Opened in the September of 1927 this theater was built by the Bachechi family; Italian-Americans who wanted to give something back to their adopted Country.
The architecture is based on Aztec, Navajo and Pueblo designs. A contest was held to pick the name of the theater in keeping with it’s design. From over 500 entries Kimo was picked meaning ‘mountain lion’ in Pueblo.
In 1935 the theater was combined with Sunshine Theaters putting almost all of Albuquerque’s theaters under one company. They were then leased to a Texas theater company who was bought by Commonwealth Theaters in 1967. Commonwealth closed the Kimo in 1970.
When it opened again, shortly afterwards, it was showing adult films.
By 1977 it had suffered a fire and was in terrible shape. The city offered to buy it or have it condemned and demolished. The family sold it to the city.
In 2000 the city completely refurbished the theater including creating a 650 seat auditorium. In 2011 the city commissioned a replica of the origin neon sign that was above the doors when it opened in 1927.
In 1951 a 6 year old boy, Bobby Darnall, was killed when a boiler in the basement exploded and took out part of the lobby. Unfortunately, Bobby arrived in the lobby just in time to be killed in the explosion; 7 other people were injured.
Legend says if the performers do not leave some sort of gift backstage for Bobby little things will go wrong with the show rather like an April Fool’s joke or prank; ie flickering lights or missing items.
There is a story that Bobby disrupted a showing of a Christmas Carol in 1974 – it was actually in 1986 – but none of the performers putting on that show remember anything abnormal happening.
Either way its become a theater tradition to leave something for Bobby before hitting the stage.
The apparition of Bobby in jeans and a striped shirt – his clothes when he was killed – is also seen occasionally in the theater.
Another ghost, that of a lady in a bonnet, is also seen in the theater. No has identified her as of yet.