space almost outside on old Rt. 66 itself! Besides its FREE. Here’s a virtual tour Who knows, you might run into the ghost
Hasta Luego ! Oh, check for more exciting things to do/see in The Q.

carptrash on April 26, 2009 at 7:03 am


The term “Pueblo Deco” was coined by architectural historian Marcus Wiffen who certainly did know what he was talking about.

He used it to describe a style of ornamentation that was a hybrid based on Native designs from baskets, pottery, jewelry and such and the more Moderne designs that we now call Art Deco – a term that was only invented around 1968 or so. We could argue about if all the ornamentation were stripped off the KiMo whether we would have a Deco shell of a Pueblo Revival shell, but I suspect that you’d loose were we to take a vote among deco enthusiasts if you still maintain that the KiMo is not a deco theatre.

kpdennis on April 25, 2009 at 1:04 am

The Kimo in the early 1990s:
View link

HowardBHaas on July 9, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Proscenium Arch framing stage:
View link

more facing stage including curtain:
View link

View link

detail of curtain & Proscenium Arch:
View link

Bison head:
View link

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on April 25, 2008 at 2:26 pm

A 1984 view of the Kimo Theater in Albuquerque.

Ziggy on February 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Yes Howard, but just because a term is often used doesn’t make it correctly used. I’ve seen “Art Deco” used to describe items and styles that are way outside the art deco period and style. The term “Art Deco” correctly refers only to items who’s style is inspired by the themes of the 1925 Arts Decoratifs exposition in Paris. This style was a reaction against the historicism and romanticism which had been driving the decorative arts and architecture. The Kimo theatre, with its obivious roots in Native American style is a wonderful and unique expression of the historicism that american architects loved in the 1920’s, but it is not “Deco” is any way, neithier “Pueblo” not “Art”. Again, I suspect the name was made up by someone who either wanted to ride on the popularity of art deco, or because it sounded plausible, but it’s a disservice to the actual style of the theatre to call it something that it’s not.

HowardBHaas on February 20, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Ziggy, Pueblo Deco wasn’t a term when the theater was built, but has since become a term. Read the theater’s own website which so describes it as Pueblo Deco. The term Art Deco is often used to describe themes of the period.

Ziggy on February 20, 2008 at 2:32 pm

I don’t think it’s right to call the style of this theatre “Pueblo Deco”, since that is a term that must have been made up by someone in the past thirty years or so. Art Deco was virtually unknown in Albuquerque in 1927, and was just barely beginning in the U.S. in general. It’s highly unlikely that the Boller Bros. somehow fused native and modernistic elements to produce “Pueblo Deco”. This would be especially true since Art Deco was not called Art Deco in 1927. It was referred to as “Art Moderne”. I’m sure that “Pueblo Deco” was not used by the architects, and that the term wasn’t used at all until the 1970’s, if even that early. It’s probably a term made up by someone not knowledgeable enough to know how inaccurate it is. There really are no “Art Deco” themes in this theatre.